By Georgina Berbari

As we venture into the warmer months, excitement about outdoor adventures begins inevitably brewing. Perhaps you begin daydreaming about all the glorious trail treks that await you. This may involve running, hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, or beyond – in any case, it’s crucial to stay hydrated out there, especially as the temperatures rise.

The adult human body is made up of approximately 60 percent water, and even casual exercise can be depleting; proper hydration ensures cognitive and physiological function. Before you hit the trails this season, you’ll first want to make sure you have a handheld water bottle, hydration waistpack/belt, or hydration vest on hand. This is a no-brainer for experienced trekkers, but if it’s your first time investing in trail hydration equipment, know that this important foundation will make your adventures exponentially more enjoyable and sustainable. 

Once you’re all geared up and ready to embark, consider these nine hydration hacks to ensure you’ll stay refreshed while conquering the trails. 

Hydration Hacks for the Trails

Avoid Alcohol 

If you’re hitting the trails, avoid consuming alcoholic beverages the night before as this consumption can significantly dehydrate the body. Opt for water in order to start things out on the right foot.  


Before departing for your journey, try to drink one or two cups of water. Thirst only appears when water levels in the body are already low, so pre-hydration is a way to preemptively show your body some love by keeping your water level from dropping right off the bat. Pre-hydration is a great habit to keep up for long-term hydration homeostasis. Try to get in around 20 ounces of water two hours before exercising, and an additional 8 ounces of water 30 minutes before embarking on the trails ahead. 

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Drink often rather than opting to chug water infrequently. Smaller, spread out sips will lead to continuous, balanced hydration.

Pack Snacks

Electrolytes are depleted via sweat, so to replenish the loss of salt, snacking can be helpful. Snacks with potassium and sodium are beneficial, along with electrolyte-infused sports drinks.

Increase Hydration at Altitude 

At higher altitudes there is less oxygen and breathing becomes faster and shallower, leading to increased water loss. This is why it’s imperative to increase hydration (by about an additional liter to a liter and a half of water). The shift in altitude also might make you less likely to feel thirsty, so setting alarms to remind you to replenish could be helpful as well.

Apply Sun Protection

Getting a sunburn is an easy way to cause more dehydration of the body, because burns draw fluid to the skin’s surface and away from the rest of the body. So, make sure that you are wearing adequate sun protection on any of your outdoor journeys. 

Plan Your Water Stops

Be sure you’ll have access to water sources if needed, especially for those going on extended trips. Bring along enough water to get you from one water source to the next, and plan your routes to coincide with accessible bodies of water. 

Consider Filterage Systems

If you know your packed water is going to run out, it’ll be beneficial to bring along a water filter. Even if a water source looks clean, it may still contain harmful bacteria or viruses, which is why investing in a water filter can be a life saver. 

Know the Early Dehydration Signs

If you begin to experience dry mouth, irritability, and/or decrease in energy, take these as important signs to re-hydrate. Headaches, nausea, muscle cramps, and loss of appetite are later signs of dehydration that should be taken seriously. 

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