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Water and Tanking Up
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Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Water and Tanking Up on 05/02/2008 14:41:10 MDT Print View

was wondering, how many of you have water with you the whole time you are hiking throughout the day, or do you tank up in the morning before taking off, then drink at water sources. This is a question that I have been thinking of applying towards myself. By lessoning the weight of water I could save some more weight. Mind you I hike in the Sierra's where water is plentiful and easy to find

Nia Schmald
(nschmald) - MLife
Re: Water and Tanking Up on 05/02/2008 15:32:55 MDT Print View

The weight savings of not carrying water are huge. Not having enough water is much worse. I think the body can only absorb so much water at a time, so tanking up in the morning and evening means I will be quite dehydrated in the middle of the day and quite bloated since I like to drink at east 6 liters a day while hiking.

For the most part hiking in the sierras means I don't have to make this choice. Typically water sources aren't more than a mile apart which means every 15-30 minutes I can stop and get a drink. The only problem with this approach is purification. The pumps and chemicals are annoying when used this frequently. My solution in the past has been to just skip the purification step, take a little bit of care in selecting my sources and take my chances. Again the sierras make this easy as the water quality is generally very high. This year I will be trying a UV device in areas where I'm a little more concerned about water quality.

When water is spread out I try and carry just enough water to run out about an hour before the next likely site and never more than 1 liter. The worst experiences I've had with this is needing to go an extra couple of hours before finding water.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Water and Tanking Up on 05/02/2008 15:56:22 MDT Print View

This may not help since I am describing Australian conditions. I don't think any experienced Australian walker would even remotely consider not carrying water. But it is a dry continent and the summers can be harsh.

I don't mind running out of water when I know that the next available water is only half an hour away or so. On the other hand, outside summer time I don't carry more than 1 litre per person, and this drops over the day.


Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Water and Tanking Up on 05/02/2008 20:52:01 MDT Print View

Hi Ken,
I also hike a lot in the Sierra and try to carry enough water to last me between water sources at a rate of ~4-6 oz/15 min. I feel it is very important to stay hydrated, especially at typical Sierra elevations. I also depend on liquid for nutrition during the day(Perpetuem), so I have to drink fairly often. The amount carried varies with weather, distance between water sources, and terrain. For instance, if I am going in over Shepherd Pass, I will start out with 2 liters to last for the hot grind up to the first water source, then 1 liter to last to Anvil Camp, then 1 pint for the leg up to the Pothole, and a pint to go over the pass and on to water along Tyndall Creek. Hiking down in Kern Canyon, never more than a quart, on day hikes in Milestone Basin I carry nothing and drink whenever because water is everywhere, etc. Whatever it takes to stay hydrated. I don't think it is a very good idea to skimp on water at high elevation, especially when exercising strenuously. It can lead to cramps, contribute to AMS, or just plain enervate you to the point where it ain't fun anymore. My 2 cents' worth.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Water and Tanking Up on 05/02/2008 21:17:43 MDT Print View

In the summer of 2006 I had a really, really bad experience while on a PCT section. It was very, very hot and I kept running out of water - I also was slacking at getting enough water when I did come to it due to hating the taste of the chemicals I was using.

Well....I found out what happens when one gets dehydrated on some blood pressure medicines. Your BP can go into the basement. On our last night I was so worn out, that when I got into camp I felt like I was going to pass out for a couple hours. I ended up laying on my side, trying to drink water. The next day I was still dehydrated and sick feeling, which left me having near full blown vertigo as I had to cross many miles of exposed trail. I talked to my Dr. who admonished me for that - it was the cause of my problems.

Since then I have fallen back into that trap a couple times but I catch it more quickly. In heat I now carry a lot of water - and drink it. In Utah this spring I was very, very careful and for the most part felt ok. I still don't drink enough in winter or cold areas but what it takes is the heat to really kick it in.

So yeah, not fun to run out!

Dondo .

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Water and Tanking Up on 05/02/2008 22:33:48 MDT Print View

When I hike in areas where water is plentiful, which is often, I carry little or no water between sources. Using a Steripen Adventurer makes this feasible. It's easy to dip my bottle, use the Steripen, drink and be on my way in a couple of minutes.

Edited by Dondo on 05/02/2008 22:35:03 MDT.

Richard Allen
Re: Re: Water and Tanking Up on 05/02/2008 23:50:15 MDT Print View

No offense but aren't you taking UL a little too far? I carry an extra liter. That's app 36oz including a one liter Platy.

