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Topic: Water AKA H2O how much to carry< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 04 2013, 11:33 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Last weekend I did an over nighter in Kern Canyon in California. The temp at its high was 112 that day. I am wondering how much water do you carry and how much do you drink per hour? For example on the way in we left at 6am and stopped about 3 miles in. Due to the terrain we averaged about an mile per hour, and we started with 2 liters of water in a hydro bag. When we got at camp I had about 1 liter of water left. When we stopped I did feel a little dehydrated though.  

On our way out we had 2 liters of water and traveled a little faster than on the way in but I had .5 liters of water at the end vs. when I came in. I did feel better too. So I am guessing is what is the average that you use per hour?

I can hold two hydration bags in my pack which is comfortable to wear. I am currently using one which is ok as well.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 05 2013, 12:41 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

In the Canyon, if I am carrying all of my water for the day, meaning there will be water in camp, I carry at least 3L for the trip.  if it is to be a dry camp, I carry 5L a day, until I know I will cross water.  Not seasonal water, but known water.  Carried 12 L on day one a couple of years back because I did not know for certain water would be available until Night 3 Camp.  I would not like to do that again.  Too much weight.  

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 05 2013, 1:21 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

In conditions like that, you can lose water through your sweat and lungs faster than your gut can take it up from ingested fluids.  About one liter per hour is all you can safely drink, and I've been out in conditions where that wasn't keeping up.  In the desert, I carry up to 12 L depending on where I expect to find water next, and I typically consume 4-5L/day in milder conditions.  In serious heat, I've used up 8 L, but focus more on dayhiking than backpacking in such weather.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 05 2013, 2:42 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I should note that my total consumption above includes water used in cooking as well.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 05 2013, 5:35 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

In conditions like that I drink up to 5 L a day, but I use diluted Gatorade (or equiv) not just plain water. I always start off with at least 2 L and more if I am worried about water on the way.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 05 2013, 6:48 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

It really depends on the person. I sweat a lot so I drink a lot. In the conditions you describe, I could guzzle 2 gallons or more a day when hiking, probably as much as 1˝L/hr, a bit less if in camp but still a lot.

There's a friend I sometimes go out with who uses less than half what I do under the same conditions.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 05 2013, 1:17 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Surely there's a point of diminishing returns when it comes to carrying water.

5L is about 11 lbs. So, how much are you exerting to carry that much? Would carrying less cause less exertion, requiring you to drink less? Or, how much more water do you need to carry more water?


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 05 2013, 1:40 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(bigsilk @ Jul. 05 2013, 1:17 pm)
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Surely there's a point of diminishing returns when it comes to carrying water.

5L is about 11 lbs. So, how much are you exerting to carry that much? Would carrying less cause less exertion, requiring you to drink less? Or, how much more water do you need to carry more water?

More does slow you down.  The determining factor for me is generally how far it is to the next reliable source.   Sometimes it's a day or more away.  And what if it's dry?  Will it be two days to my next drink?

When water is more plentiful, another consideration is how often I want to stop and filter.  I don't usually carry more than 3 L under those conditions, except at the end of the day, when I pick up water for dinner, breakfast, and the start of the next day.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 05 2013, 2:38 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I carry a full 2L bladder, and an empty 100 oz. Nalgene Canteen with a chico bag. If I'm close enough to camp, I'll fill the canteen and carry it in my chico bag.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 05 2013, 3:52 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I base it all around urine. If I'm not peeing at least once an hour, I'm not drinking enough.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 05 2013, 11:43 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Tigger @ Jul. 05 2013, 12:52 pm)
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I base it all around urine. If I'm not peeing at least once an hour, I'm not drinking enough.

Yep, it's the real world conditions that matter not a theory or rule. Also the recommendation includes the output be relatively clear.

I hold to a cyclist's saying as well: if you're thirsty, it's too late. Meaning both loss of power and mental acumen occur early in dehydration's process.

The Mayo clinic's take:

"Unfortunately, thirst isn't always a reliable gauge of the body's need for water, especially in children and older adults. A better indicator is the color of your urine: Clear or light-colored urine means you're well hydrated, whereas a dark yellow or amber color usually signals dehydration."

