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Q&A

How can I conserve water over long treks?

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Is there any way I can balance out drinking water when taking a trek, or simply taking a hike to one of the local peaks around here? Even if I come stocked, I tend to end up run out of water close to the peak, or halfway through a trek, which leaves another half to deal with.

Are there any ways I can effectively conserve water? Is there any way to balance water consumption?

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4 answers

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Once I was advised not to drink too much, but rather just sips, to get rid of the thirst: a camelback + a drinking tube in your backpack should be handy in this case. Of course, apply with reason: do not get yourself dehydrated! drink a lot before the trek (as advised in other answers), and not only: being well-hydrated in general is good for your health (not just drinking 2 liters of water before a hike). Also, experiment with this in advance on smaller few-hour-long hikes, to see how does it work for you.

I noticed after several hikes that I tend to take back home 1/3-1/2 of my water. After trying this method I found it useful, but only for one-day trips, and also if the weather is suitable for it - if I hike in 30+ degrees (Celsius) for a whole day then yes, I definitely need more water than that. And again, it is a great exercise of self-discipline: how to drink just a sip once you started drinking :)

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Maybe not a real way to get water inside your body, but what helps with me is chew on chewing gum. It distracts from the feeling I'm thirsty or drinking too much water without really needing it. Also chewing gum is very light to take with you. Of course the gum is not a substitute for water which is needed anyway.

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If you run out half-way, perhaps you should bring twice as much? That being said...

One option for day hikes is to hydrate well before hitting the trail. Also, have readily available water for your return. e.g. leave a water bottle in your car.

An other option is refilling from natural water sources during the trip would allow you to consume an adequate amount of water during your trek or short hike without having to cary extra water. It should be possible to plan in advance water gathering points.

Depending on where you trek, you may want to consider water treatment. On short trips you may prefer readily available treatments such as the Sawyer Squeeze Filter, SteriPen or the Aquamira Frontier Pro.

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We have tried a couple of things. I'm not entirely sure that all would agree up on these measures, but let me state them none the less.

  • Hydrating before you start off the trek (Already stated)
  • Trekking in regions with enough natural water supplies. (Already stated by others)
  • Stashing water along the trek. This works only if you are going to return the same route. We did it during a few treks in Indonesia, Western Ghats(India) and the Himalayan range. Just make sure you carry more water before you start off so that you can stash the water (water bottles of course!) along the way. But make sure you don't forget to carry back the stashed water bottles.
  • As already stated, keep additional water bottles in your vehicles/base camp for re-hydration once you are back to your camp.
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