The American Backpacker

Using Electrolyte Supplements In The Wilderness


Going into a Wilderness Area can take a toll on your body if you are not prepared both mentally and physically. Making sure you stay hydrated is very important but water alone cannot replenish those lost salts and minerals your body loses when you sweat and exert yourself on the trail. You need to replenish those lost salts and minerals with electrolyte packets.

Electrolytes are electrically charged substances that replenish the body’s water and electrolyte concentrations after dehydration. Electrolytes help maintain proper nerve and muscle functions. When you have an Electrolyte imbalance your muscles and nerve functions will be affected.

As a Wilderness Backpacker, I have experienced symptoms of Electrolyte imbalance. Those symptoms were leg cramping and fatigue after a long day of bushwhacking.  After some research, I began using electrolyte replenishment packets in my water.  I used these packets during periods of heavy exertion.  I found that I was less tired in the evenings and my leg cramps stopped.

Being tired is not necessarily a symptom of lost salts and minerals but using electrolyte replenishers did reduce a lot of my fatigue in the evenings.  Replenishing your electrolytes in cooler climates is just as important as using them when it is very hot. In cooler climates your muscles still need hydration with the right balance of salts and minerals.

Water alone will not be enough to keep your body balanced.  Electrolyte packets help supplement the water you drink.  I have found that utilizing these packets not only during my adventure but before you start helps tremendously.

Since I have been using electrolytes I find myself more relaxed at my basecamp in the evening.  Remember to take these electrolyte packets on your next adventure. There are many brands on the market.  They are lightweight to carry and they come in a variety of flavors, which is an added benefit.

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