Staying Hydrated, Healthy, and Happy While On The Run… Or Hike or Bike

staying hydrated healthy and happy while on the run trail runner
They say dehydration is a soldier’s worst enemy, but in reality, we think the enemy is probably the soldier’s worst enemy, with dehydration coming in as a very close second. But for you hikers, bikers, and joggers out there, a lack of proper H2O is pretty much the worst foe you’ll face on any given outing. Unless you have made serious enemies over the years, in which case again your enemy is your worst enemy.

Related: Hats Are Also Important

Anyway, assuming you are the target of relatively little enmity, let’s put aside talk of that and instead discuss the best ways to keep yourself hydrated while on the move. In years past, a leather water flask (AKA a “bota bag”) or a tin canteen were essentially your only options for packing along water while covering ground on foot (or bike or horse). But today’s newfangled “technology” has allowed us to produce a plethora of portable hydration systems.  Not all of these hydration systems are created equal, though; some may be perfect for use during one activity but a poor choice for others, and some may be suitable for one user but imperfect for another sportsmen or sportswoman.

First let’s talk about a modern classic, the indispensable CamelBak!

The Modern Classic CamelBak
The Modern Classic CamelBak

You no doubt know all about the CamelBak, but in case you’ve just arrived here from before the 1990s, it is a hydration system involving a bladder and a length of tubing capped by a bite valve and worn in a slim-profile backpack. This type system has become so ubiquitous that most hiking packs today have built-in pouches for the bladder and slots to pass the tubing through, eliminating the need for a separate pack.

For the hiker or biker traveling light, a simple CamelBak HydroBak Hydration Pack is a great choice: the nylon pack is compact and lightweight and features a small pocket for keys or a snack. There are multiple sizes of CamelBak available, but we recommend the 1.5 liter capacity bladder for most activities lasting 2 – 3 hours.

The drawback to the CamelBak system? It’s not great for jogging/running. With only a pair of shoulder straps to keep the pack on your body (e.g. no waist strap) there is really no way to keep it from bouncing up and down with each step.

Now let’s talk about a top-notch hydration belt, the Camden Gear Hydration Running Belt

A Snug Fit
A Snug Fit

There are hydration belts out there that strap four and even six bottles of water to your person, and for extra-long runs or jogs, you might need that much hydration. But for mid-level jaunts of a few miles, you need to find an optimal balance between weight and water. This belt from Camden Gear comes with two 6-ounce bottles, giving you enough H2O to compensate for the sweat you’ll produce during an hour or so of exercise, keeping you hydrated and healthy until you’re back home (or back to the office or lodge or yurt or whatever) to guzzle down more water. The wide belt fits snugly around your waist for minimal bouncing and little chafing even over bare skin. The belt also has a pocket large enough for snacks, a phone, keys, and other small necessities.

The only drawback to the Camden Gear belt? 12 ounces of water is fine for those shorter/mid-range runs, but it’s sure not enough for even a morning hike.

For a super-snug hydration pack that won’t hold you back, try the DolfinPack.

A Tight Fit
A Tight Fit

DolfinPacks were designed with water sports in mind. They fit snugly over the torso using shoulder and chest straps, and have such a slim profile they can be worn under a wetsuit or lifejacket. That same close fit means a DolfinPack is great for joggers or runners, too, as there is minimal jostling, and for cyclists, as a DolfinPack offers full range of movement. The standard model holds a full liter of water, enough for mid-range outings of all types.

Drawback to the DolfinPack? They’re not all that comfortable – the thin straps and abundance of velcro leads to lots of chafing, so don’t even try to wear one shirtless for long periods of time.

And finally, if there’s water all around, why not just bring a LifeStraw?

Water, Water Everywhere
Water, Water Everywhere

If you’re going to be hiking, biking, or jogging in an area with copious streams, rivers, lakes, ponds, and so forth, you could always just drink from the bounty of Mother Nature using a LifeStraw Personal Water Filter! These handy little contraptions remove 99.99% of waterborne pathogens and parasites (likely better than that bottled water you’re sipping now, Alice) and can safely filter up to 1000 liters of water each. So in theory, that’s 1000 days of exercise with a clean liter of hydration at your fingertips each time for… about two cents per liter. LifeStraws cost less than twenty bucks, see? And a LifeStraw weighs about two ounces. So toss one in a your bag, strap it to your bike, or just carry the damn thing.

The drawback here? Well, if you can’t find water, it’s not going to help much…

Outdoors

From the Office to the Trail, Here’s the Best Dual-Purpose Work Gear

Suits are tough to hike in and fast-drying nylon hiking pants don’t usually fly at the office. So what do you wear to be ready for a day of work, adventure, and a dinner out?
Living

Get Under the Covers with the Warmest Throw Blankets for Winter

Become the human sushi roll you've always wanted to be with one of these best blankets.
Living

Update Your Workspace with These Sleek Office Decor Ideas

Who knows? You may even be excited to sit down to your desk each morning.
Outdoors

6 Best U.S. National Parks to Visit in the Winter

Smaller crowds at some of the more popular parks are just one of the benefits.
Living

Find Perfect Harmony Between Architecture and Nature at Amangiri Resort

This secluded desert getaway is helping to reshape the idea of what Southwestern style can be.
Living

How to Clean Your House or Apartment in 30 Minutes or Less

This isn’t a deep clean. It’s an, “Oh shit, I really should have done something earlier and now it’s gonna take a miracle to do this” clean.
Living

Baby on the Way? Here’s How to Support Your Pregnant Wife

Pregnancy requires you to get proactive, pal. She’s driving the car, but you are the entire pit crew.
Living

Dive In (Literally) to This Minimalist Lakeside Retreat in the Netherlands

Once the walls open up, you can dive right into the water from the living room.
Living

An Old Garage Is Transformed Into an Artist’s Home and Studio in San Francisco

Yes, that's a red Fiat hanging from the ceiling.
Living

From Milan to Mars, Architect Stefano Boeri is Creating Vertical Forests

A combination of housing shortages and climate change led to the creation of Vertical Forests which blend housing and landscaping into one amazing building.
Living

What’s a Salt Cave and Why Are They So Damned Relaxing?

Experiencing Halotherapy in a salt cave can be pure relaxation or relaxing purification depending on how you look at it.
Food & Drink

Say No to Disposables with All the Best Reusable Lunch Gear for Guys

From straws to cutlery to sandwich bags, there's a reusable option for everything that comes with a traditional takeout lunch.
Living

Heat Up Your Digs with One of Our Picks for the Best Space Heaters

Admit it, you need a little extra warmth this winter.
Living

5 Seriously Stylish Dog Houses to Pamper Your Puppers

There will be no question about who’s a good boy when you get Fido one of these amazing dog houses.