Staying Hydrated in Cold Weather

Winter dehydration is more common than you might think. Most of the cues we get that tell us to drink water and stay hydrated in warmer weather aren’t always present in colder weather. Buckets of sweat and blazing heat are good reminders that we need to drink water. Then there’s the fact that people typically stay hydrated with more diligence when it’s hot than when it’s cold outside. There’s nothing like the impending threat of heat stroke to keep your reaching for your water bottle. Staying hydrated in cold weather is important, especially when you’re being active outside.

How much water do I need to drink while hiking?

The exact amount of water you should drink during a day varies from person to person. Height, weight, age, outdoor temperature, and how easily you sweat all play into how much water you need. Generally speaking, the average adult needs 100 ounces of water to stay hydrated on an average day. This amount increases with your activity level. This means that if you’re hiking, climbing, or mountain biking, you need more than just your 3-liter water reservoir to stay properly hydrated. Will you die of thirst if you don’t drink 100 ounces of water? No. But dehydration can impede physical performance, and can make your time outside more challenging, to say the least.

How can you get dehydrated in cold weather?

We lose moisture through our bodily functions such as breathing, urination, and sweating. Our body requires more moisture to condition the cold, dry air as we breathe it into our lungs.

Moisture also evaporates from our skin more quickly in colder weather, so you won’t sweat as easily. If you start sweating when it’s cold outside, you’re losing boatloads of fluids, so you need to take extra measures to stay hydrated.

Many of us rely on thirst to tell us when to drink water. The trouble with this method is that you might not feel as thirsty in cold weather. Thirst is deceptive. You’re already dehydrated by the time you feel thirsty, but that doesn’t mean you’re only dehydrated once you get thirsty. Don’t rely on thirst to tell you when you need to drink water, especially in colder weather.

General tips for staying hydrated in cold weather

  • Check the color of your urine to ballpark whether or not you’re dehydrated. The darker your urine, the less hydrated you are. Ideally, urine should be light yellow.
  • Remember that you must also replenish nutrients in addition to liquids. Constantly drinking water without consuming sodium or electrolytes can lead to hyponatremia. This can cause headaches, confusion, low blood pressure, weakness, and sometimes lead to fainting.
  • Don’t rely on your thirst to know when to drink water.
  • Make a point to drink a certain amount of water. CamelBak offers a hydration calculator to help you determine how much water you need per hour.
  • Always carry a water bottle or water reservoir.

We have a great selection of water bottles and hydration packs in store from brands like Klean Kanteen, Hydro Flask, Nalgene, CamelBak, and more. Our selection includes glass, BPA-free plastic, and stainless steel water bottles in insulted and non-insulated options. We also carry water reservoirs from 1.5 to 3 liters. Stop by today to see what we’ve got!

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