Don't even think of starting on a hike that takes you more than a mile from home without a bottle of water along. You should have at least two quarts of water with you and drink 1/2 to 1 cup every 30 to 45 minutes. Keep the water coming into your body even if you don't really feel very thirsty. If you are hiking, you are losing moisture and you need to replenish it.
By the end of a 4-hour hike, you should have drunk both quarts of water and you should be able to use the toilet. If you don't need to, then all that water came out as perspiration and you still need to drink more water to stay hydrated. After a hike, you should drink additional water until you need to use the toilet. I don't mean chug it down, I mean drink a 1/2 cup or so every 5 minutes or so.
Water is THE most critical survival item - whether in the wild or at home.
Rule of 3:
- You can live 3 minutes without air.
- You can live 3 days without water.
- You can live 3 weeks without food.
You'll have air to breathe unless you're under water or in a cave-in. If you run out of food, you can struggle on for 150 miles if needed. But, if you run out of water, you have only a day or so to figure out a solution.
How much water do you really need? Does it matter where you are, the time of year, or the elevation?
Once you locate water, you're not home free. There're lots of critters living in that water and they'll make life miserable for you. It's a good idea to treat all water you find and here's how to do that.
Now that you have all the water you need, your stomache will only hold so much. You need to carry the rest down the trail until you find more water. Secure, comfortable, inexpensive transportation of water is the key.
Jul 26, 2012 - Robin
Also, if you know there is water along the route, you can carry less and gather water as you need.
Drink more water, and eat fruits and vegetables to gain magnesium, potassium and calcium - that will generally help.