Water Storage Options for Backpacking

water storage options for backpacking

Whether you go hiking, camping or biking, the most important thing is to stay hydrated. Sometimes carrying water can be a dreadful chore, but safety comes first. If you don’t drink enough liquid, you could easily dehydrate.

Exercising at the very high temperature can lead to heatstroke and heat exhaustion. (source) So, having enough fluids while hiking or doing any other activity, is crucial for your health. Drinking enough liquid will keep you hydrate and safe on the trail.

What’s the bottom line:

“In order to prevent dehydration, drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise. This is particularly important in hot weather or during intensive activity.” according to Gastrolyte.


You need to figure out what is the best water storage backpacking for you. With our guide, we will make your job easier and help you narrow down the options. There are few ways to carry liquid, each with its advantages and disadvantages.

Without further ado, let’s dive in:

1. Water Bottles

Metal and hard plastic water bottles are ideal for day trips outdoor and for day-to-day- use in urban environments. Some of these liquid containers can last a decade or more of hard use because they are constructed from very durable stainless steel.

The best option for winter is rigid bottles like plastic Nalgene because they can fit inside insulated cozies. They are almost indestructible in the wild. One bottle will provide enough liquid for 5 miles of hiking or running.

It is easy to fill the bottle and also very simple to clean it. Place two of them on each side of the bag to provide balance. Wash it by hand or in a dishwasher.

The downside of these containers is their weight. They are too heavy and don’t pack well with other stuff. People too often attach them to the bag by their lid loop causing them to swing, which will make your exercise even more challenging.

water bottles

2. Water Bladder

The hydration bladders are perfect for fast paced day use activities like long-distance trail running or mountain biking. Their most significant advantage is that it’s easier to drink while walking or running.

But, let’s face it:

It is impossible not to stop only in few activities. For example, during the race, you will only slow down to drink water. But, during most outdoor exercises you will stop to hydrate, take a moment to observe the environment, rest your body and catch your breath.

The bladders vary in size, usually from 1 to 3 liters. Drinking while hiking or running is extremely easy because of the sip tube. It will help outdoorsy adventurers to drink more and stay safe on the trail.

Because they are placed in the bag next to the runner, these bladders are well balanced. Unlike the water bottles, they are extremely light and very stable.

But, they also have some drawbacks. Sometimes the bladder leaks through the tube connections. Parts become lost or break and are too expensive to replace.

Because of their plastic material, they have low abrasion resistance, so we advise you to keep it inside the pack. However, it is difficult to fill them up when the reservoir is placed inside the bag. You need to remove them from the bag, fill the bladder, and then repack.

It’s hard to determine if the user is drinking enough fluids and how much liquid is left in the reservoir. You need to wash them by hand and make sure to dry them properly. They are also expensive.

water bladder

3. Disposable Water Bottles

Instead of throwing away, use any sports drink bottle or any bottled water. They are extremely lightweight and durable. You can purchase them in different sizes from 300 ml to 2 liters.

Store it around or inside your pack for a flexible and good balance. The best part is that you don’t have to clean it, just recycle them and buy a new one.

The only downside that is worth mentioning is that it is possible to break or puncture them. But it is not that easy.

Podiatry Today gives an excellent answer on how to prevent dehydration while exercise, “The best way to prevent dehydration is to establish a good hydration protocol for the athletes. Fluid replacement beverages should be easily accessible in individual fluid containers. Individual containers make it easier to monitor the athlete’s fluid intake.

The containers should also be marked in 100 ml or in 3- or 4 oz. Increments, providing visual reminders to athletes to drink beyond thirst satiation. When it is practical to do so, carrying fluid bottles during exercise encourages greater fluid ingestion.

To ensure proper pre-exercise hydration, the adult athlete should consume approximately 16 to 20 fl. oz. of water or sports drink two to three hours before exercise and 8 to 10 oz. of water or sports drink 10 to 20 minutes before exercise. Fluid replacement should approximate sweat and urine losses, and at least maintain hydration at less than 2 percent body weight reduction. This generally requires 8 to 10 fl. oz. every 15 to 20 minutes of rigorous exercise.

Post-exercise hydration should aim to correct any fluid loss resulting from the practice or event. One should ideally complete rehydration within two hours with a fluid that contains water to restore hydration status, carbohydrates to replenish glycogen stores and electrolytes to speed rehydration.”

disposable water bottles


Carrying a liquid container might be difficult while on outdoor adventure, but it is crucial for your health. To carry less load, you need to plan and check for all the water sources on the trail. If you can’t find any, you need to be well prepared to stay hydrated while exercising.

If you place the bottle on the front pack straps, the water will offset the bag weight. It will be readily accessible for drinking, and you will have a more comfortable training. In this article, we explained the advantages and disadvantages of different water containers, so you can choose the right one for you with ease.

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