The Importance of Staying Hydrated On Winter Hikes

The key to staying warm on cold winter nights on an adventurous hike is drinking plenty of water. Yes, it’ll make you want to pee a lot more, but it’ll also make sure your body temperature stays regulated.

Not giving your body the hydration it needs can cause intense muscle soreness and fatigue throughout the trip. You might be able to cover your trail in time simply because fatigue causes you to slow down.

Here are some of the reasons why drinking water can be difficult on a hike.

Challenges of drinking water in winter

drinking water in winter

  • Winter hikers know that drinking water is super important to sustain during a hike in the cold weather. But at the same time, we know that staying hydrated isn’t all that easy.
  • From too many layers on your body especially your hands and the risk of water freezing in your flask, this is a task on its own. You can’t let this deter you from keeping the fluids running.
  • It’s also more difficult to realize how thirsty you actually are in colder, crisp weather. You don’t realize how much you’re sweating and how much extra water vapor you lose when you breathe.
  • Here is the physiological explanation. Colder weather signals your body to reduce the blood flow to your periphery to avoid excess heat loss. Thinner blood makes your body think it’s well hydrated, even though that might not be the case.

Tips to stay hydrated

Here are some tips that’ll help you remember the importance of drinking water regularly on your hiking trip.

Drink plenty of water before your trip starts to pre-hydrate: You can do this at least a couple of hours before you’re about to start your hiking journey. This gives your body plenty of prep time and also the opportunity to make a bathroom stop before you begin.

Drink at higher altitudes: The further up you hike, the more difficult and laborious it gets to carry out basic tasks. This is the best time to drink more frequently and rehydrate. Rehydration is important when you’ve just exercised more, because it helps your body return to normal levels.

Replenish your supply of electrolytes: Even the most frequent hikers may not remember that while hydration is important, so is maintaining enough electrolytes in your blood.

Especially for longer hikes and distances, you need to make more efforts to compensate for lost calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium.

Drinking different sports drinks that contain these vitamins is also helpful when you don’t particularly like the taste of water.

Sip not chug: You might think that the more you consume at once the better it is for your body. But it’s important not to gulp down a lot of water or it could just flush out of your system too soon. Take plenty of sips slowly and gradually along the way.

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