Water is critical to life. You can live about three weeks without food but only about three days without water. When your body is low on water it affects your body’s ability to regulate heat and your physical performance will suffer. An active person should drink 4-6 liters of water per day. In 20 minutes your body can absorb no more than 1/4 liter of water. It is best to drink small amounts of water often rather than larger amounts of water less frequently.

When hiking I recommend using a hydration pack. These packs contain a bladder and long hose with a valve on the end. Normally you gently bite the valve to make the water flow (hence, the name “bite valve”). A hydration pack makes it very easy to drink so you tend to drink less water more often. If you hike with a water bottle in your pack you may have to stop, remove the bottle, remove the cap, drink, replace the cap and bottle, and continue hiking. A hydration pack makes drinking more convenient, you can drink while hiking, and you can drink while holding trekking poles.

Sport drinks can boost sodium that gets depleted during strenuous activities. You will use both water and sodium when exerting yourself. For shorter hikes I suggest carrying a hydration pack that includes basics such as the 10 essentials.