• Leon Pantenburg | Survival Common Sense


Try these easy hydration sources from the grocery store

water sources at grocery
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So there is an opportunity to go on a quick, not planned hike. But you’re away from most of your wilderness gear, and need to carry water. 

Before you go, stop at the grocery store and look for these drinks.

by Leon Pantenburg

Some tourists were stocking up at Newport Market for a wilderness adventure somewhere near Bend, Oregon, and they needed to take water along.

“We don’t have anything to carry water in – we need a bunch of these,” I heard one say.

They bought several Hydraflask vacuum insulated bottles, ranging in size from 12 ounce to 32 ounces. The bottles are excellent for keeping drinks hot or cold, but heavy and expensive for hiking. The tourists probably ended up spending about $150 on Hydraflasks. They might have been better served by a quick trip down the drink aisle.

We’ll presume your basic survival gear is available, and that the spontaneous hike will not put you in danger. But dehydration is always a possibility, even during cold weather.

This combination of water bottles works well. The rigid Nalgene in the middle is used for drinking and the Paltypus soft bottle are used to store extra water in the pack.

If you pack a collapsible water bottle along, you will always have a container that can be replenished at water fountains or other safe water sources. I generally carry an empty one onto airplanes. Once you get past TSA, you can fill it at a water fountain.

But what are some easy hydration drinks to pick up at the grocery store on the way out of town?

And is water the best choice for staying hydrated?

Here is some info on rehydration from Sonic Health Plus:

“The modern diet is already heavy on salt. For anyone acclimatized to working in heat, the human hormone aldosterone reduces the amount of electrolytes lost in our sweat. So, for light to moderate work, water is usually enough.

“However, if you plan to work hard (or play intensive sport) in high temperatures, look for/use an electrolyte-replacement drink before you start, midway through, and afterwards. In between, drink cool water.

Another plus for these drinks is their taste: They encourage workers/players to consume enough fluid to maintain hydration levels.”

Here are some hydration choices I found in the drink aisle of the Safeway on the way out of town.

Bottled water: I won’t use bottled water unless there are no other safe choices. And then I’d have to be really thirsty.

The water in bottles is less-regulated than water from municipal water systems. And about 25 percent is from a tap somewhere.

According to MBG Planet: “Even with recycling efforts, 6 out of 7 plastic bottles consumed in the U.S. are “downcycled”—sent somewhere out of sight and out of mind where, for the next millennia, toxins from degrading plastic containers can leach into watersheds and soil.” And according to another study, microplastics are found in most bottled water. (Read the story.)


It took some duct tape and parachute cord to make these quart Gatorade containers in serviceable canteens.

Canned water: You can buy canned water, but it’s expensive and not widely available.

V-8: This healthy drink comes in a variety of flavors, and it has the added benefit of supplying vitamins and minerals. It can taste like tomato juice or a sweet berry drink, and this may be the best choice to get kids to drink more.

Gatorade: Gatorade is  a good item to have along on  thirsty outing. In addition to supplying electrolytes it also quenches your thirst. I like the quart size – when the drink is done, you still have a reasonably sturdy plastic bottle to carry water in.

I reuse Gatorade bottles, and they are great water containers that you can lose or recycle without concern. Let the kids help make their own canteens, and it may encourage them to drink from them frequently.

Soda: A definate no-no.  Soda, coffee and most drinks with caffeine in them are diuretics, meaning they remove water from the body. Diuretics help the body get rid of excess fluid, mainly water and sodium. Most stimulate the kidneys to excrete more sodium into the urine. When diuretics flush away sodium, the body also flushes away water.

This may be a good thing for people with high blood pressure, but that’s bad for people trying to stay hydrated. Some natural diuretics include watermelon, green and black tea, grapes and berries, so be careful what you pack for lunch. The V8 berry drink, because of its potential for being a diuretic, should also be used in moderation.

Now, if time permits and there is an outdoor shop on the way out of town, another good idea is to get a water filter, or straw or get a water bottle with a filter. That way, you can replenish the water supply as needed. Look at the topo map of the area you’re going to – if there is a running creek, and you have a filter or a bottle with a filter, you don’t need to carry a large supply along. But make sure the creek is running – some streams are seasonal and dry up in the summer.

Always have water in your vehicle’s survival cache at the trailhead. You never know when it might be needed.

Have fun, stay safe and stay hydrated.

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