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Drink enough water!

Margaret Butterworth

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2013 (Pamplona to Burgos)
2014 (Burgos to Villafranca del Bierzo)
2015 (Villafranca to Santiago)
2016 (Le Puy to Conques; SJPP To Pamplona)
It is easy to become de-hydrated without realising it. This weekend there was a 100 km Oxfam fundraising marathon in Perth. A man in his 30's collapsed and died in 33 degree heat on Day One. Others suffered through lack of water. They couldn't carry enough water and ran out between checkpoints. This reminds me that I became dehydrated after a stomach upset on the CF and later suffered from tendonitis, which I suspect was brought on by lack of water also. It is not easy to make yourself drink boring old tap water. I now put in a slice of lemon, saved from last night's G and T!
 
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Wokabaut_Meri

somewhere along the Way
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés 2015
Pilgrims Way 2018
Via Francigena #1 Canterbury-Dover 2018
It is easy to become de-hydrated without realising it. This weekend there was a 100 km Oxfam fundraising marathon in Perth. A man in his 30's collapsed and died in 33 degree heat on Day One. Others suffered through lack of water. They couldn't carry enough water and ran out between checkpoints. This reminds me that I became dehydrated after a stomach upset on the CF and later suffered from tendonitis, which I suspect was brought on by lack of water also. It is not easy to make yourself drink boring old tap water. I now put in a slice of lemon, saved from last night's G and T!

Excellent advice, Margaret. Can I temper it though with a word of caution. Do not over hydrate ie don't drink just because everyone is telling you to. There are been several deaths on the Kokoda Track including fit young men with no previous recorded illnesses. They had drank a large amount of fluids and were found to be suffering from exercise associated hyponatraemia caused by their excessive fluid intake. Please note that this only affected a small percentage of trekkers.

A medical team led a research expedition on the Track and were featured in 60 Minutes here in Australia. Their short report is well worth reading. The recommendation is to drink enough to prevent dehydration - as Margaret sets out in the her post - but not to overdo it.

For those interested in further information a clinical record with more details is available.
 

spursfan

Veteran Member
It's correct to warn about drinking too much water but the cases you quote are extremely different to the Camino - if my understanding is one, one of the people who died on the Kokoda track woke up feeling unwell and then drank 7L of liquid (it doesn't say over how long a period)

Last September I walked the Camino Norte between Irun and Santander - with noon temperatures hitting 30-34C - I drunk something of the order of 1L per hour over the course of the day - my more pressing problem was finding enough water rather than drinking too much of it

Earlier this year, in somewhat cooler conditions, I carried and consumed about 4L of Aquarius sport drink (to which I added some sport tablets but salt would have been a good substitute) over the course of a long day

My opinion is that on the Camino people are more likely to suffer from drinking too little liquid than too much - and that a DIY sports drink (water+orange juice+salt) consumed at a rate of 0.5-1L per walking hour depending on temperature is a good guideline
 
Year of past OR future Camino
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
There are threads galore on this topic.
It's like boots or shoes - everyone has their own personal feelings and their own "science" to back it.
I say drink what your body feels is right for you.
Everybody is different regarding water requirements and there are too many factors to make it a one size fits all.
 

cecelia

Wandering for the love and growth of it
Year of past OR future Camino
2013
......... everyone has their own personal feelings and their own "science" to back it. I say drink what your body feels is right for you.
Everybody is different regarding water requirements and there are too many factors to make it a one size fits all.
I disagree in part with your comment Anniesantiago, because not everyone has as much common sense as you do. I walked with a woman who kept having a couple of bothersome problems - one a very irritating dry cough, and the other severe itching 'down below'. I had been reminding her for several days to drink some water as she usually ended her day having had very little. It wasn't that I connected the lack of water with those issues, it was just that she drank almost nothing and it didn't seem healthy.

It turned out she was avoiding drinking water because she was worried she would have to pee when there weren't regular toilet facilities. As soon as she started drinking more water, those problems cleared up on their own.
But I definitely agree with the intent of your message:)
 
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annakappa

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Part frances jun 07/rest frances may- jun 2008/Frances sept-oct 2009/ Sanabres Oct 2010/Frances sept-oct 2011/Aragones Sept-Oct 2012. Hospitalero Sept 2010, Amiga in Pilgrim's Office Oct 2013. Part Primitivo Oct 2013. Portugues from Porto June 2015.
Partly it all depends on the temperature that you happen to be walking in. Definately fill up at every village, just to be sure.
When we are walking in very high temperatures ( this year we had several days of over 35 degrees), I usually add a sachet of electrolytes to my bottle of water. An then, of course, you can buy Aquarius at any bar, which, for me, is sooooo welcome when I'm feeling wilted!
 

