January 17, 2017

Walking out of the City – Water Considerations

water cachement

A few weeks ago I posted about taking day hikes with the family – see Testing Out Our Gear.  That first time we were able to hike four miles.  We’ve decided to continue the day hikes as a good way to get into shape as well as break in our hiking shoes (see Breaking in your Walk out of the City Shoes).  Since then we have taken a few more hikes, and actually feel we are making progress.  Even the dogs are starting to develop tougher paws.  But progress comes with a few lessons, and one of the lessons learned was about water needs.

We tried hiking six miles, starting fairly early in the morning.  We brought a lot of water bottles (or so we thought).  About halfway through we stopped for a 30 minute rest to sit down at some park benches and drink some water.  We sure were surprised we were running out of water very quickly.  It is not overly hot yet, but you get warm very quickly while hiking.  The dogs needed a lot of water as well.  By the time we got back to our car we had finished all our water.  We felt hot and still very thirsty and hungry that we stopped at a Subway (we normally just eat what’s at home) to pick up sandwiches and drinks.

The main lesson learned is if you walk out of the city you will need more water than you think.  The recommended amount is about four liters of water per day.  Since it took us about half a day then we needed one liter of water per person and more for the dogs.  A few more tips:

  • Drink periodically while walking.
  • Do not wait until you are thirsty before you start to drink.  By then you may already by dehydrated.
  • Early signs of dehydration include:  extreme thirst, dizzyness or lightheadedness, headache, dry skin, sleepiness or tiredness, lack of tears when crying (noticeable with kids), lack of urine.  Dehydration can affect dogs as well, signs include lethargy, sunken eyes, lack of skin elasticity, too much or too little urine.
  • Take foods that have high water content such as oranges, strawberries, watermelon, etc.  Sports drinks such as Gatorade could also supplement your water needs.
  • A water purifier such as the Lifesaver Bottle (See How to Drink Muddy Water) in a real disaster situation if you had to flee and could not carry a lot of water.  But for day hikes, we just pack water with us.
  • Another helpful item is the Camelbak reservoir.  Normally used by cyclists, they fit inside a backpack and come with a straw attachment so you never have to pull it out to drink.  Camelbak



7 Comments on Walking out of the City – Water Considerations

  1. Good advice. It really is amazing how much more water you drink while hiking (or doing any form of exercise or physical work). I wanted to add that irritability is also one of the first signs of dehydration. I used to lead camping/canoeing expeditions for teenagers, and it was always a fight to get them to drink enough water. I could tell they were getting dehydrated when they started to get cranky, and their faces got a pinched look to them.

  2. Its ironic…the more water you carry the more water you need. A good thought might be trying to plan a way out of the city that runs into streams, lakes or other water sources and bringing a purifier. Even if it takes a little longer, you’ll be faster if you’re carrying less water, and you’ll be well hydrated, especially if you end up having to camp somewhere. I think its a great idea to do dry runs, especially if you’re planning on getting out of a city.

    Love the site!

  3. You’ve totally motivated me. Even though I’m not a city dweller, it is certainly well within the range of possibility that my family and I may need to “hoof it” someday. And, quite frankly, I am out of shape (especially if I need to carry my kids on my back). Because of your post, I am going to commit to hiking at least 2x a month with my Hubby and kids!

    • Bitsy, Good for you!! I dread the thought of having to walk out, and hope it never happens, but the way the traffic is where I live, it is possible. I hope to hear about your adventures 🙂

  4. Good post. I live in a wilderness area for the most part and finding a water source isn’t usually that difficult. I already do what Austin suggests above, which is to carry a filter. The Katadyn filter I use is one of the best buys I’ve ever made. True, it doesn’t filter out *everything*, but I’ve filled up out of some pretty iffy looking places and have never been sick. If you’re carrying kids on a bug-out the last thing you want is a lot of extra weight.

  5. Couple of things :

    1 As you get more in shape (or simply more used to the exercise), you won’t need as much water, depending on the weather.
    2 Your ‘early’ signs of dehydration ARE NOT. Those signs indicate that you already need to stop and rehydrate and rest. Do not let yourself reach those signs of dehydration if at all possible. Dehydration is probably one of the worst things you can suffer in these type of scenarios, be prepared.
    Know your escape route, and plan it around water supplies and cover(both man and nature.

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