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Gear guide: Products (and tips) to keep campers hydrated

By following our guide, you can keep your family well-hydrated and energized for the next adventure.
Group of people hiking on a hot day
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June 22, 2018 10:54 AM
  1. What is dehydration?

    Dehydration occurs when your body is losing more fluids than it’s taking in. Children, the elderly and diabetics are especially susceptible. Extreme heat, elevation and vigorous exercise can increase any person’s risk of dehydration.

  2. Plan ahead to stay hydrated

    Before your trip, contact the park to see what reliable water sources are available throughout the area. That way you’ll know how far you’ll need to hike before refilling.

  3. How much should you drink?

    Though a variety of factors are at play—including the type of exercise you’re doing, the temperature and your age—as a general rule, campers should plan to drink a half-liter of water for every hour of moderately strenuous activity.

    Especially when hiking, don’t gulp down everything at one time; instead, take smaller sips at regular intervals. Remember that higher altitudes require you to drink more often, even if you don’t feel thirsty.

  4. Staying hydrated on the move

    Heading out on a walk or hike? Be sure everyone drinks water before leaving camp. Many fruits and veggies have high water content, so enjoy some strawberries or watermelon with your breakfast, and add a couple slices of tomato to your lunchtime sandwich.

    In addition to water, electrolyte replacement sports drinks and powders can help replenish after strenuous exercise. What’s more, flavored water is often more appealing to kids and teens. (Just be sure to read the ingredients, as these drinks are often laden with sugar.)

    Both caffeine and alcohol are diuretics, so be mindful of your consumption at camp.

  5. Signs of dehydration

    Dehydration can be life-threatening, so know the signs and regularly monitor yourself and others in your group—especially children—for warning signs. Common symptoms include thirst, dry mouth, dark urine, fatigue, irritability, cloudy thinking and headache.

    If you suspect someone is nearing dehydration, find a shaded spot to sit down and sip water. If that doesn’t help, seek immediate medical attention.

  6. Safety tips

    While drinking plenty of water is crucial, it’s just as important to make sure that the water you’re drinking isn’t contaminated. No matter how pristine it looks, never drink water directly from a river, lake or stream without first purifying it by boiling it or using a purification tablet. If swimming, remind children to keep their mouths closed to avoid mistakenly downing a gulp of river water.

  7. Helpful hydration gear

    Each camper should have his own portable, reusable water bottle. Containers with pop-up straws are best for kids, as screw-on tops can be tricky for little fingers to manipulate, and tops often go missing.

    Keep your cool by wearing clothing that is light-colored, non-restrictive and made of breathable fabrics. A hat will provide relief from the sun during the hottest parts of the day.

    Your tent is one of your best defenses against dehydration. Back at camp each afternoon, set aside some “inside-the-tent time” for everyone in the group. Recharge with water and let the protective shade recharge you.

    Finally, make sure you have a high-quality cooler that’s well-stocked with plenty of water, sports drinks and juices. Keep in mind that we’re all more likely to consume a drink that’s icy-cold, so pack your cooler properly to optimize its chill factor.

    Cheers to a happy, hydrated camping trip!

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