Things to consider before choosing a hydration backpack in 2021

In this article, we are talking about hiking hydration. What pack is right for you? Is a hydration pack even the right choice? Should you be hiking with water bottles instead?

Stay hydrated I know it’s crazy to think, people in 2021 don’t drink enough water but it is true literally so how do we pick the best way to stay hydrated on the trail.

well, that’s gonna depend on the individual and their needs defensive method of hydration is the old tried-and-true water bottle.

I prefer the heavy plastic-type with screw-on caps from brands like Nalgene fill them up, throw them in the pack, pull them out when you need them. they’re super robust and most can even handle hot liquids which makes them very versatile.

Choosing a Brand

I always have one in my pack because of this next we have hydration packs with the Camelback brand achieving Kleenex status in the segment. you know Kleenex status where one brand is so well known the entire segment is referred to by that brand’s name.

camelbacks wrap plastic bladder filled with water and are usually in a pack that helps keep them cold or separate from the rest of the pack, a hose runs from the bladder and out of the pack where a hiker can then draw water by chomping down on a bite valve and sucking in water just like they do with a straw.

many hydration packs come in their own streamlined minimalist pack or they are sold to be used in conjunction with backpacks that are designed to house them.

Choosing the hydration Capacity

now here’s an important little tip when it comes to selecting and using your hydration pack I can’t tell you how many times we have gotten to the trailhead and found our hydration packs were almost empty because we didn’t turn the master valve off and all the water leaked over the pack in the car.

which system do we use simple both for us when we are going on the trail we pack about five liters of water each three in our hydration packs and two liters in a Nalgene bottle, a rule of thumb is to have one liter for every two hours you were hiking with our five liters.

we feel confident we can go for close to ten hours without worry usually this will last us about eight hours since we have a dog to consider as well as hiking beyond eight hours isn’t something we enjoy.

Choosing an Extra hydration bladder for your Pet

while we’re on the subject of dogs you need to consider their needs for water as well most people bring a collapsible bowl and fill it with their own hydration pack or water bottle.

when they stop to let their dog have a drink we found a product called pop flask which has a collapsible silicone bowl attached to a water bottle that Cece is just nuts about.

it has been a game-changer for us as we are more apt to offer the dog water because of how simple the pup flask is to employ we keep it in the side pocket of one of our packs and pull it out, fold it over, hit the button allow the water to flow and hold it out for the dog when she’s done drinking, you can drain the remaining water back into the bottle.

fold it over put it in the pack and be on our way now that’s all fine and dandy, but what do you do when you’re going for a long-distance or you’re trying to lighten your load and there’s naturally occurring water along your route.

Choosing a Water Filter

there have been times where we simply ended up needing more water on the trail than we brought and we were lucky enough to find it, my wife always been a big fan of that for this reason I always carry my water filter in my pack.

of course, many different brands and type choices when you’re looking at water purification but what I use is a pump style filter this setup draws water from the source pushes it through a filter element and out of the discharge tube into your hydration system.

I even have my filter set up with a quick attachment which allows me to pump water into my hydration bladder without removing it from my backpack where water snobs and this water we do not complain about, there are other filtration options such as gravity feed systems like those offered by Sawyer where source water is put into a bag or a bottle and then allowed to drip through a filter element and drain into a bottle or a pack.

these systems have an advantage in being smaller and lighter than pumps but they process water at a much slower rate. there are also straw type filters like the live straw which allow you to drink straight from the source water with the filter processing water as you drink it.

these have the advantage of being the most portable water system but due to their small size their treatment rate is really limited and they’re only really something I would consider throwing in a pack or a first-aid kit is an emergency use only item.

Choosing a Chemical Treated reservoir

there are also chemical treatments and UV treatments such as the SteriPEN both chemicals and UV treatments have their limits and aren’t items.

I’d recommend going into your everyday hikers pack chemical treatments have their drawbacks like being limited to the number of chemicals you are carrying and many of them import some really horrific tastes.

UV pens are awesomely limited in the fact they require electricity to run so if you run out of charge you’re out of luck they also say they only work with clear non-sediment-laden waters which would then require you to filter the water before you treated it, which means you’re doubling your gear load unnecessarily.


That’s where we’re at with hydration systems and water treatment whichever options you choose to keep in mind when it comes to water it’s not a bad idea to make sure you’ve got a little more than you think you’ll need just in case because on the trail water is one of the most valuable things you can have.