So Many Options
With so many water bottle options available, you might be asking which one is the best for hiking. Here, we’ll review our favorites and let you know our recommendations.
To keep our posts brief, we’ve broken this topic up into three parts:
This is the first of three posts and covers short hikes. If you’re looking for half-day, full-day, or backpacking hydration solutions, check out our following posts in this series.
Our Recommendations for Water Bottles for Short Hikes (1-3 Hours)
For short hikes between 1-3 hours, you’re usually fine bringing a standard water bottle. The hikes aren’t long enough to bust out the hydration pack or water filter, so make it easy and just fill up a bottle!
When it comes to the bottle brand, we love the classics. These happen to be three of the more popular water bottle brands for outdoor enthusiasts, and for good reason.
There are TONS of other great brands and bottles out there, including YETIs, Takeyas (we LOVE Takeyas), and Camelbaks to name a few, but for the sake of time, we’re limiting our review to Nalgenes, Klean Kanteens, and Hydro Flasks because each one marked a new milestone in hydration gear for hiking.
Nalgene: The Original Hiking-Focused Bottle
Nalgenes are the original reusable water bottles that focused on outdoor recreation, and they're still a great option today.
What about BPAs?
BPAs, or bisphenal A, are chemicals that have been linked to certain health issues. We're not medical experts, so we'll refer to the Mayo Clinic on this one.
There was a lot of press about BPAs in Nalgene bottles in the early 2000s, but they changed their manufacturing formulas in 2008 to make sure their bottles are all BPA-free.
Who Should Get a Nalgene?
Overall, we recommend getting a Nalgene if you’re trying to limit your spending or are very focused on carrying as little weight as possible. Even though they’re not the premium option on this list, they’re still great bottles that will keep you hydrated for many years. And they're also made in the USA if that influences your buying decision!
Klean Kanteens: The Original Stainless Steel Hiking-Focused Bottle
Klean Kanteens started around 2004 and were the first stainless steel bottles focused on hiking and outdoor recreation. They really started taking off when Nalgenes were in the news for BPAs. At first they had non-insulated bottles, but more recently they’ve expanded their line to include dual-wall vacuum sealed options.
The Newer, Better Klean Kanteen Handle
What about Klean Kanteen's Insulated TKWide Bottles?
Who Should Get a Klean Kanteen?
To sum it up, we recommend getting a Klean Kanteen if you want to avoid drinking out of a plastic bottle but still want to be cost-conscious.
Just remember that Klean Kanteen has a mix of insulated and non-insulated bottles, make sure to pay attention when buying to make sure you’re getting what you want. But either way we think you’ll be happy with one of these bottles.
Hydro Flask: The Premium Insulated Hiking-Focused Bottle
Hydro Flask is arguably the most popular water bottle on the planet in 2022. These bottles burst onto the scene in 2009 as one of the first major bottles with dual wall vacuum insulation. With a great product and a healthy dose of FOMO through social media, they became staples of certain subcultures.
Who Should Get a Hydro Flask?
We recommend getting a Hydro Flask if you want your drink to stay cool through your hike and if you want to get a specific color that fits your style.
But at the same time, we realize that Hydro Flasks are expensive, and some of the cost you pay is just for the logo on the front. Many people argue that you can get a better deal and more cap options with similar brands like Iron Flask, Thermoflask, or Takeya and they’re not necessarily wrong. But if you decide to invest in a Hydro Flask, we doubt you’ll be disappointed, and you’ll have a fantastic bottle that you can reuse for years to come.
What about Hydro Flask's Trail Series?
Slings: A Useful Add-On for Hands-Free Hiking
With any of these three bottle brands, we recommend also buying a carrying sling for hands-free hiking with your big bottle. At BottlePro, we have a couple options available, but there are plenty of other options to choose from in today’s market. Here are a few to consider, and look at the listings to be sure to make sure you're getting the right size for your bottle!
