When you are out on the trail, one of the most important pieces of equipment is the appropriate water bottle because well, we all need water to survive. Whether it is a one-day hiking trip or a long journey, you need to have water with you as it gives you energy to keep moving and stay hydrated.
You might not to have enough food with you, but to have a sufficient amount of water is the most important thing. The lack of liquid leads to dehydration, the signs of which are dizziness, weakness, and headaches. Thus the importance of the best hiking water bottle can’t be overstated.
You might think that there is nothing complicated about choosing a water bottle but due to the huge choice of bottles available in outdoor market nowadays, it can be rather tricky.
Therefore, we have prepared this article for you: here you will find all the necessary information about water bottles and their features, as well as tips for buying the best hiking water bottle.
Types of water bottles used for hiking
As mentioned above, the modern outdoor market is full of water bottles of different types. Therefore, below are detailed information on the most common types in order to facilitate your choice and help you understand the differences between them.
This type of a water bottle is considered to the cheapest and the most convenient. Since it is foldable, you can easily fold it when it is empty and put it in your backpack. It is a perfect option for those, who want to save some space in their pack and avoid of carrying heavy bottles all the time.
Usually such water containers are made of such non-toxic materials as plastic, polyethylene or silicon, which guarantees absolute safety of the use of water. They are also quite easy to clean and wash and, in addition, are considered to be eco-friendly.
The only one disadvantage of them is their volume: in average it is approximately 500 ml which makes the bottle good and efficient only for quite short hiking trips. However, it can be practical to take a foldable water reservoir in addition to your normal water bottle.
These bottles are not foldable, but still are quite convenient to use because they can be easily placed in the side pockets of your backpack. Polycarbonate can be defined as sustainable, high performance, and eco-efficient material. Bottles made of this material are light, convenient to carry, easy to load.
They are also very durable and do not wither under heat. They are offered in the broad variety of sizes and shapes. The major advantages of plastic bottles are affordability, absence of metallic taste and ease of use.
However, there are also some disadvantages: they are not good for hot water and other liquids, and there is still a supposition that polycarbonate bottles still have BPA toxins. Scientists have found links between drinking from plastic water containers and fetal abnormalities or increasing blood pressure.
If you prefer a lightweight water container that can easily fit your backpack, then a water bladder is the best option. They are very convenient to use, stable and saves not only space in your pack, but also time.
Instead of stopping to open a normal water bottle and drink, a water bladder gives you an opportunity to simply sip water through the hose without interruption. Another good thing is that there are many backpacks in the market with an installed bladder inside, so you do not even have to buy an additional reservoir.
But if you think seriously about buying either a backpack with a water bladder or a water bladder separately, you should know that in contrast to normal hiking bottles, bladders are not very durable and prone to puncture and leaks.
Aluminium water bottles
If you are looking for a lightweight and durable bottle, then you should pay attention to aluminium bottles. Despite the fact that they are made of metal, they are lightweight. Moreover, you should not be concerned of drops and impacts as it is one of the most durable types of hiking bottles.
Also, these bottles are perfect for the environmentally-conscious because they are environmentally safe and easy to recycle. Finally, aluminium bottles do not rust: coming into contact with moisture or air, aluminium oxidizes and forms aluminium oxide.
As a result, these bottles are completely resistant to corrosion that results in rusting. The only one disadvantage – their high cost. However, since the production of aluminium bottles is increasing now, it should not be that expensive nowadays.
Stainless steel water bottles
They are quite similar to aluminium bottles but have some significant differences. The main one is their higher weight. However, it does not prevent them from being a hikers favorite.
Outdoor lovers prefer these bottles due to their durability, solidity and firmness, since these qualities allow them to use the bottle not just as a reservoir but also as a weapon in case of animal attacks. Moreover, with the bottle made of steel there is no need to be concerned about toxins and other chemicals.
Since they have a double-wall construction, they boast superior insulation properties. However, efficient insulation also means higher weight which is definitely a disadvantage, especially during long hiking trips.
