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Many of my clients enjoying getting out and enjoying the fresh air, experiencing fabulous scenery and of course boosting their fitness by taking part in hikes. One of the questions I am frequently asked regarding hikes is “how do I stay hydrated”. This is a good question and these points should help you work out the best way to ensure that you adequately and safely hydrated throughout the hike.
First of all, know your hike route. Knowing how long you are likely to be out and about, at what altitude and how strenuous the trail is (i.e. is there a lot of climbing?) will aid you in making a proper hydration assessment. If you aren’t sure about the details talk with local agencies that may be able to give you detailed and unbiased information about the route.
Research the weather / climate. It stands to reason that the hotter you are the more you are going to need to drink. The temperature / climate (is it hot and dry, hot and moist, when does the air start to cool if climbing is part of your trek) will make a big difference to how much water you are going to need to carry with you.
Others who have undertaken the same hike will be able to offer advice however it is important that you know your own body. Hiker 1 might need 4 bottles of water, you might need 6. Different people burn through water reserves differently dependant on their fitness levels, their age, height, weight and a number of other factors.
Not drinking enough has obvious downsides, dangerous ones for some people and therefore it is important to drink enough. Don’t wait until you start to feel thirsty before you drink, keep your hydration levels constant and topped up. It also isn’t wise to over-hydrate without taking care to balance out your electrolytes. A sports drink or suitable snack on the hike will help to address this.
How much water do I need to take with me?
The general rule of thumb when it comes to assessing how much water you need to take with you, after looking at the terrain, the climate, your own needs and everything else previously mentioned is to remember that it is better to carry too much than not have enough. Yes your pack might feel heavier to start with if loaded up with water however as you move through the hike and continue to drink your pack will weigh less so this shouldn’t be a consideration when it comes to preparing.
Do you enjoy hiking? What top tips and tricks would you offer others, whether they are hydration related points or not?