This advice is primarily for hikers on established trails with good knowledge of their water sources. Please read comments below for a number of other perspectives.
Fears tend to drive what we carry. The three hardest fears I have dealt with are getting cold, hungry and thirsty.
I want to talk today about water management. A number of you carry a 100oz. Camelback filled with water. This approaches 8 pounds for the container + water plus you never really know how much water you have drunk nor how much you have left. Why carry so much when you have known water sources on your hike? How long and how many miles can you walk around your home without taking a drink? For me it is 8-10 miles or 3-4 hours. Try it! Learn your limits.
Water management can be one of the big challenges that can truly affect your pack weight. Are you ready to be pushed out of your comfort zone?
When getting ready for bed I make sure I have a number of liters of water that are treated & ready for me and others in the morning (especially w/ Scouts). If the next day’s hike has known sure water sources I drink a couple liters of water before leaving camp then only carry ~ 500mls of water with me until I get to the water source. When I get to the water source again I drink 2+ liters until the next water source. An ultralight water filter also helps minimize the amount of water on a hikers back.
Instead of 8+ pounds of water I’m carrying only 1 pound. A huge difference.
-article by Doug Prosser and Editor