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 an extreme hike you will care more about results than enjoyment - your body needs fuel. You want to eat what works for you and what your stomach will not reject. A variety is helpful when your hike excedes 4 hours. You want to determine this during the training hikes and final test on the Test Hikes. Don't break Coach's rule and experiment with new food or drink on your long-awaited hike at destination.
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.
[THE SOLES ABOVE ARE BALD TIRES!]
Check the lugs on your hiking shoes for wear. The elite hike candidates will put more than 400 miles on their shoes just with the biweekly training hikes. 400 miles is the end of life of a good hiking/running shoe.
Replace your shoes early or rotate two pair during the training season. Warn out soles give poor grip.
Coach Gunn recommends these shopping locations because they offer quality products and have trained staff to fit you.
Shoes and daypacks should be fitted to your specific size and shape.
Many of our long-distance hikers use Superfeet premium insoles in their shoes.
For items that do not benefit from a good fitting and supplies for your day pack Coach Gunn has a few recommendations.
[SCROLL DOWN FOR TIPS FROM CAIRN STONE VETERAN HIKERS]
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. [Downloadable pdf files]
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