With summer right around the corner and long hot evenings, staying hydrated and cool are very important keys when being out in the sun
Our bodies are made largely of water and without it, life as we know it would not exist. When backpacking, snowshoeing, camping, caving, or doing whatever sparks your interest, ensuring that water is available and plentiful is one of the most vital preparations that you can make. While out in the backcountry, it can be very easy to become dehydrated. With increased physical activity, more sun exposure, and oftentimes increased altitude, dehydration can sweep in quickly.
A party member becoming dehydrated can be a severe emergency, and even life threatening, in the backcountry. Here, I present to you 5 different ways to stay hydrated and prepare for a trip with water in mind:
1. Do your research.
Whether it’s on a topo map, on the internet, or from a knowledgeable expert, it’s extremely important to research the area and know where the water sources are located. In an emergency, it can be vital to know where the nearest water source is.
It’s also advisable to do research, because some water sources may be undrinkable. So be smart, do some poking around, and know about the water.
2. Always carry some sort of water purification.
This could be anything from iodine tablets, to Aquamira drops, to a filtration system, or even UV light bars. Purifying the water is very important, especially if you don’t want to get sick. Once you put the prescribed amount into your water bottle, let it sit for the designated amount of time, and then bleed the nozzle or lid to ensure all unpurified water is gone.
The reason this is so vital, is because almost every natural water source will contain some disease causing bacteria or protozoa. One major culprit is Giardia. The symptoms are severe and gross, so I’ll let you do the research. The important thing is to always bring some sort of purification method. You’ll stop yourself from getting sick and having a terrible time on the trail.
3. When all else fails, boil the water.
Oh no! You dropped all your iodine tablets in the river? And you forgot to bring extras?! No worries, boiling water is a safe, simple way to completely purify water. It may take more time and be more tedious, but in the end, it gets the job done. Once you boil the water in a pot over your camp stove, simply let it cool and then pour it into your water bottle.
4. Bring enough water if it won’t be available where you’re recreating.
Many outdoor stores sell water bladders and large water bottles for instances like this. Camping in desert areas is a whole different game, and you have to change your mind set. In regions where water is completely unpurifiable or extremely scarce, bringing enough of your own water is the best thing you can do. If you’re car camping, filling empty milk jugs is a good way to bring water with you. Just remember: always clean up after yourself, leaving the campsite like you’d want to find it!
5. Drink enough on the trail.
Finally, once you have the water, make sure to drink enough of it! While doing strenuous activities all day, it’s important to drink enough water–at least four liters a day. Now, that’s a lot of water, but your body needs it, and in return, your body will perform at optimal level for you. Drinking enough will let you do your best, and it’ll keep dehydration symptoms at bay.
Also another great way to stay hydrated is with a hydration pack http://www.basspro.com/Ogio-Erzberg-70-Hydration-Pack/product/15021808222081/! There are multiple hydration packs Bass pro sells for very reasonable prices! Check them out with the link above!
With these 5 tips, you should be able to enjoy a safe, well-hydrated excursion off the beaten path!