How to stay hydrated while hiking and backpacking

stay hydrated while camping

Water is vital for life sustenance. Different people have different percentage of their bodies made up of water, with an average of 60% for an adult’s body. Physically demanding activities such as Camping, hiking, backpacking and other outdoor activities can quickly deplete your body’s water resource. This can lead to dehydration which can cause palpitations in heart, fatigue, dizziness and can even be life threatening. To prevent this, you need to replenish the body water content. In fact, the Park Services at many camping and hiking venues advise to drink as much as 3-4 liters of water during the day while on trail.

In this article, we will look at five ways you can stay hydrated while hiking, backpacking or survival camping.

What can you do to stay hydrated while camping?

Carry enough water

One of the first thing you need to do while going camping is preparation. You need to maintain a checklist and take all the essentials required for camping. Take some time and study the area you plan to camp at. Does it have enough water sources? How far is the nearest water source? Plan ahead on how much water you will need before you can refill your water. If possible, carry water in a good hydration pack. If you do not have one already, you can consider one of the following options, based on your need and the trail water sources,

Carry a portable water filter

A portable water filter system is an essential camping gear. Water sources in camping grounds should not be blindly trusted as potable and safe for consumption. A good portable water filter like
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter should be carried so that you can have safe drinking water whenever needed. When the quality of water at your camp site is questionable, simply use a water filter to purify the water and drink it.

Drink water during the day

Ideally, you should not wait until you are thirsty to drink some water. Feeling thirsty is an indication that you are low on fluids and are dehydrated. Keep sipping enough water throughout the day so maintain optimum fluid levels in your body and avoid getting dehydrated. If hiking, drink before you start your walk and then after reaching your destination. In between, have a sip of water every 100 feet or so. You do not realize how quickly you can start feeling thirsty when hiking so stay safe and keep drinking water as required.

Carry some electrolytes

While camping or hiking in hot weather, always carry some electrolytes like Camelbak Elixir tablets in case you find yourself dehydrated. Alternatively, you can mix the electrolytes in your water bottle beforehand and carry some additional ones with you for emergencies. You should be able to identify the symptoms of dehydration so that you can take necessary steps to reverse the effects. Dehydration is a condition where the body loses more water than what is being replenished. Along with water, the body also loses essential salts and minerals which are necessary for the proper functioning of the body. Severe dehydration can be fatal. The following are the symptoms of dehydration,

  • Dry and sticky mouth
  • Thirst
  • Decreased urine output
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

When you feel any of the above systems, ensure that you take rest, cool yourself in a shaded place and drink water with some electrolytes. Mild dehydration can be reversed but if you feel too tired, seek medical attention immediately.

Use proper camping clothes

camping hat

Wearing proper clothes while hiking, backpacking or camping according to the season and weather is necessary to ensure you do not feel dehydrated. It is a universally known fact that dark colored clothes absorb heat whereas light coloured clothes will reflect them. Keep that in mind when buying camping clothes for the warm weather.
Buy cotton clothes which are breathable and won’t make you feel uncomfortable. Avoid wearing tight clothes as such attire can restrict the perspiration process and cause unnatural sweating. Invest in a good hat. It can protect your face and your neck from the scorching heat.
While camping in summer, buy short sleeve shirts and shorts or cargo pants. You can also purchase some convertible pants such as one by White Sierra that can function both as a pant or as a short whenever required.

Final thoughts

Outdoor activities such as hiking and backpacking are not without their risks and health hazards. However, that should not stop you from enjoying such outdoor activities. In this article we looked at how to ensure we stay hydrated while engaging in physical activities during camping. We saw that with proper planning and gear, we can ensure that we do not feel dehydrated. Hopefully, you found this post useful. Do let us know if you have any feedback by leaving a comment below. Until next time, happy camping!

Related posts

The best portable water filter for campers
12 must have camping gear list when going outdoors
How to protect your skin while camping

Image credits:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.