Water, who needs it?

We all do actually. Depending on your age, our body is made up of  55% to 90% water. In fact, the only thing more important to our body is air. The general rule is that a person can go without air for 3 minutes, without water for 3 days and without food for 3 weeks. I would say this makes water pretty significant. And yes, I some people can go longer. The rule of 3's is just a general rule. Some people won't last a day without food and others can go for much longer.

Besides helping us stay well hydrated and enabling our body to control its temperature, water is used by our body to eliminate toxins, protect major organs including bone joints, enable your digestive system, reduce disease, and helps deliver and absorbe nutrients and oxygen to cells througout your body.

How do we know if we are drinking enough?

There are different theories going around. However just to give you an idea, it is estimated that an adult body will loose about one to two litres of water each day through persperation, urine and breathing. This will also vary depending on your level of activity, your body mass and the temperature. The warmer you are, the more water you will require.

As a rule of thumb, take your body weight and divide it by 64 to get the number of litres you should be drinking per day (or two to get the number of ounces)  ******* VALIDATE THIS INFORMATION ********

A note about having to go to the washroom all the time. When you start drinking more water, you will need to go more often. This is natural and is a sign that your body is dehydrated. Within 4-7 days, you will notice a reduction in the frequency that you have to go.

So how do you know when you are drinking enough water? Your urine should be clear. If your urine is yellow, you are not drinking enough.

Some Drinking Tips

  • It's ok to add juice crystals, just to give it a little flavour. For an even healthier alternative, just add some lemon juice into your water. Note that if you add lemon juice, either drink it all at once. While it is true that lemon metabolises into alkaline in your body, sipping lemon water will result in prolongued acid exposure to your teeth and could result in tooth decay over time.
  • Tea is a good thirst quencher. Iced tea, at least here in Canada contains sugar and lemon and will have the same effect on your teeth as described above.
  • DO NOT DRINK COFFEE. Drinks containing caffeine actually dehydrate you.
  • Drink an extra 500 ml of water before a hike.
  • Do not share your water bottle with anyone.
  • If you are having diarrhea, it is essential to drink water to prevent dehydration.

Water Bottle Tips

  • Make sure your water bottle 1) has no chance of leaking, 2) holds about 1L of water, 3) has a wide mouth at the top so you can drop ice cubes in. I have personally been through many water bottles and found the ones made by Nalgene to be very durable and never leak unless I forget to close them properly (it happened to me just once). In general, my experience has been that bottle with an external spout tend to leak, if not when you buy them, shortly there after.
  • If purchasing a Nalgene type bottle, look for one of the spouts that fit inside the mouth of the bottle. It will make it a lot easier to drink with less opportunity for dribbling. I have a few of these spouts, one of which is yellow with a happy face on it. Kids love it and puts a smile on my face each time I take a drink.

Related Information… Especially for Kids Camping

  • If you are going to use a portable urinal (bottle), practice at home before leaving.
  • You should never pea behind your tent, even if the weather is really cold or raining at night. You and your neighbours will regret it for the rest of the weekend or week.

Take what makes sense to you and leave the rest. --- Michael Milette

Michael Milette is an Life Coach, IT Consultant, and a former Scouter in Ottawa, Canada.

This article is licensed by Michael Milette for use in Scouting under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Canada License. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5/ca/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California 94105, USA. You may use and share this information as long as Michael Milette is given credit.