How to prevent dehydration when hiking?

Dehydration occurs when your water content is too low., making you feel lethargic, tired, and dizzy.

This can be extremely dangerous when hiking by yourself. If Dehydration is not corrected by fluid intake it can lead to kidney failure and possibly death. So how to prevent dehydration when hiking?

How to prevent dehydration when hiking?

To prevent dehydration when hiking adults will need to consume about 1 liter (32 ounces) per hour and children about 1/2 liter (16 ounces) per hour. This amount will depend on the intensity of hiking and how hot the weather.

Now I have answered the main question, let’s further explore what else can be done to prevent dehydration;

Avoid alcohol the night before hiking

Alcohol is a diuretic meaning you will urinate more, draining your body of fluids. It is best to drink a normal amount of water the days leading up the hike, then drink up a few glasses before you head out on the trails.

How to prevent dehydration when hiking?
How to prevent dehydration when hiking?

Avoid sugary drinks and artificially sweetened drinks before hiking

Sugar and artificially sweetened drinks have been known to provide no essential nutrients. Like alcohol may act as diuretic draining your body of fluids.

Carry enough water and make it accessible

Carry enough water for the time you are away hiking, for instance, if an adult consumes 1 liter per hour you will require a minimum 8 liters for an 8-hour hike.

When you do carrying the water, it makes it accessible so you can easily grab it to take a drink.

Purify Water when hiking?

For multi-day hikes, you might not have access to clean water, and its not practical to carry all the water you need to consume.

We can survive days without food but not water. Finding a water supply can be a challenge, the next to purify the water to ensure it’s safe to drink.


This is one of the easiest options, so long as you have a stove with plenty of fuel for cooking. Boiling for 3 minutes will kill all parasites and make it safe to drink (allow for a full three minutes if over 6,500 feet).

How to prevent dehydration when hiking?
How to purify water to ensure it’s safe to drink, boil water for 3 minutes

Water filter

These are popular because they’re lightweight, but require either squeezing or pumping to work, which can be time-consuming or annoying. Once you have pumped out the impurities and floating out you can then boil the water.

There a numerous water filters out on the market. A popular type is Life Straw, a survival straw claim to get rid of 99.99% of contaminants, including E. Coli and Giardia. T

They don’t work with saltwater though, so only use it on freshwater sources. Life Straw is lightweight and costs only $30 dollars.

Can purify 1000 gallons of water which is great value for money. The only complaint is the need to bend over water to extract from the water source.

How to prevent dehydration when hiking?
How to prevent dehydration when hiking?


Steri-pen. This method utilizes UV light to purify, and works quickly: typically one minute or less to treat water. Steri-pens effectively zap the microorganisms in the water.

The device is lightweight and zaps the bad stuff in 2 minutes, leaving minimal after taste. The downside is the cost of around $200

Iodine Tablets

Whilst iodine tablets are popular for many outdoors people for the reason they kill off bacteria and viruses they do leave brownish cloudy iodine tasting water. Placing a vitamin C tablet can help mask the color and taste of the water.

Pregnant women, those with a history of thyroid disease, and those allergic to iodine should not drink iodinated water.

Chlorine pills

Chlorine tablets and pills are a very lightweight and cost-effective option but will require some wait-time, usually 30 minutes before it’s ready to drink. B

Being chlorine can leave an unpleasant after taste and smell (a bit like a chlorinated swimming pool). Leaving the cap off your drink bottle will help dissipate the odor and taste.

Stay hydrated after hiking

If you find yourself dehydrated continue to regularly sip water and stop doing any exercise by keeping still. Continue to check the color of your urine until you find you are hydrated.

Final Thoughts

Taking enough water on an outdoor adventure can be a challenge and things don’t always go to plan when exploring the outdoors. Having a method of purifying water needs to be part of your plan.

Further Information

If you have enjoyed this article on How to prevent dehydration when hiking? you will enjoy our other articles. Below are some of our other articles and popular resources;

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