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What's in YOUR Water Bottle - Choosing the Right Electrolyte Drink for Hiking

Female hikers taking a break with water bottles.
What's in your water bottle can help you be a better hiker!

In 2021 the global estimate of the electrolyte drink market was 33.65 billion US dollars. Forty percent of that market share occurred in North America! Now it seems everyone is getting into the electrolyte game, with a forecasted market growth of over 20 billion dollars by 2030. This is good news for hikers because while dehydration gets all the media attention, hyponatremia, or over hydration with dilution of essential electrolytes is a greater threat. With so many products on the market, how do you choose which electrolyte is right for you when hiking?

Electrolyte drinks replace the minerals lost by perfuse sweating in an active person, such as an athlete or someone who has been ill and is not drinking or is losing fluids through GI symptoms. These drinks contain salt, sugar, and the minerals sodium, potassium, and magnesium in varying degrees in each formulation. Additional ingredients include flavoring and coloring, which vary from natural to chemical. Electrolytes also vary in the amount of sugar they possess. Products range from somewhat high calories to zero calories. To make a good decision as to when you need which electrolytes, understand your goals and the contents of each product.

A typical rule of thumb is that water is a sufficient fluid replacement if you exercise for less than an hour. If hiking in temperate conditions for more than an hour, you may need some electrolyte replacement if you typically sweat heavily. If it is hot, you'll need to replace the fluids and minerals you've lost through sweating. While electrolyte drinks are easy and portable, you can also replace lost salts through salty foods and snacks. Drinks with calories have added carbohydrates and mean you don't have to stop as often to eat. They can assist you in keeping your blood sugar more stable by taking sips of the electrolyte mixture now and then rather than having a hefty snack. In the video below, I give examples of the different types of electrolyte drinks and when to use them. (Some of the products I review are Drip Drop, Skratch Lab, Tailwind, Voost, Nuun.) If you would like to know more about how to fuel and supplement your electrolytes, schedule a free consultation with me, and we'll talk about the best way for you to stay hydrated and become a healthier hiker!

This post contains affiliate links which help offset the cost of maintaining the website by offering me a small commission on the sale of recommended products at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

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