Your body is about 60% water. It stops working if you run low of water or electrolytes.
You lose water and electrolytes in your sweat. Drink often and replace the lost electrolytes.
Carry enough water: 2 to 3 liters may be enough water for most hikes but for an extreme hike you may need to carry 4 to 5 liters.
Emergency water sources: You may also need a way to make water potable in an emergency. Portable filtration systems are now available, they are light and make tasty water and may be a better alternative to traditional iodine tablets.
Most hikers will find a 3 liter bladder in their day pack as the best way to carry the water they need. The drinking hose is very convenient and efficient and the heavy load of water is carried close to your back in your day pack and will feel lighter than 3 liter bottles of water laying in the bottom of your day pack.
Some of our Cairn Stone vets also carry a water bottle with triple strength electrolyte (Gator Aid, Power Aid, Hammer, or Nuun). A few quick gulps will put back lots of electrolytes. Sweet tasting mixtures become hard to get down after hours on the trail.
Also carry a liter bottle of fresh water as backup and as a way to wash or wet down a cooling towel.
During your extreme hike you will care more about fueling your body and not so much about enjoying what you consume. You want to eat what works and what your stomach will not reject. You should have this well established during the training season and in the Test Hikes. Don't break Coach's rule and experiment with new food or drink on your long awaited extreme hike.
Sweet and Salty Snacks: These are the standard hiking snacks because they do the job of replacing carbohydrates and some salt (an essential electrolyte).
A pattern or rhythm works best such as taking a drink every 15 minutes and adding a snack every second drink. Find what works best for you.
Many Cairn Stone vets have had multiple elite hikes in the backcountry with good and not so good experiences.
Here they share some of that hard-won experience. [Download pdf files]
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