As you head out into the wilderness to enjoy an invigorating hiking or camping trip, it’s of utmost importance that you stay hydrated. When exerting yourself for hours at a time, dehydration can sneak up on you and wreak havoc on your system.
Not drinking enough water can lead to dizziness, headaches, fatigue, and confusion – and ultimately, death.
Tips to Stay Hydrated When You’re in the Wilderness
Even if your pack is heavy with water when you set out, be sure to also pack purification tablets or a heavy-duty water filter.
If you’re camping, bring a large pot that you can boil water in if you need to. Emergency situations can arise at any time, including getting lost or being trapped by sudden extreme weather, so never assume that a quick hike is going to be just that.
Planning ahead and following these simple tips can help you stay hydrated in the wild.
1. Drink More Often
It’s easy to walk, bike, fish, or kayak and pay no attention to drinking water for hours at a time. You may not feel thirsty or dehydrated right away, but the lack of replenishment will catch up to you.
Drink water on a schedule of at least every hour. Even on a cold day, you need more water than you think you do.
2. Avoid Excessive Sweating
Your body cools itself by sweating – between 2-6 liters of water per day. Wear clothing that is light in color and fabric, and stay in the shade whenever you can.
If you are stuck in the wild and your water supply is diminishing, avoid exercising.
3. Know Where Water is
Before you ever head out onto the trail, check your map for streams, lakes, ponds, etc. Chances are that if you are camping, it is near a lake. Keep in mind that water collected from streams, lakes, and ponds is full of potentially harmful bacteria and diseases, so always purify the water before drinking.
A good rule of thumb is to stop and refill your water at every opportunity.
4. Collect Rainwater or Melt Snow and Ice
If you are in the wild for an extended period of time, you can collect rainwater or melt snow and ice to create drinking water.
Warm cold water up so that your body does not use additional energy to absorb it.
5. Consume Fruits
Fruits are full of water! Pack fruits to eat on your trip, and if possible look for fruits to eat in the wild. Do not eat anything that you are not absolutely sure is safe to eat. Stay away from sugary fruit juice beverages that will dehydrate you.
If you are lost in the wild and are initially unable to locate water, observe the morning movements of animals and birds. Head downhill if that is an option, or follow bird flight paths to locate their water source.
By both conserving your energy and the water you do have, as well as being creative about finding new water sources, there is no reason to become dehydrated while out in the wild. Use common sense and always purify your water!
How do you stay hydrated when you’re hiking? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section!