Water, glorious water!
Dehydration sets in relatively fast for us humans. If you’re feeling confused, dizzy, have a headache, dry skin, an accelerated heart rate or breathing, then you’re already in the grips of dehydration. When we’re active and doing strenuous activities, like hiking, then our water needs will increase.
How do I get the water I need when I’m hiking?
There are a few factors that play into how much water you should bring on your hike. No two people have the same water requirements, and climate changes from region to region and through the seasons. It can be difficult carrying the water you need, especially if you’re using bottled water. The issue of weight will always be there with water, but if the weight is distributed evenly, it’s easier to handle. There aren’t a lot of different ways to carry water, but the ways to do it have changed over the years.
- The old standby. Bottles. They can be bulky and take up a lot of space, but they’re a sure way to take your water along with you. Not all bottles are made the same, however. There are water bottles now that are more like bags, so when the water’s gone, the bottle is flat.
- Bladders. They can be tossed in your pack or worn on your back to carry water and distribute the weight well. A hose comes up over your shoulder, and with a twist of your head, you can siphon water right into your body.
Oh no, we’re out of water!
You should strive to bring enough water with you to last your entire hike, but sometimes our hikes last longer than we would have expected, or we drink faster than we anticipated. What should we do in those instances?
- Carry a filter. Growing up it seemed common knowledge that if a body of water was running, like a river or a creek, then it was ok to drink. If the water was standing still, steer clear of it. While it is a great rule of thumb, bacteria can lurk anywhere, so your best bet is to pack a filter in your bag even if you have enough water, to be sure you can find and drink water when needed if you unexpectedly run out, or there’s an emergency.
- Treatment on the go. Tablets and drops can be bought to purify water. All you do is drop the treatment in water and give it several minutes to work its magic. These come in small bottles that are light enough you won’t even know they’re there. The downside is it does take some time to wait for water, so not only do you have to find a source, you have to wait for purification to happen once you’ve found it.
- Give it the heat treatment. Though it’s not always possible or practical to boil water, it is definitely one way to clean your water from harmful bacteria and microbes. Be sure you know the fire rules for the location where you’re staying before you strike a match.
- Give it a dose of UV! Portable sunlight in a stick form that you can stir your water up with and kill all the nasty things that lurk within it. If you use an ultraviolet purifier, be sure you have enough batteries with you to keep it running, and also make sure you have a filtration system to clear up the murkiness.
- Get it from the food you eat. A lot of fruits and vegetables are packed with water, so while you’re curbing your hunger and getting your nutrients, you could be getting a nice helping of water as well.
Don’t go for a legendary hike because your RV broke down and left you stranded. The RV Advisor is here for you in those situations. We offer virtual diagnostics so you can know what’s thumping around under your hood making a gut-wrenching racket before you even call for a tow! Learn more about our virtual diagnostic services.