Hydration During Skimo Races

  • Creator
  • #51549
    Bryan McGurn

    Hi Guys,

    What are people doing for hydration during skimo races? I come more from the trail running world where vests typically have two 500ml soft bottle pockets or a reservoir (assuming the run is taking place in non-freezing temps). My skimo pack (like most I believe) has only a single bottle pocket up front that I can fit one flask in.

    Our races here in the Northeast Rando Series typically last (for me at least!) between 2h30m and 3h30m. I’m finding that a single bottle is not enough for that length of time and given the non-stop, quick pace of the race there really isn’t time to take my pack off and get another bottle out if I had stashed one in the main compartment of my skimo pack. I think it’d be nearly impossible to keep a reservoir tube from freezing given our race temps. Are folks keeping extra bottles in jacket pockets? Not hydrating very much? Other ideas?

    Curious to hear your thoughts.


Posted In: Skimo-racing

  • Participant
    Colin Simon on #51598

    I never use hoses, they always have problems. Frequently even regular bottles have icing problems at the nozzles.

    I prefer one hard bottle and one soft, each about 500-600ml. The hard bottle usually goes in the crampon pouch of the pack, accessible without removing the pack. I like having the one hard bottle for aid stations in longer races, it’s much easier to fill up on the fly, especially if you ever hand it to an aid station volunteer.

    The 500-600ml soft bottle goes nicely inside of my skin suit. For a ~3hr race, I’ll usually consume most of it before the end of the first hour, so it’s really not a lot to have against your chest. Then it stays nice and warm, and also closer to your center of gravity. After emptying it, sometimes I’ll throw it into the pack, especially say during a downhill to uphill transition where taking the pack is more likely. But if an empty soft bottle stays in your chest pockets, that isn’t a big deal either.

    Bryan McGurn on #51644

    Thanks very much Colin! Super helpful info. One follow-up question: what type of hard bottle are you using? I would think that a standard bike-cage type of bottle in the crampon pocket would leak.


    Anonymous on #53337

    Yes, I wouldn’t use a bike bottle. They tend to leak. Check out the Hydraflask bottles. They’re great.

    It’s also worth measuring how much fluid you actually need. Weigh yourself before and after a 1h simulation (at race pace, wearing (not much for) race clothing, at race temps, etc). Then plan on 2-3% as an acceptable level of dehydration.

    You’ll probably need to take something for a 3h race, but under 2h, maybe nothing if you can dial clothing with temperature and not sweat much at race pace.

    brianbauer on #60386

    I also come from an ultra trail running background. in the summer I sometimes drink 1 liter per hour, for 6-7 hours and still end up out of homeostasis for a few hours after. now that its finally colder, and training in 25-35 degree weather, 500ml/90 mins is more than enough. I also dress lightly and need to keep moving to stay warm, but sweat loss is much less. my skimo race pack has a soft flask holder in the shoulder strap good for a 500ml bottle. the crampon pocket in the back is also good for another 1-2 bottles depending on how long I am out. unlike running races, aid stations in skimo races do not appear to be a Thing.

    NE Rando Race Series on #61034

    The 600ml version of this has been perfect for me:
    Maybe during some warmer races I might be getting a bit dehydrated at the end, but I suspect that’s offset by not carrying around excessive water at the beginning of the race.
    I also try to make sure I’m sufficiently hydrated *before* the race, which is easy to overlook with all the other last-minute preparations.

    NE Rando Race Series on #61035

    “unlike running races, aid stations in skimo races do not appear to be a Thing.”
    Correct, you’re on your own!
    And no stashing hydration supplies (or anything else) at the transition between laps, since otherwise we’d have all sorts of strategizing that really isn’t part of the sport.

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