Do You Know How Much Water for Hiking (Updated 2023)

Our bodies are 55% to 60% water – when you drink correctly. Staying hydrated helps you stay comfortable, energetic, and safe for hiking. Join me to find out how much water for hiking, staying hydrated, and avoid dehydration.

Roles of Water for Human Health

Water accounts for most body weight necessary for health, and it participates in many essential functions. Water in the human body includes eliminating waste, regulating body temperature, and helping the brain function.

Regulate body temperature

Water helps to regulate body temperature when the environment temperature changes suddenly. Sweating is also water secretion to regulate body temperature when it is too hot. When dehydrated, the body also loses electrolytes and plasma.

Waste excretion

Sweat helps regulate body temperature when you exercise or in hot climates.

Water is essential in your body to form stool and avoid constipation.

Drinking enough water will help the kidneys work more efficiently while also preventing kidney stones.

Improve physical performance

Drinking plenty of water during physical activity is essential. On average, an athlete will lose up to 6 -10% of his body weight through sweat during exercise. Participants in resistance training or intense sports, like basketball, are more likely to become dehydrated.

Getting enough water will affect your strength and stamina. Exercising in hot weather without drinking enough water can lead to severe medical conditions, such as low blood pressure and hyperthermia. Losing too much water can cause convulsions and even death.

Another role of water in the body is to help lubricate and support joints, the spinal cord, and body tissue. This enables you to stay physically active and lessens the discomfort caused by arthritis.

Water in the human body carries nutrients and oxygen to the entire organ. Getting adequate amounts of water daily will improve circulation and positively affect overall health.

Why Staying Hydrated Important When Hiking

In hiking, the part of water becomes even more critical because the body has to exercise a lot. Constantly hiking requires each organ in the body, each muscle group, bone to cell to work at high intensity. Therefore, it is necessary to replenish enough water when hiking for a safe and healthy backpacking trip.

Water transports oxygen and nutrients to cells. Hiking requires a good circulation of oxygen and nutrients to the cell to ensure that enough oxygen and energy are maintained in the body’s movement.

The higher elevation, the less oxygen. Therefore, providing enough water to circulate oxygen and nutrients is even more important when elevation gains.

Water supports the detoxification process: Along with the supply of oxygen, water will remove toxins from the cells and excrete them out.

Water helps convert food into energy for timely supply to the body

Smoothing joints: Water accounts for 22% of bone structure. In addition, water also plays a role in making joints smooth and smooth avoiding damage to bones.

Water accounts for 75% of the muscle composition, and lack of water will quickly tire muscles, leading to cramps.

Water accounts for 83% of the blood components, supporting smooth blood circulation.

In addition, water also has the function of cleaning the lungs, participating in the brain’s structure, and protecting essential organs.

How Much Water Should I Carry?

Depending on the route traveled, the number of days traveled, the weather, the distance to the water intake, and how much water to carry will be considered accordingly.

You should keep in mind these factors when planning and preparing your drinking water including the length of your hiking trail, whether you will go on a day trip, or how long. The number of supplies along the way, weather, and water needs for other activities should also be considered.

Shorter hikes

On short, 3 to 4-km-long hiking trips, you don’t need to bring in too much water to reduce the water weight on hiking.

On days of inclement weather, you should drink 750ml of water in advance to avoid dehydration early at the start of your backpacking trip.  You should bring about 2 liters of water on your journey and sip along your route, not wait too thirsty and drink regularly once.

Around half a liter to 1 liter of water should be enough for your day hike to be completed on cooler days

Long hikes

For long trips of more than 30km or more, you can consume up to 7 liters of water at high temperatures.

To prepare well for backpacking trips like this requires you to know your water use.  For example, you can go up to 58km in more than 13 hours of hiking and consume about 7 liters of water a day. This gives you the computation you will need 600ml per hour.  You should prepare about 1 liter of water per hour as a backup.

To reduce water weight when you carry backpacking, you should carefully check the route between the water supply points to prepare the right amount of water for the journey.

You can drink about 1 liter of water every 10km on cool days.  On days of extreme weather (above 30 degrees C), 1 liter of water per hour is needed.

How To Carry Water When Hiking

The first way is to use the hydration bladder located inside the backpack near your back. The hydration pack allows you to drink through a connecting tube that comes out to your shoulder strap for easy access.

