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Hiking Hydration: What Is Best To Drink While Hiking?

What Is Best To Drink While Hiking?

Staying properly hydrated is a key part of any successful and safe hike. Without proper hydration, hikers can quickly become fatigued or even put themselves at risk for more serious health complications.

In addition to being well-equipped with appropriate gear, it is important to be adequately prepared with the right hydration options to ensure that your body is properly nourished and energized during your journey. By following the tips outlined in this article, you can enjoy your time on the trail while staying safe and healthy.


Why water is the best choice

If you’re asking yourself what is best to drink while hiking – the straight answer is water should be the first choice. It provides essential electrolytes and minerals to help maintain energy levels, helps regulate body temperature, and keeps muscles from becoming overworked or fatigued. Moreover, it comes with no calories, making it a great choice for staying hydrated on the trail.

What Is Best To Drink While Hiking - Water

How much water to drink

When it comes to how much water to drink while out hiking, it depends on the individual and the conditions. Generally speaking, the most common recommendation is to drinking at least a liter of water per hour. On hotter days or when engaging in strenuous activities, it’s best to increase that amount even further. It’s also important to keep track of how much fluid has been lost due to sweating and then replace that as well. Since carrying a lot of weight can become burdensome during long hikes, it is recommended that only enough water should be carried for the duration of the hike from start-to-finish.

Benefits of carrying a water bottle or hydration pack

Carrying a water bottle or hydration pack while hiking is one of the best ways to ensure proper hydration on the trail. Not only do they provide easy access to water, they also help you regulate your fluid intake throughout the day. Additionally, keeping a water bottle or hydration pack on hand encourages regular sips which helps to prevent dehydration caused by overexertion.

Having a reusable water bottle that can easily be refilled allows hikers to stay in control of their own hydration levels and also reduces plastic waste from disposable bottles. Furthermore, having clean, filtered drinking water available at all times eliminates the risk of consuming contaminated water from rivers and streams. A quality hydration system also comes with an insulated pouch which keeps beverages cold even in extreme heat and helps reduce fatigue from excessive sweat by keeping body temperatures low.

Benefits of carrying a water bottle on a hike

In addition to helping with physical health, carrying a water bottle or hydration pack during hikes creates peace of mind for hikers and their companions. Knowing that you have enough fluid on hand ensures that no matter how strenuous the hike or how far out-of-reach civilization might become, you will never go thirsty. This added security can be especially reassuring when venturing off alone into the wilderness or when hiking in remote areas with limited access to potable water sources.

Related article: The Best Way To Carry Water While Hiking (Water Bottles vs Hydration Packs)

What are sports drinks

Sports drink Body Armor
Photo: Mike Mozart

Sports drinks are specially formulated beverages designed to provide athletes with hydration and energy during physical activity. The primary function of sports drinks is to replenish the electrolytes that can be depleted through sweat and physical exertion. Sports drinks contain a balance of carbohydrates, electrolytes, minerals, and fluids that help promote hydration while fueling the body’s muscles. These drinks can also supply essential vitamins and minerals needed for optimal performance.

When to choose sports drinks over water

Sports drinks should be chosen over water in certain instances, such as when doing a strenuous activity or competing in event. Sports drinks are formulated to provide energy and electrolytes while hydrating the body more quickly than plain water. The carbohydrates in sports drinks can help athletes maintain their energy levels during exercise and competition. Additionally, the electrolytes found in sports drinks can help replace those lost through sweat, helping to prevent dehydration during strenuous activity.

Sports drinks however should not be used as a substitute for water. While sports drinks can provide additional energy and electrolytes to help athletes perform better, they are not necessary for all activities. An individual who is only engaging in light physical activity or is not competing or training hard may be better served by drinking water instead of a sports drink. Additionally, water can be consumed more frequently than sports drinks without any adverse effects. Furthermore, most sports drinks contain added sugars, so those looking to reduce their sugar intake should opt for water rather than sports drinks.

Sport drinks for hiking

Benefits of electrolytes in sports drinks

Electrolytes are essential for proper muscle function and hydration, which is why they are found in sports drinks. When an athlete sweats, electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, chloride and magnesium are lost from the body. Replenishing these electrolytes helps to maintain healthy muscle contraction and nerve transmission. Additionally, consuming electrolytes can help prevent dehydration, as well as reduce fatigue and improve performance during strenuous physical activities. Furthermore, electrolyte-rich drinks like sports drinks help athletes replenish sugar levels faster than plain water. This makes them a great choice for those looking to refuel their bodies quickly after exercise or competition.

