I talked with a guy the other day whose car battery died while he was up in the mountains. Way up in the mountains with snow everywhere. His estimation had him about 12 miles from the nearest town, so he decided he didn’t even need to take his water bottle. It wasn’t too cold, so he stayed plenty warm just at walking speed. A little too warm actually.

He told me he was sweating and resorted to eating snow to try and stay hydrated. His one-way trip turned out to be more like 35 miles and it took him 12 hours! 

There are several takeaways from this, but I will focus on two:  

1-Always take the water bottle. 

2-Generate your own water with a wide-mouth bottle. 

In Arctic survival, we teach students to keep a wide-mouth bottle (Nalgene, GSI, etc.) between layers to keep it from freezing. Every time they take a sip of water (which should be early and often), they throw in a couple handfuls of snow. This slowly melts from riding along in their layers while they complete other tasks and replenishes the water they are drinking. We never want to let the bottle go empty as the water that’s in there helps melt snow at a much greater rate than just throwing snow in a dry bottle. 

Keep in mind that the snow to water ratio is about 10:1 but can be as high as 25:1, so keep an eye on your water level. You may need to add snow more frequently than you are drinking.  

Give this a try on your next winter hike!