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Hydration for Lightweight Backpackers
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Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Re: Hydration for Lightweight Backpackers on 07/28/2013 18:17:43 MDT Print View

Donna C. -

Coconut Water - This is a concentrate to which you add 8 oz of water -


So 8 servings to get 1 gram of sodium. And with that you would get 4 grams of potassium.
Not a good ratio, IMHO.

If mixed as directed, you also drank 64 ounces (2 liters) of water.

Edited by greg23 on 07/28/2013 19:49:01 MDT.

Rick Burtt
(rburtt) - MLife
Gatorade powder on 07/29/2013 10:37:20 MDT Print View

Great article. I'm a little behind in my reading having just gotten off the trail and I haven't read the entire comment thread, so I apologize if my comments are duplicates of another's. Walking through a couple burn areas and through some dense foliage (in the same section of trail, in Colorado), I definitely started to suffer the effects of dehydration and a little heat exhaustion. One thing I noticed was the effects of altitude on dehydration. Not sure what the exact mechanism is, but I'm sure it has to do with the efficiency of processing oxygen in the blood.

Anyway, I found Gatorade's individual packets of powder to be lifesavers. Adding one packet to 20 oz of water made an immediate difference in my performance. I've never been one for sports drinks, but this stuff really worked. A side benefit is that it made the water taste better which made me WANT to drink more - I find that I just get plain bored of water. I've tried the Nuun tabs but quite frankly found the taste a bit off - had a bit of an Alka Selzer aftertaste no matter the flavor of the tablet.

For my $.02, I recommend the Gatorade packets.


Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Gatorade powder on 07/29/2013 12:31:49 MDT Print View

"...Gatorade's individual packets of powder..."

Which product? Gatorlytes, Endurance, Natural, or something else?

For their Gatorlyte Powder -


About $0.70 per packet, or $0.90 per gram of sodium.

Edited by greg23 on 07/29/2013 13:58:40 MDT.

Curtis B.
(rutilate) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: Re: Hydration for Lightweight Backpackers on 07/29/2013 18:27:32 MDT Print View

I put this information to the test this past weekend. I calculated the amount of sodium from my lunch and snacks and the supplementary amount my wife would need if we used the 300mg/hour rule, and 600mg/hour for myself. We added the equivalent amount of table salt to a water bottle and drank a bit at rest stops, rationing this saltwater/limeaid mix throughout the day.

Before now, 10 miles in the White Mountains has been our absolute max distance and we were exhausted, stiff, sore, and bloated by 3-4 lbs for a couple of days afterwards. With the salt additive, we felt fabulous at mile 6, enough to bag another peak that wasn't in the original itinerary. We hiked 17 miles and I still felt amazing at the end of the day. If it weren't for some foot pain, I could have kept going. I felt no soreness the next day, and on the second day I've already lost all the water weight and am down about 1/2 pound from the morning of the hike (my goal is endurance as well as weight loss).

What an amazing difference. My wife was getting ready to give up on the distance hiking because the toll was too great on her body, but now she's excited about giving me a run for my money in the 100 mile wilderness later this month.

Thank you very much to the original author and those who've contributed.I'm a believer!

Ben Pearre
(fugue137) - MLife
urine colour on 07/29/2013 21:03:10 MDT Print View

"...sources of fuel for energy and what macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, proteins) you consume will not alter urine color."


Yup, if you eat those and forget by the next day, you can misdiagnose yourself just a little :)

Ben Pearre
(fugue137) - MLife
The world beyond sodium on 07/29/2013 21:35:56 MDT Print View

One recent paper ( ) found that Gatorade was not a particularly good choice for recovery after high-intensity exercise, and that another drink (Rehydrate by Advocare, containing about the same amount of sodium but a host of other minerals, a different mix of sugars, as well as amino acids) was much better. They used only one measure of recovery; I'm not sure how applicable the measure is, but the authors think that the results show that it could be worth paying attention to more than just salt even for short-duration (but intense) exercise. Any reason to think that water+trailmix won't do about as good a job as the product that their data favour?

I'm just a menial computer scientist, but would the medical people here care to tell me what you think of the conclusion?

Also, I sometimes use WHO rehydration mix (mixed it myself, although commercial versions are available--it's basically sodium and potassium and a whole lot of sugar (and therefore dirt cheap to make)). The glucose makes it perhaps heavier than necessary (although it'd presumably be included in food weight if you were counting on consuming it, although I usually just carry a few packets for emergencies). I think it's designed for rehydrating during diarrhea and other illness that makes normal food consumption difficult, but what do you think of its use as a sports drink? Would the older, higher-osmolarity WHO solution be better for sports rehydration than the modern reduced-osmolarity one?

I like the idea of using sea salt; I'll have to try that the next time I mix up a batch. Sadly, I lack the resources to do double-blind trials of WHOmix with sea salt vs. iodised table salt... but I believe the non-NaCl in sea salt is only present in irrelevant quantities...

Edited by fugue137 on 07/29/2013 21:59:10 MDT.

Todd ~

Locale: The front range
My Thoughts on 08/03/2013 22:35:13 MDT Print View

@Kevin - physicians are quite expert at fluid management. All of them, but especially any in family practice, internal medicine or its subspecialties, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, or any surgical specialty. Those physicians manage intravenous hydration all day, every day, your suggestion that they don't understand what they are doing is laughable. As is your suggestion that one cannot induce hyponatremia by excessive water consumption. Please google "non-psychogenic polydipsia with hyponatremia"

Products designed for running a distance race do not translate especially well for hiking. I use endurolytes tablets when running for electrolyte replacement, along with plain (free) water for hydration, and mango baby food squeeze packets for calories / nutrition. This combination is great because they are the most healthful options I can use without breaking stride.

I don't use any of these when I'm hiking (except plain water). These products are great because they can be consumed on the run. I run endurance events at seven to eight miles per hour. Even my fastest hiking its half that pace.

At three to four miles per hour, one can consume real food that he likes. My favorites for the trail are salty / sweet Sahale snacks nuts, organic beef jerky, and homade empanades. Plus plain water. I also bring some fresh colourful fruit like blueberries or fresh mango. This provides electrolytes, anti-oxidants, micronutrients, calories, and hydration.

One should consume enough plain (free) water with this food while hiking that he is making clear urine every one to one and a half hours. Needing to urinate more frequently than this indicates excessive water comsumption. One should also make clear urine in everyday life, else he is putting undo strain on his kidneys and setting himself up for kidney stones.

Kevin Sawchuk
(ksawchuk) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Fluid Management on 08/03/2013 23:00:50 MDT Print View

I in no way suggested physicians don't know how to manage fluids. I am a physician. My closest comment, "You are also correct that a physician may not have the level of practical information to guide a runner or backpacker." is correct in many instances. Give a physician a blood pressure (including orthostatics), sodium, BUN, creatinine level and they'll get your fluids right.

Ask a physician not experienced with fastpacking or ultrarunning how much fluid or salt a person needs, how they should plan a drinking, eating, sodium strategy and they'll be unlikely to help you. Especially without the fancy tools we use to guide us.