Hydrating via boiling snow while skiing?

4:05 p.m. on January 1, 2010 (EST)
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First time poster here; wanted to get some feedback on something I've been thinking about.

I'm an avid X-country skiier and will often deplete my 3 liter hydration bladder on my more strenuous outings. The weight and bulk of the water also slows me down.

I've been considering heading out next time sans the bladder, and throwing my jetboil and fuel in the pack instead.

My question is this: If I hydrate well before departing, is there any detriment to taking longer hydration breaks (to melt snow/brew tea) less frequently?

I love taking sips of water from my pack while I'm moving, but I often think I might be overhydrating and not maximizing how light/fast I'm moving.

It also seems like it'd be safer were I to get stuck out there--easier to bring extra fuel for emergency bivi rather than extra water (which might freeze anyway).

Anyway, I'm looking criticism to that concept before I try it.


Portland, OR

4:56 p.m. on January 1, 2010 (EST)
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Couple o'things

I would start out saying yes its a good idea, but you will also either have to boil water from melted snow then cool your water or melt snow and carry a water filter that could then freeze over and either break the ceramic filter, or simply clog up so that you would need hot water to clear it. Thats why I prefer the melt/boil/cool method but it sort of requires an hour or more to complete a cycle especially to fill a bladder as big as yours and it would require a 3 liter pan. Water will cool more quickly in a titanium pan by the way, and conversely snow will also melt more quickly simply because the titanium is thinner than other pan materials. Many people think the lower conductivity of titanium would create the reverse situation but they ignore the heat transfer laws where you must divide by the thickness of the material.

Jim S

5:18 p.m. on January 1, 2010 (EST)
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Interesting about titanium, thanks! I guess I wasn't very clear though. I wouldn't be packing the melted snow with me. This would be a: melt a liter, drink a liter sort of exercise. The major question then, is whether it is much worse for you to hydrate in bigger portions rather than short sips--factoring in the benefit of hot liquid.

Also, I may be risking something by not filtering the water, but if the snow is fresh shouldn't it be fairly safe to drink unfiltered?

5:33 p.m. on January 1, 2010 (EST)
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After you boil it, you should be able to cool it quicker by setting you're pot in the snow and pushing it up against the sides. Depending on the temperature and conductivity of you're kettle, a liter will be cool enough to drink in 5 mins or so using this method.

5:37 p.m. on January 1, 2010 (EST)
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Once the water is boiled, it should be safe. That is how I got water while winter camping in Yosemite-melting snow.

I am not sold on the Jetboil. I have a small stove (Primus Micron) that fits in a Litetech pot with a small canister that I have carried for day skiing. Less room; less weight. Probably won't work in really cold weather, but has worked for me down to about +20F.

I drink when I am thirsty. I know you can overhydrate- I have read about marathoners doing it, but I don't know what it takes before it becomes a problem. Look up hyponatremia (that's what it's called) on the net. There is a lot of info on cause, effect and avoidance. I don't like sports drinks like Gatorade, but the salts in them should help prevent overhydration from what I have read. Find one you like. The sports gel packs I've tried are pretty awful too, but may have the electrolytes you need for all day touring.

5:46 p.m. on January 1, 2010 (EST)
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Thanks Tom, I'll have to check out the Primus Micron. Not too worried about cooling either since I'll probably throw a mint or green tea bag in the brew also (I tend to drink hot tea faster than water anyway).

I've experienced hyponatremia working on a hot summer day, drinking too much water before lunch--ended up throwing up almost pure water and feeling light headed.

Wheat thins fixed me quick though so now I keep salty snacks close.

Sounds like this plan is worth some experimentation.

5:12 p.m. on January 2, 2010 (EST)
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You need to drink a lot of water in short time to get hyponatremia.

The right way is 1/2 a liter in 1/2 an hour. More then that and your body is unable to use the water. There is no point drinking one liter in one go as your body is unable to absorb the water so fast and you will simply pee it out :)

5:32 p.m. on January 2, 2010 (EST)
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Jared, there are a lot of small canister stoves like the Micron. REI carries a bunch of them-


If I was buying one now, I would look at the Soto, it is a new design and very small. I like the pot supports on it better than the ones on the Micron. The downside is the price-about half again what I paid for the Micron. The MSR Pocket Rocket is very popular and MSR has very good customer service.

5:45 p.m. on January 2, 2010 (EST)
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4:27 p.m. on January 4, 2010 (EST)
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well it still should be filtered theres always some dirt pine needels in da snow.ive been melting snow for years but never when im xc skiing.if ya use da propane fuel make sure da canister is warm or it dont burn so good at or below frezeing.

9:36 p.m. on January 4, 2010 (EST)
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Sounds like a lot of stopping and having the muscles cool down.Once warmed up i just like to cruise.For most tours a couple quarts are fine,up to 12 miles or so depending on lay of the land.Just sounds like to much work for a days outing.ymmv

2:31 p.m. on January 6, 2010 (EST)
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Interesting question. Alluded to at least once above is the potential difficulty of using a canister stove in cold temps. Below around 20-25 deg. F most of 'em are a challenge. Using a WG/MF stove leads to other complications, including fuel storage, stove maintenance, etc. The question to me seems to boil down to weight difference vs. convenience of having water on one's person. (Pun not intended, but not avoided, either!)

Now, what would make this really interesting is if one attempted to melt snow with a stove whilst actually skiing. I might pay to watch that.

Oh, and nirotem, regarding absorbing water, etc.: Doesn't one have to absorb it first before one can pee it out?

6:11 p.m. on January 6, 2010 (EST)
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I see people drinking beer in the loo all the time...is that answer your question PerryClark?

2:14 a.m. on January 9, 2010 (EST)
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Nope. Not sure what loo drinkers have to do with it. I was just pointing out (somewhat obliquely, perhaps) that the excretion of a substance via the urinary tract requires that it be filtered from the blood by the kidneys. And in order to be in the bloodstream, one may reasonably conclude that said substance was either absorbed or directly injected, no?

Now, if the dear folks drinking in the loo are first melting what they're drinking, all bets are off, I suppose.

7:31 p.m. on January 9, 2010 (EST)
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I'm sorry, it did got lost in translation. All the water you drink will be absorbed into the blood. The body need to keep the salt levels and if there is too much water in the blood the body will need to excrete it via the kidneys. It doesn't take take long for the body to absorb the water into the blood stream but it does take some time for the water to absorb into the different cells. I'm afraid that it's getting a bit too technical for me to explain as I'm not a great expert but this is the basic of what I been told in the military medical school. There is also something about putting extra stress on the kidneys...
This is what Wiki have to say about it:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluid_balance
Funny but for one's the Hebrew page is more elaborated.

February 19, 2018
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