How Do You Carry a Water Bottle While Hiking?

How Do You Carry a Water Bottle While Hiking?

Hiking lets you enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. Since it's vital to take water during a hike to quench thirst and get energy, how do you carry a water bottle while hiking? We're sharing the best ways to bring water bottles during a hike to ensure you remain hydrated.

How Do You Carry a Water Bottle While Hiking?

While you can hand-carry a water bottle on a trail, you can use a belt bag, a carabiner, or a paracord to carry the bottle while freeing your hands. Another way is to put the bottle on a bottle sleeve, hiking vest pockets, or on your backpack's side pockets.

We have different ways of packing essentials for hiking, especially when it comes to bringing water. However, you need to consider comfort, the volume of water, and even the container style when determining how to carry a water bottle.

Woman holding a stainless steel water bottle while hiking

Ways to Carry a Water Bottle During a Hike

Without enough water when hiking, you're risking dehydration. Hence, it's ideal to stow your water bottle where you can access it easily, even when on the move.

If you feel overwhelmed with the various ways of carrying a water bottle while hiking, we're giving the pros and cons of each method to help you decide which is the best for your needs.

Hold the Water Bottle

The simplest way to carry a water bottle while hiking is to hand-carry it. If you're going on a short hike, like a 20-minute walk from your parking area to the target location, then you can bring a bottle by hand.

Hand-carrying is also ideal if you tend to take frequent sips while walking.

  • Pros: You can quickly access the bottle and drink without having to rummage through your things.
  • Cons: It limits your capacity to hold onto ropes, branches, or stones.

Wear a Water Bottle Sleeve with Shoulder Straps

If you prefer to keep your hands free, using a water bottle sling bag is an excellent alternative. Bottle sling bags are small pouches where you can place the bottle. Most of them have adjustable shoulder straps for customizing the length.

Depending on your style preferences, sling bags can have a full nylon shell and neoprene, while others include a mesh. Either way, they are generally spacious enough to hold a liter of water.

  • Pros: You can wear the sling bag over the shoulder or across the chest.
  • Cons: It may hit parts of your body when the strap isn't adjusted correctly.

Stow the Bottle on a Fanny Pack or Belt Bag

While sling bags are nifty bottle holders, they can sometimes strain the shoulders. To avoid this, you can place water bottles in a fanny pack or belt bags while hiking.

    A hiker holding a stainless steel water bottle

    In this way, you can carry the extra load at the center of your body mass, which is a great way of preventing strain in the legs. Besides, it won't make you feel sweaty compared to backpacks and vests.

    • Pros: Belt bags and fanny packs often include small pockets where you can store your phone, keys, and other small items.
    • Cons: A large water bottle may bounce around the waist when doing slow uphill runs.

    Maximize Backpack Side Pockets

    If you don't want to wear another bag, you can take advantage of your backpack and put water bottles in the side pockets. Most backpacks contain expandable mesh side pockets where you can quickly reach back and grab water bottles.

    However, even if you put the bottles in the side pockets, you also have to consider the weight of your other hiking equipment. A loaded backpack should not weigh more than 10% of the body weight.

    • Pros: You'll have enough space to bring liters of water.
    • Cons: A large bottle filled with drinking water can add significant weight to the backpack.

    Use Hiking Vest Pockets as Storage

    Going on a hike requires preparing the proper clothing and equipment. A hiking vest is among the most functional gear for hiking because of its functionality and efficiency. You can place small water bottles in the pockets of a hiking vest.

    Vests come with varying insulation levels and features, including waterproof pockets or a water-repellent exterior. Insulating equipment like vests can increase your core warmth while providing quick access to your water bottle in the pockets.

    • Pros: Some hiking vests consist of water-resistant materials so that you won't feel the condensation from cold water or heat from hot drinks.
    • Cons: The bottles would form bulges in the vest, which is usually form-fitting.

    DIY with a Carabiner or Paracord

    A carabiner is another useful tool for hiking because it allows you to clip small items to your bag, vest, or belt loops. Some water bottles come with designs where you can put a carabiner and fasten it easily.

    Likewise, a paracord is a tactical tool for hiking as you can also use it to attach water bottles wherever you like. Using carabiners and paracords is a secure way to keep water bottles accessible while enjoying a hands-free hike. 

    • Pros: You can quickly change where you want to put the water bottle.
    • Cons: The bottle may also bounce around when walking, and the weight may pull down the bag's material.

    A couple carrying insulated water bottles while hiking

    Related Questions

    How Much Water Do You Need to Carry When Hiking?

    The rule of thumb is to bring 1 liter of water for every 2-hour hike. However, the amount of water should still depend on the hike's distance, trail intensity, area temperature, and your body size. You may need more water if the conditions are hot and humid.

    How Can I Keep Water Cold During a Hike?

    The best way to keep water cold while hiking is to use an insulated water bottle. You can also freeze a half-filled bottle to solidify ice or put ice packs in the bottle before heading out.


    It's important to hydrate yourself when hiking to retain energy and prevent heatstroke. Aside from hand carrying, you can access and bring water bottles by using bottle sleeves with straps, fanny packs, carabiners, or paracords. You may also maximize pockets in your hiking vest or backpack.

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