Backpacking Forums
backcountry gear

---- Our Gear Store ----
The Lightweight Gear Store

Bivy Bags
Sleeping Bags
Sleeping Pads
Snow Sports
Winter Kitchen


Avalanche Gear
Hats, Gloves, & Gaiters


Ultralight Backpacks
Ultralight Bivy Sacks
Ultralight Shelters
Ultralight Tarps
Ultralight Tents
Ultralight Raingear
Ultralight Stoves & Cookware
Ultralight Down Sleeping Bags
Ultralight Synthetic Sleep Bags
Ultralight Apparel

the Titanium Page
WM Extremelite Sleeping Bags


Sleeping Bags


Ropes & Cordage
Protection & Hardware
Carabiners & Quickdraws
Climbing Packs & Bags
Big Wall
Rescue & Industrial






Men's Footwear
Women's Footwear


Mens Apparel
Womens Apparel


Black Diamond
Granite Gear
La Sportiva


Top Brands
All Brands

 Backpacking Equipment 

Sleeping Bags
Water Treatment

 Backcountry Gear Clearance

Stay Healthy--Eat Well


Mary Janes Farm Organic Backcountry Meals


Natural High


Topic Options
Rate This Topic
#136771 - 07/26/10 05:26 PM Light Weight Hydration
Canyonero Offline

Registered: 07/18/10
Posts: 28
Loc: Four Corners, Colorado, USA
Over the years, I've gotton into the habit of drinking Gatorade for hydration. I know the electrolytes help - mainly salt and potassium. The flavoring and sweetness also help me get the water down, as sometimes I lose any appetite for water/food when I exert myself.

I'm getting ready for a 3 day/2 night trip. Using my new knowledge of weighing out everything I carry, I measured out enough Gatorade powder for 3 days, at 2 quarts per day. I wound up with over 18 ounces, most of which is sugar. This would have been my single heaviest food/beverage ration for the trip.

I said no way to this. While I was at my local City Market, I checked out the powdered drink aisle, and found a store brand (Kroger) hydration drink mix - the stuff in the little "stick" packages. Each package is 2.2 grams net, for 16.9 oz. water. My weight for a 3 day ration, 2 quarts per day is 1.3 oz. total, including packaging and a ziplock to carry it in! Of course, there are other brands of this stuff - Gatorade, Powerade, etc., but it all looks pretty comparable.

This stuff is mainly salt, potassium and sucralose, with some artificial flavorings and colorings mixed in. The flavor and sweetness are definitely concentrated; those little tiny envelopes pack a punch.

This is not the kind of stuff I drink daily; mostly I stick to water and tea, but it seems like a real benefit for low-weight hydration on the trail.

I read about this kind of stuff in a thread here somewhere, but I was really interested to put some numbers up on the weight savings.

#136772 - 07/26/10 05:33 PM Re: Light Weight Hydration [Re: Canyonero]
DTape Offline

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 659
Loc: Upstate NY
IIRC most of those little packets are "sugar free", and the artificial sweeteners are almost weightless. (Pick up a box of splenda next time you are in the store to see.)

I always have a handful of different flavored tube packet drink mixes when I am out, including the instant coffee ones (heresy I know).

#136784 - 07/26/10 09:09 PM Re: Light Weight Hydration [Re: DTape]
OregonMouse Offline

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6422
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Recipe for oral rehydration salts (from my wilderness first aid book):

To 1 liter water, add:
Potassium chloride (KCl) 2.5 g
Baking Soda 2.5 g
Salt (NaCl) 3.5 g
Glucose 20.0 g

Obviously, some kind of flavoring needs to be added to make this mixture palatable! But it gives you an idea of what you should look for in a hydrating drink mix.

Hydralite (formerly Gookinaid) is my favorite powdered drink mix because it isn't too sweet. I add half the suggested amount to my drinking water for the day.

I always used to have a problem with "in one end, out the other" with water. With Hydralite, "out the other" is less of a problem. The mix has a mild citrusy tang which I find refreshing.

I can't stand Gatorade! My grandkids drank a bottle of it on a recent trip, and I decided to save the bottle, since it has a wider mouth than soda bottles. However, no matter how many times I wash it, the bottle still smells of nauseating artificlal grape. It just went into the recycling!
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

#136789 - 07/26/10 10:01 PM Re: Light Weight Hydration [Re: OregonMouse]
Kent W Offline

Registered: 10/15/09
Posts: 607
Loc: IL.
Mouse rinse with vinigar and water soloution. Let sit for a couple hours and rinse. worked for my nose?

#136792 - 07/26/10 11:21 PM Re: Light Weight Hydration [Re: OregonMouse]
Canyonero Offline

Registered: 07/18/10
Posts: 28
Loc: Four Corners, Colorado, USA
OregonMouse, I initially thought about some kind of home brewed mix like what you listed, but those little packs sure are handy and light, they include the salt and potassium, and I really don't need the glucose. Of course, I'm trying to just maintain hydration, as opposed to rehydrating after getting dried out.

My first thought was the old salt pills like they gave us in the military, washed down with plain water...but I find the electrolyte water with the salt and fruit flavor easier to get down and keep down than plain water.

On a related note, I was watching a Dual Survival episode last night, about the guys surviving high in the Peruvian Desert. Cody Lundin got freaked out early on, and they had an awesome shot of him puking up all of the precious water he just drank. So, keeping it down once I drink it is always a consideration.