Most bladders have a large capacity of 2 to 4 liters of water and take up very little space when empty. Carrying water where it works best, close to your back, very convenient, and easy to take your tube and drink on the go.

However, it is difficult to know how much water you have left without opening the hydration pack. You have to pull it out if you want to refill it, and filling the bladder from a slow-moving spring can be nearly impossible without another pot to scoop and fill.

The second option is to carry water in a bottle. Most backpacks have mesh side pockets dedicated to water bottles. You can usually quickly go back and grab one without unpacking.

There are three kinds of water bottles you can pick when hiking. The first one is a metal vase. They are almost indestructible and will last for many years. However, they are relatively heavy and take up space when empty.

The second option is a soft foldable water bottle. These are reusable, packed small once they’re exhausted, and stand up like a regular water container when complete. They are less durable and should not be filled with hot liquid.

The final option is to reuse the Aquafina disposable plastic water bottle. They are easy to find, lightweight, and don’t have to worry about taking care of them, but they are perishable and not easy to pack.

The Dangers of Dehydration

Dehydration is a big deal, and the more you do not remain hydrated, the worse the problem.

Although everyone knows, water is vital for activities to be carried out more seamlessly and accurately in the human body. But not many people understand that the balance of water also directly affects how the body “works” when physically active. The following complications can identify severe dehydration:

Affecting morale, hiking performance

Research shows that about 70% of our body is water. More specifically, this figure is up to 75% with the brain- the central nervous organ. Therefore, drinking enough water is a significant thing to ensure the health and the “smooth” functioning of the body.

Dehydration can lead to impaired thinking ability and negatively affect memory, forgetfulness, work morale, visual-motor skills, and the ability to hike.

Interfering with exercise and other physical functions

Dehydration can affect heart function, sweat glands, and your ability to regulate body temperature. Exercise causes you to lose more water than usual, damaging your kidneys and liver.

When you become dehydrated, the kidneys and liver cannot burn much fat for energy, leading to an increase in body fat. Drinking water after exercise can help prevent fat gain and help you lose weight.

On the other hand, during exercise, water helps regulate body temperature, lubricates joints, and transports nutrients for energy and health. If you do not absorb enough water, you will not maximize your athletic power. You may feel tired, have cramps, dizziness, or other more severe symptoms.

Stop to rest and rehydrate immediately if you have the following severe dehydration symptoms: muscle cramps, dizziness, and headache, feeling lethargic or decreased performance of hiking, nausea, and stumbling, mumbling, grumbling, and dark urine.

Deal with dehydration while hiking

Dehydration won’t be too scary if you fix it up in time. Listen to your body to know the symptoms of dehydration.

Dehydration’s leading cause when hiking is due to the activity that causes the body to produce too much sweat.

So, when you find the first symptoms of dehydration, the mildest manifestations of dehydration, immediately replenish your water. Mineral water is best supplemented with electrolytes – as with dehydration, a significant number of electrolytes are excreted with the water. So often, water shortages will also lower sodium levels.

Tips for Drinking Water When Hiking

Before the trip

Before 12 hours of departure, we need to drink plenty of water to ensure that the body has enough “reserve” water. It doesn’t have to be carbonated or energy drinks. Be it filtered water, fruit juice, or tea. Avoid alcohol and caffeine as these substances stimulate the kidneys to increase water filtration from the body.

In the trip

About 2 hours of hiking after starting, the body will use the reserved amount of water. Then the body gradually loses water through breathing, sweating.

Drink water as often as you are thirsty. Drink water in small sips, small amounts as it feels dry in your mouth. Drinking water in small sips helps you to replenish the water regularly. At the same time, it reduces the risk of hip pain when you are too thirsty and you drink too much water at once.

In addition to water, you should increase the body’s sodium level with saltwater, electrolyte tablets, or dissolved powdered electrolytes. The oral electrolyte supplement should be used in parallel with hydration, should not drink electrolytes completely to replace drinking water.

Suppose the water bag is placed inside the backpack to store drinking water. In that case, electrolyte supplements should be prepared in the water bottle and kept in an easy-to-reach place.

Drink water regardless of the weather. Maybe your backpacking trip will take place on a sunny day, and it can also be a cool-weather day with a gentle breeze. The weather is not too hot to help limit sweating, and you do not feel thirsty, but drink water to prevent dehydration!

During lunch break

At this time, the body is rested for a long time, so it is better to take advantage of the water. Ore sol can be used to compensate for electrolytes for the body, increasing water absorption efficiency.

