Nov 2, 2013 at 8:49 am #1309387
I'm considering a 10 day trip on the Negev desert portion of the Israel National Trail. As there are very limited water sources and I'm not exactly sure what my pace is going to be, I want to be extra careful on the hydration side. One of the things I'm considering is "cameling up", i.e. drinking 1 to 2 liters of water before leaving a water source. I would assume that the main result of this would be that I would urinate a lot in the next hour? To solve this problem, somewhere on the internet somebody recommended eating Chia seeds, they turn the water into a gelletin in your gut which then slowly disperses the water. Can anybody validate 1. whether "cameling up" is a good idea and 2. whether I should or should not do it with Chia seeds. On a prep trip (out of the desert) I thought I would give it a try and see what happens.
Another question that occurs to me is, if I'm going to need to carry 5 liters of water, what is the best way to do this. I assume mounting this as low as possible on my hips is the most efficient way to do this, so I don't end up with sore shoulders?Nov 2, 2013 at 4:24 pm #2040531
…Nov 6, 2013 at 7:33 pm #2042014
If I were to carry 5 liters I would probably carry a 1 liter bladder in either external side pocket of the pack for easy access and then carry the rest of the water in bladders inside the pack against the spine as close to the center of the pack as possible. You will notice the difference in comfort if you try packing the water in different ways and see what is most comfortable for you. About the chia. I hike with chia and add it to my water. Make sure if you do this it has adequate time to absorb the water. I put chia seeds with freeze dried fruit powder in my bottle and let it absorb for about 2 hours before drinking. If you need it to absorb quicker you can grind the chia in a coffee grinder pre-trip. Make sure the chia is very gelatinous before you drink it. I used to (years ago) need lots of water and still felt dehydrated often. I had to carry water with me everywhere. I started eating more mineral rich food as part of my daily diet and now I feel very hydrated and I drink less water than I used to. I often drink about half of the water on the trail as other hikers. I believe this is because my diet is very high in minerals and nutrition and my body uses water more efficiently than it used to. When I hike I eat a lot of seaweed which is mineral rich and salty. I also use micro algae every day in tablet form. Spirulina and chlorella. I take double dose of multi vitamin mineral and eat salty snacks in moderation. I believe these things help my body need less water to stay hydrated. Also, when I am not on the trail I eat tons of fresh vegies, drink fresh vegie and fruit juice and eat a high nutrient dense diet including micro algaes and superfoods. I would also consider when hiking in the desert or hot areas to wear long pants and long sleeve shirt to prevent evaporation from the skin and also to carry an umbrella for shade while you hike. It is noticeably cooler under an umbrella. I wear light weight full coverage clothing from railriders and use a sun umbrella from golite. I hope this is helpful. Definitely camel up as you need to to avoid dehydration and sip as you go.Nov 6, 2013 at 8:41 pm #2042038
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
Too much of a good thing can be bad. I often hike in deserts. I don't "tank up" much at water sources. If I am thirsty I drink until I am not. I don't think I can drink two liters at once — that is 1/2 gallon of water! We need to keep our body water in equilibrium if possible. Too much or too little is bad.
I eat the foods I need for nutrition, not for retaining water. One change I make in hot weather is to eat salty foods — not constantly, but enough to replace salts lost during perspiration.
When I need to carry more than 4 liters, I have two packs that both have two side water bottle pockets that each can hold a 64 ounce (2 liters) Gatorade bottles — I ordered them this way specifically because I am in deserts a lot. Other water I carry in the pack up high and against my back.
If someone is going on a 10 day hike and will be carrying 5 liters of water, then they should, in my opinion, have a proper pack with a suspension that will transfer the weight to the hips — this means a real frame. Of course with a properly fitted framed pack, there should be no (or little) weight on your shoulders.
If I were going into the desert for 10 days, I would for sure know what my pace would be, or have some very realistic bail out points or alternatives.Nov 10, 2013 at 8:08 am #2043005
Aaron, when you plan the hike and which part of the desert you intend to do?
I hiked the whole trail last Feb, if you have questions I'd be more than happy to help (can send my e-mail address through PM).Nov 10, 2013 at 10:50 am #2043035
@wildtownerLocale: Grand Canyon State
+1 on everything Nick says!
And do NOT experiment, while backpacking, with foods you don't normally eat — especially when you'll be in a "challenging" environment. Causing GI distress will get you dehydrated more quickly than anything!
Because I do a lot of multi-day trips in the desert, I have different backpacks (some fairly heavy, but capable of carrying a ton of weight comfortably), because there are times when I am making multiple water caches along the route, and I have to start out with 8 liters of water (or more)! So unless you can suffer really well, remember to choose your pack according to how much water you'll be carrying…
There's (unfortunately) a limit to how UL you can be in the desert, because water weighs so much!Nov 10, 2013 at 7:08 pm #2043176
Get a good quality frame pack, and several water bladders. I would recommend splitting your supply among several bladders, rather than one mega bladder. If a bladder fails, and it only hold 1/3 of your supply, you are less likely to be in serious trouble.
I would not try to go super UL on this, if the gear fails this is a life safety issue. I would recommend using the MSR Dromedary or Dromlite bladders. Pack these against your back, between your neck and your lumbar. Most packs have a hydration bladder pocket here, although not big enough for all you want to carry. This is the best spot to carry that weight.
It may be a good idea to slip each bladder into a bread bag too, to limit abrasion from rubbing on other pack items.Nov 17, 2013 at 5:17 pm #2045610
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