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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 weight is carried close to your back so will feel lighter than laying in the bottom of your day pack.
A popular option is fresh water in the bladder and triple strength electrolyte (Gator Aid, Power Aid, Hammer, or Nuun) in a bottle. Small amounts put back essential electrolytes. The sweet mixture may be hard to swallow after several hours on the trail.
For cooling, carry a liter bottle of fresh water as a way to wash or wet down a microfiber cooling towel.
During an extreme hike your body needs fuel. Eat what works for you and what your stomach will not reject. A variety is helpful when your hike exceeds 8 hours. You determine what to eat during the training hikes and test your plan at the Test Hikes.
Coach's rule: Do not experiment with unfamiliar food or drink during the hiking tour.
Sweet and Salty Snacks: These are proven hiking snacks because they replace carbohydrates and lost 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 during our training.
Coach Gunn seldom promotes specific brands as seldom does one brand best meet all needs. There are many products for added traction on icy roads and trails. The options are many and often specific to the activity and surface, whether trail or road. The button below will take you to a website with evaluations of several products to assist you with an informed decision.
Coach Gunn recommends these shopping locations because they offer quality products and have trained staff to fit you. Shoes and day packs should be fitted to your specific size, shape, foot strike and intended use. [Use an experienced Boot Fitter and Backpack Fitter]
Many of our experienced long-distance hikers use Superfeet premium insoles in their shoes.
[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, and you want shoes that you've proven on long training hikes.
[Always use a good Boot Fitter when you buy shoes.]
The longest Cairn Stone hike is all-day and we never plan to sleep on the ground. However, we do want to be prepared to overnight in a remote area. A simple ankle sprain could require an overnight on the trail, whether yours or someone you stay to help. Coach Gunn includes a mylar blanket in his day pack list for this reason. Some Cairn Stone vets go a step further with a mylar sleeping bag. At just 4oz. and $4 each this better than option could mean a more comfortable night on the trail. (The button below offers one good purchase option)
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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]