Hiking Water Bottle Vs Bladder

Hiking Water Bottle Vs Bladder

For any avid hiker, the decision between water bottle and bladder can be a tough one to make! It seems as if there are many considerations to be taken into account, especially the fact that some hikers only have one backpack space to work with. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and the type of hike you’re undertaking – but in this article, we’ll do our best to cover all the bases so you can make an informed decision.

The best way to determine which hiking water bottle is right for you depends on your preferences and needs. Water bottles come in various of styles, such as the standard water bottle, the cambered-bottom water bottle, and collapsible water bottles. Bladders include a variety of material types as well as sizes that vary from small wide-mouth bladders to tall narrow bladders. The size that you choose depends on your needs. If you are looking for a hiking water bottle or bladder for the backpacking activities you prefer then many companies also offer hydration packs with bladders incorporated into them.

Water Bottles

Water bottles are something we use every day so it’s a familiar concept. They have the added benefit of being inexpensive and portable. There are a lot of different options when it comes to water bottles for hiking. Like we mentioned, the now-standard “cylindrical-shaped water bottle ” is what most people think of when it comes to drinking water on the trail. 

How Does Water Bottle Work?

The basic cylindrical-shaped water bottle is a super simple item. All you do is unscrew the cap and drink! The standard cap on these bottles is a smooth screw-top cap. Some companies have added a small-cap with a spout meant to be used for drinking from on the trail.

Water bottles have the following pros:

  • Easy to carry around:You can put them in your purse or backpack. You can also hold them easily with one hand while the other hand hold the hiking stick. They are usually lightweight as well so they don’t add any extra weight to your pack when you’re on the trail.
  • No leakage: They don’t leak if they are closed properly. If the cap is screwed on tightly, then there shouldn’t be any problems with leaking.
  • Affordable:Bottles are a very affordable way to carry your water. They are usually some of the least expensive pieces of gear that you will need when you go hiking or backpacking.
  • Lightweight: You can bring a lot of water for your hikes, without the weight of a full water bladder. Because you don’t need a lot of water, you can bring a smaller water bottle and still have enough for your day hike.
  • Easy to clean:The typical bladder is made out of durable material such as vinyl, which usually comes in different colors and styles. Water bottles are not made out of similar material, but they are generally easy to clean so you don’t have to worry about bacteria growing inside them.
  • Easy to fill and store:Some come with a cap to keep your water from spilling if the bottle is dropped or jostled around. This makes it ideal for storing water that you’re going to use for several days. There are also disposable bottles that you can buy, and they come in a variety of sizes. They usually don’t hold as much water as reusable bottles but are very affordable and convenient.

They also have these cons:

  • Leaks: Not all water bottles are leak-proof. If your bottle does leak, you will have to rinse it out with a rag to get rid of the water. There are some other ways to avoid this happening. The most common way to avoid leaks is to make sure that the cap closes tightly. Also, if you have a bladder, make sure that it’s not overfilled with water. The seal is usually faulty when it comes to bladders so you want to avoid pushing it too hard.
  • No convenient carry handles:If you have a large bottle, then it won’t fit into most cup holders. You will need to find other ways of transporting your water.
  • No way to control the flow:Some large bottles may not have a water filter as a bladder does. If you are going on a very long hike, then you should have some sort of control over the flow of water that comes out of your bottle.
  • Hard to judge water levels:Since there is no way to control the water flow, you will find it difficult to know how much water you are drinking and how much is left in your bottle. You may have to take extra precautions if you are on a long hike.
  • Need to be cleaned more often: You will have to make sure that you clean your bottle after every use. If you don’t take the proper precautions, then you could end up with bacteria growing inside your bottle and causing an awful smell or even making you sick.

Water Bladders

Water bladders have a lot of benefits over water bottles. Water bladders are typically more durable and waterproof than water bottles, so they are perfect for hikers that need to carry a lot of weight for their hikes. 

How Do Water Bladders Work?

There are three main types of water bladders: collapsible, semi-collapsible, and rigid. A collapsible bladder is a reservoir made of waterproof, flexible polyurethane material. It can be folded flat for easy storage when not in use. A semi-collapsible bladder works similarly to a collapsible bladder, but it has some additional features. The rigid bladder is the most durable type of water bladders.

