Hiking with a Hangover (How to Manage It)

Hiking with a Hangover

You have a big hike scheduled with your friends today, but you just spent the whole night drinking. Or maybe you’re already on the trail and you really enjoyed yourself last night at the campsite. You just woke up with a massive hangover. Now what? How do you go about hiking with a hangover? Or should you even go hiking with a hangover at all?

The simple answer to it is that yes, hiking with a hangover is very possible. Certainly, spending your previous night crushing drinks and choosing to go hiking the following morning can be a tall order, but it’s still doable. This brings us to the long answer to the question.

While you hike with a hangover, there are tips, tricks, and things you should be mindful of so that you make your adventure successful. Here are vital aspects you should take note of as you step out:

Ensure That You Drink Plenty of Water

Drinking Water
The key to managing a hike with a hangover is hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

This is, by far, the most important piece of advice we can give you.

Hiking isn’t a piece of cake for many people, especially if you have a hangover. For this reason, let me bring the point of hydration on board. Proper hydration keeps your body replenished when hiking. Water loss will make your journey difficult and unbearable. Keep in mind that a hangover means that you’ve lost a lot of water after a night of drinking.

Generally, alcoholic drinks contribute to dehydration and that can make your outdoor activity very hard to cope with. That is why you need to be mindful of the amount of water in your body when climbing that mountain.

For you to address your hangover situation, you should make sure that you drink enough water before you start hiking. Therefore, consider taking at least 2 cups of water before you embark on your adventure. Take note that you shouldn’t wait to feel thirsty for you take water. It’s a necessary tip before you join up with your friends for a memorable climb to one of your preferred destinations.

Of great importance still, make sure that you’re continually drinking water as you continue to hike because you will be losing it on your way. Of course, this will depend on the temperature and the strength you’ll have to exert during the hike.

Should You Take Sports Drinks?

This is a very valuable question when choosing to hike with a hangover. While water is an extremely good choice for your hike, you can also carry sports drinks, like Gatorade or Body Armor, with you.

The good news with sports drinks is that they provide you with a much-needed energy to boost your strength. They provide hydration, extra calories and other nutrients like sodium and potassium. Since you’ll be short of calories, you will definitely need several sports drinks to ensure that you restore the energy you’re losing along the way.

It’s no secret that a hangover makes one weak and, therefore, it will be a bad idea for you to go out for a hike without carrying something to make you strong. Thus, don’t forget to pack a few bottles of sports drinks with you to make you better equipped for your trip.

Is Coffee a Good Idea?

Coffee For a Hangover
Coffee for a Hangover? Good idea or not?

If you’re a fan of coffee like us and you’re intending to hike with a hangover, it might be best if you avoid the stimulant drink. I know that sounds like blasphemy, but hear us out. Coffee dehydrates the body and this can work against you on a hike.

At least, that used to be the conventional wisdom.

But, according to a new study, coffee can hydrate about as well as water.

So, have a cup of coffee. Or maybe two. Let the glorious hot liquid give you a jolt of caffeine for that headache and, as it turns out, a good hydration boost.

Will Taking Carbohydrates Do any Good?

Without a doubt, carbohydrates will do you a lot of good when hiking with a hangover. From the onset, what you should take note of is that taking carbohydrates will not take away the alcohol content in your body. In other words, you won’t soak up the hangover feeling in your body, but you will obviously need calories for your trip.

By now you are fully aware that a hangover not only deprives you of water levels, but also the energy you need to move up and down for a considerable amount of time. Consequently, you will have to take foods that will help you take up the energy you need for the hike ahead. Avoid taking foods that won’t do you any good when negotiating corners and bushes around the forest.

Depending on the intensity of your hiking adventure, you will need to seriously consider taking carbohydrates to give you adequate energy.

Don’t Forget To Carry Some Pain Killers

Remember to carry pain killers on your hiking trip. When you’re hiking with a hangover, anything can happen while you’re on your way. Since you already have a hangover, the one thing you should be very much aware of is that you’re not at your best. Your body is not fully fit and your balance isn’t okay. That is why you should be prepared with pain medicine just in case you feel the need to take some.

This is where preparation is key. Once you’re out in the middle of nowhere dealing with a monstrous headache, ibuprofen can become worth it’s weight in gold.

How Is The Weather?

It will be good to consider the weather as you head out for a hike with a hangover. Essentially, if it’s hot outside, you will definitely lose a lot of water as you hike because you’re going to sweat more. On the other hand, if it’s cold, you’ll sweat less and lose less water.

Obviously, when you are having a hangover, it means that you already don’t have enough water in your body as a result of dehydration. This means that you will have to take a lot of water to sustain you throughout your hiking experience. So, not only are you starting the hike “behind” on hydration but if it’s hot out it will be even harder to “catch up”.

This is why you have to consider the temperatures as you head out. If it’s hot, that means that you will only have a good time if your body is hydrated more. While you might not have to worry much about dehydration if the weather is cold, you will also have to keep yourself sufficiently hydrated for your hike to be a good one.

Avoid Taking Greasy Foods

Greasy foods are not recommended for a person planning a hike with a hangover. Just like alcoholic drinks cause one’s stomach to have inflammation and discomfort, so does greasy foods. Therefore, it will be a bad idea for you to take greasy foods when having a hangover in preparation for a hike.

If you’re going to have a long hiking trip, you will have to consider taking non-greasy foods for the sake of your body. The disadvantage of taking such foods while on a hangover is that you are risking having a heavy body and being overly dehydrated, which is not good for a hiker. You will be slow. This will make your trip not as enjoyable as you would have wanted it to be.

Foods like bananas, crackers, nuts and oatmeal are all good choices for helping your morning hangover. They all have benefits ranging from settling your stomach, helping you absorb water better and are all good sources of energy for your hike. Even better, if you’re already on the trail reading this, they’re all popular hiking foods and you may have them in your backpack.

Avoid Exercising

Admittedly this one probably won’t take much convincing, but you shouldn’t try to exercise before you go hiking. I don’t think they’ll be much pushback from most people on this, but some of us are pretty hardcore about our workout schedules.

You are already dehydrated and depleted of calories. This means that your body is already not at its best. Therefore, if you consider doing exercises before or during a hike, you will be straining your body and, consequently, deny it of its full capacity functioning. Exercising will force you to have extra hydration so that you fill the water you’ve already lost as well as the one you’ll lose in the process.

Thus, you can hike with a hangover, but make sure that you avoid exercising.

Final Thoughts

The above tips, tricks, and things that you should consider when hiking with a hangover will help you to have a good outdoor experience. It’s evident that you can still go out for a hike even when you have a hangover feeling, but you have to be mindful of important aspects first. Careful consideration of these factors will help you navigate through your hike quite well and with ease.

Ryan H

I love hiking and being outdoors with Jen and our two rescue dogs, Chompers and Mia. I also enjoy a good weekend trail run. I'm also really enjoying sharing some of the knowledge we've learned along the way here on Zenful Hiking!

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