It is essential to have a supply of water with you to consume during the excursion. But how much do we have to bring exactly? Here are some tips!
We do not need great scientific knowledge about the mechanisms by which the body “loses” fluids through sweat and urine, thus regulating the temperature and expelling toxins.
It is enough to have experienced the torment of thirst once to know how indispensable water bottles, bottles, camelbak and company are.
The water consumption of the hiker: 1 liter every 2 hours
The problem, however, is to understand how much water you need to carry with you: having too little of it means meeting the (more or less serious) discomforts of dehydration , having too much of it means loading the backpack with unnecessary weight, increasing fatigue at the expense of the pleasure of excursion.
How much water to take with you depends a lot on the length of the route, the temperature and climate conditions and the level of training of the hiker.
With a good approximation, however, we can say that the average consumption of water can be estimated around 1 liter every 2 hours of walking. This does not mean that to complete a full day trip out of town we have to leave with a tanker of liquids on our shoulders!
If the excursion we have planned is particularly long, we need to prepare some logistics before departure, identifying the points where it will be possible to refuel with water.
All the more reason to study the report and the map of the itinerary, where you will surely find references to drinking water points (springs, fountains, etc.).
Water bottle, bottle or camelbak?
The water bottles are comfortable and specially designed for hiking, but a normal 1 or 2 liter plastic bottle can also be used. The only advice to take into account is to bring an emergency cap.
The camelbak is the solution to these drawbacks: it is a soft bag that is placed in the backpack with a straw that can be fixed to the shoulder strap and from which you can suck water at any time without having to stop. The defect? It is almost impossible to use it in winter or at high altitudes, when temperatures drop below freezing, because the liquid in the cannula tends to freeze.
When, how much and what to drink?
The quick answer is always, a lot and (more or less) what you want!
During the excursion it is better to drink at regular intervals , without waiting for the thirst stimulus to arise, as this is felt when the hydro-salt balance already begins to be in crisis and dehydration has already begun.
Compatibly with the availability of our water supplies, during the excursion there are practically no limits to “how much” we can drink. During physical activity the body constantly expels liquids and even if we drink a little more than we should, at most we will find ourselves watering the pastures more frequently!
Even on the “what” you can drink there are few limitations.
Of course we must avoid alcohol, but even carbonated drinks are not the best, even if not a few hikers use to carry a bottle of “soda” with them, as a “treat” to be granted once the destination is reached.
When recovering water along the way, be careful to check its potability : with fountains and springs you can usually be on the safe side.
The situation is different for lakes and streams, however fresh and crystalline they may seem, it is always better to be wary, because you never know who or what has grazed upstream or around the banks and the colibacter is always lurking.
When refueling at high altitude, don’t forget the additive : the water that flows directly or a short distance from glaciers and snowfields is very poor in mineral salts and, even if you drink it in abundance, it does not counteract dehydration.
To make it effective it is essential to add the salts, easily available in pharmacies and sports shops in the form of sachets or tablets.