Hiking while Hungover

Loving beer as much as I do, there are some mornings when I wake up and groan. Maybe I didn’t drink enough water last night, maybe the dude above me deprived me of a few hours of sleep (ahh, apartment living), maybe I shouldn’t have had that last double IPA on an empty stomach. However it happened, if I want to be outdoors, I’m going outdoors. So how do I soldier bravely forward?

Well first, hike smart. If you’re dehydrated or in really poor shape, avoid altitude. Maybe opt for a nice stroll in a city park instead of Mailbox Peak. Hydration is vital at higher altitude, so don’t start yourself off at a huge disadvantage. However, if you’re feeling only a mild hangover, I have a trick I swear by for bouncing back and hitting the trail as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as one can be: Nuun.

A Nuun tablet, fizzing away to turn into magic hangover-cure water.

Don’t be fooled by their slick website showing peak athletes and those in top physical condition–these babies are for ordinary, casual folks like you and me as well. I was introduced to them by a former roommate who swore by them for his hangovers–and he knew his stuff. Nuun are flavored electrolyte tablets you add to your water to boost it’s ability to keep you hydrated. Besides being what plants crave, electrolytes help re-balance your ever-important sodium-potassium pump (translation: they help you re-hydrate and also can help with muscle fatigue as well). I used to swear by SmartWater for my hangovers, but the Seattle-based Nuun has some delicious flavors, making me far more likely to drink it compared to water (and they are far more eco-friendly compared to bottled water).

They couldn’t be simpler to use–plop one in for every 16 ounces of water, fizz, drink. While my standby flavors are grape and tropical (available in this package of 4 tubes in assorted flavors), I cannot wait to try the new ginger lemonade and blackberry citrus flavors I ordered (with natural caffeine from green tea, not some unpronounceable lab creation). I’ve also seen Nuun at grocery stores and REI.  If you are used to soda and Gatorade, Nuun is not nearly as sweet, but at 10 calories per tablet and 1g of sugar (balanced with natural sweeteners like stevia), I simply feel better after drinking it compared to any other sports drink.

Nuun isn’t just for hangovers–I love it when I’m sick too. What’s your favorite flavor (or favorite hangover cure)?

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