November 20, 2015 8:16 PM MST - Subscription purchasing, account maintenance, forum profile maintenance, new account registration, and forum posting have been disabled
as we prepare our databases for the final migration to our new server next week. Stay tuned here for more details.
Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
How much water to carry for overnight hike at elevation?
Display Avatars Sort By:
Jared Hendren
(jphendren) - F
How much water to carry for overnight hike at elevation? on 08/15/2012 18:14:07 MDT Print View


This is my first post on backpacking light. I am planning a 16.5 mile, one night trip to the summit of Charleston Peak in southern Nevada. It is a little over 8 miles to the summit; I will be returning the same way. This is a high altitude desert mountain, but has very little water this time of year. About 2.5 miles into the hike there is Cave Spring which I believe produces water all summer, but am unsure. My plan is to hike as close to summit as possible and camp on the north ridge, summit the next morning, and return to the car. The temps appear to be in the upper 70's during the day, and low 50's at night. That is at the 7,800' level, I will be hiking and camping mostly above 10,000', so it should be cooler. I am thinking that 3-4 liters should be sufficient for this hike. What do you guys think? My pack without food or water weighs around 9-10 pounds.


Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: How much water to carry for overnight hike at elevation? on 08/15/2012 23:05:47 MDT Print View

When I camp away from a water source, I figure 2.5 liters to get me through dinner, breakfast, and some water to start the day. That has always worked well in the past. Also, one one trip I recall, I ate dinner, watered up with 3 liters, and hiked a little ways to a campsite; then in the morning, went until noon before reaching a water source. I had drunk all my water and was pretty thirsty by the time I reached that water.
For the hike up, let's say it will take you 4 hours. I'd drink up before starting to hike and I'd figure 2 liters to drink along the way. You'll come down pretty fast in the morning, so as long as you have water at the car you'd be fine with what's left over from the camp allowance. So that puts us at 4.5 liters. That's what I'd take. And I'd drink extra water the day before the hike to ensure that I was well hydrated before starting.

My numbers assume dehydrated food, so f you are carrying food that does not require rehydrating, you would not need quite as much water.

Andrew McAlister
(mcalista) - F
re: How much water to carry for overnight hike at elevation? on 08/16/2012 17:45:41 MDT Print View

Paul's numbers seem pretty right. 2.5 L for dinner, breakfast and bit left over for the next day. If I am being really careful (clean up pots, less water for cleaning teeth, less milk in my cereal, etc), I can get this down to about 1.5 L, but it does mean I am less hydrated the next morning and finding water a higher priority.