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I'm going to be riding in the Northern Cape and Namibia next January and was wondering about how much water I should be carrying (I'll be 2 up on a 1200GS) Should we buy a couple of Camelbaks or is that just P-D dreaming ?
Location: Dreaming of travelling and riding bikes in general..
A good point which I see as two issues - firstly, planning for the area of each country you intend to visit (on longer days in remote parts = more water) and secondly, don't get lulled into a false sense of security by the large network of petrol stations and modern comforts in both countries - if you have an accident or end up not making your destination by nightfall you will be glad that you bought sufficient water.
We didn't go anywhere particularly remote - we had at least 2x 1.5ltr bottles each with us as we toured the dirt roads on our ATs. Most of the time that was fine but sometimes it wasn't enough when we really needed it.
'when in rome, do as the romans do....' and all that,
so you should balance a giant earthenware pot of water on your head like the locals
sorry. im not helping am i.
trouble with water is, its heavy. trouble with camelpaks is they are small, 2-2.5ltrs? whats the biggest you can get? can you stop and refill them regularly? you need 3ltrs a day in a temperate climate, out there you can sweat 7ltrs a day, each, easily. the dry hot air just sucks it out of you.
trouble with camelpaks is they are small, 2-2.5ltrs? whats the biggest you can get?
Trouble with carrying all the water in one container .. if it leaks you'll have NO water when you need it.
2 litre water containers are fine. I prefer hard plastic as they are more resitant to damage. Yes - if you are running low in water than they take space .. what are you going to use teh space for then anyway? You'll need the space again for water .. so don't fill it with other stuff.
I have travelled through Namibia (and far remoter) Botswana several times. I have broken down, got stranded without petrol (my own fault) and got lost.
I have only ever travelled with a 1.5l bottle of water. The only exception was the Kaokoveld and traversing the sceleton coast when extra water is common sense - you probably won't travel these routes.
I have never gone thirsty. Even in the remotest parts, you are never further than an hour away from a village/town/settlement.
I travelled with an American bloke on one trip, who had a 1.5l hydrating pack (camelbak). This was more than enough - he never ran out.
If you're planning extreme / enduro riding, its obviously a different story.
I can recommend that you try and freeze a bottle of water each, overnight each time you stop. The LUXURY of icy cold water, throughout the day... makes a huge difference.
Freezing your Camelbak adds coolness - obviously careful not to overfill it.
You will find at campsites that the kiosk/hosts would gladly put water in their freezer for you. I even ask shop owners to keep it in the ice cream chest overnight and pick it up before I leave.
If you stick to the larger roads this shouldn't be an issue, because there's always some kind of traffic. In the remote parts the next settlement (even a farm) might be hours away at the least. Nearly every year tourists get lost & die of dehydration in Namibia, mainly because they leave their vehicle in search for water or help.
Besides that, January is the hottest time of the year with temps often soaring above 50°C.
I would like to start this with I am a physiological zoologist and thermal biology is my speciality. I have also spent a lot of time walking and motorcycling in remote places. For example on one trip in the Oz red desert (temp= 43°C and MMH = 0) I drank 10lt of water in 7 hours. I never went to the toilet and was dry as a bone (no sweat) and even after that my urine was dark!. The desert rule of thumb is 5-8l per person per day Plus 2 days emergency supplies. When working, you should drink up to one litre of water per hour of “exercise”, on top of your normal daily amount. I know this can be hard on a bike, but 1.5-3lt per day is not enough for working conditions. 1-2 lt is the recommended amount for sitting around watching telly in the UK.
Water is the most important thing to carry. Even when "not working hard" but being on a motorcycle water is literally pulled out of your body (this is both conductive and convective evaporation). Many people use this dry their cloths. If you don’t believe me try it, next time it is not actually raining (can you tell I live in the UK now) wet a cloth and hang it off your bike go for a ride and it will be dry faster they you can imagine, NOW increase the temp and lower the humidity. Your skin will be acted on the same way, in order to keep your skin cells alive more and more water will be supplied to them. If you are sweating to keep your core temperature down, (this can kill you too), you are losing it at a much more rapid rate because you are actually trying in increase evaporative cooling.
