5 Ways To Stay Hydrated While Hiking

Person hiking through forest with backpack

Water is essential to the human body. Every cell, tissue, and organ in the body needs water to work properly. For example, water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to cells, and provides a moist environment for ear, nose, and throat tissues.

Still, many people do not consume enough water every day. In fact, dehydration is a common problem. According to WebMD, even mild dehydration can cause fatigue, dizziness and a dry mouth.

What is Dehydration?

Dehydration occurs when your body doesn’t have enough water to function properly. It can be caused by a variety of things, including vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, and not drinking enough fluids. 

If left too long or if the cause is severe it can be dangerous, so it’s important to know the signs and how to prevent it.

Dehydration is more common in summer because of the heat and sweating. But it can also happen in winter, especially if you’re not drinking enough water, and you’re sipping on one too many cups of coffee in a day.

Dehydration is particularly common while enjoying outdoor activities in the sun, such as hiking or skiing. So if you enjoy the outdoors and want to get the most out of your experiences then you need to make sure that you are filling your body with good quality water.

Below  are some symptoms you may experience if you are dehydrated, followed by ways to stay hydrated while hiking, which can also be applied to any other sort of physical activity.

Symptoms of dehydration

Symptoms of dehydration can vary but there are a few tell-tale signs that will help you know if you are suffering from dehydration.

Headaches are one of the most common complaints associated with dehydration, and can be caused by anything from not drinking enough water to eating too many salty foods. And if you do experience a headache, drink fluids slowly so that the stomach has time to signal to your brain that it has received enough liquid.

Fatigue is also a very common symptom. Fatigue and dehydration are often interrelated. Dehydration can cause fatigue, and fatigue can lead to dehydration. When the body is dehydrated, it does not have enough fluids to keep all of its systems functioning properly. This can lead to feelings of tiredness and weakness.

Dehydration is one of the most common causes of dizziness. When you are dehydrated, your body does not have enough fluid to function properly. This can cause your blood pressure to drop, which can lead to dizziness. Dehydration can also cause your blood sugar to drop, which can also lead to dizziness. If you are feeling dizzy, drink plenty of fluids and see your doctor if the problem persists.

And lastly, if you are dehydrated you may experience a dry mouth. Dry mouth occurs when the tissues in your mouth and throat are not properly lubricated. This can lead to a feeling of thirst, sticky saliva, cracked lips, and difficulty swallowing.

It’s important to drink plenty of fluids when you’re dehydrated to replenish the fluids lost through sweating and urination. Water is the best choice for hydration, but sports drinks or rehydration solutions can also be effective.

It is also important to drink the right amount of water each day. It is commonly suggested amongst health experts and The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to drink up to 2.7 liters for women, and 3.7 liters for men. But this is really dependent on the climate you’re living in, how active you are and the availability of water. 

The Survivor Filter Active All Terrain has hydration tracking, helping you to manage how much water you’re actually drinking through the day.

If you’re experiencing dry mouth along with other dehydration symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, or dark urine, it’s important to see a doctor.

Man hiking with backpack

5 Ways to Avoid Dehydration During a Hike

1. Drink before you go hiking and during the hike. Drinking gallons of water before hiking isn’t always possible, especially if you’re aiming to hit the trail before sunrise. But drinking at least one or two glasses before you start can also be helpful! In other words, don’t start your hike thirsty.

If you’re worried about carrying a water bottle on your hike, our Active All Terrain bottle comes with a water resistant Neoprene carrying case that you can strap over your shoulders. It also has a pocket for a phone and keys, so your hands and pockets can be free.

Person holding an energy bar over a view with a lake.
2. Pack snacks! Water alone isn’t necessarily going to keep you going, especially on longer trails or all-day hikes. You need the fuel and electrolytes, which help to “maintain the balance between fluids inside and outside your cells”. Include snacks such as energy bars, dried fruit and nuts.
Man in light grey clothing sitting on a rock
3. Protect yourself from the sun. Make sure you’re wearing sunscreen and a cap, especially if you’ll be out in the middle of the day. Too much sun exposure can cause you to overheat and you may experience sunstroke. This can also be avoided by wearing light-colored, quick-dry clothing.

4. Drink slowly. According to the American Hiking Society, you should be drinking a quart of water every hour. If your bottle isn’t big enough to carry that much water for the length of your hike it is a good idea to make sure you have a water filter that will allow you to drink from a water source along the way.
5. Lastly, don’t stop drinking water once you’ve finished your hike. You may not have been able to keep track of your water intake throughout the hike, and you probably sweat quite a bit, so your body needs to refuel and rehydrate. Never underestimate the power of drinking more.

Remember to listen to your body. It’s okay to take it slow and stop for water breaks or to eat something. You’ll most likely enjoy the experience way more if you do!

Written by Caryn Mackenzie on behalf of Survivor Filter