Many people are aware of the fact that people can survive without any food for several days and weeks, but without water they cannot survive even for a couple of days. But did you know that those survival periods are based on the weather conditions and activities that you are participating in as well? When you are hiking in thick forest line or when the sun comes out, you usually feel like drinking a lot of water. This is because these activities require a lot of water, because you lose most of your body water through sweating and even breathing. So when you’re visiting Zion National Park, and specifically if you’re going to be doing any hiking in Zion, take note of these hydration tips so you can stay safe and enjoy the park to its fullest.
Carry Your Own Water
You will want to avoid drinking from streams, rivers, or ponds unless you have a water purification system handy. Even if they look clean, as they can contain bacteria that makes the water unsafe for drinking or even cooking. If you get sick, you can become dehydrated even faster than if you had not drank the contaminated water in the first place. Therefore, it is important to carry plenty of safe drinking water or a water treatment system with you to keep hydrated all through the day.
Take Advantage of Opportunities to Refill
It is important to become familiar with hydration spots prior to starting your hike, if the trail offers them at all. Make sure to refill any empty bottles that you have wherever you find fresh water. Don’t be worried about the weight of carrying the water, as you will be using it at regular intervals and it provides you with energy.
Know the Signs of Dehydration
While hiking people occasionally get sick due to dehydration. It may surprise you that even in tropical areas hiking that have an abundance of water, people can still become dehydrated. With Zion being a dry, desert landscape, it is even more important to take hydration seriously.
Many people are unaware that feeling thirsty is actually the first sign of dehydration. Once you start to feel thirsty, make sure to start drinking small amounts of water at first. Don’t wait until you are extremely thirsty and then drink a bunch of water, as this can cause stomach discomfort. Your body absorbs the water easier if you can take it in smaller doses.
Conserve Your Drinking Water
One of the easiest ways to conserve your precious water is by taking a look at your meal preparation. While cooking, use minimal water for washing and cooking. If you have to cook, make sure that you choose foods that are easy to cook and don’t require much water. Even making choices like instant noodles instead of rice can make a big difference.
If you are camping and water is scarce at your campsite, only use the minimal amount of water necessary for hygiene. You can conserve water by choosing to use mouthwash instead of brushing your teeth after every meal or swishing with water and then swallowing instead of spitting it out. Carrying baby wipes can help with your desire to feel clean while still helping conserve drinking water.
Eat Snacks to Help with Electrolytes
If you are on a long hike or camping trip, it is helpful to pack some vitamins, protein bars, and salty snacks. These will help keep hunger at bay as well as make sure that you are replenishing any electrolytes that you may be sweating out. If you get limited on your food supply, try chewing your food 20 times before swallowing. You may remember hearing this in elementary school, but this trick can help you feel fuller quicker and help you consume less food.
Water discipline is very important when you are hiking and camping in a place like Zion National Park and it is critical that you stay hydrated. Therefore you should understand clearly how you can save water and consume water only when it is required.
Other Tips For Hiking in Zion
- Avoid wearing or packing cotton clothes, as they are bulky and take a good amount of time to dry if you happen to get wet. Polyester clothes are better at wicking water and are more resilient. Consider packing rain gear to help keep you dry.
- Microfleece or polarfleece are also suggested as your first choice of cooler weather clothing, however wool can come in handy during an intense survival situation.