Best water storage/vessels for easy access?


Coming off of a long canyon trek and reconsidering my whole pack system. I carry heavier loads due to the nature of the multi-day objectives I embark on involving technical climbing. The first thing I want to improve is my water system. So, tell me, what do you use? What works?

Smart water bottles with strap attachments to grab while hiking to drink?

Do you use a bladder and how do you store it in your pack to avoid damage?

What other gadgets are out there for easy water access?

Eager to get the system dialed. Thank you for your thoughts!


  • marakorkola
    marakorkola Member Posts: 1

    I use a smart water bottle with a platypus drink tube/hose attached, it fits upside down in the side pocket of the pack, and the shoulder strap has the loop and clip to run it up securely so the nozzle hangs off your shoulder for easy access. Seems to work better and simpler than other options, but the water does get warm in the tube in hot temps.

  • Danimal
    Danimal Member Posts: 17

    I used a Zen 1.5L water bottle in the Hyperlite nalgen water bottle holder on the last trip up Russel and down Register Ridge. The gouges in the bottle were cut almost all the way through the plastic. This system seems to work well for me on regular trails but could easily fail in more technical terrain. I have also used an MSR 3L or 2L hydration bladder put in sideways across the top of my pack load. This works pretty well if the bladder is towards the shoulder strap side of the pack. Damage to the bladder is not too great a concern since all the gear that could be rendered ineffective if wet is in dry bags. The hose can be routed out as the top is rolled closed. Three rolls on the top seem to be about the limit.

  • operationadventure

    Hey @amykbannon! I used to only use a bladder system when I first started hiking, but I stopped because i got really tired of getting it in and out of my pack to refill it. I also started to carry more camera equipment and the thought of the bladder bursting/leaking went from a fear to a nightmare. Since then I've tried a few systems and these have been my favorite:

    1. The Sawyer Squeeze with a smartwater bottle or a nalgene. Super lightweight but a little annoying to fill at times due to the small openings.
    2. The Katadyn BeFree bottle has a larger opening so it's much easier to fill! Water flows through the filter a little better than the Sawyer imo, but the soft sides make it a little annoying.
    3. If you're not too concerned with weight than the new Grayl system is arguably the fatest/user friendly option. If you're not too concerned with money than the titanium Grayl is an interesting option that solves the weight issue.

    Hope that helps!

  • bugglife
    bugglife Member Posts: 100

    Hey @amykbannon

    First of all, your recent GCNP summit attempt looked pretty rad. I recently tried to get to the top of Cheops, but turned around when I got a little too far outside of my comfort zone. You can read a brief write up here if you're interested.

    Next, you might find some useful ideas in this thread. If you have any trouble with the link, the title of the discussion is "What do you keep your water in?"

    For big desert water carries, I've had a lot of luck with MSR dromedaries. I will usually make it my second layer in my pack, on top of my sleeping bag, and below extra clothing. So far, this has ensured that there is enough soft padding around the bladder that I haven't experienced a puncture. It also keeps the weight relatively close to my center of gravity, so I don't feel top- or back-heavy. The only super tiny issue I've faced is that a few times when getting bladders in and out of my pack, the smallest nozzle will open, and I'll lose just a bit of water. But it's the desert, so things dry quickly.

    For reference, here's how a 6L bladder fits inside a 4400

    And here's how a 4L bladder fits inside a 3400 or 2400

    I mostly use these for storage / carrying, as opposed to easy access. I can use the bladder to refill a water bottle on the outside of my pack once it's empty. I hope this helps. Good luck with your upcoming objectives!

  • sashaswashut
    sashaswashut Member Posts: 41

    I really love the convenance of the smart water bottle and using the Hyperlite water bottle attachment. If I am doing a longer hike I’ll use a bladder by platypus. I also like the MSR water reservoirs. I also always bring my water filter to get more clean water to add to my smart water bottles, etc.