Hydration Tips for the Backcountry
Keeping yourself hydrated while on the trail is key but there is only so much water you can hike in with. The human can survive up to a month without food but only two days without water! Most hikers will require 2-3L per day depending on temperatures and strenuous nature of the trip. A good math trick is to assume you will need about ½ liter per 1 hour hiking. Below are ways to ensure you remain well hydrated.
WAYS TO HYDRATE
Drink Before you Leave: Yes – you will need to pee within a few hours, but its better to start hydrated.
Water Bottles: Duh. Pack in enough water to get to a known, reliable, year-round, water site. Never assume that a small spring will be flowing!
Rubber Hose: If you are worried about access to water, a small rubber hose can help you draw it out of difficult to find locations.
LifeStraw: We aren’t one to peddle products here but this has been a game changer when resources are
Boiling Water: When you're collecting water from a natural source, the safest option is to boil your water. While this is more feasible at your campsite, it's the best option for removing potentially harmful pathogens.
SOURCES OF WATER
When you’re on a trail for more than a few hours, it’s important to know where it’s safe to drink water.
Streams: clear FLOWING water is the best option on the trail. Try to collect from an area with fast and turbulent flow. Always scout a little upstream as well to ensure there are no potential bacteria sources slightly upstream. Always top off your water bottles when coming upon a stream. Drinking from downstream flat water sources may seem a lot easier, but it can cause serious bacterial harm to your gut.
Lakes/Ponds: Less ideal sources of water because stagnant flow can increase levels of bacteria and or other pollutants.
Snow/Ice: never eat snow/ice as this will lower your core body temperature significantly. Remember you technically should still purify snow melt after it has been melted. It goes without saying, avoid the yellow and brown varieties.
If you're in the backcountry and need to drink from natural water sources, sometimes you'll may have to drink from less ideal sources. Boiling water is the best way to remove as much bacteria as possible. However, if boiling water isn't an option, this guide will help you understand how to safely manage the harmful pathogens present in water.