Staying hydrated is essential when you're on the trail. Your hydration status on the trail begins long before you set foot on dirt. How you hydrate day-to-day, the day before, hours before, and during your hike or run will impact your fluid levels. When identifying how much water to consume, take the expected duration of trail time into account. How much water you bring for a 45-minute hike will look significantly different than for a 4-hour hike. It's also important to recognize that drinking only water is not as beneficial as drinking both water AND electrolytes. Electrolytes keep your fluid balance in check, especially when you're losing fluid through sweat, breath, and excretion. Here are some general hydration recommendations: Less than 2 hours of moderate-intensity activity / less than 1 hour of high-intensity activity: .5-1L of water during activity .5-1L of water after activity .25-.5L of water with meals 2+ hours of moderate-intensity activity / 1+ hours of high-intensity activity: .25-.5L of water 30-60 minutes before activity 30-45g carb + electrolytes in 600mL water every hour during activity 30-45g carb + electrolytes in 600mL water after activity .25-.5L of water with meals Adapted from Precision Nutrition. Other things to consider: - Not everyone is thirsty to the same degree or loses fluids at the same rate. When you're first learning about how much liquid to bring on a trail, it's always better to bring too much than too little. - Plan for whether or not you need to filter water on the trail. Will there be water sources to filter from? How much time will filtration add to your duration on the trail? Do you know how to use your filtration system properly? - Understand that higher altitude and drier climates may require more consistent hydration than if you are used to being at lower elevation and humid climates. Stay hydrated, friends!
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