Staying Fueled and Hydrated While Snowshoeing

-Danelle

Kids/Family Ambassador

When snowshoeing in cold weather, the body uses extra energy to maintain normal body temperature at the core and extremities.  This requires a high energy expenditure and burns extra calories.  Because of this, it is important to drink and eat while out snowshoeing for over an hour.

Snacks and water must be kept from freezing and still be easily accessible.  Here are some suggestions:

  1. Use a backpack type drinking system with and insulated tube.  Tuck the tube under your jacket and next to your body to prevent freezing.  Sip frequently to keep the water flowing and prevent freezing.  You can also blow back into the tube to make sure it’s clear of water after you’ve gotten a sip.
  2. If you carry a water bottle, carry it upside down in its carrying pouch to prevent the nozzle from freezing.  Make sure your bottle doesn’t leak!
  3. Fill bottles or backpack drinking systems with warm fluids (after checking to make sure they are meant for warm beverages!).  This will help keep your body warm and will slow the freezing process.
  4. Use a fluid replacement drink diluted with water.  These drinks do not freeze as fast as plain water and they provide an energy boost.  If it’s really cold out, you might want to mix a little bit of your favorite cocktail in with your water.   Alcohol actually has a very low freezing temperature and will help prevent the water from freezing.  Don’t put too much in though—you might not find your way back!
  5. Energy bars are easy to carry, but keep them next to your body to prevent them from turning into “rock” bars.  Consider making a home-made energy bar or granola bars, which are less likely to freeze and become brittle.
  6. Hard candy provides quick energy, is easy to carry, and is not affected by freezing temperatures.
  7. The new maltodextrin, quick energy packs (gels, goos) are easy to carry, provide quick energy, and don’t require as much water as other foods to be absorbed.  Find a brand and flavor you like.
  8. Bring along a snack you know you’ll like so you feel like eating and don’t have to force it down. Don’t try any unfamiliar ‘snacks’ (bars,  gels, etc.) on your snowshoe outing without first trying it at home to make sure it agrees with your stomach.
  9. Dehydration is a common problem for snowshoers.  A lot of water is lost through respiration and perspiration when snowshoeing because of the high physical demands and high altitudes.  Snowshoers often forget to drink because of the cool temperatures.  Make a conscious effort to stay hydrated.  If you feel lightheaded or dizzy; stop and eat and drink.
  10. If you are snowshoeing at high altitude, the symptoms of high altitude sickness and dehydration/ low blood sugar are the similar.  First eat and drink water, then seek help for altitude sickness if this doesn’t help.