In an effort to conserve water on one hiking trip a few years back I didn’t drink enough and endured the most gruelling headache possible with about four hours of hiking still ahead of us. With every footstep I could really feel my head pounding and nothing at that point would help.
Anyone whose had an excruciating headache can relate and I’m sure that would include most of us!
When we’re hiking, we’re burning a lot more calories than we might realize specifically because we’re outside, the air could be cool and we don’t “feel” dehydrated or needing of water.
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And if we’re backpacking then we usually have another 15-25 pounds on our shells which requires more energy from us as we hike. But this really is, really important to stay properly hydrated when we’re hiking and avoid any lacks symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, loss of balance and extreme fatigue to mention a few.
Proper hydration planning can also be important before you head out on any trekking trip. You need to ask one very important question:
Is there available drinking water across the hike? This can be a stream, river, lake or any glacier run off. If there is then you need to bring along a portable drinking water filter system to pump fresh, drinkable water into your bottles. That way you may not run out and you won’t feel any need to conserve water.
If there is not any available water along your hike you need to make sure you bring enough drinking water with you. Your hike will be heavier this way but it’s important to drink sufficient water throughout your hike to remain properly hydrated.
A good rule of thumb is to drink a glass or 2 of water before you head out. Moisturizer your body before you even begin and you will be off to a better begin. Continue drinking water as you hike. Stop for water and snack breaks as you feel you need to or when you think you should. Everybody’s water needs are different, what works for one hiker is different from the needs of a fellow hiker.
If you start feeling any symptoms of dehydration, stop and drink water. If you do become dehydrated you will need to change lost electrolytes as well as water. Changing electrolytes can be done easily with sports activities drinks like Gatorade which should end up being sipped slowly along with water for best recovery results.
Also remember that juice and pop are not substitutes with regard to water. Keep it simple, give yourself what you need as you hike and you’ll become a much happier hiker.