Heat, Hydration, and Hiking

Hydration is important regardless of what your thermometer says. You need to drink water and stay hydrated in the dead of winter and the peak of summer. Of course, proper hydration looks different in different temperatures. The hotter it is outside, the harder it is to stay hydrated. Staying hydrated in the heat is absolutely essential, especially when you’re hiking. Here are some hiking hydration tips for hot weather.

How much water do you need?

A common rule of thumb is to drink eight ounces of water eight times a day, or 64 ounces total. According to the CDC, however, there’s not an actual recommended amount for daily water intake.

Everyone has different needs for water consumption. It’s clear that everyone needs more water when exercising or exerting themselves in hot temperatures.

How much water do you need while hiking?

Whether you normally drink 60 ounces of water or 100 ounces of water a day, you need to drink more water while hiking, especially when hiking in hot climates.

You should take a minimum of two liters of water per person for a day of hiking. Three liters of water should be plenty, but some may feel more comfortable carrying four liters in extreme heat.

Keep in mind that water weighs a lot, though. You want to make sure you’re hydrated, but you don’t want to bring so much water that you struggle to carry it all.

Drink water, but replenish nutrients, too.

Water intoxication occurs when you replenish fluids without replenishing nutrients. When you sweat you lose electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium. Drinking water without consuming any of these lost nutrients can keep you hydrated, but it can have a negative effect on your body.

Be sure to replenish electrolytes through a hydration drink or through food in addition to drinking water.

Don’t rely on thirst.

If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.Be sure to drink water regularly throughout your hike, even if you aren’t feeling especially thirsty.

Dehydration can be deadly in the heat.

Dehydration can cause problems on its own, but it also leaves you more susceptible to heat related illnesses such as heat cramp, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.

Don’t take a chance with dehydration when hiking in the heat. Bring more water than you think you need, and drink water often.

Travel light and stay hydrated.

Wearing light colored clothing, protecting your skin from UV radiation, and reducing your pack weight can all help you stay more comfortable, and stay better hydrated.

One way to reduce pack weight is by carrying less water. But you need to drink water to stay hydrated while hiking. Therein lies the predicament.

Carry water purification tables, water purification drops, or a portable water filter for hiking to limit the amount of water you need to bring and still have access to potable water. We carry all of these water treatment options for hiking at Uncle Sam’s Safari Outfitters. Stop by and see us for any of your hiking or outdoor gear needs!

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