The Best Solutions for Backpacking Water Storage

Staying hydrated while exploring the backcountry is not as easy as drinking straight from lakes and streams. Anyone who is walking for ten to twelve hours per day needs water. But, to protect from viruses, bacteria, and protozoa, you need to have different water solutions for your next backpacking trip.

Carrying liquid is a dreadful task that all of the individuals who like to spend their time outdoors would rather skip. Yes, it is necessary for our survival, and yes it weighs more than eight pound per gallon, which makes it one the heaviest items people carry.

The great way to minimize this weight is to find out every water source location on your next adventure so that you can carry less liquid. After all this, you will also increase the functionality of your pack and reduce its size. But, there are also some other ways you could save your energy and weight when it comes to carrying water.

In this article, you will learn everything about the disadvantages and advantages of the different backpacking water storage solutions.

So, if you would like to know more about how to solve the heavy load issue, all you have to do is read on.

1. Hydration Bladders

High-quality hydration bladders are the perfect solution for those activities such as running on long-distance trails or mountain biking. As you may already know it is much easier to hydrate while moving than to stop now and then to take your bottle out of the pack and then drink. However, it is almost impossible to keep moving while drinking; you can only do that with some activities.

In others, it is beneficial to stop briefly. You could take a moment to check the environment around you, catch your breath, and rest your body for a little. Many backpacks have those side pockets where you can place your bottle, so you have easy access.

Therefore, the efficiency of a bladder and a hose depends on the design of your pack and your walking speed. But, they also have some drawbacks. For example, after some time, they can start to leak through the hose connections. Their parts can become loose or break, and we need to mention that they’re not very affordable when you want to replace them. It is best to keep them inside the backpack because they are made of thin plastic which has poor abrasion resistance.

And the fact that you need to carry them inside your bag is another drawback. It will be harder to add more liquid to it. You need to take some items out of the pack and then properly pour the water into the reservoir. That is why sometimes these products are not the best solution for some outdoor activities such as backpacking.

2. Water Bottles

Metal and hard plastic bottles are an ideal option for day outdoor trips and day to day use in some urban environments. One of the best things about these products is the fact that their structure is rigid which allows them to stand upright. Some of them are constructed of stainless steel which is very durable and lasts longer than some other water storage solutions.

Because you can place these rigid bottles inside insulated cozies, they are great for winter use. But, they also have some drawbacks. The first one is the fact that they are heavy and bulky. They don’t fit nicely when you pack them with some other items.

So, we need to admit that we wouldn’t use them for most multi-day overnight trips. For example, 3 empty 1-liter bottles consume more than 3 liters of your bag when empty and weigh more than a pound.

image of water bottles for hiking

3. Soft Bottles

These great products have the water bottle handheld convenience with the packing ability of bladders, and they are low weight. They are an ideal solution for all type of space and weight conscious activities and have a lot of positive reviews.

But, same as the first two products, this one also has its drawbacks. The main one is the durability which is limited. We have discovered, that soft bottles usually break after 3 to 6 months of everyday use.

4. Disposable Bottle

Any sports drink bottle or bottled water can be reused instead of thrown away. They are incredibly lightweight, durable, and free. The best part is that you can find them in different sizes and choose the one that suits your needs. You could pick any from 300 ml to over 2 liters, which depends on your personal preferences.

Store them in a storage pocket that you would find on the outside of the pack, or you can place them inside of it. That means that their balance is flexible and good. And you don’t have to worry about sanitation because they can be recycled instead of cleaned.

These bottles sit in the right place between some other water storage solutions, but they are the least durable. On the other hand, they are recyclable and cheap, so their durability is secondary. When you want or need another one, just replace it.

image of disposable bottle for backpacking

5. Not Carrying Any

The last option is not to carry any water when you are going on some outdoor activities. All you have to do is find out where you can find some clean water sources in the area you will be hiking. In those areas where you can find them, and if abundant, then it would be wise to carry some kind of water filter or purification pills that will clean it so you can rehydrate.


Placing the weight of the bottles in the front is the most efficient way to carry water. And since the pack’s weight is pulling backward, that will help to equalize that pull which will make your hike more comfortable than ever. So, it is an excellent idea to carry it on the front straps, because water is the densest thing that you need to have while backpacking.


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