How Do You Hydrate When You Ride? You know you should, right?

Hydration is a funny thing. Once you realize you are getting dehydrated, you are most likely more dehydrated than you think.

There are a lot of riders on this forum who ride in pretty remote areas for long periods, so let’s talk about carrying that ever so precious WATER.

Everybody knows the normal, dry mouth feeling, but did you know that there are a few unusual signs of dehydration beyond the obvious?

  • bad breath
  • dry skin
  • muscle cramps
  • fever and chills
  • food cravings, especially for sweet stuff
  • headaches

And the two things that will dehydrate you the quickest are vomiting and diarrhea, which can happen a lot in foreign (to you) areas.

Everyday Health suggests an additional couple of tests even if you are thirsty to check for dehydration

If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. But lack of thirst doesn’t necessarily mean you’re well hydrated. Here are two other ways to check whether your body is dehydrated:

  1. Try this skin test. Use two fingers to pinch up some skin on the back of your hand, then let the skin go. The skin should spring back to its normal position in less than a couple of seconds. Higgins says that if the skin returns to normal more slowly, you might be dehydrated.
  2. Check your urine. If you’re well-hydrated, your urine will be mostly clear with a tinge of yellow (the color of light lemonade) before it hits the bowl. Darker yellow or orange are the “warning” colors to watch for. If you see those colors, start drinking fluids.

When it comes to daily water intake, the Institute of Medicine recommends that most women get about 2.7 liters of water a day (or about 12 cups), and most men get about 3.7 liters a day (or about 15 cups). Those totals include water gained from foods and beverages like tea, milk, and fruit juice.

So how do you carry that water on your motorcycle? Here are a few options I’ve used. Please add in the comments if you have any others that worked well for you

Mosko Moto Tank Bag with Integrated Hydration Pack. Its right there in front of you as a reminder

Camelbak. I personally disliked this the most for one simple reason: the opening on the model I had was small. In very hot areas, if I could buy ice, I would. The small opening made it easier to get ice on the floor than in the bag! There are so many copies of the original that choices now seem limitless, starting at around $10 up to the hundreds


There is a company called USWE I found but have never used, who carry a huge selection and specific moto versions. It might be worth a look if, like me, you aren’t happy with Camelbak.

They make a hydration belt if you really don’t like the weight on your shoulders, good for short rides as it’s only 1-liter

I personally switched to a Klim version that has a larger opening and is obviously designed with the rider in mind.

Now I am testing out the Klim Arsenal Vest, and honestly, I like it as it spreads the weight better on the shoulders and has a 3-liter bladder. It does look a little military though.

I have a Klim Badlands (not using it this trip). It’s the previous version that you can add a bladder to in the pouch in the back. I personally didn’t like the feel of it how it could make the neck of the jacket move and pull on my throat, but I know a lot of people love them.

To carry additional water there is one simple choice for us. On our current RTW we have three of them: 2 x2-liter (which has sadly seemed to be discontinued) and 1 x10 liter MSR Dromedary bags. They pack very small when not in use but with the webbing and eyelets make them easy to attach to the top of any luggage


Of course, there are single-use plastic water bottle. Besides the obvious harm to the environment, they are just difficult to secure, maybe under a cargo net, or some luggage has a specific holder/pouch. But to me if it’s out of sight/behind me, I forget to hydrate, which takes us back to the opening paragraphs



How do you hydrate? How do you carry water? Do you use anything else instead of water? Do you add electrolytes, or is a cerveza enough hydration for you at the end of the trail?

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