REMEMBER, WE ALL NEED WATER
The human body is roughly 60% water, so H20 is necessary for all of the systems in our body to function well. Water helps us regulate body temperature, aids in smooth digestion, delivers oxygen to our muscles, protects and cushions joints, and flushes out unwanted toxins. While the recommended daily water intake varies widely by individual, we generally suggest 3-4 liters of water per day whilst on a mountain.
DEVELOP A STRONG PRE-HYDRATION GAME
If you want to know how to stay hydrated on a mountain, it starts before you ever hit the trail.
No matter where you live, we all wake up dehydrated, as the body has been deprived of water for around 6-8 hours.
Rather than waiting until you are working up a sweat on the incline of the day, consider pre-hydrating while eating your breakfast.
Pre-hydration goes a long way to help you feel your best for the duration of your trip. At higher elevations, the body needs more water to perform well.
So, drink plenty of water leading up to and upon your arrival!
CONSIDER USING A HYDRATION BLADDER
Hydration bladders are the most ergonomic way to ensure you have enough water at all times. Nalgene water bottles are great too you’ll have to stop more often to strip off a heavy pack to access the bottle (or ask one of our crew to grab it for you!).
A hydration bladder features a convenient straw that is always right near your mouth. The added bonus with water bladders? Because they are so accessible, you will naturally drink more throughout the day just because water is always available to you.
We recommend a 3-liter bladder is the best volume hydration system for hiking on any of our trips
GO TO BED WITH A FULL WATER BOTTLE NEAR YOUR TENT
After a huge day of hiking in the mountains, you will likely arrive back to camp happily tired and with a totally empty hydration bladder. Great job! But, your work doesn’t stop there — you shouldn’t only be drinking water while hiking, you should prioritize hydration while at camp, too! As mentioned earlier, once we head off to sleep, our body will work without water all night. So before hitting the sack, you should fill up one water bottle and set it just next to you sleeping bag every night. This ensures that if you wake up thirsty, water is easily accessible. Plus, when you wake up, you can begin that pre-game: fueling up.
PRACTICE “LNT” WITH YOUR WATER VESSEL CHOICE
We all know disposable plastic water bottles plague our oceans and landfills. You can extend your Leave No Trace (LNT) ethics to what water bottle you choose to bring on a trip. Go green and commit to purchasing a Nalgene or two as well as a hydration bladder if you are opting for longer hikes. You can clean all of these items with hot soapy water and then use them for much, much longer than a 16 oz plastic bottle (even if it is Smartwater bottle.) Also you should remember that disposable plastic bottle are not allowed into many national park and mountain ranges around the world
REPLACE YOUR LOST ELECTROLYTES
You’ll want to replace electrolytes on every hike, but it is even more crucial when you are sweating with the hard work of ascending a mountain. When you sweat, you lose essential nutrients like sodium (salt), potassium, and chloride. Your body needs these components to run effectively, so make sure to replenish them throughout the day.
Electrolyte tablets such as Gu or Nuun dissolve in your water filled bladder or Nalgene bottles to give you a flavoured electrolyte-rich drink.
Test out the strength of flavour before your trip so you know how many tablets in you 1lt nalgene or 3lt bladder tastes good to you.
However, if you only drink electrolytes during the day, the taste can get slightly sickly after a while, so we suggest carrying some plain water with you too. That way you alternate between plain water and electrolytes.
HYDRATION IN THE COLD
When cold weather hits, it is easy to let hydration fall by the wayside. But, drinking plenty of water when you are climbing and hiking during cold weather is just as important as during hot weather (if not more!).
Remember you could also carry a thermos up with some hot drinks. Tea is a great option, or you could opt for warm water with a small amount of a sports drink mixture to make the water more palatable. Just like warm weather hiking, pre-hydrating before a winter hike is a great way to get ahead of the curve. In winter, your body often has a higher output–it is working harder trudging through the cold and sweating under all those extra layers. Also, while people tend to tout that coffee has dehydrating effects, if it is used in moderation, coffee does offer at least some hydration benefit (especially those with lower caffeine levels!)
Water is one of the most important considerations on any hiking or mountain trip. Staying hydrated will allow you to feel your best.