The human body is about 70% water and we have a small reserve of water and can lose some without any effects. However, dehydration occurs when there is a 1% or greater reduction in body weight due to fluid loss. And really it is defending against dehydration that we are really discussing here. So for a 100kg person that is one litre, 40kg person that is 400ml. NOT A HELL OF A LOT!
Clinically speaking depending on the percentage of body weight lost, dehydration can be described as mild, moderate or severe. Mild dehydration - is a relatively low level of fluid loss (causing a 1-2% loss of body weight) can cause the body to work less efficiently. However, mild dehydration carries few long term health risks and can usually be easily treated by replacing lost fluids. But can decrease your reaction times, concentration and minor weakness; all of which could be deadly on a bike. Also even minor chronic (ongoing) dehydrationit can affect kidney function and may lead to the development of kidney stones. It can cause dry, wrinkled skin and be harmful to your liver, joints and muscles. It can also cause cholesterol problems, headaches, reduced blood pressure (hypotension), fatigue and constipation.
After a loss of about 2.5%of body weight, significant neurological impairment is noticeable; Sever loss of concentration, syncope (dizziness), market weakness, muscle cramps and more.
Moderate dehydration - is a 3-5% decrease in body weight due to fluid loss. This level of fluid loss can result in a substantial decrease in strength and endurance and is the primary cause of heat exhaustion.
Severe dehydration - is a decrease of more than 5% of body weight due to fluid loss. A 10% or greater reduction in body weight is extremely serious. If not treated immediately, this level of dehydration can be life threatening. Hospitalisation and an intravenous drip may be necessary to restore the substantial loss of fluids.
It is important to remember that thirst is not a good indicator of dehydration. If you are thirsty, you are already likely to be suffering from the effects of dehydration!!!!
The signs of dehydration in adults include:
* dry mouth (xerostomia),
* chapped or dry lips,
* dry eyes,
* dry, loose skin with a lack of elasticity,
* sunken features, particularly the eyes (enophthalmos),
* clammy hands and feet,
* confusion and irritability,
* loss of appetite,
* burning sensation in your stomach,
* feeling of an 'empty stomach' or abdominal pain,
* low urine output, and
* concentrated, dark urine with a strong odour.
When travelling, we may suffer added pressures then just environment conditions. Dehydration often results from an illness, such as gastroenteritis, where you have persistent diarrhoea and vomiting. You can also become dehydrated after sweating excessively from a fever. Dehydration can also occur from drinking too much alcohol. The headache associated with a hangover indicates that your body is dehydrated. This is why it is important to drink plenty of water when you have been drinking alcohol. Certain drinks: some teas, coke, coffee (he says while drinking his 4th cup) are diuretics and will increase your water loss, so these will not help as well.
Finally changes in salt content in our diet can also have an impact of the fluid transport (i.e. if you take in a lot of salt you need more water to clear it) n rare cases, it is possible to over hydrate. This condition, known as hyponatremia, is low sodium, and can occur when too much water is drunk in a very short time. The condition sometimes affects endurance athletes whose blood sodium is reduced through sweat and then further diluted by drinking large amounts of water. Typical symptoms of hyponatremia include; nausea, vomiting and headache. In the most serious cases, the brain swells causing confusion, seizures, coma and even death. This is what caused the creation of “Sports Drinks” they are usually high in sodium and potassium both of which are lost when exercising and sweating. The scientific community is out on the efficacy of these for “normal” people even in high temp /low humidity areas.
I could go on for days about this... so I'll leave it with: The survival rule of thumb in normal conditions is; 3 days without water, 3 weeks without food. Bottom line: Carry as much as possible.. drink as much as you can..
Cheers for the feedback, all. I think given that we won't be bashing along for hours off piste, maybe a 3 litre hydration pack and a couple of litres in bottles should see us right. Definitely gotta be careful- was in the Klein Karoo a few years back and got dehydrated, felt like crap and realised I couldn't decide what side of the road I should be on...
I have never gone thirsty. Even in the remotest parts, you are never further than an hour away from a village/town/settlement.
The thirstiest I have ever got waS PROBABLY on the tube this morning. Wrong weather for a full-on pinstripe suit and a coat, too many people etc... You never have a problem when it's an obvious concern (so people going across deserts tend to take water), it's when you dont expect touble that it turns up.... London sucks!
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