An activity-specific water bottle is a must-have piece of kit when out on the trails.

Hiking water bottles are manufactured with a choice of drinking nozzles, insulation levels, shapes, sizes, materials and include the compact, collapsible models to the solid aluminum bottles.

With such a wide-ranging choice of water bottles it is essential to identify the most important features to match the intended use. A preferred water bottle for a day-hike will be noticeably different to what is expected from a bottle to carry a hot drink.

Hiking Water Bottle

Here are five tips to help choose a hiking water bottle:


A water bottle capacity should coincide with the length or duration of the hiking activity. Most water bottles have the capacity to hold 16-32 ounces (1/2-1 liter). For physical activity, it is essential to drink more water than normal to stay hydrated.


Bottles can differ in shape to make it easier to handle. For instance, a runner should have a slender bottle that fits the hand comfortably, while a day-hiker can benefit from a larger bottle that holds more liquid.

But, the bottle should also match the size of daypack or fanny pack to ensure it is able to fit.

What is the preferred material?

Hiking water bottles come in a variety of materials, including:


Plastic water bottles can make highly resilient models with those manufactured by Nalgene built to accept a lot of abuse on the trails.

A BPA-free bottle is the preferred choice and is lightweight and comes in several different shapes and sizes.

Stainless Steel

A drinks bottle in stainless steel is appreciated for its ability to provide more efficient insulation. For instance, cold drinks are kept cold and hot drinks kept hot.

But, the stainless steel bottles are heavier and more likely to get damaged or dent on the rough outings.

Most of the high-end stainless steel water bottles have a double-wall construction to give more efficient insulating properties.

A high-quality bottle can help to keep the fluid cool for nearly the entire day.


Water bottles with a nozzle feature are more practical when wishing to drink on-the-go and don’t wish to keep stopping and starting. Activities like running and biking can benefit from this type of set-up.

But, the bottles with nozzles can also be used by hikers to make it easier to stay hydrated without the constant issue of spilling and sloshing the water while trekking along the trails.

Tips & Warnings

For the longer hikes, it benefits to carry more water than a typical water bottle can carry.

A preferred tool to stay hydrated while on the trails is the hydration packs. A high-quality hydration pack from CamelBak or other manufacturers can easily carry 100 ounces of water to make sure the hiker stays well hydrated on a day-hike.

Alternatively, for ease in carrying the normal hiking water bottle it might benefit to invest in a belt pack or backpack with a mesh-type bottle holder.