Mountain climbing is one of the great outdoor activities that many people enjoy. Aside from the difficulty of the trail, another challenge that hikers can face is keeping themselves hydrated all throughout the hike. If you’re planning to go for a rigorous hike soon, here are some tips to help you keep yourself hydrated.
To prepare yourself for the activity, you must first know the kind of mountain you will be climbing. You may use the web to search for information or ask other people who have gone on a hike on that mountain for information. Once you’ve done enough research, you will be able to decide how much water you should bring. This depends on different factors such as climate, level of difficulty, the duration of the activity, and your personal needs as well. If you will be hiking in a hot place, you might consider around 4 cups of water per hour (1 liter). If it is a cooler place, 2 cups (1/2 liter) will be enough every hour. That’s a general guide only and you need to be aware of your own needs and the conditions you will be hiking under.
How quickly your body needs water will in great part depend on how challenging the mountain trail is and how much effort you will be exerting while climbing. It is important to replace the fluids you are losing from respiration and perspiration. It’s important to be aware that different people have different levels of stamina or energy. The best thing that you can do while hiking to know your needs is to listen to your own body.
Here are some of the techniques you can do to stay hydrated during the hike.
- Dress properly: It is important to dress according to the climate of the mountain you will be climbing. Make sure to wear light colored and lightweight shirts when going on a hot or sunny place and wear thick clothes and gloves when going to a cold or snowy hike.
- Pre-hydrate: Drinking water two hours before the activity is a good practice to stay hydrated. This prepares your body for the journey ahead.
- Always keep water available: Remember to place your water bottle in a place where you can easily reach for it even while walking. This will encourage you to drink when you feel ready versus waiting to unpack.
- Drink frequently: It is better to take small sips often while hiking rather than drinking a lot infrequently. Since you are losing electrolytes when sweating, it is better to replace them immediately rather than waiting for your energy to decrease.
- Use sun protection: It is also important to bring a hat to provide you shade when the place you are hiking is sunny. Shade helps to keep your body cooler and reduce your water requirement.
- Drink even in cold weather: Though you may not have the same urge to drink water in cold weather, it is also important to take in fluids to stay hydrated. You may also bring hot drinks when you’re hiking in a cold place.
- Drink more at higher parts of the mountain climb: When you are at a higher altitude, you might feel less thirsty which but you still need to drink.
- Set an alarm: You may also remind yourself to drink water by setting a timer using your watch or phone. For example, you may set an alarm every 20 minutes so you won’t forget to take a sip of water during the hike.
- It is important to drink water after the hike as well. If you are doing an overnight hike, make sure to rehydrate once you reach the campsite then pre-hydrate again after you wake up the next day before continuing the activity.
You also need to be aware of the signs and symptoms of dehydration. This is important for you to know what you need to do if ever you or one of your colleagues experience it during the hike. Some of the early symptoms of dehydration are thirst, dry mouth, and a decrease in energy. More serious symptoms are cramps, dizziness, fatigue, headache, and nausea. When you experience these things during a hike, the best thing to do is to find shade and rest. Drink water with a pinch of salt or use a rehydrating powder.
While drinking a lot of water is important in mountain climbing, overdoing it may also cause a risk. Being over-hydrated is called hyponatremia. Its symptoms are similar to dehydration such as a headache, fatigue, and nausea. This is the reason why keeping track of your water intake during the hike is important. Aside from monitoring your water intake, adding salt to water can also prevent being over hydrated by causing your body to retain water.
Aside from water, you may also bring other foods and drinks that are rich in electrolytes. Some examples of snacks that are rich in electrolytes are mixed fruits and nuts, avocado, sweet potato, and yogurt.
Staying hydrated is one of the important things that can make your mountain climbing more enjoyable.
Make Your Own Drink
We know nothing beats water but knowing how to make your own electrolyte drink can do wonders. Here’s a quick recipe:
- 6oz. fresh citrus juice (lime, grapefruit, orange, whatever you like)
- 1-2oz. honey (you can also use sugar or natural sweetener)
- Half tsp. of salt
- 16oz. water
Just mix them all together, shake well, and have yourself a refreshing natural energy drink ready within no time.
Keep Water Readily Accessible
Keeping a water bottle at hand is important, especially when climbing a mountain because you don’t have time to reach to your backpack’s back pocket. It is preferred to stash the water bottle where it is readily accessible, for instance, mesh pocket of a backpack, hydration vest, or waist belt (whatever suits you best).
Here are some best options available:
Where to Buy
Made of lightweight neoprene material, this multifunctional water-resistant waist bag can easily hold your smartphone, money, keys, and many other accessories. Not to mention the two pockets, that are best for holding two bottles. The best thing is that you also get two BPA-free 6oz. water bottles absolutely free!
This combination of hydration vest and backpack by TRIWONDER is made with waterproof nylon material. The pack comes with two BPA-free and FDA-approved water bottles. The whole thing is lightweight and easy to carry, making it convenient for you to climb to the top of the mountain without thinking of it as some sort of burden.
When you sweat a lot, you lose electrolytes in your body, and if you are performing hard activities such as mountain climbing, hiking, etc., you tend to lose too many electrolytes that can cause your performance to suffer. It is extremely important for you to compensate for that loss by replenishing lost sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium (electrolytes). Good thing is that there is a huge variety of electrolyte replacement drinks and convenient powders/tablets available in the market that can easily fulfill your needs. Here is a couple of them that we recommend:
This electrolyte sports drink powder mix is made with all-natural ingredients that work great in replenishing all those lost electrolytes. It is an ideal choice for athletes especially hikers and mountaineers because they lose too much energy while hiking and mountaineering. To make a refreshing electrolyte replacement drink, all you need is a scoop of this powder and 8 ounces of cool water, mix them until completely dissolved, and that’s pretty much it. There are 80 servings per container.
A variety pack of 12 20oz. bottles by Gatorade includes different flavors i.e. fruit punch, lemon-lime, and orange. You can pack as many as you want in your backpack and drink whenever you are feeling low on energy.
Set a Timer
When mountain climbing, you should take a sip every 20 minutes to keep yourself going. The best way to set a reminder is on a smartwatch that can also help keep the track of last time you drank.
Interested in knowing the best fitness watches/smartwatches available? Check out this article on GPS Technology and Fitness Watches; 6 best smartwatches are reviewed in it – you can get the one that aligns well with your requirements.