Here are some of the pros:

  • Easier to clean:Some water bladders have a squeeze valve, so you will have to clean out the bladder once in a while. You can use soap and water to ensure that the inside is properly cleaned.
  • Stay cool longer: If you are going on a long hike, then you can store ice cubes in your bladder. Some bladders are insulated to keep the water cool for longer periods of time. The best part is that the water stays cooler for several hours after it’s been filled.
  • Water stays fresh:If you are going on a longer hike where it would be hard to find clean water sources, then you might want to consider using a water bladder. If the bladder is properly stored, then your water will stay fresh and clean for several days.
  • Easier to carry:Water bladders are a lot thinner than water bottles, so you will find it easier to hold onto them. Most bladders are also made of similar material to be easier to clean after use.
  • More room for ice and other accessories: Most water bladders will fit a small amount of ice, so you won’t have to buy a lot of ice if you are using your bladder. You can also fit a filter or some bottled water in your bladder if you need it.
  • More convenient:Water bladders are a lot more convenient than water bottles. You will have much more room for accessories like ice and electrolyte tablets in your bladder. Also, some bladders are designed with rubber or neoprene so they are easier to clean and do not stain easily.

They also have these cons:

  • Larger than water bottles:Some water bladders are designed to be very large. They can be as thick as a soft drink can. Some bladders come with a lot of extra room to hold a large amount of ice.
  • More difficult to carry:Some water bladders are too big or too heavy to be carried around comfortably. It can be hard to carry around when you are on the go.
  • Cleaning problems: If you do not clean your water bladder often, it can get smelly easily and be more prone to bacterial growth. To prevent this from happening, you should take some time to thoroughly clean your bladder before putting it away after each use.
  • Lack of insulation:Some water bladders are not insulated at all. This means that it will be a bit harder to keep the inside temperature of the bladder from fluctuating.

Most Hikers Carry Water Bottles

Water bottles are perfect for hiking. They are light and easy to carry.

The Takeaway – Water is important. It allows your body to stay hydrated on the trail and also helps prevent many common heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

But drinking water with a bladder is no different than drinking directly from a stream, lake, or pond. It’s not necessarily safer, it’s just different. The water doesn’t look the same (which can be a good or bad thing, depending on your preference).

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Hydration Systems Compared To Water Bottles

*Ease Of Use: A hydration system provides important advantages over any other method of drinking fluids. This is a simple, portable, and reliable way to make sure you stay hydrated throughout your race. Bladder systems allow you to drink exactly how much you need, and the weight is negligible compared to regular water bottles. The water bladder can also be hooked up directly to your bike, kayak, or ATV.

*Less Waste: A hydration system has several distinct advantages over water bottles. It is much more efficient to use a hydration backpack and bladder than to carry water bottles, which can leak or be forgotten.

*Storing: On long hiking trips, you will probably want to find ways to store food. This will not always be appropriate with plastic containers and bottles. Hydration systems are easy to store and don’t take up much space. As long as you conserve your water, the weight is negligible.

*Observation: A hydration system is a convenient method to carry not only your water but your food, extra clothing, and other supplies. This will allow you to travel light and fast when you are on the trail.

*Refilling: Water bottle is easy to refill but hydration systems require extra time and effort. You will be most likely to refill your hydration system at a store, which may or may not have the proper fitting cap.

*Maintenance: After a hiking trip water bottles can go in the bin while hydration systems will need to be cleaned. The water bladder needs to be cleaned after every use and rinsed in cold water before storage.

*Storage: A hydration system can hold a great deal of water, which means fewer trips to refill it. There are different sizes of systems that can hold different amounts of water, so you can choose the one with the capacity that meets your needs.

*Durability: Water bottles can be damaged and will eventually need to be replaced. Many water bottles are made of cheap plastic, making them less durable than other containers. A hydration system is a much more durable bag and will last much longer than water bottles.

*Use At Different Temperatures: Water bottles need to be filled with water at room temperature and then stored in a cooler area or the sun. This method can take up to 24 hours, which is not appropriate for hiking long distances like Utah and Colorado hiking trip.

*Price: Hydration systems are generally more expensive than water bottles. You will need to buy a bladder, which can cost anywhere from $30 to $80. You will also need to purchase a hydration pack with chest straps and straps that go around the waist.

