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.