How should I carry water while hiking?

How Should I Carry Water While Hiking?

Hiking for Beginners: 6 Tips You Need to Know Before Hitting the Trails Reading How Should I Carry Water While Hiking? 6 minutes

When it comes to hiking, water is the number one item that you should bring with you. Don't underestimate the importance of water on your hike!

It's not just about comfort—dehydration lead to serious medical emergencies! Bring plenty of water to stay healthy, energized, and safe. However, what is the best way to carry some hydration with you? What are the best options?

In this blog, we’re going to break down our two top choices and their pros and cons.

Water Bottle Sleeve vs. Hydration Bladder

Our top two contenders for carrying water with you while on the trail are a water bottle sleeve or a hydration bladder.

The first is a backpack water bottle holder, which is a great option if you’re going to be carrying a backpack, as it easily attaches with a gear loop or daisy chain. It comes in four different sizes, so you can simply choose the water bottle holder that will best fit your hiking needs.

On the other hand, a hydration bladder is a type of “pouch” made from either flexible plastic, such as polyethylene, or rubber. As opposed to the backpack water bottle holder, it is typically placed inside your backpack and has a tube that makes it easy to use hands-free. With this information in mind, let’s go over the pros and cons of both options.

Hydration Bladder Pros

When it comes to the hydration bladder, because of its tube feature, it makes it easier to drink on the go. You don’t need to look around for it like a bottle, or stop to try and get it out of your backpack. You simply need to use the tube that will be sticking out a bit within your reach and drink up.

Hydration Bladder Cons

Now that we’ve gone over the pros of the hydration bladder, let’s discuss the cons. If you fill up the hydration bladder to the max, which would be ideal for a hike of any length, it can be hard to put it in your backpack. To make it fit, you may need to remove other essential items from your bag.

Also, because you may need to jam it in there, it might end up punctured by another piece of equipment and then you’re left with no water, a soaked bag, and needing a new change of clothes.

Additionally, having it in your backpack and pressed up against your back can cause it to heat up. If you’re hiking on a hot summer day, this is not ideal, as the water will be warm and unpleasant to drink.

The bladder material not only warms up your water, but it is also difficult to clean (especially if you’ve added electrolytes or other water additives). If you’re going on a hike for a couple of days or even longer, you will need to frequently clean, which is time-consuming and hard to do because of its shape. Due to its shape, it is also hard to filter water into it, no matter if you use the Sawyer Squeeze or BeFree method.

Water Bottle Sleeve Pros

With the backpack water bottle holder, there are a multitude of pros to consider. Just like the hydration bladder, it’s also extremely convenient to drink on the go. Whether you’ve attached it to your backpack via the gear loop or daisy chain, it is within reach at all times and the stiff top rim allows you to use the sleeve one-handed!

You can also easily adjust where the sleeve sits on your shoulder strap. Whether you're under 4' or over 6' tall, you can adjust the water bottle sleeve placement to ensure it’s always exactly where you want it.

Unlike the hydration bladder, though, it’s easy to see how much water you have left, so you can plan on when to refill it along your hike. It is also super-easy to pour filtered water into it because of its wide mouth opening, making it simple to clean as well. Having clean, filtered water when hiking is essential to avoid any potential contamination, which can cause various illnesses in the long run.

The backpack water bottle holder also comes in four different sizes, so you can choose the best one for your hiking needs for easy and lightweight trekking.

There is a Short, Tall, CNOC, and Wide version. The Short sleeve can carry a 1 L or 750 ml SmartWater Bottle, while the Tall option can fit a 1 L SmartWater Bottle. The CNOC is specifically made to fit a 1L CNOC Vesica bottle, which is a collapsible water bottle popular among the hiking community. Lastly, the wide version can fit a Nalgene bottle, which is known for its BPA-free material.

Water Bottle Sleeve Cons

As for the cons of the backpack water bottle sleeve, depending on the size you get, it can potentially add extra weight to your backpack. The water bottle sleeve will be attached to one of your backpack straps, and some people don’t enjoy having extra weight on the front and only on one side.

Before your hiking trip, it’s important to test out how heavy your pack is going to be and how it feels with a full water bottle sleeve attached to it. Also, hydration bladders can carry up to 2–3 litres of water, whereas even if you bring the biggest water bottle you have, you’ll have to bring extra water in your backpack side pockets or stop more frequently to refill it than you would have to with a bladder.

Backpack Water Bottle Holder: Stay Hydrated

No matter if you get a hydration bladder or a backpack water bottle holder, carrying water should be one of your top priorities when planning your next hiking trip. It’s important to weigh out the pros and cons of each option, and always do extra research.

Be sure to consider the climate and layout of your hiking trip to make the most informed decision when purchasing the most suitable water bottle for you. Hydration is key when it comes to not only your safety when hiking, but also for a much more enjoyable experience.

To learn more about our high quality hiking gear, reach out to Chicken Tramper Ultralight Gear at or checkout our collection online!

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