desert hydration tips
Hydration needs depend on a myriad of factors, including activity intensity level, duration, weather, your age, sweat rate and body type. A general recommendation is about one half-liter of water per hour of moderate activity in moderate temperatures. Plan ahead and make a hydration plan using the tips below for your adventures under the desert sun.
In the weeks leading up to your desert adventure, tune into your hydration. In addition to drinking water frequently, eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and limiting alcohol intake aids in your body’s hydration process.
On the day of, consider drinking about 16 fl. oz. two hours before heading out for a sustained high-exertion activity.
Since a sunburn can accelerate dehydration, apply sunscreen and / or wear sun-protection clothing before heading out.
Consider wearing a ballcap or a lightweight wide-brimmed sun hat to protect your scalp and face.
Wear sunglasses that have UVA and/or UVB protection to protect your eyes from the sun and relfections from desert rocks and water.
Rather than gulping large amounts of water infrequently, take many smaller sips to continually hydrate.
Drink more at altitude
Grand Junction, CO sits at 4,583’. Doing any activity at higher altitude can lead to dehydration. You’re less likely to crave water and feel thirsty at higher elevations, so it’s important to drink frequently.
Drink even in cold weather
You may not feel like taking a swig of cold water on a cold day, but it’s just as important to stay properly hydrated in cold weather as it is in hot weather.
Pack Salty Snacks and Electrolytes
While you’re active, you will need to replenish the essential liquids including electrolytes that you sweat out. Salty snacks will help your body retain and use water more efficiently, while electrolytes are key to proper hydration and help your body absorb water quicker. To replenish both of these, bring small snacks and supplements in your pack. Some examples might include: trail mix, nuts and seeds, protein bars, dried fruits, jerky, hydration tabs, and electrolyte replacement sports drinks.
Note that a dark yellow urine color is a sign of dehydration and that more fluids are needed while a light urine color is a sign of hydration. Drinking water after exercise gets your fluid levels back to normal and can help with recovery.