7 Tips to Stay Hydrated While Hiking

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Last week, we talked about tips for preventing heat-related illnesses, and hydration is key in avoiding heat illnesses. As we close out the warm summer months, staying hydrated while hiking will help you make the most of your time on the Trail.
Maintaining body fluids is essential for sweating, so you must hydrate before, during, and after your hikes.

Follow these tips to stay hydrated while hiking or out on the Trail:

always carry water while on the trail

Always carry water with you while on the Trail.

1. Before beginning, you should drink one or two cups of water, juice, or a sport drink.

2. Limit the amount of caffeine drinks such as coffee and colas because caffeine increases fluid loss. Avoid alcoholic drinks—they also cause dehydration.

3. When engaged in strenuous trail activity, or when hiking in hot environments, drink at least one quart of fluid per hour.

4. Providing a portion of fluid replacement with a carbohydrate/electrolyte sport beverage will help retain fluids and maintain energy and electrolyte levels—however, be sure to alternate sports drinks with plain water.

5. Continue drinking after hiking to replace fluid losses—thirst always underestimates fluid needs, so drink more than you think is necessary.

6. Rehydration is enhanced when fluids contain sodium and potassium, or when foods with these electrolytes are consumed along with the fluid. Make potassium rich foods a regular part of your diet including:

  • Bananas
  • Citrus fruits
  • Lemonade
  • Orange juice
  • Tomato juice

7. Assess your hydration by looking for these signs:

  • Low volumes of dark, concentrated urine, or painful urination
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Weakness
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Rapid loss of several pounds of body weight

Continuing to hike in a dehydrated state can lead to serious consequences, including heat stroke, muscle breakdown, and kidney failure.

Have you ever had experience with dehydration? What are some of your favorite foods or drinks to help stay hydrated while hiking? Share your tips in the comments below.

These tips are taken from the Tailgate Safety series.

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