Introibo

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances ( March 2015 )
Camino Portugues ( September 2015 )
I found walking in the hot weather in Portugal last month draining. Despite getting plenty of
water inside me I felt unwell and off my food. Then I started taking magnesium + tablets along
with a bag of crisps and some salted nuts each day. Getting some of the salts I was sweating out
back into me improved how I felt.

Having found something that worked for the heat....... we then had biblical downpours !
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
There are threads galore on this topic.
It's like boots or shoes - everyone has their own personal feelings and their own "science" to back it.
I say drink what your body feels is right for you.
Everybody is different regarding water requirements and there are too many factors to make it a one size fits all.
Hmmm, interesting take on proper hydration.
Guess you have never seen the effects of dehydration, hyperthermia and the various levels of heat exhaustion, stroke, etc on an actual human being. It's not pretty, especially when they leave this earth for greener pastures.
Having spent several years in very hot environments in the Middle East, SW Asia, southern and southwestern US, all I can say is to stay hydrated while engaged in physical, strenuous or moderately so outdoor activities (you know, like the Camino). You should be urinating often and your urine should be clear. If it's dark or yellow, guess what, you're dehydrated. The best way to stay hydrated is by drinking good old water and to drink it regularly. No need to fear it (like General Ripper in the movie, Dr. Strangelove ;)). And if you gotta pee while walking the Camino, so what. Step off the path and do it. Really, nobody cares.
 
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Margaret Butterworth

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2013 (Pamplona to Burgos)
2014 (Burgos to Villafranca del Bierzo)
2015 (Villafranca to Santiago)
2016 (Le Puy to Conques; SJPP To Pamplona)
In my OP, I wanted to warn people to be mindful of the sudden change in the weather which can affect the amount of water needed. On Sunday, my bush walking group did an easy 15 km walk, but we were all exhausted and out of water in 33 degree heat. These temperature changes do occur on the Camino, and now with weather apps on our phones we can prepare ourselves accordingly. Even so, it is often difficult to force ourselves to carry enough water, given that 1 litre weighs 1 kilo.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
Hmmm, interesting take on proper hydration.
Guess you have never seen the effects of dehydration, hyperthermia and the various levels of heat exhaustion, stroke, etc on an actual human being. It's not pretty, especially when they leave this earth for greener pastures.
Having spent several years in very hot environments in the Middle East, SW Asia, southern and southwestern US, all I can say is to stay hydrated while engaged in physical, strenuous or moderately so outdoor activities (you know, like the Camino). You should be urinating often and your urine should be clear. If it's dark or yellow, guess what, you're dehydrated. The best way to stay hydrated is by drinking good old water and to drink it regularly. No need to fear it (like General Ripper in the movie, Dr. Strangelove ;)). And if you gotta pee while walking the Camino, so what. Step off the path and do it. Really, nobody cares.

Actually, I have seen the effects of dehydration and heat exhaustion.
In fact, escorting groups of pilgrims, I've seen pretty much everything. ;)

And I agree with what you're saying.
Stay hydrated.
Whatever that means for you.
And yes, watch your urine.

But there is no one amount for everybody, as you can see if you read all the many threads on this topic.
Everyone has their own formula to stay dehydration.

Some people drink liters per day, others don't.
In general, I carry one 8 ounce bottle and fill up at fountains when it's empty.
I met a Spanish man on the Aragones route who carried one apple each 20-30k stage and no water.
He got along just fine and seemed energetic and full of health.
I've met other people who carry full bladders of water and drink it all.
They soak it up like sponges.
My DIL carries around a bottle of water with her everywhere she goes.
I don't notice that she's any healthier than the rest of the family.
You say drink good old water.
Other people will insist on adding electrolytes.
Some will insist on sports drinks.

I say do whatever works...

