Saturday, September 29, 2012

Don't skimp on water when day hiking

Children need a quart of water
for every two hours of hiking.
As water is the heaviest item you’ll probably carry, there is a temptation to not take as much as one should, especially on a day hike with children. Don’t skimp on the amount of water you bring, though; after all, it’s the one thing your body most needs. It’s always better to end up having more water than you needed than returning to your vehicle dehydrated.

How much water should you take? Adults need at least a quart for every two hours hiking. Children need to drink about a quart every two hours of walking and more if the weather is hot, dry or cold and if at a high altitude. To keep kids hydrated, have them drink at every rest stop.

Don’t presume there will be water on the hiking trail. Most trails outside of urban areas lack such public amenities. In addition, don’t drink water from local streams, lakes, rivers or ponds. There’s no way to tell if local water is safe or not. As soon as you've consumed half of your water supply, you should turn around for the vehicle.

Read more about day hiking with children in my Hikes with Tykes guidebooks.