Où trouver de l'eau en randonnée ? - ÖKO EUROPE

Where to find water when hiking?

Are you planning to go on a long hike (GR) over several days? Wondering where and how to find drinking water while hiking?

The rest will interest you.

When you ask a "new" hiker what they thought of their first experience, most of the time they'll reply that their feet hurt, they were very thirsty and they should have brought more water...

Water on a hike is undeniably a difficult problem to solve, unless you get organized and know where to find some.

You can find water while hiking:

- In public places (campsites, shops, etc)
- In lakes, streams and rivers
- In ambient humidity
- In soils (swamps...)
- By collecting rain

That said, virtually all of these sources of water require precautions, which we will address.

But first, let's remember the huge importance of good hydration.

Foreshadowing: the importance of staying hydrated when hiking

dehydration is an insidious condition. Many symptoms we mistake for fatigue or altitude sickness are actually signs of dehydratation more or less severe. It often starts with headaches, fatigue, nausea or mild malaise.

If left untreated, dehydration can have more serious effects:

  • increased weakness
  • Mental impairment
  • Severe water deficit
  • Accelerated heart rate

The basic rule of water consumption is about one liter per hour of hiking (up to 3 liters during very intense efforts).

To know whether you're sufficiently hydrated or not, your urine is the best indicator.

  • Clear urine = adequate water consumption
  • Dark urine = sign of obvious dehydration.

A bottle or flask with 1 liter of water weighs approximately 1 kilogram, so it's easy to understand that the weight of water can quickly become a problem in your backpack.

The trick then is to carry enough water to keep you hydrated between the various water points on the course. That's why it's essential to get informed before you leave.

Finding water to survive on a hike

We're touching on a fairly common bone of contention among hikers, hunters and other wilderness adventurers.

In a critical situation and with no means of purifying the water, it will probably be preferable to drink it with the risk of illness rather than face severe dehydration that could escalate to the worst.

In all other cases: It's best to play it safe and
filter natural water sources.

But to avoid such questions, acquiring a good filter or water purifier is invaluable.

1. Drinking water in public places

purifier l'eau en randonnée

This is obviously the most obvious solution, and depending on the hike, there's no shortage of places.

For example, you can find drinking water:

  • In campsites
  • In public parks
  • In churches
  • In cemeteries
  • In public toilets
  • In tourist offices
  • In shops (inns, restaurants, bars...)
  • In accommodation (gîtes, refuges, campsites...)

As a last resort, private individuals can also fill your gourd. Obviously, this is rarely the solution we want to opt for to avoid disturbing...

But out in the wilderness, miles from any civilization, drinking water points are much rarer... Here are a few tips to keep you hydrated even in these particular conditions.

2. Avoid stagnant water

boire de l'eau en randonnée

The first piece of advice to remember is to absolutely avoid stagnant water, such as puddles that have been stagnant for several days, retention pans, etc.

This, simply because insects love to settle there to proliferate and above all,
microorganisms, bacteria and viruses thrive there like nowhere else.

Unless you're in a desperate situation, severely dehydrated and in possession of a means of filtering water, such as our OKO water bottle, just remember that "stagnant water = danger".

3. Bodies of water, lakes, rivers and streams

combien de litre d'eau une personne boit en randonnée

Contrary to the previous point, flowing water is a better ally, but not a perfect one, and a few precautions are still required.

Concerning the lakes and bodies of water, try to find out (or find out before you go) where the water comes from. If it comes from melting glaciers, there shouldn't be a problem. If, on the other hand, a plant is located upstream of the lake, precautions must be taken.

For rivers, it's the same thing, you have to try to make sure the latter isn't "obstructed" by a dead animal upstream.

This can happen in the days following thunderstorms, when some panicked animals injure themselves before running aground in a river. Needless to say, drinking this water is clearly not recommended!

Safety tip : The best thing to do is to collect the water as high and as close as possible to the "source" with a filtering gourd.

4. Collecting water from the dew

quelle eau filtrer en randonnée

Depending on the climate, when it's hot during the day and cold at night, the thermal shock between hot and cold produces condensation, which it's possible to recover!

By stretching out a cloth (t-shirt or towel), preferably absorbent, it will capture the rosée by gorging itself with water when the humidity starts to fall and it will, later, be possible to drink it by squeezing the wet cloth.

We're not talking about recovering liters of drinking water, but it's an additional potential "source" you can tap into.

5. Harvesting rainwater

rendre l'eau potable en randonnée

The rain is an excellent source of water, but unless you're walking in the rain with buckets (which is impractical, let's face it!), this "source" of water is best suited to setting up camp for the evening.

To retrieve it, two methods work:

  • Direct: put a container on the ground and... wait for it to fill
  • Drip by drop: in a container, put sticks that will act as a "water pipe"

The second method recovers much more water and also works under trees when the rain has stopped falling.

Beware: Rainwater is not common, so if you collect some, drink it quickly. Many bacteria will develop during storage.

6. Peat bogs and swamps

où trouver de l'eau en randonnée

Potable water can easily be found in bogs and swamps thanks to the groundwater that softens the soil.

Just dig a small hole and see if groundwater collects.

Water is naturally filtered by the soil layers, but if in doubt, use a filter gourd to collect it.

7. Follow insects and animal tracks

eau en randonnée

Animals and insects are smart, never settling far from a watering hole. That way, if you spot them, you can be sure that water is close by.

Here are some examples of how far certain animals and insects travel from a watering hole:

  • Bees: water up to 4 km
  • Flies and butterflies: water up to 2 km
  • Mosquitoes: water maximum 500 m
  • Frogs: water nearby (a few tens of meters)

Animal tracks can also lead you to a watering hole, as animals need a regular supply, just like humans.

Be far-sighted and filter the water!

Each of the above suggestions will help you find more or less water to help you stay hydrated, no matter the circumstances.

That said, if you want to enjoy your supply water without wondering if it's going to make you sick the next day, it's best to plan ahead and equip yourself accordingly.

The most practical, easy-to-implement and effective solution to use when hiking or even at home every day is to opt for an OKO filtering water bottle.

It guarantees lightness, comfort and safety with its maximum filtration.