How Much Water Do You Need For Day Hiking

By Stacy Bean, Girls Who Hike Alabama Ambassador

How much water do you need to bring for a hike? This amount can vary depending on various factors (intensity level of the activity, weather, duration of the activity, etc).

Good Rule of Thumb for Hydration:
If you’re actively hiking, it’s good rule of thumb to drink about 1 liter (32 ounces) of water every two hours. You might need more or less depending on the temperature, humidity and your body weight, but that’s a good estimate of what you’ll need to carry if you can’t refill on your route.

How to know how much water to bring?
Looking at the trail map, calculate how many miles you’ll be trekking, divide that number by your pace in miles per hour (Will usually be somewhere between 2-3 mph). Example: If I’m hiking a majority flat trail for 9 miles, I can hike at an estimated 3 mph. Hike should take an estimated 3 hours to complete, so I’d want to bring 1.5 liters of water as an estimate (Based on the general rule of thumb of 1 liter for every 2 hours).

Methods of Transporting Water:


1. A water bladder or reservoir, carried in the pack, allows constant access to water via a drinking tube.
2. A hiking hydration backpack provides ample room for the full bladder and the tubing, with a bite valve controlling the flow of water into a hiker's mouth.
**Disadvantages of the above methods:  
-You don’t know how much water is left in the bladder when it is hidden inside your pack. 
-Cleanliness of the bladder/tubing can be an issue.


3. Transparent water bottles.

Signs of Dehydration:
1. Low volumes of dark, concentrated urine, or painful urination
2. Rapid heart rate
3. Weakness
4. Fatigue
5. Dizziness
6. Headache
**Continuing to hike in a dehydrated state can lead to worsening consequences, including heat exhaustion, heat stroke, muscle breakdown, and kidney failure.

Staying hydrated is a BIG deal on the trails! Be sure you are paying attention to your body and any signals it may be giving you to down some cold, clear water on your excursions!  
What are some of your hydration suggestions/tips??

Stacy is the Ambassador for our Alabama chapter. To join her local meet ups and discussions through the Alabama chapter, click here.