Hydrating Foods

Eating hydrating foods is one of the best ways to keep your body properly hydrated. There are many different kinds of foods that contain a high amount of water and can help you stay hydrated throughout the day.

Eating Hydrating Foods

Snacks that help hydrate

Snacks can be a great way to keep your body hydrated throughout the day. Fruits, vegetables and yogurt all contain high amounts of water and make excellent hydrating snacks. Additionally, they are packed with essential vitamins and minerals that can help keep you energized and nourished throughout the day. Fruits such as oranges and apples all contain over 85% water, which makes them ideal for keeping your body hydrated. Vegetables like cucumbers, celery, tomatoes and spinach also have high water content and provide numerous health benefits. Yogurt is another great option when it comes to hydrating snacks since it contains both protein and calcium in addition to being rich in fluids.

Snacks for hiking

Foods to avoid while hiking

Certain foods are best avoided while backpacking as they can put unnecessary strain on the body, disrupt digestion and cause other health issues.

One of the most important foods to avoid while hiking is processed food with a longer shelf life. These products usually contain high amounts of fat, sugar, preservatives and artificial flavorings which can lead to fatigue, dehydration and digestive problems when consumed in large amounts over a long period of time. Canned goods or instant meals are also likely to cause gastrointestinal distress after prolonged exposure during a hike.

Finally, dairy products should also be avoided during hiking trips as they often go bad before having a chance to be consumed or cause digestive issues due to their high fat content. Instead of choosing milk, cheese or yogurt-based items consider packing options such as jerky, trail mix or canned tuna that will provide more protein and last much longer on the trail with minimal risk for spoilage or contamination.

Hiking on high altitude

Importance of combining hydration and nutrition

Combining hydration and nutrition is essential for staying healthy and energized throughout the day. Drinking enough water throughout the day helps to keep the body functioning properly by helping to flush out toxins, regulate body temperature and keep organs functioning at their peak. Additionally, eating nutritious snacks combined with proper hydration helps to provide energy and nourishment for the body’s cells. Food items (such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and yogurt) are excellent hydrating options that also provide essential vitamins and minerals to help keep your energy levels up. By combining hydration with proper nutrition you can ensure your body has everything it needs to stay energized, alert and healthy.

Caffeine and Alcohol

Effects of caffeine and alcohol on hydration

Caffeine and alcohol are two of the most commonly consumed beverages in the world, but they can have a serious impact on your hydration levels. Caffeine is a diuretic, meaning it causes an increase in urination, which leads to dehydration. Alcohol, on the other hand, suppresses the body’s ability to sense and retain water, leading to further dehydration.

Why to limit or avoid caffeine and alcohol while hiking

Hiking is a strenuous activity that requires your body to be in optimal physical condition in order to perform its best. Consuming caffeine or alcohol during a hike can lead to feelings of exhaustion or dizziness, impeding your progress or even leading to an accident. It is also important to note that drinking alcohol while dehydrated can have an even more severe effect on your body, potentially leading to nausea or other sicknesses. Therefore, it is best practice to limit or avoid any consumption of caffeine and alcohol while hiking in order to prevent any potential harm.

Hiking the mountains

Alternatives to caffeinated and alcoholic drinks

There are many alternatives to caffeinated and alcoholic drinks available for hikers to ensure proper hydration while on the trail. As previously discussed, water is obviously the best choice for optimal hydration, but other beverages such as herbal teas, coconut water, and sports drinks can provide electrolytes to help replenish your body’s natural energy levels and prevent dehydration. All of these options offer excellent alternatives to caffeinated or alcoholic beverages while hiking, helping you stay properly hydrated and maximize your performance.


Here are some final tips to stay properly hydrated while on the trail:

  • Drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after your hike.
  • Avoid drinking caffeinated or alcoholic beverages.
  • Bring a large water bottle with you and refill it as often as necessary.
  • Eat fruits like oranges or apples which can provide extra water while adding nutritional value.
  • Take regular breaks throughout your hike to rest and drink plenty of fluids.
  • Following these guidelines will help ensure that your body stays adequately hydrated while on the trail, allowing you to enjoy the experience without putting yourself at risk.