Water Bottles and Carriers for Walking

Drinking Water from Water Bottle
Drinking from Water Bottle. Dave and Les Jacobs/Blend Images/Getty Images

The most important factor in choosing how to carry water is that it will be available and convenient to encourage you to drink enough while walking. You also need a container that will hold enough water to get you from refilling station to refilling station.

Single Use Bottles

With bottled water widely available, many walkers reuse the bottles. These bottles are more difficult to clean between uses because they don't have the wider mouths that refillable water bottles do.

If you choose to reuse them, be sure to wash them with hot soapy water and dry them thoroughly to prevent bacterial and fungal growth.

Refillable Water Bottles

It's best to buy a good refillable sports water bottle with a wide mouth and drinking nozzle. They are easier to clean and don't add to the trash pile like disposable bottles. These are available at all sports stores and outdoors stores. They come in a variety of materials, including squeezable plastic, rigid plastic, stainless steel and aluminum. Look for a design that is easiest for you to carry, drink from, and refill. Most manufacturers have switched to making BPA-free bottles, but you may want to check to be sure if you are concerned about that chemical leaching into your water. Wash your bottle after each use with hot water and soap to kill any germs. Test your bottle to make sure that it is not going to drip or spill when carried, even when going up and down in altitude.

Hydration Bladder Packs - Camelbak - Platypus

Rather than bottles, these are flexible water bladders you can carry and use. Platypus water bottles are flat when empty and fill up like a tick. They may fit better into a pack and are easily stored.

Hydration water bladder packs, such as Camelbak, are carried in a pack on your back or waistband and you sip your water through a flexible tube.

I find these to be the most convenient way to carry water for longer walks and to be able to drink easily. I need a pack for the essentials I take along anyway, so having the water sipper tube always available encourages me to keep drinking.

Water Carriers

Once you have selected your bottle, how do you carry it? Carrying it in your hand puts too much strain on wrist and elbow. A lumbar pack or fanny pack with a bottle holder is a good way to carry it at your center of mass, which is the best place to add weight to not strain your legs. It may not be the style you feel comfortable wearing on walks, but it is very convenient and doesn't make your back sweaty like a backpack.

Many backpacks also have special pockets for carrying water bottles without having to dig to the bottom of the pack to find it when you want it. Look for the carrier that suits you best at a sports or outdoors store.

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