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dehydration/DS00561/DSECTION=symptoms
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 06 2013, 12:12 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(High_Sierra_Fan @ Jul. 05 2013, 11:43 pm)
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The Mayo clinic's take:

"Unfortunately, thirst isn't always a reliable gauge of the body's need for water, especially in children and older adults. A better indicator is the color of your urine: Clear or light-colored urine means you're well hydrated, whereas a dark yellow or amber color usually signals dehydration."

Color chart courtesy of Uncle Sam

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 06 2013, 8:35 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

You're already well on the way to dehydration when you start feeling thirsty or your urine gets significantly darker.

Yes, there is a point of diminishing returns for carrying water but sometimes it's necessary.
Example: GC99. I knew we were going to have a dry camp the last night on the way out. I not only filled everything I had, I broke off probably 20# of ice (early Jan but no snow) and carried that too. Lost some through melt but managed just shy of 2 more gallons by camp and every bit was used that night and the next day getting to the rim.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 06 2013, 8:48 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(bigsilk @ Jul. 05 2013, 1:17 pm)
QUOTE
Surely there's a point of diminishing returns when it comes to carrying water.

5L is about 11 lbs. So, how much are you exerting to carry that much? Would carrying less cause less exertion, requiring you to drink less? Or, how much more water do you need to carry more water?

In warm dessert conditions, I don't think the "exertion" factor matters as much as how much your body naturally loses through evaporative effects.  Most of the time, I don't even sweat in any noticeable way.  But I drink almost twice as much water as I do hiking here in Michigan.

I think I'm always slightly dehydrated whenever I'm hiking in the Canyons but I seem to do OK, at least for a week at a time.  I plan on 4L per 24-hour day as a minimum.  It's pretty normal to only have access to water once a day and I prefer to have that be where we camp.  For a day's hike, I carry 2-3L.  For a dry camp, I carry an extra 3L, so depending on the next water access, I start with 5-6L.

When I broke my ankle in the Grand Canyon this past spring, we had to make an unplanned dry camp.  We'd started out at 8am with 3L each and had a combined 4L left.  I was in conservation mode; wanted to make sure my son had enough water since he'd have to be the "rescue person" if it came to that.  The chopper came around 6pm after we'd had dinner.  Afterwards, I realized I hadn't had to pee once without crutches... so from 1pm until almost midnight when we left the ER.  I was fine by the next morning.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 06 2013, 3:05 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

It's a dangerous misperception to think one doesn't sweat, and so lose a lot of body moisture, through sweating in the desert or any other dry region: all that's really going on is the dry air allows the sweat to evaporate immediately as your skin produces it. So your skin and clothes don't look or feel wet. But you are losing a lot of water in any case.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 06 2013, 3:45 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(High_Sierra_Fan @ Jul. 06 2013, 3:05 pm)
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It's a dangerous misperception to think one doesn't sweat, and so lose a lot of body moisture, through sweating in the desert or any other dry region: all that's really going on is the dry air allows the sweat to evaporate immediately as your skin produces it. So your skin and clothes don't look or feel wet. But you are losing a lot of water in any case.

Don't forget your lungs! In the desert your lungs are practically trading water for oxygen in every breath.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 06 2013, 4:05 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(big_load @ Jul. 06 2013, 12:45 pm)
QUOTE

(High_Sierra_Fan @ Jul. 06 2013, 3:05 pm)
QUOTE
It's a dangerous misperception to think one doesn't sweat, and so lose a lot of body moisture, through sweating in the desert or any other dry region: all that's really going on is the dry air allows the sweat to evaporate immediately as your skin produces it. So your skin and clothes don't look or feel wet. But you are losing a lot of water in any case.

Don't forget your lungs! In the desert your lungs are practically trading water for oxygen in every breath.

Absolutely! That's even truer in the high mountains where the lesser oxygen concentrations lead to deeper and more rapid breathing: with water loss at every pant!

The term iirc, is insensible water loss.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 07 2013, 1:05 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

This is some good information.

I am planning on making it to Philmont in the near future. Their advice is the ability to carry 5 - 7 liters. You may not need to carry that much all the time. Some days will have dry camps, and other will have a water source.

