Curious to learn any new tips or tricks to keeping myself hydrated on the trail . Drinking enough water is something I tend to have to REMIND myself to do when I'm hiking to the next fishing hole. Tortoise
Loc: Portland, OR
The only trick I know for staying hydrated is nothing new. Ever since I clipped a drinking tube with a bite valve to my shoulder strap, which allows me to just grab a sip whenever I think of it, without having to pull my water bottle out of wherever I stored it, I find that I drink more water and drink more frequently. This system removes every obstacle between when the thought occurs to me and when I've taken a sip. It works for me.
I generally stop for a break about 10 minutes out of every hour, and that's when I pull out the water bottle.
I also "camel up" before leaving the car or camp and when replenishing at water sources along the way. It's easier to carry the water in my tummy than on my back!
That's what we do. We hike as a couple, and every 30 minutes we stop to make sure everybody is OK. That's when we check. If either one of us wants some water, we both drink. This is a clear case of two heads being better than one. We always drink at least once an hour...and on hot days and steep trails more often than that.
It's not the end of the world to get a little dehydrated barring any unusual medical conditions. In fact, I think a person should learn what it feels like in a safe environment, so they don't panic if they find themselves in that situation on the trail.
One thing I've learned road walking in temperatures over 100 degrees is it's more important to conserve sweat than to drink water. When it's 100 degrees, the temperature above the pavement is about 140 degrees, so it can get toasty.
To conserve sweat in these conditions, I get off the road every 10 or 15 minutes and find a shady spot for a couple minutes until I cool down. Usually, I can make it at least 10 miles in these conditions without drinking water. Less in the beginning of the year when I'm not acclimated.
Same idea with backpacking. Don't charge uphill on a hot day and end up soaking wet.
On our trip to Death Valley, we took what we hoped would be enough water for the two of us for an overnight backpacking trip: Slightly more than a gallon per person for 24 hours. In terms of water bottles, it was 14 quarts, and that turned out to be about right. We drank three quarts during our hike to the campsite (this was, after all, Death Valley) and then used another three quarts for dinner. And then used another two quarts for breakfast the next day…and drank two more on the way out. So we drank ten quarts (five quarts per person) over the 24 hours of the hike. We were a little under-hydrated on the first day, as we were hiking in the afternoon sun. And we had some water left over (which is not a bad thing in the desert). If we were to do it again, we’d probably take about the same.
In the Sierra, of course, you can fill your water bottles along the way. We generally only take four quart bottles for the two of us on those hikes. We always camp near water, so we don’t need to worry about carrying the water for dinner or breakfast. And we start the day with four full bottles---enough to get us through lunch and into dinner. Some people prefer to carry less weight, and may only carry one bottle per person---or even hike from stream to lake and drink what’s available. But we don’t like to take the time to pump and filter while we are on the trail—we prefer to hike. So we carry a little extra weight, and stop less often to pull out our water filter.
Either way works, as long as you keep drinking enough water.
Balzac, my water planning for the desert is pretty much the same as yours. I hike a lot in low humidity, hot, water-scarce parts of Arizona, New Mexico and West Texas. I typically figure on four liters per day unless it is exceptionally hot. When it gets really hot (>100 degrees F), I will either stay at home, go to sure water sources, or carry a 2 liter per day reserve. Water weight adds up quickly so my really hot weather trips are generally short, or postponed.
When I'm in the Sierra, I seldom carry more than a liter. Usualy, that will last me all day but on occasion I need to stop and filter.
I think than one can adapt physiologically to hot climates in ways that reduce ones need for water. I lived in the Pacific Northwest for a large part of my life before moving to the southwest. I drink less water now than I did when first I moved to Arizona. I also don't worry too much if I get a little dehydrated as long as I have water available to drink but I certainly don't push the issue very much.