Drink often – and in small quantities
Fluid loss means that you need more energy to keep your body moving, while your performance capacity is reduced. A fluid loss as little as 2 per cent reduces your physical performance capacity by 20 per cent. Drinking regularly is therefore extremely important, not least during hot summer days when you sweat a lot. Dressing as coolly as possible is naturally another part of preventing fluid loss.
It is best to drink often, approximately every 20 minutes, and drink as little as 150–200 ml at a time. The body finds it hard to absorb larger amounts of fluid than this. Adding a little sugar to the water makes it easier for your body to utilise the water and maintain blood sugar at a constant level. Make it easy to drink! A collapsible drinking cup in your pocket, a hydration system with a straw or a half-litre water bottle all facilitate regular fluid intake.
A simple way to check whether you are drinking enough fluid is to check the colour of your urine. It should be a very pale yellow, almost colourless.
Mountain streams and other water sources
Finding water is rarely a problem when you are trekking in the Scandinavian mountain range. You can drink water from most mountain streams, particularly at high elevations. At the same time you should be aware that there is always a small risk that you will ingest bacteria, for example if there is a dead animal lying further up the stream. Pay attention around places where a number of reindeer gather, for example. Avoid still water, e.g. pools and smaller ponds.
Water in inhabited areas is often affected by agriculture, roads, airborne fallout, etc. and this often means greater risks of infection (or of you ingesting substances that are harmful in another way). You should therefore try not to drink directly out of forest pools or streams. Boil the water when you are unsure, this kills the bacteria and only certain micro-organisms will survive (and these are extremely rare in the Scandinavian countryside). Maps and tourist stations also often indicate sources of drinking water.
Planning for your water needs is an essential part of planning your trip, and can save you both unnecessary stops along the way and troublesome illnesses.