The basic model for water comes down to what you can carry and what you will need. The biggest mistake hikers make is not drinking enough water. It doesn’t matter if it’s a winter hike, summer hike, high altitude hike or just out for a day hike, staying hydrated is the key to success.
As part of your trip planning, get a sense of how long you plan on being out and always err on the side of caution, meaning, bring more than what you will need. And as a side note, I recommend getting a LifeStraw. They are lightweight and they add that little piece of adding protection all hikers need. Okay, so how much is the right amount of water. The general rule of thumb is one liter per hour. This of course depends on how much water YOU will need. While of course climate, your level of exertion and altitude, it really all comes down to you.
Next, drink before you need to. That’s a hard one because the reality of it is that you are going along at a nice pace and don’t want to stop for a water break. I keep my insulated bottle strapped across my chest. It makes it easy to get to and I don’t need to stop and get my pack off to get to my bottle. A lot of hikers are using Camelbak type products that have a tube that comes out of a hydration pack. They are a great idea; just keep in mind that you need to blow air back into the tube to keep it from icing up.
That’s a good segway to the last piece. Keep your water from icing up. I’ve hiking in temperatures as low as -54°F, and I can tell you first hand it doesn’t take much to freeze up your water. Keep your bottle in an insulated pack. Keep it open for just as long as you need and make sure that you close it up tight. And, make sure that you drink often, even if it’s just a little bit at a time. The more the water is moved around the better. As I mentioned before, I’m not much for water hydration packs, but if you use one make sure that you breathe warm air back into tube otherwise the water will freeze up your hydration pack and you’ll spend a whole day trying to figure out how to get water out of it.
Water is key to a successful hike, so make sure you do the research on what type of hike it is, bring more than you will need, and keep it insulated.