At this time of year, when the days are long and the sun is high in the sky, keeping hydrated when out in the woods can be particularly difficult. In this blog, we’re going to look at what dehydration is and how to prevent it. We’re also going to look at what to do what you haven’t been able to prevent dehydration; how to recognise the signs and how to treat it.

 


What is dehydration?

Learn about dehydration and how to prevent it

Simply put, dehydration is losing more fluids than you can take in.  Water makes up at least two-thirds of our body, it plays a vital role in keeping our organs and therefore bodies functioning. Dehydration, losing more water than your body can take in, impacts on your body’s ability to function.  While mild dehydration can be pretty easily treated more severe dehydration can very quickly become life-threatening and may require immediate medical treatment. The key to ensuring that mild dehydration does not become anything more severe is in recognising the signs of dehydration. 

 

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Signs of dehydration 

Prevent dehydration with these tips
When out on the trail, backpacking or practicing bushcraft it can be easy to neglect one’s water intake and become dehydrated. That’s why it is important to keep an eye out for the following signs of dehydration – not just for yourself but for those in your group as well.  
With that in mind here are the following signs of dehydration.

 

  • Feeling thirsty
    This is a great indication of when you should drink. While some schools of thought might advocate only drinking at certain times not drinking when your thirsty may impact on your decision-making abilities. Therefore it is better to drink when thirsty rather than risk making a situation worse.
  • Dark yellow or strong smelling urine
    This is one of the best indicators of dehydration. Every time you go to the bathroom check the colour of your pee. If it is dark yellow or strong smelling then drink some water immediately after going to the bathroom.  If you are peeing little and not many times per day then this can also be a sign of dehydration.
  • Feeling dizzy or light-headed
    This is a warning sign of dehydration. If you start feeling dizzy or lightheaded then sit down immediately and drink water. In reality, though you shouldn’t ever let it get to this stage. By drinking water regularly and when thirsty you should avoid any feelings of lightheadedness or dizziness.
  • Dryness of mouth and lips
    Dryness of mouth and lips is a key indicator of dehydration. Once again though it is better not to let it get to this point by ensuring that you are drinking regularly and whenever you are thirsty.

There are certain activities and/or conditions which can make you more susceptible to dehydration. These include, but are not limited to drinking too much alcohol; being out in the sun for too long, illness – such as vomiting or diarrhea. Diabetes can also make you more susceptible to dehydration.  

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How to treat dehydration

Prevent dehydration with these tips

Treating dehydration begins with prevention. Taking certain steps to avoid becoming dehydrated in the first place is the best means of treating it, as they say, ‘prevention is better than the cure’.

When you’re out in the woods it is important to either be carrying in enough water to sustain you or to be sure that there are nearby sources of water which you will be able to access. To find out more about how to source and purify water take a look at our blog post here.

If you have underestimated the availability of water in your location or on your walk and yourself or members of your party have become dehydrated then there are a few steps that you can take to treat it. Remember though, if signs of severe dehydration are present then ensure that the casualty receives professional medical treatment as soon as possible.

The best way to treat dehydration is to rehydrate the casualty. Ensure that the person suffering from dehydration takes onboard plenty of water, sweet, water-based drinks, such as squash can also help the casualty to replace lost sugars. Salty snacks can also help to replace lost salts.

 

Kit

Here is a run through of some of our favourite kit, at Wildway we often take this kit out with us in the woods.  

Further reading

Use the arrows below to navigate these related blogs.

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Glue making has a long and rich history, possibly dating back to the Neolithic period and beyond.  Not only was it used in weaponry, fastening arrowheads to arrows and the like, but there is also evidence that it was used to repair broken pottery. In this blog post, we will look at two types of primitive glues, hide glue and resin glue. As always, please feel free to read the whole blog or just click on the section that interests you the most.

Remember, the only way to truly learn these techniques is to practice them in a real-world situation. Join our intermediate bushcraft course to learn more about these techniques.

Making hide glue 

Preparing hide for making hide glue
This section will give you a brief overview of the what, why and how behind hide glue. At its essence hide glue is made from extracting collagen from the hide, bones, sinew, etc. of an animal. It has been used throughout the years in everything from hunting bows to furniture and has even been found in Egyptian caskets.

Advance your bushcraft

 

Softening up the rawhide

The hide needs to be softened first. The method of doing this depends on where you are sourcing the hide from. The best method of doing this is to cut the hide, if you’re taking the glue from the hide, into small pieces, put it into a pot and cover it with water. The water should be allowed to reach a gentle simmer, not a rolling boil, and allow it to remain simmering until the hide becomes semi-transparent. This can take up to several hours so be patient.


Remove the pieces of hide

Use a strainer or the like to remove the pieces of hide from the substance. Leaving the liquid in the pan, strain out the big bits of the hide using a sieve or the like, then strain the liquid through a finer mesh, such as a cheesecloth, in order to remove the finer particle.


Cool the liquid

Allow the liquid to cool naturally. You will be left with a congealed, rubbery substance. This can then be broken up into small pieces and put aside to dry. These crumbled up bits can then be stored away somewhere waterproof and relatively airtight.


Using your glue

When you need to use your glue, take out as many of the small crumbled up bits as you think that you need and warm them slowly using as little water as possible. The more water that you add the thinner, and therefore weaker, the glue will be. 

Advance your bushcraft

Making pine resin glue

Making pine resin glue

Mix ash with your pine resin glue to make sure that it sticks.

Pine resin glue is, arguably, somewhat easier to make. It relies on using the pitch, or resin, that is excluded by some trees in order to help heal cuts in their bark.

Gathering the pine resin

As mentioned above, pine trees secrete resin in order to close cuts in their bark, and in doing so, reduce the risk of the tree becoming infected. Remember, treat the trees with respect and do not do anything which could damage them. The pine resin that is needed for glue can either be collected from dried, previously secreted, resin or from fresh running resin. If you’re collecting the hard resin, simply lever it off the tree using your knife. If collecting fresh, running resin, take it from trees that have been naturally grazed.

Prepare the pine resin

The pine resin should be prepared before use. In order to do this, heat the pine resin on a stone next to your fire and mix in some fine ash powder from the fire.

Using your pine resin

When it comes to using your pine resin glue it should be remembered that it dries very quickly. This means that the item that you’re intending to glue should be ready to receive the pine resin before you come to use the glue. In order to use the glue, simply heat up the ash and pine resin mix and then apply it to what you are hoping to glue and then let it cool.  

Advance your bushcraft

Kit

Intermediate bushcraft course

There are a few key pieces of kit that you will need for making primitive glues. These are outlined below, remember though, you need to choose the kit that suits your purposes and abilities.

  • Fallkniven DC4
    Fallkniven DC4
    This diamond/ceramic whetstone is perfect for use in the field.  
    https://www.fallkniven.com/en/knife/dc4/
  • Knives
    Bushcraft knife Bear Blades
    Wildway Bushcraft uses Bear Blades.
    “Constructed from superb quality D2 steel this knife is ideal for bushcraft and wood crafting. Our most popular knife due to its versatility and functionality, suited to tough daily use in the woods.”
    http://bearblades.co.uk/  

Further reading

Use the arrows to navigate related posts.