So it sounds like their advice is not out of line with what everyone here thinks. That is good to know.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 07 2013, 6:10 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thank you all for the great info you guys have provided. Because of this I am planning on purchasing an extra bladder for me to carry and use.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 07 2013, 6:40 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Some will try to convince you that the DHMO you can pick up at the grocery on the way to the trailhead will lighten your load.  Don't be fooled.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 07 2013, 10:31 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

When will someone invent ultralight water?
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 08 2013, 9:02 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(big_load @ Jul. 06 2013, 3:45 pm)
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Don't forget your lungs! In the desert your lungs are practically trading water for oxygen in every breath.

Ditto for winter conditions.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 08 2013, 11:43 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(krp234 @ Jul. 07 2013, 9:31 pm)
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When will someone invent ultralight water?

Gotcha covered!


You guys who talk about how oh-so-horrible dry heat is always kill me thinking you know anything about sweating :p
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 08 2013, 2:55 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

So, suppose you've waited a bit too long and are somewhat dehydrated - dark urine, thirsty, etc. but not yet at the dangerous stage.  How much water and how long will it generally take one to get back to the normal range.  This is assuming you have plenty of water on hand and are resting in a relatively shaded or cool place.

Thanks.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 08 2013, 4:16 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(hikerjer @ Jul. 08 2013, 2:55 pm)
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So, suppose you've waited a bit too long and are somewhat dehydrated - dark urine, thirsty, etc. but not yet at the dangerous stage.  How much water and how long will it generally take one to get back to the normal range.  This is assuming you have plenty of water on hand and are resting in a relatively shaded or cool place.

Thanks.

You can't correct for it all at once, and to be honest, I often don't get much better than the middle of the scale.

A typical "recovery" for me might be 2-3 liters over the course of 4 hours, assuming it's cool enough that I'm not still just pouring sweat.

Any more than a liter per hour won't help and could hurt.  There's quite a bit of research on this, much of it aimed at studying performance in distance runners.  Drinking too much at once makes me feel just as bad as being dehydrated, and unfortunately, the sensation of the two conditions is unnervingly similar (except for the thirst).
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 08 2013, 4:16 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The darker the urine, the more water consumption is needed.  Considering your body can only absorb about 1L per hour, I would guess it might take you several hours to return to "normal", whatever that might be.  

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(hikerjer @ Jul. 08 2013, 2:55 pm)
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So, suppose you've waited a bit too long and are somewhat dehydrated - dark urine, thirsty, etc. but not yet at the dangerous stage.  How much water and how long will it generally take one to get back to the normal range.  This is assuming you have plenty of water on hand and are resting in a relatively shaded or cool place.

I'm guessing it depends on the person.  I've noticed a pretty wide range of how people react to being dehydrated, so I assume the recovery varies as well.

If I've had a low-water day but have water at camp, I usually filter a quick quart, then maybe another quart through dinner/evening.  I'm usually good by morning.

But I never pee every hour, backpacking, at home, or otherwise.  I also never have to get up in the middle of the night.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 08 2013, 4:58 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Depends on how dehydrated, and I suppose every case could be unique, but not as long as you might think, in my experience. Once you get your body temp regulated it can(not necessarily will) be like nothing happened in fairly short order.  
I've suffered heat exhaustion...used to have to wear flame retardant outerwear, hardhat and face shield in over 120F heat for 56-80hrs per week, and a really bad day could include several hours of swinging a sledgehammer.
I've been taken to the clinic(we keep an EMT 24/7), sat in the air conditioning and drank a liter or so of water along with electrolyte pills, and felt fine in under an hour. Doesn't mean I was fully hydrated and recovered, but I was no longer suffering the physical symptoms-overheating, cramps, headaches, dizziness, etc.
We've also carried people to the clinic, even to the emergency room, and they're back at work the next day. No special treatment, just some rest and rehydration.
 
Same in the field at Ft. Bragg when I was young, where it could get hot and muggy. Though we typically carried a gallon of water during hot conditions, and were encouraged to continually drink water, almost any time we had field exercises we had a heat casualty or two. They were usually ok after sitting in the shade and getting an IV bag.

Something missing from this discussion is the need to replace electrolytes. Dehydration, especially in terms of both high levels of activity and high fluid consumption, is not just about water.
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