A water bottle backpack is an essential piece of gear for any hiking trip. Finding a fresh water source or reaching your water container can make hikers tend to procrastinate about their water consumption. When preparing for your hiking trek, here’s how to seriously plan before you ever step foot on the trail.
Planning Your Hiking Trip And Adequate Water Consumption
While you are mapping out your trek, check the area of your hike for fresh water sources, such as a pond, river, stream or lake. If there is definite availability along your journey, you won’t have to carry heavy bottles or a water bladder in your hiking backpack. If you are uncertain as to how much you should bring, here’s a good rule of thumb to follow regarding how much water you’ll need for your hiking trip.
With a water bottle backpack, it’s great to find a handy spot for refilling drink bottles while you are hiking. Fresh water may look great, but microscopic bacteria is present. Carry treatment tabs or drops to insure safe drinking water. You should avoid places where you see obvious algae, lots of bugs, a cloudy water color or a greasy film on the water perimeter. During hot summer months creeks and streams that appear on your trail map may be dried up and unavailable.
It’s best not to assume that every fresh water outlet is safe from bacteria. Ask any hiker who’s come down with a bad case of Giardia from a parasite in water they consumed. Important information on how to prevent and understand what a Giardia infection will do to you can be found HERE.
Alternatives For Backpack Hikers Who Carry Water
Let’s face it, water is heavy. One liter, which is the capacity of a traditional Nalgene bottle, weighs 2.2 pounds. For proper hydration during physical activity, you’ll need a few of those each day of your hike and the weight will add up. Nalgene bottles are sturdy, refillable and will last for years and can hold hot or cold liquids.
The water bottle backpack you carry will allow room to consider using a soft water bottle that is reusable and will pack down small. This type of bottle will stand up when filled with water. Commercial water bottles can also be used that contain flavored drinks, but the empties can be bulky and must be carried out and disposed of to leave no trace. Stainless steel water bottles are durable, but they weigh more and will take up valuable backpack space when they are empty.
You may want to consider a hiking backpack that uses a water bladder. The bladder lies on your back inside of your backpack with a connection hose that goes over your shoulder for sipping water as you hike. Typically, a water bladder holds 2-4 liters of water, so this would be better than carrying 4 one liter individual bottles.
Trekkers Need To Have Water Strategy Before The Hike
Your water bottle backpack, as it’s being packed, is when you figure out how much water you’ll need for the time you’ll be hiking. Once you determine whether there is fresh water available during your trip, you can pack accordingly, or fill your backpack bladder and pack around it. A poor plan would be to just grab a 16 oz. bottle at the convenient mart on your way out of town. Unless you are doing a 2 hour hike, that won’t be enough for hiking activity to stay properly hydrated.
Hikers should be aware that if they use a drink system with a bladder and hose, you can’t always tell when your supply is almost gone without removing the bladder. That’s not always convenient on the trail. Obviously you need to refill it when it’s empty, but if you carry a small bottle in an exterior pocket of your hiking bag, you can use this as a backup until you can refill the bladder bag.
Hikers Should Always Take Hydration Seriously
Whatever method works best for you and the trek you’ll be taking is what you should do. After a hike or two, you may decide a different carry style will suit your purposes. Regardless, to feel your best and for hiking safety, it’s wise to make adequate hydration a key priority when planning your hike. Your fellow hikers will benefit from hints and tips you’ve tried while hiking. Please share your comments below to help others meet their hydration goals. Nature Trail Backpacks wishes everyone happy hydrated hiking!