Keeping hydrated is the most important rule of any outdoor activity, from hiking to fishing, to canoeing or tailgating. With dehydration comes muscle cramps, fatigue and possibly even confusion or lack of consciousness. Here are some basic tips on how to stay hydrated:
Know where to get water
Whether you’re running a marathon through city streets or hiking miles up a mountain, it’s important to know if there is any drinking water available to you. If there’s not, plan to carry enough water to get you through your entire trip. If there is, you’ll need enough to make it to the first water source, but always bring extra (especially in the wilderness) unless you’re certain of a water source’s reliability.
Get enough water
On average, a person should consume 2-2.5 cups of water per hour of activity. If it’s hot outside, you start under-hydrated or your activity is particularly strenuous, you’ll need more. This can be difficult to achieve if it’ll be a long time between water breaks, so take advantage of the water source itself by “cameling up” whenever possible. This means to drink as much as you can at the source of the water so that you don’t need to carry as much between stops.
If you’re concerned that you may not drink enough water, it often helps to add some flavor. If you’ll be going for more than a couple hours, choose a powder or a concentrated liquid with electrolytes.
Be water smart
Whenever possible, avoid the hottest times of the day for your activity (usually 10 AM to 2 PM). Choose a shaded area (or even inside!) to take your breaks. Save trails or activities where water will be sparse for cooler days or for when you can be sure to carry in lots of water.
Bring snacks that will help with your hydration, like fruit, instead of dry snacks, like crackers.
Even more essential than food, water is an absolute must for all of your outdoor adventures. Whatever fun you’re planning this summer, be sure it includes plenty of water!
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