Glass water bottles
Bottles made of glass are a perfect option for those who like flavored drinks because glass does not absorb chemicals or odors. Moreover, it is considered to be an ecologically clean and toxic-free material. If you buy a glass bottle, you will deal with cleaning problems since most glass models are dishwasher safe.
Though glass is breakable, many manufacturers have produced high quality glass bottles with reduced possibility of breakage. With regards to disadvantages, you should know that glass is quite heavy, so such bottle will add weight to your backpack. Furthermore, any products of glass, including bottles, remain quite expensive.
Characteristics that you should check when choosing a bottle
After reading the above information about different types of water bottles, you might lean already towards a particular type of the bottle. However, we do not recommend to rush into a decision and buy something immediately. Before doing so, you should consider a number of specific features that are relevant to water bottles.
First of all, you should decide which materials you want. As mentioned, bottles are made of almost everything nowadays including metal, plastic and even glass. The main question here is a metal bottle versus a plastic one because these two types are the most popular among outdoor adventurers.
Until recently most bottles for hiking were made of plastic that consisted such unsafe element as bisphenol-A. Though it has been already eliminated, there might still be other dangerous additives that have not been tested yet. Therefore, for those who do not want to risk it, it is better to choose metal water containers.
Your choice will be between steel and aluminium bottles. By choosing an aluminium bottle, you should know that it requires a plastic liner that prevents the metal from interacting with the liquid contents. Steel bottles in turn do not require any liner but can add a very specific metallic taste to water, especially if it is left inside overnight.
The volume of a water bottle that you decide to buy depends on your level of activity. It is obvious that if you used to make long hiking trips, you will definitely need a bottle of a bigger volume. In general, all hiking bottles have a volume in average between 0.5 and 1 liter.
As any other outdoor equipment, you should choose a bottle depending on how you are going to use it and under what conditions. For example, bottles with wider mouth are easier for filling, however they are much more messy to drink from than narrow-mouthed bottles.
If you are an active hiker or cyclist, it is better to purchase a sport-top bottle due to one significant advantage: it is designed specifically for one-handed drinking, so you do not have to stop moving to quench your thirst.
Many bottles today are also equipped with additional accessories provides extra benefits or function. For example, elements such as clips or carabins on top of the bottle allows easier attachment to your backpack, a strap or belt. Some models of bottles go with insulated bottle holders for easier carrying and storage.
You can also buy a holder separately, a wide variety of which is also available on the market. There are also bottles equipped with splash guards that make the risk of spilling lower, especially if it is a bottle with wider mouth. Thus, it is up to you – whether to buy the simplest water container or the one with additional accessories for more convenient use.
When buying a bottle, make sure that it has a strong valve that locks securely by preventing any leakage. The valves of bottles can be two types: either a bite valve or push and pull. Bite valves have a tube that is inserted the bottle, while push and pull valves allow a person to use their hands or lips to pull the valve.
It is also necessary to ensure that the valve is wide enough for an optimal flow. A bottle with a bite valve might be also a good and convenient option, but they often have leakage problems, especially if they are not equipped with a locking mechanism.
How to use a water bottle outdoors properly?
Since a bottle will accompany you always during your hiking trips, it is important to know how to use it properly for your own safety and convenience. Below we provide a short guide on the bottle usage.
The amount of water
When you go on hiking, you should always have enough water with, but the amount of it depends on where and when you are going. If it is a short one-day trip in moderate weather through a flat terrain, then 1 liter of water will be enough.
However walking uphill or hiking in hot weather will require at least twice more water, which means that you might need to have an extra bottle with you. Also, it is important to remember: it is recommended to pack more water than you think you will probably need.
Types of drinks
When you decide what type of liquid is better to be placed into your bottle, give preference to pure home temperature water that quenches thirst well.
Try to avoid drinking drinks with high caffeine content including coffee or tea because they increase chances of dehydration. If you still want to have hot drinks with you, then hot cocoa will be a perfect alternative.
