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Thread: The Human Camel

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    ECHO ed bell's Avatar
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    Default The Human Camel

    I was reading another thread that touched upon daily intake of water and I recalled a hiker who once described his habit of "cameling up" at a water source. Has anyone heard of or used this practice? I took this to mean drinking large amounts of water in order to avoid having to search for water too frequently. I personally can drink a ton of fluids at the drop of a hat. (yes that includes beer ) I just didn't know whether or not this is a good idea. How much water do you drink in a day and are there any habits you have formed in regards to your hydrating? I know that weather conditions can play a role in ones intake.

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    Donating Member/AT Class of 2003 - The WET year
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    Quote Originally Posted by ed bell
    I was reading another thread that touched upon daily intake of water and I recalled a hiker who once described his habit of "cameling up" at a water source.
    ===================================
    That's a slogan Rock uses so he'll no doubt comment. Sometimes you gotta get it when you can. The practice of "cameling up" is a pretty good idea in my opinion. When you're actively hiking, snacking and perspiring your body is consuming and eliminating water at an amazing rate.

    'Slogger
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    Section hiker 733 AT miles poison_ivy's Avatar
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    Yup, I camel up often when I end up filtering water. It's more psychological I suppose since I'm carrying water in my belly rather than in my pack, but it's probably doing more good for me that way too.

    On a hot day with lots of ups and downs, I drink about a liter of water for every two miles I hike. In cooler weather, I end up drinking a lot less than that.

    - Ivy

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    First Sergeant SGT Rock's Avatar
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    Cameling up is a great way to carry extra water. I do it in the morning by drinking a quart or two plus about 8-12 ounces of coffee and carrying another quart. It usually keeps me from getting too thirsty as I walk, so the quart is there to wet my whistle. If I run into water when I am about 1/2 empty, I'll slug it down quickly and top off the bottle again to let the iodine work it's magic.
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    Registered User Peaks's Avatar
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    Default Camel up

    Yes, I'd say it's fairly common to camel up at a water source. It probably means that you will go further before feeling thursty. But, camel up is not a substitute for carrying enough water.

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    First Sergeant SGT Rock's Avatar
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    What Peaks said...

    If you are going to hit a long dry stretch, you better carry some extra water just in case.
    SGT Rock
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  7. #7

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    Cameling up is a fairly common hiking term. I camel up whenever I am at a water source if possible by downing more water than I otherwise would... kill the bottle and refill it, maybe knock down a liter. But the term may be more applicable to morning starts, then I try to get down 2L of water.

    As you say your need to consume water will vary, but as a general guide rather than a specific volume of intake I go by frequency with which I have to take piss and the color thereof.... i.e. if you aren't peeing frequently and with clear constitution then you are not properly hydrated.

    Bottom line is you need to drink a lot. I've seen guys go out, nurse one bottle all day and before long they're laid out in the middle of the trail wondering what is wrong with them. Cameling up has less to do with forgoing water sources as it does insuring that you a properly hydrated --- more along the lines to me of taking advantage of what is there, particularly when you don't know for sure what lies ahead.

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    ME-GA 2000 NotYet's Avatar
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    I do sometimes camel up at the water source where I fill up my camelback or water bottle, but it can make me sluggish if I drink too much. Also, I tend to pee A LOT of it out right away!

    I still prefer carrying lots of water in my camelback and sipping from the tube frequently. This helps me stay hydrated much better, keeps my energy level fairly constant, and I need to stop much less often. Everyone is different...my body doesn't mind the external weight because it's so much happier internally when I take little sips but take them often. Just how my body works best...
    Last edited by NotYet; 02-11-2005 at 20:37. Reason: re-word a sentence

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    Springer-->Stony Brook Road VT MedicineMan's Avatar
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    Default to augment 'cameling up' search

    do a yahoo search for chia seeds....avoid the hits that are trying to sell the stuff and find the ones that tell how the western American Indians used them to 'gel' the water in their gut allowing a slow release of the water over many hours....again look out for the marketing hype and go for the actual historical use by desert hikers

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    GA --> ME '02-? bigcat2's Avatar
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    I have to agree w/ NotYet when it comes to try and drink a bunch of water at the start of a day. I can drink it w/ no problem, but then about a half hour into the hike I'll have to stop and earn another "flora hydration merit badge", so to speak. I do tend to carry a lot of water w/ me though. I have a 70 oz camelbak, that I always drain in a day, and 2 32oz Nalgene's (1 of water and 1 of Gatorade). I know, the ultralights would have a cow, but I can't help it, I like to drink while I walk. Keeps my mind off too many random thoughts . Anyway, that's my 2 cents worth.

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    First Sergeant SGT Rock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigcat2
    I can drink it w/ no problem, but then about a half hour into the hike I'll have to stop and earn another "flora hydration merit badge", so to speak.
    It isn't a problem if you are a guy
    SGT Rock
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    My 2008 Trail Journal of the BMT/AT

    BMT Thru-Hikers' Guide
    -----------------------------------------

    NO SNIVELING

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by ed bell
    I was reading another thread that touched upon daily intake of water and I recalled a hiker who once described his habit of "cameling up" at a water source. Has anyone heard of or used this practice? I took this to mean drinking large amounts of water in order to avoid having to search for water too frequently. I personally can drink a ton of fluids at the drop of a hat. (yes that includes beer ) I just didn't know whether or not this is a good idea. How much water do you drink in a day and are there any habits you have formed in regards to your hydrating? I know that weather conditions can play a role in ones intake.
    I perspire enough to go from the Pillsbury dough boy to a raisin in 15 miles, so I do "camel up" but with due attention to electrolytes. Drinking too much water at one time will kill you faster than having no water at all. Add at least 1 package of gator aide mix or similar if you go much over a gallon a day. A survival instructor told me years ago if you don't feel like you have to pee all the time, you need more water intake.

  13. #13

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    I take frequent urination as a good indicator of being hydrated. I will generally have to pee within an hour of starting in the AM, but that's part of it. I truly beleive that if you are not urinating with some frequency then you are underhydrated. As in most things I have learned this lesson the hard way --- first no need to urinate, then slight headache, followed by nausea, then stopped conversing, and had trouble walking, vomitted my guts out and then it got bad. Call me stupid and probably rightly so, but I learned hydration is no joke. Now when I hike I pay particular attention to potential water sources.

    If you camel up and carry 2L you can make it quite a way without hitting another water source... but I always have water sources in the forefront of my mind when looking at the map for the days hike. Due to weight of water I prefer to carry less than 2L and cameling up at all water sources can help you do this, but in carrying less than 2L you need to be a bit more aware of potential sources and be willing to drink less than ideal water if you have to. I try to drink in the neighborhood of 2 gallons a day and probably more like 2.5.

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    ME-GA 2000 NotYet's Avatar
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    Hydration is very important to me, too. But my body does not stay as well-hydrated when I use the "camel up" approach. I carry a 3 liter camelback. Yes it's heavy, but I don't really notice that...I love the convenience! I drink water often and in small sips; so I never feel thirsty. When I carry a lot of water and drink often, I still pee clear and at more normal intervals for me. But when I camel up, I pee an awful lot out right away, and then I'm just as thirsty as I would be if I hadn't had so much to drink at once. Maybe some of us are designed more like camels than others of us!

    If you're like me and don't want to put anything in your waterbottles/bladders except water. You can take care of the problem of your body having too much water by munching on GORP frequently...I always have salty and sugary items in my GORP. This balances out the electrolytes pretty well, too.

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