Calculating how much water you need to bring when you're hiking is pretty straightforward. Based on a wide range of experiences and reports from backpackers, the standard advice is to drink 1 liter of water for every hour that you're hiking.

If you've been hiking for a couple of hours and you don't feel the need to use the bathroom, then you probably aren't drinking enough water.

Another sign of dehydration is urine that has a dark yellow color. Your urine should be clear/light yellow. Any darker than that and you aren't getting enough water.

Things to Consider When deciding How Much Water to Bring Camping

As we all know, water is a crucial part of our well-being and without it we simply would not survive. Drinking water ensures that we replace any fluids lost by perspiration and breathing, as well as helps to push out waste products from our bodies. It is also responsible for fundamental functions such as regulating our body temperature and protecting our body and is ever present in our cells, our tissues and our organs. It basically makes up an astonishing 60% of our body weight.

It is a well-known fact you can die from dehydration and lack of water in the body and this can be only in a matter of hours depending on how dehydrated you are in the first place. If for any reason you are losing fluids quicker than normal (for example because of diarrhea or vomiting) it is even more imperative to rehydrate as quickly as possible.

In everyday life, most people drink enough water during the day through a plethora of beverages. However when water is not easily accessible it is necessary to think ahead. Planning to have enough water based on the strenuousness of the activities you will be doing, where you are camping and what time of the year it is, are a vital factors to consider when you are making your pre-camping checklist. Remember that swimming in a lake, canoeing, or a simple game of soccer are all activities where additional water needs to be taken to keep you hydrated.

So How Much Water Will I Need to Go Camping?

Although there is absolutely no formula for how much water each individual should drink, health authorities suggest that you need to drink 2 liters or 0.5 gallons of water every day. This is a very general guide and how much water you do need will very much depend on what type of activities you are planning on doing, for how long and the intensity of that activity. Whether you have an illness will also have its own effect on your hydration levels. Bearing all of this in mind, you will then need to bring into the equation the additional factors such as:

  • How long you are camping for?
  • Where are you camping? On a campsite, in a remote area etc.?
  • What you are doing when you are camping; i.e. intense activity or sedentary?
  • What time of year are you camping? What will the temperature be?
  • Will there be humidity when you are camping?
  • What is your mode(s) of transport to the camping area i.e. how much do you physically have to carry or are you using vehicles?
  • How many people are in your group?
  • Will you have access to fresh and safe running water whether it be a tap or a stream whilst you are camping?
  • What kind of diet will you be eating whilst you are away i.e. does the food contain a lot of water? If not then you will need to supplement the lack of water in your food
  • Do you need water for cooking?
  • Do you need water for cleaning yourself and your dishes?

All of these things (and more) have to be taken into consideration before a camping trip. There is a lot more to randomly choosing your water requirements then sticking your finger in the air and taking a guess. Experience will play its part too; the amount of water required will be a lot easier to calculate if you have been camping before.

When you are camping, you can use a filter to purify the water you obtain from a natural water source such as a lake or a stream for drinking and cleaning. There are several products on the market that you can add to your water to make sure it is clean enough for you to drink, such as water purification tablets. Simply boiling water will also remove any of the bacteria that in water if you are using natural resources. UV light can cleanse the water. Also be aware that the sun can purify your water if you do not have access to any of the other options. All of these are great ideas to minimize the amount of actual water you need to take with you.

Always being prepared when you go camping – or when doing any outdoor activity for that matter – is crucial and something which is better done at home before you leave than when you are half way through your adventure and discover you must cut it short because you didn’t adequately plan for your trip.