Something we emphasize on our courses is to know yourself and how you deal with different stresses that come into play on extended trips or even when you’re just working around camp. One of the most important deals with hydration; how much water YOU need and what happens when you don’t get enough. This is different than the textbook approaches that are in just about every book ever written about survival. Instead of giving a formula that you’re supposed to apply, we advocate paying attention to how you feel and your energy level while you maintain different levels of hydration. This way you’ll know how much you need, what the warning signs are that you’re not getting enough, and how to plan when there won’t be enough. You’ll know because you’ve done it before and watched how it played out. This is much more useful, but time consuming, than simply saying you need a gallon per day. We’re all different, depending on our body size, and past conditioning; an NFL lineman needs more water than a 5′, 100 pound woman.
I’ve watched people get afternoon dehydration headaches time after time. I’ve gotten them myself countless times, even though I know better. This year I’m trying a new approach, which is to have enough water bottles to hold my daily allotment. I’ll make filling them all part of my nightly chores, then to be well hydrated I just have to drink them all over the course of the day. Pretty simple, yes, but planning ahead is important, especially when you can’t just turn on a tap to get a drink.