Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Welcome REI Co-op Members!
We're glad you're here. If you can't access the Co-op Members section of the community,
click here for instructions on how to join the section that's just for you.

Hydration/How much to drink backpacking in the Mountains

Good morning, since I'm not sure I drink enough last year and headaches can be caused by both hydration and altitude and wondering if there is a base amount of water per mile/hour of activity that is suggested. I've tried to find the advice to drink before you're thirsty, but I'm not good even in real life at drinking enough so I'm wondering how much people try to take in so I can compare it to what I have been doing. Hope everyone is enjoying some great hikes this year.

12 Replies

One solution for avoiding running out of water is to carry a UV wand and a wide-mouthed nalgene--much lighter than an extra liter of water. Of course, you have to be hiking where there are water sources...


In the context of backpacking in the US, using an appropriate backpacking filter (0.1-0.2 micron) is generally preferred to the UV method...partly because the UV method requires clear water to work so a filter may be required anyway and partly because the fragility and reliability of a light bulb and battery powered device is not the best match for the rigors of backpacking.  UV can be good as a backup to a filter and is great for international travel because unlike most backpacking filters which can only filter protozoa and bacteria,  UV will also inactivate viruses.  Waterborne viruses are not generally a problem in the US backcountry but can be elsewhere.


I am always interested in weight that I carry. As we all know water is probably the heaviest of all our items. I never skimp on water but I always carry (Salt stick) tabs and fast chews. Electrolytes in a compact easy to use form.