Water – How Much Do You Need?

It really wasn’t that hot the other day while out on a backpack trip – well below 90 Fahrenheit – but I was sweating. We stopped often to drink, but even with a brimmed hat and sunglasses, the sun in my face was too much. I was constantly thirsty and a headache quickly followed after reaching camp.

Water for life! (Photo: Megan Kopp)

While hiking in the Grand Canyon, it’s recommended that each person in your group carries and drinks one gallon a day. One gallon of water weighs just under 8 ½ pounds. Before you say that’s too much weight to carry, remember you can always treat the water. Still, that’s a lot of water to drink. Don’t drink enough though, and you’ll quickly pay the price.

How do you know if you’re not getting enough water?

  • It’s all in the pee. Too dark, not much, not very often – all telltale signs that you need to suck it up… more water, that is!
  • If you’re thirsty, you are already dehydrated.
  • Water makes up between 55 and 78% of our body weight. Keep the tank topped up by drinking small amounts often.
  • Our bodies need about 8 glasses (or about ½ gallon) each and every day – more on hot days or when working strenuously.
  • Your body can only absorb about one quart of fluid each hour. Drinking too much too fast can cause something called hyponatremia – a result of the water diluting the sodium levels in your body.
  • Replacing salts (a.k.a. electrolytes) is important on hot days.

What tips do you have for staying hydrated on long, hot hikes?

© 2011

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.