Dehydration is never fun, and is one of the leading (and surprising) mistakes novice hikers make when taking long trips into the back country. The easy fix for dehydration is to pack more water. But what about when it's too long of a trek or you get caught in an unexpected situation?
The first thing is to recognize when you are becoming dehydrated so you are able to ration your water. A surging headache is typically the first warning sign that dehydration is right around the corner.
When you feel a headache and it's hot out, if you don't find somewhere cool to sit down, you are subject to heat stroke. If it's cold and you don't find somewhere to raise your body temperature, you're at greater risk of hypothermia.
Another sign of dehydration approaching is urine color. If your urine color becomes a darker shade of yellow (or God forbid green), you've got to find water and shelter quick. If you've already got a headache and your urine is dark, make sure not to panic. You're well on your way to dehydration.
If you become dehydrated and are lucky enough to find a clean water source, you'll want to make sure to not exert yourself for reasonable amount of time. Mixing a dash of salt or sugar will help your body absorb more water. More importantly, you'll feel better quicker.
It's not that dehydration is what causes trips to go wrong, it makes your body more prone to serious illness that will end the trip, and possibly your life.
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