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How to Stay Hydrated: Outdoor Activities

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How to Stay Hydrated: Outdoor Activities

How to Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is crucial during outdoor activities whether hiking, biking, skiing, climbing, or running.


How Much Water to Drink: the amount of water you need depends on the activity, intensity, duration, weather, your age, sweat rate, and body type, however, a general rule of thumb is to drink about half a liter of water per hour of moderate activity in moderate temperatures. Increase your intake in hotter conditions or during more strenuous activities. 

How to Carry Water: will depend on the activity. For hiking, backpacking, and mountain biking, hydration packs with reservoirs (ie. a Camelbak) are excellent choices. If you prefer bottles, keep them accessible in a mesh pocket on your backpack. For trail running, consider handheld bottles, hydration waist packs or belts, or hydration vests.


Hydration Tips

Take small sips frequently rather than chugging large amounts infrequently.

Snack Regularly: for activities longer than an hour, eat snacks with sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, or add electrolyte replacement to your water.

Higher elevations can lead to dehydration, so drink water more frequently.

It’s just as important to stay hydrated in cold weather, so consider packing a hot drink.

Pre-hydrate: for high-exertion activities, drink before starting.

Rehydrate Post-Exercise: drink 16-24 ounces of water for every pound lost during exercise.

Plan routes that pass by water sources to avoid carrying excessive weight. In remote areas, carry enough water or bring a water treatment option for refilling from natural sources.



Sunburn can accelerate dehydration, so use sunscreen or sun-protective clothing.

If you forget to drink, set a timer to remind you every 20 minutes.

Preventing Dehydration

Dehydration happens when fluid loss exceeds intake. Early signs include a dry mouth and decreased energy. More serious symptoms are cramps, headaches, nausea, stumbling and dark urine. To prevent dehydration, drink water as soon as you feel thirsty, taking frequent sips.

Preventing Over-hydration

It’s rare, but serious. Sodium levels in the blood are depleted, impairing cell function. Symptoms resemble dehydration: fatigue, headache, and nausea. To avoid over-hydration, avoid drinking more than you sweat. Eat snacks with sodium or drink sports drinks containing sodium.


Follow these guidelines to stay properly hydrated and maintain peak performance on the trail.


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