Regardless of whether you are an old hat at trekking or a newbie, trekking in the winter or under the blazing sun of a hot climate or trekking at sea level or even up to one of the highest peaks of planet Earth, keeping yourself hydrated is often an overlooked and a common cause of trekking complications. Suffering from dehydration can be incredibly unpleasant at the best of times and at its worst can be hazardous. To keep your trekking experience worthwhile and enjoyable, we urge you to take the necessary steps to avoid this condition.
The knowledge that water is your best friend is repetitively infused into us. Nothing is more true when it comes to trekking. Water keeps your mind and body energised. While trekking your muscles require an increased amount of water to function optimally and this amount can accumulate depending on climate, temperature, altitude and individual differences. Unfortunately these varying factors make it rather confusing to know exactly how much water we should be drinking each day. Although The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recommends an intake of 2.5 litres of water for men and 2.0 litres of water for women per day while participating in mid to high intensity exercise, your safe bet is to always listen to your body. Dehydration is essentially a lack of water in the body caused by an inadequate intake of fluids, and symptoms include: thirst, dark colored urine, headache, lethargy and fatigue, dizziness or light-headedness, and dry mouth, lips and eyes.
Should you experience any of these symptoms, always drink more water. In the meantime here are our tips to keep you happy and hydrated on your trekking adventures.
1. Drink water and/or other fluids (excluding carbonated drinks and alcohol) frequently throughout the day (at least every 20minutes) as well as before during and after your trek. This is especially important first thing in the morning. Half a litre on an empty stomach is a good way to start your day.
2. Find out what water is available on your trekking route – whether it’s mineral, filtered or boiled water at guest houses. If you can plan your water top-up points you may be able to significantly reduce the amount of water you have to carry on your back.
3. On some trekking routes mineral water and plastic bottles are banned for environmental reasons. In this case you should take sufficient bottles to refill during the day – two large bottles is a good rule of thumb. Using a hydration water pack is also a convenient way to sip water on the go.
4. To reduce the amount of fluid your body looses, be a sweat-less smart trekker. Wear a hat and sun protection, keep yourself cool by splashing cold water on your shirt and face, walk as much as possible in the shade and set out at sunrise when the heat is not so strong.
5. Eat right. Not only is nutritious food important for strength but many foods also contain a high proportion of water such a fruits, vegetables and soups. Hydrating through eating is a good option for those who are not used to drinking large amounts of water during the day.
6. For those rare occasions where you do loose too much body fluid (especially if you suffer from a bout of vomiting or diarrhea), be sure to replace the salts and minerals in your body with a rehydration treatment. At the pharmacy you can find a good range of fruity flavours. However if you don’t have any then a pinch of salt added to your water also does the trick.
7. There may be occasions where you don’t know whether the water you are drinking is safe. You may have no choice but to use tap water from a foreign country or even need to take water from a stream. In this case always clean the water using purifying tablets. Although you will likely have to wait between 40mins – 2hours to purify the water, waiting is safer that drinking potentially contaminated water. Each tablet usually purifies 1 litre of water so be sure to carry enough for the duration of your trek.
Do enjoy your wonderful trekking trips and adventures!
Your La Pedrera team