List: Hydrate or die

I have lived most of my life in an exceptionally dry climate. Colorado is the sort of place where you step off the plane and your nose promptly starts bleeding.

“At least it’s a dry heat!” chirp out-of-towners from humid places as they slather lotion on their peeling hands and faces. When friends visit, they often spend the first day or so feeling generally lethargic and remarking on how difficult it is to breathe when, say, walking up a flight of stairs.

“Drink lots of water,” we tell them.

“Drink lots of water” is almost universally good advice, but that doesn’t mean we always follow it. Water is heavy (eight pounds a gallon), so it’s a pain in the ass to carry a lot of it.

“I generally like to leave camp sloshing and come back a little dehydrated,” a mentor of mine once announced, having been asked about his ultralight climbing philosophy and how that worked with the whole water thing. This probably works fine if you happen to be an elite athlete, but for people like me, who cannot reason our way out of headaches and fatigue, it almost always makes sense to carry and drink lots of water.

In fact, I can think of only a handful of reasons for not hydrating properly. Here, I’ll list them for you, in order of legitimacy.

9) Actually just forgot to bring water and are pretending it’s fine

8) Eating snow requires less effort (my dog does this)

7) Can’t quite trust the Steripen (I have one and it has never let me down but I am loathe to believe those little LIGHTS can do MAGIC)

6) Aquamira-treated water tastes like pool water; you literally just cannot even anymore

5) Prefer coffee

4) Only available water sources smell bad/clearly contain dead animals/are immediately downstream from obvious mine tailings or herds of livestock

3) Developing a urine-centric version of the Bristol Stool Chart

2) Already suffering from hyponatremia (look it up)

1) About to get into your tent it’s cold and you don’t want to get up to pee in the middle of the night

As I write this, I am sipping on a half-full a Nalgene (yes, it smells vaguely like my river gear). I should have already polished off a couple of these today, if I were really committed to staying hydrated, but I find it’s hard to get much work done when I’m constantly getting up to pee. And, on that note, I am un-ironically off to brew another pot of coffee.

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