Person holding a CamelBak filtered by LifeStraw water bottle and collecting water from a stream.

Stay Hydrated in the Backcountry

Tips on How to Stay Hydrated In the Backcountry

Heading into the backcountry for a grand adventure and some time away from the hustle is an excellent idea. It’s nice to get outside and traverse untouched trails. To hike, ski, climb, bike—whatever your sport—and not have to worry about sharing your space with a bunch of other people. 

With that ideal isolation also comes…well, true isolation. You’ve removed yourself from the more populated areas and are now in the wild, far from easily accessible resources. With that in mind, it’s important to know how to prepare for a trip into the backcountry, especially when it comes to hydration. Food and aid are important, but nothing makes or breaks an adventure—or a person—quite like being hydrated. 

Below we’ve outlined some tips and tricks on how to properly prepare, recognize dehydration, and how to stay hydrated on the journey. 

Hydration 101: How to Avoid Dehydration  

Being proactive about your hydration is the first step and ultimate goal in staving off dehydration. Drinking plenty of fluids (water, water + electrolytes, etc.) before even taking off on your adventure can help with your hydration levels. Additionally, you should always have enough water for your trip via one of our durable, everyday bottles and/or one of our CamelBak® filtered by LifeStraw® accessories, which allows you to treat any water, anywhere. 

However, we all know it can be very easy to get caught up in the excitement or intense focus of any activity—especially a high-octane, backcountry endeavor. When this happens, our hydration often takes a backseat. Who can remember to chug some water when you’re ripping down a mountain or trudging up a steep hill? 

So, if you know you or one of your adventure buddies are prone to forgetfulness when it comes to hydration, take a look at the following signs and symptoms of dehydration:

Initial physical symptoms of dehydration include headache, flushed complexion, low energy, overall fatigue and lack of mental clarity. Irritability can also start to set in once someone is dehydrated. Here are just a few signs of possible dehydration:

  • Feeling Thirsty: One of the most obvious initial signs that you are dehydrated is feeling thirsty. 
  • Urine Color: Your urine should be a clear or light-yellow color, rather than darker yellow or brown.
  • Dry Mouth: Checking the moistness in your mouth is another tip. If your mouth is starting to feel dry, you’re in need of water.  

Why is Dehydration Dangerous?  

Moderate to severe dehydration can also lead to confusion, dizziness, and vomiting. 

Medical professionals at the Cleveland Clinic note that severe hydration shrinks the blood vessels in the brain. When there aren’t high enough fluid levels in your brain, your memory and coordination can be affected.

Dehydration can also affect the heart as it has to work harder when there’s less water in your blood. Your kidneys can be affected too. If you’re dehydrated, you may urinate less and less water in your blood causes your kidneys to hold on to the urine.

Severe dehydration can lead to kidney stones, kidney failure and heatstroke. Make sure to call 911 or go to the emergency room if you have any of the symptoms of severe hydration including:

  • A temperature of 103 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
  • Nausea
  • Rapid pulse
  • Seizures
  • Lack of sweating
  • Confusion, altered mental state, slurred speech 
  • Dizziness 
  • Fainting, loss of consciousness 
  • Hallucinations

The Importance of Water Filtration in the Backcountry 

The “backcountry” is a broad, sometimes vague, all-encompassing term that really just refers to “sparsely inhabited rural areas”— aka the wilderness. Areas of this world that are not often treaded, where not many live, and where resources are few and far between. 

Whether you’re planning a hike or camping trip, hydration in the backcountry is vital. With so few opportunities for water, food, aid and other resources, making sure you have enough to last or the means to acquire them should be the first thought when venturing to these areas. 

Packing enough water to last your trek is the first step. We have bottles that range in sizes from 12oz to 64oz and 1.5-3L Reservoirs. If you’re stuck on which bottle or reservoir is right for which hike, head to our handy hydration calculator, which takes in information about you, your activity, and weather conditions to determine your hydration needs. 

To take your hydration preparedness a step further, bring along equipment that can effectively and efficiently treat natural water and make it safe for people to drink. Luckily, we’ve got your bak. CamelBak® has a range of bottles, reservoir kits, and individual filters powered by LifeStraw®. Together, they form a light, easy to use, and completely portable water filtration system. CamelBak filtered by Lifestraw products are compatible with your CamelBak® favorites. Best of all they properly treat most water sources.

How to Properly Treat Your Water 

There are many things that lurk beneath the surface of almost all our water sources—even those inviting, crystal clear springs. You should never drink unpurified water from a natural source, even if it looks clean. 

Water in a stream, river, lake, or other body of water may look clean but it can still be filled with bacteria, viruses and parasites. When ingested, these tiny little nuisances can result in waterborne diseases, such as cryptosporidiosis or giardiasis. Beyond these buggers we have to deal with all of the microplastics floating around in our—again, even seemingly clear—waters. 

That’s where a water filtration system comes in. LifeStraw®’s two stage filtration process provides safe hydration from almost any source. The hollow fiber filter removes bacteria, parasites and microplastics, while the activated carbon filter removes unwanted taste, odor, and chlorine. Our LifeStraw® water filtration products are also free from BPA, BPS, and BPF—so you’re safe and sustainable any way you slice it!

These water filtration devices couldn’t be easier to use. Perfect for long, winding trips into the backcountry. All you do is fill up your CamelBak filtered by LifeStraw® bottle or reservoir, and then let the filters do their work. Start sippin’ and get hydrated. 

Whatever adventure you’re on, make sure you are adequately prepared, especially when it comes to staying hydrated. And again, particularly when on backcountry journeys where access to resources is sparse. Take a bottle—or two—and a LifeStraw® attachment and you’ll already be much better off than before. Your hydration is our mission at CamelBak®. We’ve got your bak. 

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