Should you or should you not take water with you when stand up paddling? This is a frequent question paddlers ask themselves before setting out. You are probably thinking you’ll be alright without taking hydration – a common mistake made by novice paddlers and folks inexperienced at recognizing how quickly your body can become dehydrated. Unless you keep your body fully hydrated as a matter of course, the answer for most paddlers is yes, take some water with you!
As a general rule of thumb, I recommend carrying at least .75L of water (or an endurance powder mixed with water) anytime you plan to spend a minimum of 50 minutes paddling. Doing so ensures you have something to quench your thirst and prevent your body from becoming dehydrated. By remaining hydrated, you’ll have more energy and will be more alert on the water. This is important for both recreational paddlers and racers – it all comes down to the amount of time you’ll be out on the water.
If you think there is a chance you’ll extend your paddle for any reason, you may want to take more than .75L. This is especially true if you are stand up paddling in a new area as you never know when you’ll come across something that just has to be looked at further than perhaps you originally intended. You’re out there having fun and think, just 20 more minutes. That first 20 minutes turns into 30 and before you know it, another 45 minutes has gone by while you’re out there exposed to the fresh air and [hopefully] a bit of sunshine.
How to Carry Your Hydration
Many SUPs come equipped with bungee cords which are perfect for holding a water bottle or two. You could even secure a hydration bladder beneath the bungees if carrying it on your back is not desireable.
For paddlers who prefer to have their beverages a little closer, there are a wide variety of hydration packs equipped with drinking tubes to choose from. Some are designed to be worn at the waist and others are a backpack style. I prefer a backpack style pack, the Dakine Waterman’s Pack is my personal favorite. Others may opt for a pack that sits at the waist. There are even some vest style PFDs, such as models from Vaikobi and Mocke, which come equipped with a sleeve on the back for a hydration bladder. The style of pack you choose is up to you and you may even prefer to use a different style for different situations.
Whatever method you choose, the most important factor is to get into the habit of taking something to drink when you set out stand up paddling. Bottle or bladder, the choice is up to you!
See you on the water!