What is the best way to stay hydrated while out kayaking? It’s not as simple as you would think! Here are some tips on how to keep yourself hydrated and prevent dehydration.
Dehydration occurs when you don’t replace fluids and electrolytes properly. It can happen to even the most seasoned adventurers if they are not aware of proper hydration habits while kayaking or during any other sport for that matter, but with a few tips and tricks to follow Dehydration is easily avoidable!
Consume water before getting in the kayak
When thirst kicks in your body starts to flush out essential electrolytes which results in dehydration, so make sure that you’re well hydrated before you go out on the water . Also it’s crucial to know what type of beverage you consume. For instance sugar and salt laden beverages may actually dehydrate you further. Dehydration can also be prevented by drinking the right beverages, such as water, coconut water or sports drinks that are are low in sugar and sodium content.
Dehydration prevention while kayaking
In order to prevent Dehydration you need to replace lost fluids and electrolytes soon after the activity. Drink a well balanced beverage with the appropriate amount of carbohydrates + protein + sodium and potassium (salt). Sports drinks for instance Gatorade have been scientifically proven to be more effective than plain water when it comes to proper hydration during physical activity . That’s why I carry an extra bottle of Gatorade powder with me anytime I go out on the water, as I’m not a big fan of plain water and the powder dissolves very quickly in plain water.
Dehydration prevention during kayaking
When I’m on my way to a location where I’m planning to go kayaking, or right after a trip on the water, be it for fishing or just spending time out with friends and family, I also make sure that I get some additional fluids into my body as soon as possible. Dehydration prevention is essential not only when you’re exercising but also if you’ve been exposed to extreme heat conditions! So don’t ignore your thirst signals! Take care of yourself and stay hydrated!
Signs of Dehydration While Kayaking
Signs of Dehydration in order of importance:
1. Thirsty? Dehydrated!
Make sure to drink water and/or other electrolytes (sports drinks) when you’re thirsty! Dehydration occurs much sooner than you might suspect so stay hydrated by drinking regularly throughout the day. Dehydration prevention is also important before, during and after every kayaking trip.
2. Dark Urine
Changes in color of your urine from light yellow / straw yellow to a darker yellow tint which indicates that body fluids are leaking out due to dehydration . If your urine appears dark it means that you need to increase the amount of water you drink, or switch to another type of beverage such as a sports drink with added salt. Dehydration prevention Dehydration happens way before the color of your urine changes to a darker yellow but once it becomes noticeably darker, and you’re not drinking enough water or other fluids, Dehydration will set in quickly.
3. Excessive Sweating
Too much sweating – sweating out essential electrolytes and fluid which may cause hypotension (low blood pressure) Dehydration also begins to occur before you actually notice that your body is overheated due to excessive sweating so try wearing light clothing in order to stay comfortable while kayaking. If you notice that your clothes are clinging to your skin, if they stick to you it’s probably a good indication that there’s too much sweating going on. Dehydration prevention Dehydration will set in well before you experience any noticeable excessive sweating but once it happens a good way to “reset” is by sitting down and taking off your clothes for few minutes, so that the sweat can evaporate from your skin.
How Kayakers Get Dehydrated
It is difficult to drink when you are kayaking and this can cause Dehydration. Since your hands are full, you should be settled for something like PFD Hydration Pack or take occasional breaks just to get yourself hydrated properly.
It is difficult to pee when you are paddling. There is no privacy when you are paddling on a wide open sea. Most kayakers tend to cut back on drinking water to prevent the urge to urinate while kayaking. However, this can be easily be solved with a pee bottle. It will help you get yourself relieved without feeling embarrassed.
Since we have to paddle continuously, you will start sweating profusely sooner or later and this will definitely lead to dehydration.
Arthur G. Moore is a veteran paddler. He has over 10 years of whitewater kayaking experience in his kitty. When he was young, he used to love kayaking in rapid III and rapid IV but as time went on, he decided to concentrate mainly on covering long distances on a standard touring kayak. He is currently working as a senior editor for Kayak Manual.