Edited by Canyonero (07/26/10 11:27 PM)

#136813 - 07/27/10 12:39 PM Re: Light Weight Hydration [Re: Canyonero]
Spock Offline

Registered: 01/10/06
Posts: 679
Loc: Central Texas
I've made my own not-very-scientific hydration mix for several years now and used it on trails and when trail building.

1 packet lemon KoolAid
4 tablespoons sugar (or substitute)
2 teaspoons table salt
1/2 teaspoon salt substitute (potassium chloride)
2 quarts water

Adjust quantities to taste. I usually make up a dry quart or two of the mix and carry it on the trail in ziploc bags. I usually just dump some of the mix into a water bottle when I feel like I need it.

Edited by Spock (07/27/10 12:41 PM)

#136814 - 07/27/10 12:41 PM Re: Light Weight Hydration [Re: Canyonero]
MarkNM Offline

Registered: 05/03/10
Posts: 141
Loc: Pompton Lakes, NJ
i gots me a new rain jacket the other day from moosejaw, and it came with a sample of Crystallife purelife...tiny packet for 1 liter i think? it was grape and it was good....designed for the "active" person
I do it because I also helps that you are not there...

#136836 - 07/27/10 05:38 PM Re: Light Weight Hydration [Re: Canyonero]
OregonMouse Offline

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6422
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I wasn't suggesting using the homemade mix (probably nauseating unless you're really dehydrated), but using it as a guide to judge the effectiveness of commercial mixes.

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

#136854 - 07/27/10 08:47 PM Re: Light Weight Hydration [Re: Canyonero]
Canyonero Offline

Registered: 07/18/10
Posts: 28
Loc: Four Corners, Colorado, USA
I drank a couple quarts of this mix today on the trail and finished the day feeling OK.

#136872 - 07/28/10 04:50 AM Re: Light Weight Hydration [Re: Canyonero]
frediver Offline

Registered: 05/11/07
Posts: 114
Take whatever you like to drink but do not depend on the drink mixes as your only electrolyte replacement plan.
Gatoraid and the like just do not contain enough lites to do the job. Pack some salted nuts, jerky, or single serve chips as well.

#136879 - 07/28/10 11:26 AM Re: Light Weight Hydration [Re: frediver]
Canyonero Offline

Registered: 07/18/10
Posts: 28
Loc: Four Corners, Colorado, USA
Yeah, jerky and salted nuts are my two main foods while on the trail during the day, and a few cookies. I've never had any real hydration problems; the main thing I'm trying to do right now is shed weight, and getting rid of the load of sugar from the Gatorade powder is a big piece.

#137187 - 08/03/10 10:32 PM Re: Light Weight Hydration [Re: Canyonero]
phat Offline

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Personally, I carry plenty of foods with lots of lytes in them. I typically have snacks which include salted almonds, crushed tortilla or potato chips, sausage, parmesan cheese, clif bars, peanut butter, etc.

I've only had one time I suspect my electrolytes got pretty low, when I stuck to my (weight watchers) diet right before the trailhead, and ended up quite salt deprived and drinking too much. only chowing down on a nice (salt loaded) backpacking meal made me feel better. - in this case, yes gatorade or something else might have helped me. Stupidly, I wasn't eating enough! smile

Now, I'm just a bit more careful, and the night before staring a trail is the night I ignore the diet wink I eat a big meal the night before and a breakfast with plenty of salt and electrolytes, and hit the trail.

Any fool can be uncomfortable...
My 3 season gear list
Winter list.
Browse my pictures


Shout Box

Highest Quality Lightweight Down Sleeping Bags
Western Mountaineering Sleeping Bags
Lite Gear Talk - Featured Topics
1st synthetic hoodie in YEARS
by MoBetta
03/11/18 06:14 PM
If It's Good, They'll Stop Making It
by Bill Kennedy
03/09/18 04:55 AM
Eureka Spitfire 1
by Bill Kennedy
03/08/18 04:44 AM
Backcountry Discussion - Featured Topics
I chose Sawtooth over Medicine bow
by toddfw2003
03/14/18 11:11 PM
Anyone use Vasque Breeze 3 non gortex?
by toddfw2003
03/14/18 10:44 PM
Packing do you carry your pistol?
by willie1280
03/14/18 03:55 PM
Make Your Own Gear - Featured Topics
Whitney Jacket Cuffs
by Bill Kennedy
03/07/18 05:01 AM
Joann fabrics and quilt supplies
by sashurlow
05/02/15 07:32 AM
Featured Photos
Breakneck Ridge, New York
May 2012 Eclipse, Lassen Park
New Years Eve 2011
Trip Report with Photos
Seven Devils, Idaho
Oat Hill Mine Trail 2012
Dark Canyon - Utah
Who's Online
0 registered (), 30 Guests and 0 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Newest Members
pinhotiBill, MitchBo, Tems908, Michael C., Andidn19
12531 Registered Users
Forum Links
Site Links
Family Hiking
Lightweight Gear Store
Backpacking Book Store
Lightweight Zone
Hiking Essentials

Outdoor Gear Daily Deals
Outlets, Sales, Bargains

Our long-time Sponsor, - The leading source for ultralite/lightweight outdoor gear:

Backcountry Forum

Since 1996 - the Original Backcountry Forum
Copyright © The Lightweight Backpacker &