How to: Stay hydrated in the heat

By Jeffrey Stern

Everyone knows once you’re thirsty, it’s too late – dehydration is difficult, if not nearly an impossible of a hole to dig yourself out of if you prepare properly. We’ve got some easy steps to ensure you’re hydrated and ready for a long, summer adventures during the hotter months ahead.

Make it part of your daily routine

Beginning each morning with a glass of water ensures your day starts off on the right foot. Water not only gets your metabolism going, but it also helps your body flush out unwanted toxins, provides brain fuel and decreases the urge to overeat in the morning. Sixteen ounces directly out of bed will also serve as a reminder to keep drinking throughout the day. Once this becomes part of your routine, a morning wakeup without water will feel odd. If you place a water bottle or glass next to your bed before going to sleep, it will be easy to reach for once you’re up. You might even be surprised how refreshed and alert you are with just one simple glass of water.

Plan ahead

It’s time to start focusing on hydration at least 48 hours before a big day of riding. You want to head into that long adventure feeling like your energy and hydration stores are maxed out. That being said, you don’t want to be drinking so much liquid that you have to use the bathroom every 15 minutes because then you’re actually doing more harm than good. It’s key to find the balance and that will take some practice as every individual is different. A handy trick is to carry a water bottle around with you throughout your day, taking little sips every 15-20 minutes. Again, after doing this for a while, it will become second nature and coming hydrated into your ride will be a breeze.

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Electrolytes are vital

Whether it’s hot out or not, you will be sweating while riding your bike. It’s important to find an electrolyte mix that you like the taste of and doesn’t upset your stomach. The only way to do this is to experiment with different brands until you land on one that’s satisfactory. Many companies these days are moving towards the all-natural drink mixes with no artificial ingredients, flavored with real fruit and sugars. These are often lighter than some calorie heavy drinks that aim to hydrate and fuel, but that can be difficult to digest causing gastrointestinal problems. Sticking with a mix you know your body can handle with be a great benefit towards getting through a long day in the saddle.

Drink early and often

Don’t wait until you are thirsty to start hydrating. At that point, it’s too late in the game and you’re already dehydrated. Just like a normal day, take small sips every 15-20 minutes, even if you’re not thirsty. This will insure a constant flow of electrolytes into your system. You may even be surprised that by taking small, regular sips of your bottles you go through them slower than by waiting and taking huge gulps when you’re really thirsty.

Hydration doesn’t stop when the ride does 

You made it through your ride with no cramping, stomach issues or dehydration, great! But don’t stop there. If you’re touring or planning a big ride the next day, keep drinking once off the bike. Stopping at the local brewery for a celebration beer? Take your bottle with you or grab a glass of water from the bartender. It’s important to keep the hydration train rolling so you can ride day after day this summer.

Salt wings. Photo by David Silverander.

Salt wings. Photo by David Silverander.

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Press Camp 2017 gear preview: bike bags, packs and hydration

The nice thing about Press Camp is that most of the companies attending are actually showcasing new product. A few things stood out to us on the pack, travel and hydration sides of things from Camelbak and Thule. Here are the highlights:

Camelbak Quick Stow Flask

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The thing that grabbed my attention from Camelbak was one of the simplest, least-expensive items displayed at Press Camp. The half-liter Quick Stow Flask is simply Camelbak’s bladder material with a lockable bite valve, an insulated option, a hole for hanging the flask to dry and packability. This little thing will fit in all kinds of bag corners. Take it on tour for extra water storage or stick it in a rear jersey pocket: it will be much more comfortable than a bottle as it will conform to your spine and can be more easily stowed when empty.

Available in October, the non-insulated version will sell for $20 while an insulated version (Quick Stow Chill) will sell for $28. Note that Camelbak said not to use the hole in the bottom for clipping the flask to a pack or otherwise; it’s strength was not tested for banging around on a carabiner while full of liquid.

Camelbak Reservoir Updates

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Camelbak’s reservoir line got an update that was about five years in the making. Flow rate was increased by 20 percent thanks to a larger tube and a 45-degree (not 90-degree) angle on the bite valve. The bite valve has a new on-off flow switch that’s self-explanatory. Also updated is the handle, which is easier to hold and slips into pockets on the updated packs for security and stability.

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The best update, in my opinion, is the cap. If you have ever had an entire water bladder leak out all over your car/back/wherever, you know how annoying some of them can be to properly and securely close. Camelbak came up with what they call a “pickle-jar” closure. Just put the cap on, turn and it’s sealed—no fiddling with alignment required. It really is that simple.

Camelbak MULE Lowrider

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Camelbak’s lowrider packs situate water in a squat, square-shaped bladder that keeps the weight lower on your back. Most commonly seen in mountain biking, they’re also comfortable for touring and road riders who like packs for lengthy excursions.

Previously, the lowrider packs were rather small. Camelbak previewed a new, 15-liter Mule LR with 3 liters of water capacity and 12 liters of gear capacity that will retail for $150. That added room means this bag could be a good choice for bikepackers—stick some clothing or a sleeping bag in with your water and free up more room for gear in your bike bags.

These bags have some serious engineering in them. The plethora of adjustment straps, widgets and pockets take some getting used to, so this bag won’t be for those who just want a cavernous, unfussy opening. But if you like to stay organized and keep the bag well-fit to your back, this will be one to check out. A rain cover, tool roll pouch and waist strap pockets are included.

Thule Bike Bags

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Thule is expanding its line of bike bags. In addition to its panniers, Thule is adding a waterproof, roll-top handlebar bag. This one has a clear plastic map pocket on top and a simplified mounting system for attaching the bag to the handlebars.

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The bag easily clips off if you need to take it with you. The mounting system also doubles as an adjustable cell phone holder. A roll-closure saddle bag made of the same waterproof material will also be offered.

 

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