How Much Water Do You Need to Drink?

CamelBak's Hydration Calculator
CamelBak’s Hydration Calculator

You need to stay hydrated while you’re hiking. Insufficient hydration can lead to dehydration, which then can lead to low blood pressure, rapid heart beat, fever, shriveled skin, and more. Needless to say, lets just focus on the positive here and work on staying properly hydrated on the trail!

How Much Water to Drink?

Determining how much water you need to drink isn’t always easy to compute. The simple answer is to drink a lot and listen to your body, but when going on a long hike or even a backpacking trip, it may not be feasible to take a lot of water with you, and planning well is crucial.

CamelBak has developed a calculator online, that serves as a guideline for your hydration needs. For example, if you enter into the CamelBak Hydration Calculator system that you are a 5’5″ female, who weighs 130 pounds and is 40 years old, and provide some information about your typical sweating and urination as well as information about your hiking activity and weather conditions, their formula will spit out some recommendations. By taking into account your physical parameters, the level of intensity of your outdoor activity, and the environmental conditions of your activity, the calculator makes a recommendation on the total amount of water you’ll need for your activity and how much you should drink per hour. CamelBak’s system is not perfect, and you need to calculate your personal sweat rate for even better accuracy. Nonetheless, it is a nice starting point!

Gear to Help You Stay Hydrated

CamelBak Eddy Water Bottle CamelBak Eddy Water Bottle (NEW!): The CamelBak Eddy water bottle is a convenient size to keep in the outer pocket of your backpack. I use mine regularly, both while hiking and in the car. The flip, bite, and sip technology means no tipping is required, making it very safe for drinking and driving :).
CamelBak Antidote Bladder CamelBak Antidote Bladder: A hydration bladder is a must have for all hikers, and it is the easiest way I have found to stay hydrated. The convenience of having hands-free access to your water without having to pick up a bottle or open your backpack helps you stay hydrated.
CamelBak Antidote Bladder SteriPEN Adventurer Opti: Are you going hiking somewhere near a water source? Headed out backpacking for multiple days and want to make sure that the water you find in the wilderness is safe to drink? My water treatment method of choice is the SteriPEN Adventurer Opti. It is compact, easy to use, and you can have the peace of mind knowing that when you refill your water bottle or hydration bladder out in the wilderness that the water you’re drinking is safe.

Lastly, CamelBak has developed a flow meter, however, the reviews are extremely negative. I am hesitant to purchase one because of the bad reviews, but the concept is great. Hopefully CamelBak will update their Flow Meter Hydration Gauge to be more accurate!

CamelBak Flow Meter
The CamelBak Flow Meter is a great concept, but apparently it isn’t very accurate. Hopefully CamelBak will update their flow meter! It would be a great way to monitor your water intake during outdoor activity.

The bottom line: Fill up your water bottles and your hydration bladder, and always take extra water with you. Stayed hydrated is the best way to stay healthy and feeling great.

Happy trails!


  1. Hiking Lady says:

    Hi Nanette,

    Thank you for the lovely comment. You made my day.

    I like water bladders the best for long hikes, and you’re correct – cleaning is the key thing to focus on! All bladders are difficult to clean, no matter what the manufacturers say.

    Here’s how to wash it: I have a CamelBak bladder, and after I’m done hiking, I hand wash it with dishwashing soap and water (inside and out). I then rinse it, and fill it part way a few times and let the soapy water all get out of the mouth piece. Drying it is tricky…so I have a simple time to save me hours of time and avoid risk of bacteria growing in the tube.

    Here’s my drying tip: Dry the outside completely. Then fill about 1/10th of the bladder with fresh drinking water. Close it up, and lock the drinking valve. Then put the whole thing lying flat into your freezer. This technique lets you avoid hanging it out to dry for days and risking bacteria growth. Companies sell special cleaning kits but they are a total hassle to use.

    Ready for another hike: Grab the bladder out of your freezer, put it on your countertop for 15 minutes to let the ice in there warm to room temperature (if you try to open it right away it will be nearly impossible because it is frozen shut. Then fill with fresh drinking water.

    Happy trails! Hope my technique can save you some time 🙂

  2. I find your newsletters quite helpful as I have just started hiking and I have a blog about hiking.

    I am planning a couple of long hikes for this year and next but am undecided about water containers. I’m veering towards the water bladder because I think it will be more convenient on a hike of several days or weeks. But I am wondering if they have to be cleaned and how to clean them.

    Do you have any suggestions?


  3. Donna says:

    Hello Hiking Lady,

    This is a very informative article about hydration. I’ve never used a bladder before for water but it really makes sense so that I can keep on the move and not have to stop and grab my water bottle.

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