We're all different.
Know the signs of dehydration, and then do what's best for your own body.:)
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
In my OP, I wanted to warn people to be mindful of the sudden change in the weather which can affect the amount of water needed. On Sunday, my bush walking group did an easy 15 km walk, but we were all exhausted and out of water in 33 degree heat. These temperature changes do occur on the Camino, and now with weather apps on our phones we can prepare ourselves accordingly. Even so, it is often difficult to force ourselves to carry enough water, given that 1 litre weighs 1 kilo.
Honestly on the CF it's not a matter of how much water you carry, it's a matter of how much you drink. There is an abundance of available, free potable water sources along the CF. Just a matter of utilizing them. Even on the hottest days on the CF one would have to work really, really hard to be a heat casualty due to dehydration.
I only carried two 1/2 liter bottles with me on every CF and had no problem keeping them filled with potable water and staying hydrated.
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Year of past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
I say drink what your body feels is right for you.
All guide books point out the importance of carrying enough water. So I do. I carry it. And stop now and then for an ice cold beer. Works fine.

I only carried two 1/2 liter bottles with me on every CF and had no problem keeping them filled with potable water and staying hydrated.
Indeed. Me too.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
This year on the CF I found a 500ml bottle was enough. Plenty of places for a refil if needed. Actually we stopped so often for a cafe con leche (every 10,000 steps) I rarely finished the water. But I was wired!
 

Wokabaut_Meri

somewhere along the Way
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés 2015
Pilgrims Way 2018
Via Francigena #1 Canterbury-Dover 2018
The thing is, she was NOT doing what her body felt was right for her.
So I stand by my comment.

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make her drink!

Thanks for putting it so clearly. This is exactly what everyone should be doing - knowing and listening to their bodies. We were on the Kokoda Track when one of the deaths occurred. At the time everyone was being told to 'drink, drink, drink' and I was concerned because I drank less than I would normally drink hiking at home but I listened to my body and noted urine colour and it was all good.

On the Camino, like @Kanga I only carried a 500ml bottle but enjoyed all the stops along the way far more - a real luxury for us Aussies.
 
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M

Mark Lee

Guest
and for those that choose to not hydrate dress properly, and overextend themselves physically on warmer, drier days on the CF, or any of the routes, please try to become a casualty somewhere along the way where your dead or dying body is easily recoverable and nobody associated with the various emergency rescue and medical services is put at any unnecessary risk.....
I suppose the same goes for those that ignore the warnings of walking the CF on the snowy days, especially the route between SJPDP and Roncesvalles.
;)
 

Mooncat

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (Fall 2015)
I was dehydrated through much of my Camino. And, I should know better because I am a field geologist! I have presented safety presentations on the importance of staying hydrated. Shame on me! Here is what I went through. By the way, the weather was cool. In the first days of my Camino last month, I would only drink when it was time to stop for a snack or a break at a bar, because I didn't want to take time to stop or fish for a water bottle. And then, it was usually only a pint or less. I was "listening to my body" and was not feeling thirsty. But, the frequency of my urination decreased dramatically along with volume. Also, my urine was very deep yellow to slightly brown. That alerted me that I was headed for trouble. So, I stepped up my fluid intake by starting the day by drinking a pint of water and consciously breaking to take extra drinks during the day, even if I didn't feel thirsty. Problem persisted. Stools got smaller and harder and urine stayed relatively dark and infrequent. So, I attached a cup to the strap on my pack and each time I passed a fountain, would drink two cups. Still not enough! At the end of each day, I often had major joint pain and still had dark urine. During the last several days of my Camino, I was drinking with the cup at each fountain, at bars (non-alcohol), and from my water bottles along the trail and felt better than I had the entire trip. You will benefit from drinking more water than you feel is necessary. Take my word for it.
 

wildrover

thewildrover
Year of past OR future Camino
2015 april c/f. vdlp feb 2016. Norte / primitivo Sep 2016. C/f 12/16. Vdlp 12/17. 12/18. Lana 02/19.
Honestly on the CF it's not a matter of how much water you carry, it's a matter of how much you drink. There is an abundance of available, free potable water sources along the CF. Just a matter of utilizing them. Even on the hottest days on the CF one would have to work really, really hard to be a heat casualty due to dehydration.
I only carried two 1/2 liter bottles with me on every CF and had no problem keeping them filled with potable water and staying hydrated.
100 percent correct. the main word on the cf, abundance!!! food, water, shelter. other than proper boots and socks just turn up. I gave away my poncho, blister kit. did not have guide book, phone, gps. if you are not fit...... only one really hard day sjpd to roncevaux .very,very difficult to get badly lost. keep your wits aboot ye, stay safe and enjoy. you will have a ball.
 

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