When you're looking for the best water bottles for hiking, the options can be overwhelming. Not only do standard bottles boast various features, but there are also novelty styles, like collapsible or rollable bottles — however, these tend to be less durable and many aren’t self-standing. As for materials, you'll find an assortment of options, but for hiking, there are really only two worth considering: stainless steel and plastic. Lastly, and this is important, if you’re planning a longer hike with limited access to fresh water to refill your bottle, you may want to upgrade from a bottle to a bladder that can hold more water.
Water Bottle Versus Bladder: Should You Upgrade?
While a standard-sized water bottle is sufficient for most hikes, if you are planning a longer trek (think: eight or more hours), you’ll want to consider buying a bladder that can hold more water. Although the amount of water you need to drink on your hike varies based on factors like exertion, climate, age, and body type, a good rule of thumb is to drink half a liter (17 ounces) of water for every hour of hiking. So, for example, with a 50-ounce bladder you could take about an eight-hour hike without needing to refill.
Stainless Steel Versus Plastic Bottles: Which One Is Right For You?
If you do opt for a bottle, your options come down to stainless steel or plastic. The two big perks of stainless steel bottles are that they're easier to clean and don't absorb odors (which means they won't affect the taste of your water). Many of them are insulated, too, keeping water cold (or hot) for hours. On the downside, they’re pricer and weigh more.
Plastic bottles, on the other hand, are lightweight, inexpensive, and get the job done. But they do absorb odors over time, and they won't keep your water cold for very long. Between the two, it's typically a matter of preference.
Below, I've put together a list of the best water bottles for hiking, as well as a few other hydration options. Take a look, and get ready to plan your next adventure.
BEST STAINLESS STEEL WATER BOTTLES
When choosing a stainless steel bottle, the top options tend to be a little more expensive, but you'll be getting an ultra durable bottle that will keep water cool and fresh.
Top Pick: An Insulated Stainless Steel Bottle
Hydro Flask Double Wall Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle
Weight: 15.7 ounces
Capacity: 32 ounces (but also available in 18, 40, and 64 ounces)
Features: Setting it apart from the others on the list, this Hydro Flask stainless steel bottle is built with double-wall vacuum insulation, so your water will stay ice cold for the duration of your hike. To be more exact, it keeps drinks cold for an impressive 24 hours (or hot for six hours!). It also features a unique powder-coating on the exterior for a dependable grip.
A wide-mouth design makes it easy to fill this bottle with water or even ice. But if that style isn't for you, consider investing in a more ergonomic top, like this flip-top straw lid or this sports bottle lid, both of which are BPA-free and feature a convenient handle, just like the original top.
Budget Pick: A Simple Stainless Steel Bottle
Klean Kanteen Classic Single Wall Stainless Steel Water Bottle
Weight: 9.6 ounces
Capacity: 27 ounces (but also available in 18, 40, and 64 ounces)
Features: While it's not insulated like the Hydro Flask, this Klean Kanteen bottle is half the price and almost half the weight. It's designed with an electropolished interior to prevent flavors and smells from transferring, and the wide opening is easy to fill and drink from. Just like with the Hydro Flask, there's an ergonomic sports cap available separately if this bottle's wide-mouth design isn't for you.
BEST PLASTIC WATER BOTTLES
Plastic bottles are cheap, lightweight, and the ones listed below are nearly as durable as their stainless steel counterparts. On the other hand, plastic has been known to absorb odors which can effect the taste of your water overtime, and don't expect these bottles to keep your water cold either.
Top Pick: A No-Frills Classic Option
Nalgene Tritan Wide Mouth BPA-Free Water Bottle
Weight: 6.4 ounces
Capacity: 32 ounces (but also available in 14, 16, and 32 ounces)
Features: Don't be fooled by the material — this BPA-free plastic water bottle is impact-resistant, dishwasher-safe, and impressively durable. It has a giant mouth that's easy to fill and just as easy to clean. The screw-on cap will keep it from leaking in your bag, and the attached loop makes the bottle easy to clip onto carabiners or backpack straps. With more than 4,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, this bottle is a popular choice for being simple yet sturdy.
Also Great: A Bottle With A More Ergonomic Mouth Piece
CamelBak Chute Water Bottle
Weight: 5.6 ounces
Capacity: 25.3 ounces
Features: As one of the lightest options out there, this plastic water bottle is easy to toss in your day bag and won't add much extra weight to your pack. Like the previous choice, it's BPA-free and super durable. The key difference is that unlike the wide, screw-on cap, this one has an ergonomic sip spout with a lid that snaps into the handle when not in use.
OTHER HYDRATION OPTIONS WORTH CONSIDERING
Bottles aren’t the only option for staying hydrated on your hike. If you are going on a longer hike, or are unsure if you will have access to fresh water on route, one of the options below could come in handy.
A Universal Bladder For Longer Hikes
CamelBak Crux Reservoir
Weight: 10.6 ounces
Capacity: 50 ounces (but also available in 70 and 100 ounces)
Features: Made with an extra large bite valve, this high-quality CamelBak hydration pack allows you to drink more water with each sip, so it won't feel like you're sucking through a long, winding straw. The valve is self-sealing and completely leak-proof, so you won't have water dribbling down your chest all day. Best of all, it has antimicrobial technology to prevent excessive bacteria growth and keep your bottle in top condition for longer.
A Life Straw, Just In Case
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
Weight: 2.1 ounces
Features: This innovative personal water filter works just like a drinking straw except you can stick it directly in lakes, rivers, or other natural bodies of water. The high-tech micro-filtration system will remove 99.9 percent of waterborne bacteria and parasites (including E. coli, salmonella, and giardia).
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