During a hike in the Mt St Helens area that liter may have saved a dog's life. We met up w/a hiker who had two severely dehydrated dogs with him. One was being dragged within a makeshift litter. The dog looked almost comatose, near death. The hiker was lucid but in distress. Rambling, etc. The second dog .... same as the hiker.

The hiker admitted to being somewhat irresponsible and not planning adequately. No matter .... perfection is the Lord's purview.

I gave the hiker my extra liter which he fed to his dogs. The first dog immediately brightened although it was still in very bad shape. The second dog also improved markedly. The hiker refuse *any* water because there was a reliable source (we told him, verified by us earlier) app two miles farther on. Perhaps he wanted to punish himself or didn't want to leave me short of water? Perhaps my partner's disapproving looks had a negative effect?

BTW my partner did not offer any water. Although I never mentioned it, I believe it was because said partner was carrying the bare minimum. UL idealism, doncha know.

I use UL equipment/techniques to make my hiking more enjoyable. And .... .... to easily carry extra stuff. Love my 5.3 oz Big Agnes chair kit.

An extra liter still places me solidly in the UL spectrum for 3 season hiking in the PNW area. YMMV & HYOH. ;-)



Margaret Snyder
(jetcash) - F

Locale: Southern Arizona
Tanking up & carrying extra on 05/03/2008 02:15:38 MDT Print View

I do both, since I hike out of Tucson, AZ. Springs are erratic, I've seen one gushing one week and dry the next. Like with the dogs above an extra liter could save a life, maybe yours. I'll carry an extra kilo for that.

Dondo .

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Re: Re: Water and Tanking Up on 05/03/2008 06:52:04 MDT Print View

>>No offense but aren't you taking UL a little too far?

No offense taken. In answer to your question,I don't think so. Why carry the extra weight when you know that the next water source is just a short walk away? Note that Coup did his unsupported trek of the Colorado Trail using a filter at water sources and carrying little or no water in between. Of course, if I'm unsure of sources, I'll carry extra water as insurance.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
water and tanking up on 05/03/2008 10:30:03 MDT Print View

maybe I should clarify, I carry a litre of water between each water source. When I reach my next source I, then fill up, use my Steripen and then drink as much as possible. Fill up again and have a litre until my next source. Also I read maps and take notice of the places that I will be passing with water sources. I hope that clears up anything. This should have been added to my initial post.

Art Sandt
(artsandt) - F
Cameling up... on 05/03/2008 11:38:23 MDT Print View

Personally, I've never realized any benefits from cameling up. If anything, a bunch of extra water sloshing around in my stomach makes me feel queazy. I have, however, exerienced some pretty negative effects from becoming even slightly dehydrated. Not something I'd like to repeat...

Like Richard said, I use an UL approach to my gear so I CAN carry extra water.

Edited by artsandt on 05/03/2008 11:40:20 MDT.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Water and Tanking Up on 05/03/2008 12:11:12 MDT Print View

Carry at least one liter, esp if hiking alone. I found out in January how fast illness can strike. While hiking in Big Bend National Park (Mesa de Anguila), the temps were in the 40's or 50's and steadily drizzling. In the morning I was fine. We had lunch on a small ridge. I do remember feeling slightly anxious about only having my driducks with me since we would be desert bushwacking (think cat claw). I was not cold...just cool.

In the early afternoon we were walking through a dry wash and suddenly I felt lightheaded and knew if I stayed vertical I would pass out shortly (been there, done that). I immediately told the trip leader, a 60+ y/o tough-as-nails ex-Israeli military friend, about my issue and I went to lie down and get my feet up. While lying on the gravel I did start to get a little cold so we got out a sleeping pad. I may have had a really mild fever because I did start to shiver. Another person heated up a warm drink for me. There were zero other symptoms at this time so we wondered about mild hypothermia. I didn't think so.

After 45 minutes of resting I felt better, so we needed to make a decision about going back or going on to base camp some 10 miles from immediate help. I decided to push onward because I felt 100 percent better. So we hiked several more hours. About a half mile before camp, about 4:30 PM, the lightheadedness hit me suddenly again along with drownsiness. I just wanted to lie down and sleep in the trail. And I did just lie down right off the trail. The person behind me called for the others to come back. I was down for less than 10 minutes. We made it into camp somewhere after 5 PM and just as the sun was going down. It was no longer drizzling. Others immediately put up their shelters and headed to get water from Tinaja Largo. I only wanted to sleep so I was on all fours not doing anything. After 10-15 minutes someone came over to help me put up my shelter. I went straight to bed at 6 PM with a wiped out appetite, weakness, and nausea, but no belly pain that I remember.

