What is the Best Water Bottle for Hiking

Have you ever noticed the trails all hikers who drink using a pipe coming out of their backpack? Have you noticed that there are more and more? Is the water bag or “CamelBak” will take over the gourd hiking and it disappear forever? I have doubts.Gourds and water pockets each have advantages and disadvantages.

For those who still do not see what I’m referring to: this is what a water bladder.

A water reservoir is a bladder that can be filled with liquid. It is provided with a pipe at the end of which is a teat. Just bite the nipple and aspire to power drink.Some people use the word “CamelBak” (which is a mark) to designate a water bladder.

I do not think I need to clarify what a gourd. Hiking gourds are mostly metal time with a screw top-but there are many other kinds, some hard plastic, other soft plastic, etc.

Many people think that the water reservoir is a fad, it’s a stroke of marketing and it’s no use. I laughed myself (internally) the few hikers I saw with pockets water when I started hiking . I thought, “they believe in making a stroke or what! “.Later, I bought one for climbing and orienteering and I found it so convenient that I tried hiking.

And I must admit that now I almost never go hiking without my water bladder. A little life lesson: do not criticize until you try … What are also many hikers with walking sticks.

I did not want to create a polemic article, preaching the bottle or water bladder but just quickly introduce the main advantages and disadvantages of each system so that you can correctly choose between one and the other.

The duel: gourd Hiking / water bag

Water Bag


  • Convenient todrink regularly. A water pouch allows drinking when desired, without having to ask her backpack, contort to catch his gourd or ask for help to his teammate.
  • The water pockets are often lighter than water bottles at equal volume.
  • Small footprint. A water bladder take any form in the backpack.
  • Can be used for other activities such as mountain biking, climbing, kayaking, running, etc.
  • Clear water bottles in large capacity(depending on model) – which usually ranges from 1 to 3 liters.
  • Practice in cold weather.It is possible to keep a well-insulated water bladder inside the backpack. With hiking water bottle, this is usually not the case when it is kept on hand, and it may freeze.


  • Water pockets are more fragile than metal water bottles. However, some water pockets are very solid and just give the impression of being fragile.
  • The water pockets are generally a little more expensive, although it is now in some cheap (of questionable quality).
  • . MaintenanceIt is not always easy to dry his water pouch between uses – the development of bacteria often get done faster than a hike gourd. However, some water pockets have antibacterial treatments to overcome it.
  • Impractical to pour water- as for cooking, for example.
  • Beverages other than water are not recommended- to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold.
  • The water heater or easily freeze in the pipette (pipe). It is possible to overcome this by using an insulator which is threaded around the pipette.
  • . Unpleasant taste and smellThis strongly depends on the models – some having absolutely no such problems.
  • Needs to have a backpack for this purposewith a pocket for water bladder and a hole to pass the pipe. On some bags, it is nevertheless easy to use even if nothing had been planned for the use of a water bladder.
  • Difficult to know the amount consumed.We have to go out of the bag water bladder to know how much water is left. However, there are now electronic systems to know in real time consumption of water directly on the pipette.

Gourde Hiking


  • Strength(except for flexible models that approximate water pockets on this point) . The gourds are resistant to shock and not easily pierce.
  • It is possible to use a good metal hiking water bottle for years.
  • There is not much that can fail in a flask over a water bladder.
  • Quite cheap. A gourd is often cheaper than a water bladder. However think to compare to the capacity of each. For example: compare the price of a bag of water to 2 liters with the price of two gourds of one liter and not just one.
  • Can contain all types of drinks.An advantage if you like to drink something other than water. I did not need to know anything.
  • . MaintenanceMaintenance is easier with a gourd – the bacteria will grow less easily (except plastic ones).
  • Easy to pour water with.


  • Weight. The gourds are often heavier than water pockets. Especially one hiking gourd is rarely enough for a day.
  • Congestion. Gourds do not deform and take up space when empty (except for flexible models).
  • Impractical hydration. It takes off his backpack hydration or find another system. Some people hang their gourd at hand with a small hook or ask their partner to help them. But it is rarely as convenient as a water bladder.
  • Small capacity. It often takes for a day of walking.

Note : All the advantages and disadvantages presented above obviously depend models. For example, many water pockets require significant maintenance. The model I ( CamelBak Omega Plus ) has an antibacterial treatment and is easy to maintain.

The winner

If you read this article you must doubt that there is no winner ;-). You have to find your winner based on your needs and preferences.

The gourd classic hiking and water pouch systems are just two among many. There are for example pipes that fit over the gourds. Some hikers even use plastic water bottles or cans like those used by cyclists.

Some people like to combine systems – for example using a water bottle pocket and a plastic water (what I do) or a water pocket and a water bottle. This allows for the benefits without the drawbacks and also helps purify water easily with chemical disinfectants (type Micropur). A container containing the water being disinfected and the other of drinking water. This way, you always have the available drinking water.

Now you know what I use. And you, what do you use to hydrate you hike? Are you more or bottle hiking water bladder?