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Hydration while hiking

Hydration while hiking


Postby Markorobo84 » Thu Jan 14, 2021 5:08 pm

Quick one folks, how much water do you set off with for a day on the trails, I've read about people topping up at sources, what's the thoughts on that? Thanks in advance for any replies.
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Re: Hydration while hiking

Postby Border Reiver » Thu Jan 14, 2021 5:33 pm

It depends on where I'm walking. I wouldn't drink water from streams anywhere south of the Highlands unless it was at a spring, so then I carry a couple of aluminium bottles of tap water and maybe a small flask of chilled water too. I certainly wouldn't buy bottles of water. In the Highlands, I'm happy to drink water from streams where it's either coming directly from a spring, or running over gravel beds near the source (Cairngorms especially). Never had any regrets in over 50 years. I once drank directly from a small stream in the Borders and then found a decomposing deer carcass in the same stream just 100 yds upstream. Stomach churning, but no ill effects.
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Re: Hydration while hiking

Postby WalkWithWallace » Thu Jan 14, 2021 6:12 pm

A lot depends on the length of the walk and the weather. For day trips I tend to carry 2 litres of water, but don't always need it all.

When doing over nighters, I just collect from burns and carry a filter just in case I'm suspicious about the source.
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Re: Hydration while hiking

Postby Marty_JG » Thu Jan 14, 2021 6:55 pm

I always carry a Sawyer Mini to filter, you never know what has pooped where. Even so you only take it from running water at elevation, they don't filter out chemicals so avoid anywhere near a quarry, ditches around farmer's field, etc.

Lots of people scoop water from higher water sources and never filter. To me a filter is just a few grams and gives some peace of mind.
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Re: Hydration while hiking

Postby simon-b » Thu Jan 14, 2021 7:43 pm

As a basic rule of thumb, about 1.5 litres, more for a long walk on a warm day. In winter, my drinks often include a flask of fruit or ginger tea. In summer conditions, just water nowadays. I used to use lucozade, but since that's had half the energy replaced with nutritionally useless and disgusting artificial sweeteners, I now get all my nutrition from food and just hydration from fluids. Great idea :crazy: supposedly making a drink more healthy by making it even more ultra processed. But you can't go wrong with water!
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Re: Hydration while hiking

Postby Mal Grey » Thu Jan 14, 2021 9:20 pm

Does vary a bit, but generally, in summer I'll have 2 litres of water with me. I also have a Sawyer Mini, but have never used it on a day walk, just when camping.

In winter, its more likely going to be 1 litre of water, a Lucozade Sport, and a flask of soup. I can actually dehydrate more in winter, due to wading through snow or whatever, but normally I can just top up the bottle in a stream somewhere high, and there's rarely a shortage of water in the winter Highlands. Though once it was all frozen so much we couldn't find any without getting the ice axes out...
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Re: Hydration while hiking

Postby Marty_JG » Fri Jan 15, 2021 1:46 am

Something I take on multi-day hikes is an effervescing electrolyte tablet. High-5 Zero or Science in Sport SIS Go Hydro or reliable brands. It can help prevent cramping later in the day (I have one leg in particular that is, for whatever reason, prone to it).
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Re: Hydration while hiking

Postby Arthurs Eat » Fri Jan 15, 2021 8:10 am

Personally I take a minimum of two litres but sometimes carry three on a warm day. I can drink the lot. Having came across a few carcasses in mountain streams, I try to avoid using them. However needs must and I do carry some puritabs for emergencies. So far so good.
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Re: Hydration while hiking

Postby iain_atkinson_1986 » Fri Jan 15, 2021 9:40 pm

I take 3L which is usually more than enough unless you're doing a longer day when it's 20 degrees plus. I tend to go with the policy of taking more than you need in case you snap your ankle and need to spend longer than anticipated on the hill.
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Re: Hydration while hiking

Postby denfinella » Sat Jan 16, 2021 12:45 am

My system is very formulaic, which probably says quite a lot about me, but it seems to work well.

I mostly use old 1 litre squash bottles, and take 1 bottle / litre for every 4 hours I expect to be walking for, plus one more to leave in the car for when I get back. This is made more flexible as I always walk with my partner, so the combined formula becomes 1 litre between us for every 2 hours (usually rounded up).

The warmer the weather forecast / more strenuous the walk, the more likely we are to round up. On days that are both hot and strenuous we might take an extra bottle.

e.g. 7 hours in summer would be a "4 bottle day" (4 litres between us), plus a 5th in the car.

Our backpacks can each store 2 bottles on the outside, so for most day walks, all the water can fit on the outside which is more comfortable and more convenient. If more than 4 litres are required, we also have a useful stash of 1.25 litre bottles...

Usually we will end up with most of the last bottle remaining upon finishing a day's walk, in addition to the bottle already waiting in the car. This is definitely preferable to the couple of times where we have run out.
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Re: Hydration while hiking

Postby Tringa » Sat Jan 16, 2021 10:46 am

As with others here, it depends o the day. For day walks, which is what I do mostly now, I might carry two litres in summer, but usually it is one. In winter it will be one litre.

I do most of my walking in NW Scotland and just top up from streams. Even in summer it is rare for streams to dry up completely.

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Re: Hydration while hiking

Postby westonfront » Sat Jan 16, 2021 12:02 pm

Winter - 1 litre
Summer - 2 litres

But that was before I bought myself a water filter to reduce weight when backpacking. Now I would carry what I need to get to the next water source. I've been really impressed with my Sawyer Squeeze but am still trying to figure out the most practical way to carry the bladder with the water within it. I have come to the view that two smaller bladders are easier to manage than one 2 L one. More info on the Sawyer Squeeze can be found my searching for westonfront + wordpress + squeeze
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Re: Hydration while hiking

Postby davekeiller » Sat Jan 16, 2021 2:00 pm

I generally carry about 2l for a daywalk and have an extra bottle in the car.
The trouble with taking from streams is that the higher up you go the less reliable they get, and the lower down you are the more polluted they're likely to be.
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Re: Hydration while hiking

Postby Marty_JG » Sat Jan 16, 2021 4:14 pm

westonfront wrote:Winter - 1 litre
Summer - 2 litres

But that was before I bought myself a water filter to reduce weight when backpacking. Now I would carry what I need to get to the next water source. I've been really impressed with my Sawyer Squeeze but am still trying to figure out the most practical way to carry the bladder with the water within it. I have come to the view that two smaller bladders are easier to manage than one 2 L one. More info on the Sawyer Squeeze can be found my searching for westonfront + wordpress + squeeze


Two, definitely. One dirty, one clean. The dirty one you top-up from a stream. If you're wanting to load-up because you think it might be a bit of a trek to the next source, you squeeze it into the clean and refill the dirty. You drink either from the clean bladder, or directly from the Sawyer clamped on the dirty.

Lots of bladder options but Evernew seem to be the best.
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Re: Hydration while hiking

Postby weedavie » Sun Jan 17, 2021 11:49 am

Half a litre, the rest out of burns. Like Border Reiver, I only do this in the Highlands, but can't really explain what's wrong with a high burn in the Borders.

First time I went to MacDui, I refilled at that high spring above Carn a'Mhaim. I didn't refill again at Derry Lodge because I'd heard campers polluted the water so I was parched when I reached the car. Outside Braemar I picked up a Slovakian hitcher and said I'd take him to Blairgowrie, if he could give me some water. A few miles later I asked where he'd got the water. He'd picked it up from the burn at Derry Lodge.
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