Water is an essential item to carry on a hike. Always carry water.
Dehydration is a major contributor to fatigue and as a general guideline hikers should consume about one litre per hour during strenuous exercise. It’s also a good idea to “camel up” and always carry water by drinking before you start exercising.
You must never wait until you are thirsty before drinking – by then it’s too late, and you will already be dehydrated. Depending on the amount of water sources on your route and the temperature, you may need to carry 1-2 litres per person.
Water in creeks should not be consumed unless it is an emergency, as water running through farmland or originating in farmland is not safe to drink due to risk of bacterial contamination.
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.