Temperature of liquids
Most hiking bottles are not intended for keeping hot liquids. For example, hot drinks placed in a plastic hiking bottle might lead to leaching out of dangerous chemicals. Moreover, hot liquid in an aluminium water container can damage the protective plastic liner.
In addition, if you use a regular metal bottle for carrying hot drinks you can get burned because metal bottles easily warms up. Regular hiking bottles are good for water, juices, cold tea, and energy drinks. If you like hiking in cold weather though and do not want to freeze, then an insulated bottle is for you.
These bottles are able to keep liquid hot for up to 7 hours. However it does not mean that they are intended only for hot drinks: they are also perfect for cold drinks especially in hot weather because they can keep liquids cool for the whole day.
Ease of access
When going on a hike, it is important to make sure that your water bottle is easily accessed. It means that you should not stop every time when you want to take a sip. Therefore, it is better to have a bottle that fits easily the side pocket of your backpack. As an alternative, you can buy a special hiking belt with bottle holders.
It’s not always a good idea to carry the bottle with your hands because you can easily get tired and you also need both hands for keeping balance while hiking.
During your long hike or between hikes do not forget to clean and refill the bottle regularly, otherwise different organisms and microbes can grow in liquid which might cause poisoning or intestinal infections. It is hardly what you really need during your outdoor journey.
The best hiking bottles to purchase
Below we prepared the reviews of the several bottles that we highly recommend. All of them are available on Amazon, so you can buy any of them without leaving your home.
Katadyn BeFree Water Bottle
Dimensions: 9.1 x 2.8 x 2.8 inches
Features: 0.1 micron water filter, 0.6 L collapsible hydrapak soft flask, Ez-clean membrane, BPA-free
Best use: Hiking, camping, outdoor activities
Katadyn, the brand with strong 90-years reputation, created a unique, safe and one of the most practical water containers perfect for any outdoor experience. The main element of the Katadyn BeFree Water Bottle is its 0.1 micron filter which absolutely cleans the water and make it safe for drinking by removing 99.9% of all bacteria.
The filter is able to clean up to 1000 liters of water. Due to its EZ-clean membrane, the bottle is easy to clean – you just need to shake it or to swish the filter. The bottle also allows easy hydration due to free flow channels. The wide mouth of the container is another significant advantage: you do not have to spend too much time by filling it even in still water.
Finally, the bottle is lightweight and easy to carry because of its collapsible soft flask which means you can just roll it up if it is empty.
Related: LifeStraw Personal Water Filter: a great high-quality water filter from Katadyn that is perfect for camping, long hiking trips and wilderness survival. It will provide you access to clean and safe water wherever you are, and it is even approved by organizations providing humanitarian aid.
LifeStraw Go Water Bottle
Dimensions: 9.25 x 3.14 x 3.14 inches
Features: Equipped with 2nd stage activated carbon filter, reusable, BPA-free, leak-proof design
Best use: Travel, backpacking, camping or emergencies
The water bottle from an award-winning manufacturer LifeStraw is equipped with unique hollow fiber membrane water filtration system by providing you with 99.9% safe and clean water in even the most emergency situations.
LifeStraw Go Water Bottle has ability to remove 99.9% of waterborne bacteria and protozoa, as well as various odors and chlorine, it is one of the most best-selling bottles today. Its filtration technology does not require to use any additional tool or additives.
In total, the bottle is able to clean up to 1,000 liters of water taken from any water source or reservoir. Moreover it is lightweight and leak-proof, which makes it perfect for various recreational activities including hiking, cycling running and backpacking.
GRAYL Ultralight Water Bottle
Dimensions: 9.6 x 2.8 x 2.8 inches
Features: Full-viral protection, fast and easy to use, engineered for harsh environments, able to improve taste, odor and clarity
Best use: International travel, outdoor and recreational activities, survival in emergency situations
If you are a minimalist, who seeks the ultimate in convenience, performance and portability, GRAYL Ultralight Water Bottle is recommended. It is easy to use in all conditions and environments: you just need to fill it with water, press and drink.
