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.