Finding Water on the Trail

Staying hydrated is just about your first priority on any wilderness trek. You can go weeks without food, but mere days without water, and even a moderately dehydrated person may get sufficiently fogged-up in the cognition department to make poor, even dangerous choices. On day hikes and overnighters, you can often get by toting all the water you need from home. But that’s not feasible for backpackers on multi-night treks, who’ll need to find and treat natural water sources along their way. Really, though, everybody – including day hikers – should have some idea of how to find water on … Continue reading

Effects of Altitude on Water Boiling Time

The siren song of the mountains calls loud and clear to most backpackers, which means we’re often camping well above sea level. Besides impacting our own physiology, altitude has an influence on how long it takes to boil water—and, therefore, how long it takes to prepare uncooked food. For many of you, the following will be a no-brainer rehash, but a goodly number of people still get (understandably) confused about the relationship between boiling point, cooking time, and altitude, so we thought we’d run through a quick and basic primer on the subject. Whether you’re going ski-touring in the near … Continue reading

How to Purify Water

Nothing’s more important in the backcountry than staying hydrated, but the same water that quenches your thirst and keeps you alive can also sicken you if you don’t take proper precautions. Out on a multiday backpacking or paddling trek, you should play it safe and purify any water you’re using for drinking or cooking. How? In this blog post, we’ll review the basic water purification methods and when they should be employed. But … Do I Need to Purify Water in the Backcountry in the First Place? We already hear some of you questioning the whole premise. Can’t you drink … Continue reading