After hiking

Immediately after the end of the long journey, it is necessary to immediately replenish the lost water with at least 500ml water, preferably sour fruit juice. It can be both water and energy replenishing. Vitamin C helps the body to cool off nicely.

I especially need to urinate immediately within 6 hours of hiking after finishing. If you do not want to urinate, it will put your kidneys at risk.

How much water to drink enough

The adequate amount of water here depends on health status, age, sex, the intensity of each person’s movement, and specific climatic conditions.

However, on average, for intense activities in sweltering conditions, each person needs about 1 liter of water per hour. Under more pleasant conditions, the amount of water may be less.

You must replenish the water regularly to avoid dehydration before replenishing.

Note: Do not overdo drinking water because if you drink too much, it will reduce the number of electrolytes, harm the body.

How To Retain Water And Measures To Limit Dehydration When Climbing

How to stay hydrated

Before you leave your home, car, or camp, drink 16 to 24 sips of water before you start your journey. Drink a little more if you begin to walk in the morning, as you will be dehydrated from the previous night’s sleep.

Drink small amounts regularly rather than once every 2-3 hours of hiking to help maintain hydration levels during your exercise. You should set a timer every 15 to 20 minutes to remind you to take a few sips.

Place the water bottle in an easily accessible place. It would help if you used backpack water bags because they easily sip water while walking.

If you enjoy hiking with a water bottle, be sure to pack it on top or outside of your backpack, so you don’t have to waste time getting it from the bottom of your bag. Hydration belts and waistcoats are good choices for the track.

Take an electrolyte supplement if you are hiking for more than an hour to make up for sweating. Also, pack savory snacks to increase your electrolytes during walking.

Remember to bring money if you can. Always clean curbside water using a filter or chemical disinfectant or boiling it before drinking it to avoid getting sick

Drink one liter each time you stop to refill the water. You will rehydrate and avoid carrying water along the route.

Drink regardless of the weather. Proper hydration is also essential in cold temperatures (dehydration makes you cold faster). Pack an insulated water bottle or water bottle filled with hot tea or warm water to keep you hydrated. Remember not to drink cold water in cold climates.

Protect yourself from the sun heat with sunglasses, a sun jacket, and a hat. Tanning dehydrates quickly, and the shade (from your hat) will keep you more relaxed, sweat less, and therefore more water in your body.

Going hiking when it’s cooler will retain water for longer. In scorching climates, start walking at dawn and walk until around 11 am. Then find an excellent shady spot to rest and refuel with big meals (don’t forget to rehydrate) until 2 or 3 pm. When the sun is no longer at its peak, you wander again until sunset.

Check your urine. The amount of dark urine every 4 hours of hiking is a sure sign you are dehydrated.

How to find water sources when running out of water

You should look at nearby water sources and drink the last sip of your drink.

First, you have to stay calm. This is the most crucial step. Don’t panic, and you’ll be wasting your hiking time and energy.

Evaluate your current situation. How far is the nearest water plan? Unless the weather is too hot, a few hours without water will be more uncomfortable. If you are going further than that, you may need to find the wet things first.

Find a vantage point nearby and scan nearby terrain for vegetation, which is a sure sign of moist soil. Find pets that tend to graze near water.

Try walking up or down a dry stream; you might find an abandoned swimming pool, or at least damp soil, where you can dig the water. You should also bring with you a water filter for cleaning the nature water.


Water plays a vital role along your route. I hope after this article, you will be able to give yourself a lot of knowledge in preparing water for hiking. Make sure you have enough water when you leave home. Have a safe and happy backpacking trip!


How much water to carry for 10-mile hiking?

Under moderate temperatures, you need 0.5 liters of water, averaging about two glasses of water per hour for a journey of 10 miles. In harsher climates or terrain, you can use up to 2 liters of water.

How much water do I need for hiking (2 days)?

Under standard conditions, on average, you should consume about half a liter of water an hour. If you spend around 13 hours a day hiking, you’ll need around 13 to 14 liters of water to complete your 2-day hiking trip.

How do I keep water clean for hiking?

Nowadays, there are many ways you can keep your water clean during your trip, such as hand-held water filters, boiling, or ultraviolet filtration.

How much water for a day hiking?

Depending on the body, sex, and health, water requirements may vary. During a day trip, you should prepare about 5 to 7 liters of water to ensure adequate hydration.

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