Top Hydration Tips When Hiking

With the weather becoming warmer, now is a great time to discuss hydration. First, please do not go out on the trails without water. I spoke to a SAR ranger recently who mentioned the number one cause of rescues is dehydration.  

Personally, I use a reusable water bottle or hydration reservoir, and sometimes both. Water bottles are good for hikes under 3-5 miles. However, once you start doing 5+ you may want to invest in a bladder. A bladder will typically hold 2 to 3 liters, while a water bottle typically holds 1 liter.

The amount of water needed per hike will depend on a few factors, hike mileage, weather (as you will clearly need to carry more water in the heat,) and also your personal hydration needs. On average people should consume 2 liters a day, and that's not including completing a hike. I recently heard someone say, bring one liter for every 3-miles and I believe that is a safe and reasonable amount of water to carry. 

Here are a few options for carrying water:

1. Reusable water bottles 


2. Hydration system / bladder (reservoir with hose)



Here are 5 Tips on Hydrating Before, During and After Your Hikes:

1. Plan ahead and note how much water is needed for your specific hike. You can also consider filing up water if there is a water source on your hike, but don't forget your water filter!

2. Hydrate before your hike. Start a few days before if you're climbing a notable mountain or peak. When I first started hiking, I was not drinking enough water and would end up with headaches. Once I started hydrating prior to my hikes, I was golden - and those headaches, they disappeared!

3. Drink every 30-minutes while on the hike, even if you're not thirsty. This will ensure you stay hydrated and replenish the water you lose when you sweat!

4. Hydrate after the hike.

5. Consider taking an electrolyte supplement or recovery drink if you had a long day, to replenish your sodium and potassium lost. Personally, I like Nuun and Vitalyte. If I'm out on a long hike, I tend to bring a bottle of electrolytes and have some throughout the hike. Doing so has made a huge difference in how I feel while on the hike! 

Some other items that will help you stay hydrated on the trail include the Sawyer S1 Water Filter

Feel free to add your own tips with the community in the comments below. 

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5 tips for hydrating on hikes | before, during, and after your hikes


  • When on longer hikes, I will bring fruit such as apples, oranges, peaches, or even cut up watermelon. These can help with hydration and electrolytes. Fruit along with nuts make a great hike snack to keep you strong during a hike.

    Heather Carpentier
  • That’s a great practice, @Gordon!

    52 Hike Challenge
  • I always carry a water filter/purifier when I am hiking to a lake or near streams to keep my bottles full.


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