The Hydration Summit: A Four-Week Journey to Exploring Best Practices and Emerging Technologies for Hydration on the Trail

After a series of 90-degree days with what felt like 200% humidity, I saddled up for a Mount Rainier training hike in Northeastern Pennsylvania in 2010. The thought of carrying a 40-pound pack up the short, but incredibly steep Glen Onoko Falls trail was exhausting in and of itself. Add in the fact that I'd probably sweat a liter per hour while I was out; I knew it was going to be a long day. With two Nalgene bottles and a host of other containers filled with water to weigh my pack down, I left the parking lot with perspiration glistening on my forehead. Four hours later, I called it a day. As I unloaded my pack next to my car, a friendly kayaker asked if I'd been paddling because I was completely soaked with sweat.

Water is essential to life. In fact, the human body itself is made of 60-70% water. Staying hydrated during climbing, hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, and even during normal daily activities is too important not to prioritize. But what are the best ways to stay hydrated on the trail? What are the best tools we can use to efficiently filter water when we're in the backcountry? How are some of the leading hydration system creators innovating to help deliver liquids in different situations? What systems are other outdoor adventurers using and are they effective? 

The Hydration Summit website, officially launching on June 4th.
I'm excited to announce my participation in the Hydration Summit, an exploration of hydration on the trail and a place to discuss a variety of topics related to hydration systems. Sponsored by leading industry hydration system maker Geigerrig and in partnership with Trail Sherpa, I'll contribute to the Hydration System discussion along with a host of other outdoorsy bloggers. We'll discuss things like the differences between leading hydration systems, using water in camp with large groups of people, and water-related illness. We'll review a handful of systems with a focus on specific features like ease of cleaning, methods for pressurization, and overall effectiveness.

The two topic areas I'll be covering are how to pressurize standard hydration systems and an overview of one of Geigerrig's systems with a focus on their innovative pressurization feature. Bob Geiger, Vice President of Operations for Geigerrig, noted a number of shortcomings with hydration systems during his time as a rifle platoon commander for the United States Marine Corps. He found his platoon preferred flavored drinks to water, and cleaning the standard bladders in their hydration system was a challenge in the field. He also noticed that hydration wasn't the only use for water; the Marines used their systems to spray clean themselves, their equipment, and wounds. Standard hydration packs were limiting, and by noticing shortcomings and devising solutions, Geigerrig systems were born. I'm incredibly curious about the pressurization feature's effectiveness and its use for hiking, backpacking and other activities I participate in.

If hydration on the trail is important to you, beginning June 4th, join the Hydration Summit and weigh in. Log in using your Facebook, Twitter or Google accounts to share hydration stories of your own, or join any of the active discussions. If you're interested in learning more about who the other contributors are, visit the "Contributors" page. There's also a fantastic intro post up on Trail Sherpa. It's an incredible crew and it's going to be an incredible journey!

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