What are Good Hydration Techniques for Long Winter Hikes?

To start, good hydration techniques are very essential especially when trekking on long winter hikes. Things like using a camelback, the snow and keeping water close to your body are great ways to stay hydrated.

You will need these types of things because if you do not stay hydrated things like dehydration, passing out, or even worse things can happen. It is easy to prepare for long winter hikes especially if you done them before.

If you have never went on a winter hike you may want to ask someone who has been. Make sure to prepare for them because if you do not it can cause tragedy quickly.

This may seem like just another random hiking article, however I do have years of experience hiking. I have been hiking for over two decades now and have hiked numerous times in all different types of weather conditions.

So trust me when I say that these tips were not put together from other online research, but instead from years of personal experience.

With that established we will discuss three specific techniques within the upcoming paragraphs.

Technique 1: Use a Camelback

Being a hiker myself the most important technique would be using a camelback. This is because the camelback prevents the water from freezing and consolidates it into one body of water when it moves along with your body.

If you are considering going on a winter hike or a long winter hike one should invest in having a camelback because it can save your life. This is comparable to a lake in the winter because it is harder to freeze over a large body of water. A water bottle would freeze quicker simply because there is less water consolidated into one package.

A camelback also allows for the water to move more freely which also prevents the water from freezing. This is similar to a river versus a pond.

When was the last time you saw a river completely frozen over? In less you live in Siberia it is very likely that you never saw this occur. However many more people have seen a frozen pond and may have even gone ice skating on that pond. The point is that a moving body of water freezes much slower than a stationary body of water.

With the camelback matching the movement of your back it is much more likely that this water is continuously moving compared to a water bottle on the outside of your pack.

Overall, it is extremely important to invest in a camelback for long winter hikes, because it will prevent the water from freezing through continuous movement of the water and keeping it in a larger body of water than a water bottle.

Technique 2: Keep the Water Close to Your Body

The next important technique would be keeping the water close to your body. This is because your body heat will keep the water from getting frozen.

Notice that we are not necessarily focusing on how to carry as much water as possible, but to keep your water from freezing throughout the duration of your hike. You will certainly notice that the water becomes colder as your hike goes on, but you cannot drink it if it is frozen of course.

Now keeping the water close to your body can come in the form of the camelback, or keeping it in the bottom of your backpack. It also helps to keep a water bottle in your jacket or hoodie if your pockets are big enough. Any location that keeps the water closer to your body is better than keeping it in your backpack water bottle holder that is in constant direct contact with the cold winter air.

To reiterate the focus of this technique is to keep your water warm so you can actually drink it.

To summarize, keep your water close to your body on long winter hikes so your water stays warm enough to drink and does not freeze over during the duration of your hike.

Technique 3: In Case of Emergency Use the Snow!

The final advice is more of a last resort in the case that you run out of water on your hike or your water does freeze over. Of course everyone knows that snow is simply frozen water, although this water can be dirty.

I personally do not know anyone who has ever eaten snow and gotten sick from it, as long as it was not yellow or brown snow. Although I also understand that it is not necessarily the cleanest form of water at first.

If you run out of water you can still use this temporary solution. Simply collect snow and place it into your empty camelback or water bottle. To melt the snow you can hold the water bottle or camelback close to your body, or put the snow into a large pot and boil the water.

This last option may not be feasible if you are going on a long hike with little equipment, but if it is a backpacking trip this option could work just fine.

So although the snow may not be the safest or cleanest option, in case of an emergency just scoop up some snow to eat or purify on your long winter hike and you will be just fine.

Wrapping Up

The three main techniques for adequate hydration on long winter hikes are using a camelback, keeping the water close to your body, and using the snow in case of emergency.

The first two techniques are centered on keeping the water warm to prevent from freezing. Frozen water is useless, so it is essential to keep the water warmer than the freezing point.

The main call to action is to keep your water warm for your next winter hike.

Make that a priority for both you and your hiking group. With this in mind you will be well hydrated and can fully enjoy your long winter hike.

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