When you hike, you need to hydrate!!
How much water should you carry while hiking? Well the simple answer is probably more than you might think. While it might seem like common sense, and something that everyone should know, many people have to be rescued while hiking in the Palm Springs area each year. While sometimes they have to be rescued due to injury, or because they left the trail and got lost, many times it is because they are dehydrated.
In fact, a Scottish tourist died while hiking the South Lykken Trail on Monday, July 29, 2015 because her and her husband both became dehydrated. According to the KMIR website,
“A 56-year-old tourist died today and her 59-year-old husband was hospitalized after the couple became dehydrated while hiking on the South Lykken Trail near Palm Springs. The couple, who were visiting from Scotland, set out about 7:30 a.m. from a trailhead near Murray Canyon and South Palm Canyon drives.”
Something like this does not have to happen. While I recommend that people do not hike the trails on the valley floor during the summer unless they are very experienced and well equipped, many folks still do. If you insist on hiking these trails in the summer heat, the best precaution that you can take is to simply have more water than you think you might need.
Many times while hiking trails in the Palm Springs area I have seem people miles away from the trailhead, hiking in the heat carrying just a small bottle of water like the one pictured to the left. This simply is not enough water even during the winter when the temperatures are lower.
You should have a hydration backpack with at least a 100 oz water bladder like a CamelBak, or other Hydration Pack and you should always carry extra water in a Hydro Flask or other bottle. I recommend a Hydro Flask because they keep the water cold even in extreme temperatures, and if you are hiking during cooler months they can keep beverages hot as well.
Water is essential for everyone, especially if you are exercising. Water helps almost every part of the human body function properly. Our bodies are almost two-thirds water, and proper hydration is essential to keep your body functioning properly during exercise.
Some folks like to carry some Gatorade, Powerade or other sports drink as well. For years, the debate has been going on about water and sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade. Research has shown that during exercise for a duration of less than one hour water should supply all the bodies needs. However, if your intense exercise lasts longer than one hour it is recommended that consuming a carbohydrate-electrolyte drink can be beneficial.
Since most of the hikes in the Palm Springs area will take you more than one hour, perhaps you should carry a sports drink with you to supplement your water intake. You may also want to have cold sports drinks in an ice chest waiting for you in your car for after your hike as that can be a nice refreshing treat when you are finished with your hike, you will be glad you did, and it will be a very refreshing treat.
Like I mentioned above, I always have my CamelBak backpack which has a 100 oz reservoir, or another of my Hydration Packs, and and I carry two Hydro Flasks with ice cold water as well. Most of the time I return with plenty of water left over, but on more than one occasion I have dipped into one, or both of my Hydroflasks!
If you plan on hiking in the desert, please carry plenty of water! It just may save your life!