By using it, you can be sure you are fully protected from any waterborne bacteria, viruses, protozoa, dangerous chemicals and heavy metals. Its unique purifier media contained several embedded layers of ultra-powered activated carbon by creating a big surface area for eliminating any possible toxins.
In additions, the bottle has silver treated zeolites, which is a natural antimicrobial, that are able to keep the purifier absolutely fresh between uses.
Related: GRAYL Purifier Cartridge also offers you a replacement purifier cartridge that is compatible with the above presented bottle. You might need it for replacement after several weeks of intense use of your bottle.
CamelBak Chute Water Bottle
Dimensions: 2.75 x 2.75 x 9 inches
Features: Vacuum insulation, made with 18/8 stainless steel, BPA/BPS free, cap stows in handle,
Best use: Various outdoor and recreational activities, including hiking, camping and mountaineering.
CamelBak Chute Water Bottle is a great water container for all types of your outdoor activities, but especially perfect during hot summer days. Due to its vacuum insulated steel, the liquid inside will remain cold up to 24 hours. You also do not have to worry about any leakage thanks to the bottle’s leak proof design.
In addition, it is absolutely safe to use because it’s BPA/BPS free and it does not add any undesirable taste to the water. Finally, although it is made of metal, it is very light, so no unnecessary extra weight will be added to your pack.
Related: CamelBak Forge Travel Mug – this mug can become a great addition to your bottle, especially if you need an additional tool for drinking hot drinks or soups during camping. It is also made with stainless steel and has a leak-proof design.
REI Co-op Nalgene Water Bottle
Dimensions: 3.62 x 7.87 inches
Features: Made of Eastman Tritan copolyester, dishwasher safe, BPA free, wide mouth, loop-top design
Best use: Various outdoor and recreational activities, including hiking, camping and mountaineering, as well as daily use
This great REI Co-op Nalgene Water Bottle is suitable for all types of outdoor and recreational activities and is a great addition to your outdoor equipment due to its lightweight nature. Its wide mouth makes it easy to fill the bottle and add ice to liquid if necessary, though it might be a bit messy while drinking from it.
Since it is dishwasher safe, you will not face any problems with cleaning it. Moreover, a wide choice of colors and an attractive logo of REI on it makes the bottle look very stylish.
YETI Rambler Water Bottle
Dimensions: 3.3 x 3.3 x 9.6 inches
Features: Insulated, made with 18/8 stainless steel, leakproof 3-finger grip, insulated TripleHaul Cap, BPA-free
Best use: Rough commutes, day hikes, various outdoor activities including kayak sessions
The YETI Rambler Water Bottle was specifically designed and produced by YETI for real outdoor enthusiasts who spend much time in the wilderness. Due to its double-wall vacuum insulation, your drinks will remain either absolutely cold or hot for a long period of time which should make your outdoor experience as comfortable as possible.
The bottle has a very convenient design with a TripleHaul cap which makes it easy to grips while hiking. Additionally, the bottle boast a wide mouth that is preferred by most outdoor adventurers due to easier filling and adding of ice.
Hydro Flask Water Bottle
Dimensions: 3.5 x 3.5 x 9 inch
Features: Made with 18/8 stainless steel and BPA-free plastic, insulated, a wide mouth,
Best use: Outdoor, recreational or sport activities, as well as for daily use.
Due to this bottle’s double insulation technology, the temperature will be maintained for many hours regardless of weather conditions. If you fill Hydro Flask Water Bottle with iced water in the morning, you can be sure that you will still drink cold water around noon. Since it is made with stainless steel, you can expect durability, purity and strength. One more useful feature that contributes to the convenient use of the bottle is its powder coat that provides sweat-free and easy grip. Hydro Flask also offers this bottle in many great variety of attractive colors.
The choice of a water bottle depends on your own needs, preferences and conditions in which the bottle is going to be used. We hope that this article along with the reviews has been useful for you and made it easier for you to choose the best water bottle for hiking. So which hiking bottle would you recommend? Let us know in the comments!