“It’s a Scorcher Out There!” Quick Tips to Stay Hydrated on the Trail

Posted 06/29/18 by Bryan and June Bradley in America's Trails

Bryan and June Bradley, members of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy since 1999 | Photo courtesy Bryan and June Bradley

For that long trail ride on a hot summer day, even an insulated water bottle can only do so much to keep the water cold for a reasonable amount of time. Having ridden trails for more than two decades, my wife and I have picked up a few tricks—and here’s what we do to keep the water colder and more enjoyable for just a little longer.

Bryan and June Bradley hiking in the Boulder/White Cloud Mountains in 2014 | Photo courtesy Bryan and June Bradley

First, we both use 24-ounce insulated water bottles. The night before a trip, we put about 4 ounces of water in the bottoms of the bottles and put them in the freezer overnight. When the water freezes, you basically have an internal ice pack. That solid ice cube will melt slowly and keep your water colder in the process.

As a side note: When we put the bottles in the freezer, we lay them on their sides. It's not actually an ice cube in the bottom that forms. It's more of a narrow ice sheet along the side. See example.

Make sure you don’t put so much water in your bottle that the resulting ice cube takes away from the amount of available liquid to drink. Naturally, the bigger the ice cube, the slower it will melt. And when you screw the top on the bottle before putting it into the freezer, you’ll want to make sure the threads are dry so the lid doesn’t freeze shut.

Incidentally, we also carry a 40-ounce, double-walled, insulated stainless steel bottle. If your bike bags are too full to accommodate the extra bottle, you can put it in a daypack and strap it to the top of your bag.

It’s always good to make sure you have plenty of water to stay hydrated (no matter what the weather)! Not only will your body thank you—your experience on the trail will be much more enjoyable!

Want more great tips for the trail? Check out “How to Prepare for Your First Long-Distance Ride,” and “Useful Biking Gear for Trails—Plus a Few Macgyver Tips!

Shout-out to Bryan Bradley and his wife June for sending us these quick tips for staying hydrated during their multiday rides out on the trail! Members of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy since 1999, Bryan and June logged more than 800 miles on trails last year, with two of their favorites being the Elroy-Sparta State Trail in Wisconsin and the Kal-Haven Trail in Michigan. Thanks Bryan and June!

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