Hydrating is essential on a 10-mile hike, but how much water should you drink? Packing less water than you need can lead to heat exhaustion and dehydration, which is a severe risk while hiking. Avoid these health risks by correctly estimating the amount of water you will need and pack extra water or hydration drinks for your next hike.
How much water you should drink on a 10-mile hike is about 0.5 liters of water for every hour of hiking in normal conditions. Increase the rate of consumption when hiking in warmer temperatures and higher altitudes. The amount of water required to hydrate varies from person to person, so adjust according to your needs.
Reading through the entire article will explain how much water you should drink on a 10-mile hike, the weather, and temperature considerations that can make you dehydrate faster, use a hiking water calculator, and the best hydration drink while hiking.
How Much Water Do I Actually Need for a 10 Mile Hike?
Water is most likely one of the heaviest items you will be carrying on your 10-mile hike, and you will feel the weight with every step you take. Water usually weighs around 2 lbs (0.9 kg) for each liter, which can add up very fast in your pack. You do not want to take too much water, but you want to make sure you have enough on the trail to keep you hydrated.
Generally, the amount of water you should drink on a 10-mile hike is approximately 0.5 liters (17 ounces) or 2 cups of water for every hour of hiking with moderate temperature in typical terrain.
Depending on the terrain surface, weather, and the speed you walk, you may need to drink more than 2 liters (68 ounces). You may need to carry a minimum of 2.3 liters (77.8 ounces) of water (10 cups) of water if your 10-mile hike takes about 5 hours, but this is a basic guideline, and you might drink more than usual.
A 10-mile hike can take from 4 hours to up to 10 hours, depending on the hiking pace, trail surface, pack weight, temperature, physical condition, and elevation gain. So the amount of water you may need to bring at a minimum should be approximately 2 liters (68 ounces) or more in higher heat and strenuous hiking.
You will need to carry an additional liter of water for every 1,000 feet in elevation gain as every 1,000 feet will take an hour for you to hike. If you are trekking at an altitude of 10,000 feet and are planning on climbing higher, you need to bring an additional liter of water for every 2,000 feet you ascend.
You will need to take an additional liter of water in hotter or humid weather. If the temperature is over 80°F or around 27°C, you will need to pack an additional liter for every 20 degrees increase in Fahrenheit or 10 degrees increase in Celsius.
If you are packing very heavy, over 50 lbs or 22 kg, you will want to bring an additional liter of water for every 25 lbs (11 kg) you are over this weight. Additionally, 1 liter (34 ounces) of water weighs approximately 2.2 lbs (1 kg), so the amount of water you bring will increase your pack’s weight.
If you are hiking near a lake or along a river with a water source, you can get a filtration/purifying system instead, as there is not much of a weight difference between an additional water bottle or a filter.
Planning Around Meals
Bear in mind that you will use water for your meals and during rest breaks. Take a look at your planned meal schedule to see how much water you will need to make food. If you are taking dehydrated food or calorie-dense snacks, these can often take 0.5 liters (17 ounces) and must be included in your calculations.
Weather and Temperature Considerations
If the weather is too humid, the trail is particularly strenuous. The 10-mile route is becoming an unusually longer hike than anticipated, do not forget to refuel on salt and electrolytes. Your body cannot replace all the liquids you are sweating out without salt and cause loss of electrolytes, which can add to your fatigue and cause injuries.
Dehydration occurs when the amount of water absorbed into your body is less than the number of liquids your body is losing by sweating. While feeling thirsty is a crucial indicator of dehydration, reduced energy levels, dry throat, dark urine, and headaches are other dehydration symptoms. Make sure to have oral rehydration salts in your first aid kit as they help you to absorb and retain fluids effectively.
Another way to check if you are not drinking enough water is to check your body weight before and directly after your hike because you should weigh the same. If the weight has fallen, then the cause could be due to dehydration, and you must compensate for the loss of fluids in your body.
How Many Ounces of Water to Drink per Mile? (Hiking Water Calculator)
The estimated amount of water you should bring on your hike depends on your prediction of the total amount of time it will take you to finish the 10-mile hike. Be honest about your physical condition, and do not assume you will finish the hike faster if you are in decent shape.
There are many variables and changing conditions that can quickly shift on the trail, so always lean on the side of cautions and carry more than you think you may need.
According to CamelBak’s hiking water calculator, if you identify as a male that is 6 feet (182 cm) tall, weigh 190 pounds (86 kg), and are 30 years old, he sweats a moderate to a heavy amount on a 2-hour hike in sunny 80°F or 25°C weather, you will ideally need 2.35 liters (79.5 ounces) or 1 liter (34 ounces) per hour.
What Is Best to Drink While Hiking? (Filtered Water, Mixes and Powders, etc.)
Drinking sports beverages such as tablets or mixes in powder form and eating food with high salt content such as jerky or nuts to replenish any minerals and vitamins you lose while sweating. You can bring powders and tablets to mix with water before the hike or on the trail.
The best hydration drinks and products provide hydration and energy for longer hikes with easily digestible calories and electrolytes to encourage you to hike all day.
Ideally, you should drink these sport/hydration drinks when fatigue sets in and sip at your water regularly despite not feeling thirsty. When you are hiking, you can quickly lose track of time, so set a timer for every 15 to 20 minutes to take a sip of water to ensure you will not get dehydrated.
Some ingredients to look for in a hydration drink, powder, or tablet are:
- Sugar (dextrose/fructose/cane sugar)
- Caffeine (optional, for an extra boost)
Best Hydration Drink for Hiking?
The best hydration drink for hiking is water plus an electrolyte – like NUUN tabs. Rather than sugary sweet sports drinks, NUUN has sugar-free electrolyte tablets that dissolve in water. The electrolytes found in these tabs help relieve cramps and effectively burn energy.
NUUN recommends one self-dissolving tablet into 16 fluid ounces (473 ml) of water, waiting 2 minutes until it stops fizzing, and then consuming your hydration drink.
A 10-mile hike is not an easy activity even for experienced hikers and requires estimating how much water to pack for the trail in advance. Figuring out how long the hike will take will allow you to prepare water, hydration drinks, and electrolyte replacements to avoid dehydration and keep active longer.
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Erick is a freelance writer and outdoor enthusiast. Growing up in Nairobi Kenya and now calling Glasgow, United Kingdom home. Sipping on homemade spiced swahili tea and enjoying a good book is his idea of bliss.