If it is, why does Standard Adventurer's Kit include a waterskin?

If you need to keep track of Rations when adventuring, wouldn't you also need to keep track of how much water you've consumed from your waterskin and worry about that supply running out?

So far, I've just played with TRs covering all eating/drinking needs (one per day while out in the field) and waterskins being for situations that required more liquid (like a journey through a desert).

I couldn't really find anything about this in the PH. What do the experts say?


2 Answers 2


They are separate.

Trail rations are made up of foodstuffs that are preserved or that can otherwise be stretched out to last over a long journey. They are compact and easily stored. Water isn't something that can be preserved in such a way — it can't be compressed and, obviously, you can't dehydrate it. Water kept for too long becomes unpalatable, and may be a vector for disease. Moreover, travelers need more water than food, as dehydration sets in before hunger and starvation would.

In sum, the amount of water one needs for a day's journey takes up more space than a corresponding amount of food, and so "a week's worth of water" would be inconvenient to carry on one's back or pack animals in a way that "a week's worth of food" would not.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I guess the bonus question then would be How much water does one need for a day's journey (a standard person in a standard environment)? One waterskin? \$\endgroup\$
    – Ravn
    Jun 11, 2011 at 14:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ "Assuming a perfectly spherical waterskin, in a frictionless environment..." Nah. A waterskin could hold maybe two litres of liquid, perhaps three. That should be enough for a rugged adventure in normal (i.e. not extreme heat). \$\endgroup\$ Jun 11, 2011 at 16:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ "Water kept for too long becomes unpalatable, and may be a vector for disease." Really? I'd like to see a source for that. It's not entirely implausible, but I find it slightly hard to credit when ships stored water in barrels for months without, to my knowledge, any historical records of the water "going bad". \$\endgroup\$ Jun 11, 2011 at 22:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ "Unpalatable" in the sense of "stale" or "bad tasting," rather than "spoiled." The barrels were usually kept below-decks, as I understand it, where they were cool and out of the sunlight. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jadasc
    Jun 12, 2011 at 2:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ On extended ocean-voyages, you usually added beer or rum to the water to make it palatable. Thus "grog" was born. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 14, 2011 at 9:18

A person needs, on average, 2L of water per day if sedentary; close to 4L per day if active, and up to twice that in high heat. Since a liter of water is about 2.2 pounds...

it's pretty obvious that, no, the rations don't include water, just by looking at the weights.

A typical skin holds 1 to 1.5 L of water, by the way...


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