Drinking is important for many reasons, but it is particularly important in the winter since you lose large amounts of liquid in cold temperatures. Staying hydrated and maintaining your blood sugar levels are prerequisites for being able to perform both physically and mentally. Dehydration is one of the most common reasons your body starts to shake. Dehydration makes the core temperature in your body fall and your heart rate increase, which in turn requires your body to use more energy to stay in motion and lowers your ability to perform. Insufficient hydration combined with the wrong gloves or even bare hands can cause chapping – which in a worst-case scenario makes it painful to use your hands.
Get your water from an open, running source if at all possible. You might need to melt snow at times, so you should make sure it is not dirty or potentially could contain something that can spread bacteria. Since snow is porous and contains a lot of air, the volume will decrease dramatically when it is melted. Pack the snow down hard to get the most liquid possible. If you are out on a longer trek, you need to remember that snow and the water from mountain streams do not have many minerals. In order to keep your muscles working optimally, you need to supplement your meals with dietary supplements (there are usually sufficient amounts of magnesium, and sometimes potassium – sodium chloride, in the food).
• Drink small amounts often.
• Drink at least 4 litres per day.
• Drink warm drinks (at least 20°C), and preferably drinks that are slightly sweetened – this helps your body absorb the liquid and supplies your brain with blood sugar.
• Avoid quenching your thirst by eating snow - this cools down your body.
• Carry a thermos or water bottle close to your body in the extreme cold to prevent the contents from freezing.