Over the next two days, the others dayhiked, but I stayed in camp eating very little the first day and mostly sleeping. I lost hardly any water (no vomiting, one loose bm). My appetite slowly came back over the next two days and by the morning we were to hike out, I was able to eat my breakfast. My strength was about 80 percent by then so I was fine walking out. I also had my appetite back, but made the mistake of eating a greasy hamburger in town. Boy was that a gastronomical mistake. I should have stuck with mild foods for at least 24 hours.

Anyway, that is the long story of how suddenly one can become ill. I was lucky I was with others and had only a mild (to me) viral illness as far as water losses.

Edited by jshann on 05/03/2008 12:17:43 MDT.

Ryan Gardner
(splproductions) - F - M

Locale: Salt Lake City, UT
... on 05/03/2008 17:29:36 MDT Print View

I envy all of your hiking locales! Often I fill up 5 liters of water AFTER I just tanked up! It's not worth it for me to suppose that a spring or stream that was flowing last time I was there will still be flowing. I will often go an entire day with only one water source. But... lots of water and the absence of water are what make different parts of the world beautiful!

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
water and tanking up on 05/03/2008 19:18:41 MDT Print View

Ryan.....your locale says SLC! The Sierra's are not THAT far away nor is The Rockies. I drive 5-7 hours to hike in some of the most beautiful places on earth and it does not bother me in the least!!! Come check out The Sierra's!!!!!

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
water and tanking up on 05/03/2008 19:21:47 MDT Print View

But the question might be this. Is a litre of water (32 ounces) overkill when you know that every couple of hours you will be crossing a water source?

Dondo .

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: water and tanking up on 05/03/2008 19:37:04 MDT Print View

For me it would be, Ken. That bottle hanging from the shoulder strap in my avatar photo is a wide-mouth one pint HDPE Nalgene. In places with a lot of water, it's all I rely on during the day. For camp, I bring along a 2.4 liter platy.

Jon Hancock

Locale: Northwest England
I'm a sipper on 05/04/2008 03:44:10 MDT Print View

Most of my hiking is done in the UK, where I could either find springs and brooks easily (Scotland, for instance) or divert about a mile to a farmhouse or village and ask someone to refill my water bottle. Nevertheless, I always have a pint or so of drinking water with me and top it up when I can.

"Tanking up" never did anything for me beyond making me feel uncomfortably full and, despite not having any medical conditions, I've long since found that frequently sipping water suits me better. I have more energy, avoid headaches (which I do get as soon as I start to dry out) and generally feel better than if I'm waiting without drinking between watering holes. On the other hand I used to hike with a chap who carried no water and never drank during the day. Suited him fine, wouldn't do for me. So, even though water is all around me I like to carry some for the convenience of it. Extra weight, yes, but worth it personally.

John Doe
(jessearl) - F
Knowing that your next water source is nearby is fortunate on 05/04/2008 14:15:26 MDT Print View

All of my hiking is done inside the state of Florida. Hiking is not a big sport here and while the local trails are somewhat plentiful, their use is not. And so there isn't a lot of information available as to when and how frequent water will be available when hiking on a new or unknown trail.

I drink a lot of water throughout the day and will never start the day out with less than 1 full qt Nalgene bottle and a full 96 oz Nalgene Cantene.

Andrew :-)
(terra) - F

Locale: Sydney, Australia.
Re: "Water and tanking up" on 05/04/2008 18:17:17 MDT Print View

My water stores will be to suit the conditions. For me its part of trip planning. Factoring in the reliability of water sources on the trip, current weather, recent rainfall etc.
This is for Australian conditions also (but these can vary like anywhere else) We usually have around the 1 litre of water per person stat volume, same as Roger.
We carry it in a 1.5 litre PET bottle per person for most trips. Can add extra PET bottles, if required (rare).

Tanking up before a trip or at camp works well.
Starting a day before a trip and continuing in the car/train out to the trailhead works too. Just be prepared for extra 'pitstops'.

David T
(DaveT) - F
. on 05/05/2008 11:25:52 MDT Print View


Edited by DaveT on 11/20/2014 17:45:33 MST.