When you're trekking through the woods, carrying a water bladder is a hassle-free way to stay hydrated. The best water bladders for hiking will feature high-quality materials and a leak-proof, easy-to-use bite valve. On top of that, they'll be big enough to hydrate you throughout your entire excursion. Here's a breakdown of what to look for:
- Materials: The most durable, high-quality water bladders are made of strong yet flexible plastics, like TPU (which is a type of polyurethane) or PEVA (which is a non-chlorinated vinyl). Be sure whatever you pick is BPA-free and stretchy enough to mold comfortably to the contours of your back.
- Bite Valve: This is perhaps the most important feature, as it prevents water from trickling down your shirt or coat. It also determines how easy it is to take sips — lesser bladders can make it feel like you're sucking down air. Nearly all manufacturers will say their bite valves are leakproof and easy to use, so the most helpful metric is to read the reviews.
- Capacity: The amount of water you need varies, depending on how far you're going, how hard you'll be working, and what the weather will be. As a general rule, you should carry half a liter (aka 17 ounces) of water for every hour you'll be hiking. So if you're on a four-hour hike, for instance, you'll need 2 liters of water. Choose your bladder capacity accordingly.
To help you get a head start, I've scoured Amazon and made a list of the best water bladders for hiking, so your next adventure will be stress-free.