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Carrying Enough H20
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Andy Greens
(gladesman) - F
Carrying Enough H20 on 04/27/2006 09:05:12 MDT Print View

I completed 3 Everglades Hikes this year all 3-4 day journey's in the middle of the dry season. It hasn't rained in South Florida in 50 days.
Almost all my gear is home made or altered. I'm happy with my hammock, tarp, kitchen, pad and pack. They are as light as any true UL'er carries. My 3000ci pack holds 30lbs. I carry 3 gal of water at 25lbs. This year there was no water to be found at all. even the mud was dried out in many spots. In an emergency situation I could have easily filtered and boiled mud to save my life. On the longest journey of 4 days the water was running thin the last day.
I would love to go out for longer stays but the water situation seems unbeatable. I carry my 3 gals.split into a 3 liter hydration pack and the rest in 1 liter collapsable bags so I have more options of distributing the weight. I would say that 3/4 of my pack is water. My minimal equipment takes up little room. (My personal philosophy on UL packing is that size is of equal importance as weight.) How do desert hikers carry enough water?
How do you carry more than 3 gal?
I have filters and chemicals but are all useless when it's that dry in there.

Scott Ashdown
(waterloggedwellies) - F

Locale: United Kingdom
Re: Carrying Enough H20 on 04/27/2006 11:35:17 MDT Print View


What do you do with your urine?

James Schipper
(monospot) - MLife
Re: Carrying Enough H20 on 04/27/2006 11:45:07 MDT Print View

3 gallons? Thats more than I've ever heard of anyone carrying. Unfortunately you can't make water lighter so if you want to carry more you would have to get a pack with a better suspension. I'd focus on conservation. Make sure you don't waste any water. Drink the water you use to wash you pots, swallow the water from rinsing you mouth, don't wash your body or clothes etc. Also, I know everybody stresses maintaining adequate hydration (especially in hot humid Florida) but if you run a little on the dehydrated side you body releases ADH, aldosterone and other substances which help you hold onto free water. I'm not necessarliy recommending this you can run into some serious problems if you get to dehydrated (fatigue, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, hypernatremia etc.) Loose fitting well ventilated clothing or a sun umbrella might help minimize sweat loss as well.

Andy Greens
(gladesman) - F
Thanks on 04/27/2006 12:10:38 MDT Print View

4 days 41 miles, 90 deg. no shade and rough terrain. I try to be careful of how much I drink. I eat only out of the bags that come with my food so no clean-up. I never carried that much water either, it was a first for me, as I have always been able to purify.
I have no intention of drinking Urine no matter how sterile and safe.

Doe adding salt or gatorade to drinking water help it last longer in your system and reduce the chance of dehydration?

Edited by gladesman on 04/27/2006 12:11:28 MDT.

Neil Bender
(nebender) - F
Re: Thanks on 04/27/2006 16:08:58 MDT Print View

Salt or gatorade don't really reduce the chance of dehydration more than water. The balance of electrolytes and sugar in gatorade does speed absorption and replaces lost electrolytes and offsets glycogen depletion in the muslces. Sipping water regularly reduces the need for the absorption benefit of gatorade, but does nothing to replenish lost sodium and potassium or feed you some carbs though.

Another benefit to gatorade is that it helps prevent hyponatremia (water toxicity), where drinking too much pure water upsets the electrolyte balance not so much by sweating electrolytes out but by diluting their concentration in the blood. This can be fatal and hit far more quickly than dehydration.

Maybe the best tactic in these conditions is to reduce sweating by hiking in cooler hours, and providing your own shade if none is available otherwise. Pre-caching water might work for some types of trips.

Erich Foster
(erichlf) - F
Re: Carrying Enough H20 on 04/27/2006 16:47:40 MDT Print View

As far as I have always been taught...

If one is becoming dehydrated you do not want to eat, or atleast eat at a minimum. So if one is losing salt (ie. electrolytes) the best way to maintain those electrolytes would eb to obtain it from liquids.

Andy Greens
(gladesman) - F
Thanks on 04/27/2006 17:22:55 MDT Print View

Wow, That is great info. My hiking partner always talks about over hydration and we are careful. The hydration bladder hose hanging in your face makes you drink more water than when you are using a bottle (for me).
This is where I hike:

Edited by gladesman on 04/27/2006 17:51:07 MDT.

john Tier
(Peter_pan) - M

Locale: Co-Owner Jacks 'R' Better, LLC, VA
carrying water on 04/27/2006 17:55:55 MDT Print View

Look for an opportunity to cache water...perhaps a day trip to a midpoint on your planned long route to cache a water supply and return...Max out water on a trip like this so that the cache can be "cammeled" on arrival and still have plenty for the second half of your subsequent long hike.


Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
A few water saving tips on 08/05/2006 03:38:25 MDT Print View

I thought I would post a few things that I do in Arid South Australian conditions to conserve water. This is just a start...

Don't wash up you pots. If you do, drink the washing up water.

If you are running low on water, don't eat any fatty foods-stick to the carbs that you have. Also, put off going to the toilet a bit longer than normal. Gives your body a bit more of a chance to absorb water and nutrients from your stool.

Don't use water to brush your teeth. Don't even use toothpaste. Flossing and brushing is all you really need.

I find that hydration hoses tend to make you drink more (for me anyway), possibly more than I need to, because I can't tell how much I am drinking until it is all gone. When I am close to my water limits I put the hose away and just stop for a break every 15mins. Get the bladder out and drink then. If you allow yourself to drink more than about 700-900mL in an hour it is a waste anyway. Your body can't absorb it. I now just use two 600mL bottles on the side of my pack, and carry a few large platypus bladders for the rest.

Take regular breaks. In shade if possibe. In a breeze too. Take off your pack, even your shirt and hat to cool down-you want to minimise the need that your body has to sweat.

As said before walk in the cooler parts of the day. In Sth Aus this means get your walking done before about 1pm in the summer. It will still be too hot until after dark. Might be different in Florida.

Dont eat a hot meal. If you need to cook it to prepare it, let it cool down again. Don't consume any caffiene-its just wasting water.

This is a start. In deserts here I am considering using water transpiration bags while I rest in the afternoon heat, plus constructing a UL still, so that I can process and use saline water in some inland salt lakes and creeks.

Good Luck!

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Re: A few water saving tips on 08/05/2006 19:27:48 MDT Print View

Good stuff, Adam,
It reminds me of a few old truisms such as:
Backpackers drink their dishwater.
UL backpackers don't have dishwater.
In hot country, take a mid-day siesta.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Water saving tips on 08/05/2006 19:44:01 MDT Print View

Another thing to consider is making sure you are not ingesting large amounts of protein. A byproduct of protein catabolism is urea which requires extra water to allow it to be excreted in the urine. This can lead to dehydration, especially in very hot weather and/or situations where you are trying to conserve water.