It consistently amazes me how many times I see people out for a walk or hike with nothing but the clothes they are wearing and no consideration to Water and Hydration. Sure when you are walking around the suburbs you don’t have to be too concerned about carrying water, snacks and basic medical supplies but when you venture into the bush even for as little as for a leisurely stroll you need to be prepared to come back alive.
That may sound a bit dramatic but I have read countless stories about people becoming lost and coming close to or meeting their demise on short walks into the great unknown.
Don’t even think of starting on a hike that takes you more than a kilometre from the trail head without a bottle of water along. You should have at least one litre with you and consume 250ml every 30 to 45 minutes. Keep the water flowing into your body even if you don’t feel thirsty. Do you realize that by the time you actually feel thirsty you are already dehydrated? If you are hiking, you are losing moisture and you need to replace it.
By the end of a 4-hour hike, you should have consumed two litres of water and you should be able to go to the toilet. Urine that is light yellow (straw colour) is a good indication that you’re getting enough fluid. If you don’t need to urinate then all the water you drank left your body as perspiration and you still need to drink more water to re-hydrate. Following a hike, you should drink additional water with electrolytes until you need to use the toilet. I don’t mean scull it down, just drink half a cup every 5 minutes or so.
Water is THE most critical survival item – whether in the wild or at home.
Water and Hydration Rule of 3:
- You can live 3 minutes without air.
- You can live 3 days without water. (and they wont be very pleasant ones)
- You can live 3 weeks without food.
Drink up. Drink regularly to stay hydrated, which helps combat muscle soreness and the effects of the hot sun and high elevations. I take a good drink every 15 or 20 minutes (and remind my kids to do so). I also like carrying powdered hydralite mix and making a liter to drink in the afternoon or right after reaching camp, to help rehydrate and replace electrolytes. It’s amazing how much better that alone can make me feel.
- Never drink untreated water from hill streams or eat any wild plant.
- Don’t consume cold drinks immediately after a long hike, when your body temperature is still high.
- Never drink alcohol during a hike.
You’ll have air to breathe unless you’re under water or in a cave-in. If you run out of food, you can struggle on for 150 miles if needed. But, if you run out of water, you have only a day or so to figure out a solution.
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