Our next post in this series will start to review hydration solutions for longer hikes, including hydration packs and filters.
Hydration is Key
At BottlePro, our motto is Health Through Hydration. One major health risk that can be avoided through proper planning is to have enough water for your hike.
We've lived in the desert in Utah and western Colorado for 10 years, we've done A LOT of hikes in these areas where planning water needs is absolutely critical. We learned early on how essential it is to bring more water than you think you might need.
In this video, we talk through how much water you should bring on a hike, including best practices and recommendations so you can adventure safely.
And one major recommendation that we didn't specifically say in the video is to time your hike properly. If it's July and you're in the hot desert, you might want to start hiking before sunrise and finish by noon. We indirectly covered this in the video when talking about taking temperatures into account, but we wish we had made this recommendation more explicitly in the video. You wouldn't believe the number of hikers we've seen around here start long trails in the middle of the summer heat with just a small disposable water bottle!
Hiking is a great activity both for your physical and mental health, but if not planned properly, hiking can be dangerous. Every year, there are stories about people who have close calls or even die while hiking due to dehydration or hyperthermia, aka an overheated body.
Most incidents involve people who are hiking a new trail and may be unfamiliar with the area and the climate. This is especially true with tourists in desert areas like in Arizona, California, Utah, New Mexico, and Colorado, but it can happen to anyone, anywhere.
Here we’ll review best practices and guidelines to help you stay properly hydrated on your next hiking adventure.
Step 1: Research Your Route
The first rule of hiking is to plan ahead and know how long you’ll be gone. There’s a big difference between a 3 mile flat hike in the forest and a 3 mile hike with 2000’ of elevation gain and no shade in the desert.
Always look up the trail details from a site like:
(Click on an image below to link that site's Mt Garfield hike entry as an example.)
Step 2: Estimate How Long You'll Be Hiking
In general, it takes most people between 30 and 60 minutes to hike 1 mile. That’s a pretty big range, and your rate depends on a variety of factors including your own personal fitness, the elevation gain, the terrain (like if it’s sandy or involves scrambling), and the weather. And if you have children in your group or if you like to stop to take a lot of pictures, it will almost certainly take longer.
Again, Alltrails.com is a great resource you can use to estimate the hiking time, and it’s based on results from other hikers so it takes factors like elevation gain and terrain into account. But it may still be a good idea to plan on needing more time if you’re not in the best shape or if you’re hiking a new trail.
Step 3: Estimate How Much Water You’ll Need
According to REI, a good rule-of-thumb is to have roughly 17 ounces (a half-liter) of water for each hour of moderate activity in moderate temperatures.
You’ll have to use your own judgement on how to adjust that number based on factors for each hike, like your familiarity with the hike, your fitness level and health, your age, the temperature and humidity, and the elevation gain and terrain.
If you’re new to hiking or are trying a new route, we recommend doubling the rule-of-thumb and bringing 34 ounces, or roughly 1 liter, per hour that you expect to be hiking, especially if temperatures will be over 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Once you get through these steps, you should have a good idea on how much water you should bring on your next adventure. Check out our next video to see our recommendations on the best water bottles and bladders to bring on hikes.
Follow along as we tackle this tough, but fun hike!
Located in Palisade, Colorado off of G Road.
Hydration products we used (follow the links to Amazon)
1) Hydro Flask 40oz Wide Mouth
2) BottlePro Cup Holder Adapter
3) SplashPro Splash Guard
4) HikerPouch Leather Bottle Sling
The Colorado National Monument is a relatively lesser-known park, at least compared to nearby Arches and Canyonlands in Moab, Utah. But as Grand Junction locals know, that almost makes it better. You won't get the massive crowds like you do around Moab, and the scenery is out of this world. Here's our recap of our hike on the amazing Independence Monument hike, starting from the lower trailhead.
Location, Parking, and Services
Hydration Products and Accessories We Used while Hiking
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Try searching for things like "infusers" or "hiking".
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