How to identify the best water bladder:

Before buying a bladder, you need to know how it works. You also need to be aware of the differences between water bladders and water bottles.

The bladder is a flexible bag that contains a porous gel. A layer of fabric keeps the drink from leaking when you squeeze it, either by hand or by squeezing the bellows. The porous gel is made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is easy to clean and prevents bacteria from growing in the bladder. The bladder works by absorbing water and then expanding with air, which pushes the water into a reservoir where the air also gets trapped.

A Few Of The Issues Related To Hydration Packs 

There are many issues that hiking enthusiasts need to solve for themselves when they are buying a hydration system. Hydration packs are of two types; external and internal. To choose wisely between these two, it is necessary to know the pros and cons both.

*Tube Water Gets Warm: The water is usually a little warm in the tube, so there is always the possibility of bacteria growing in the water. However, when the water in the tube reaches a temperature of 98.6 degrees, it is safe to drink.

*Determine The Volume Of Water: Determining the amount of water you need is essential when buying a hiking water system. The best way to do this is to calculate how much water you need to complete your hike and divide that by the time length of your trip.

*Condensation: There is always a possibility of condensation forming on the outside of the tube. You need to make sure that your water system has a way to avoid this from happening. The best way to reduce the problem of condensation is to make sure that you are not filling your reservoir in a place where the temperature is either too high or too low.

*Bacteria: Bacteria is a very common issue with water bladders, so you need to clean out the reservoir of your hydration pack once in a while. The best way to do this is to put some disinfectant in the reservoir and let it sit overnight.

*Heavy Pack: You need to carry a lot of weight when you use hydration packs. They are perfect for long hikes, but you may not be able to handle the extra weight on shorter trips.

*Damage To The Back: A hydration bladder can damage your back if you use it for a long time. Although it may cause some back pain, it is not a serious problem.

Types Of Bladder: Their Capacity And Features

There are many options when buying a bladder. You have to select the bladder that will best serve your needs. 

1. Hiking Hydration Packs: The Best Hydration Packs For Long Hikes

When you are going on a long hike, the last thing you want to do is worry about how much water you need. You can buy a hydration pack that makes this easy for you.

*Capacity – The hydration packs usually come with a reservoir that can hold around 1.5 liters of water. You need to make sure that the pack has enough capacity for the length of your hike.

*Features – The best hydration packs allow you to keep your drink cool for longer. They are usually made of neoprene, which allows them to be lightweight and durable. The bladder is designed with a hose that will not leak and can be easily cleaned.

*Appearance – The best hydration packs look stylish and are made in a variety of colors. They usually have some features that make using them easier like drinking tubes that will not leak or a shoulder strap to use comfortably.

2. Running Hydration Packs: The Best Hydration Packs For Runners

Hydration packs are designed with running in mind. They usually have a reservoir capacity of around 2.5 liters of water and work well even when you are running for long periods.

*Capacity – The storage capacity of the hydration system is an important factor. You need to make sure that the pack you choose has enough space for all your belongings. Some packs have extra space for carrying other things like your keys and wallet.

*Features – The hydration pack needs to be lightweight. If it is too heavy, then it will slow you down when you are running.

*Appearance – The best hydration packs for runners are easy to use and simple enough to deal with on the go.

3. Snowsports Hydration Packs: The Best Hydration Packs For Snow Sports

Hiking and running is not the only time when you need to carry some extra water. There are times when you need to carry water with you during snow sports. Many different features come with these hydration packs, which include extra pockets.

*Capacity – The hydration packs for snow sports usually have a reservoir that is twice the size of the average reservoir. This extra space can be really useful when carrying a lot of other gear.

*Features – Snow sports hydration packs have extra pockets that can be used to carry your belongings like keys, sunglasses, and wallets. You can choose from different color options and the size you need.

*Appearance – Snow sports hydration packs are made of a special material that is resistant to moisture and salt. They usually come in a variety of colors and are very lightweight.

4.Hydration Waistpacks: The Best Hydration Packs For Hiking And Running

Hydration waist packs are the perfect choice for short trail hikes and sprints. They usually have a small reservoir that can hold around a liter of water and put inside the hiking waist pack. Since you will be moving quickly, it is unlikely that you will need a lot of water.

*Capacity – The best hydration waist packs are the ones that are small in size and can hold around 500 ml of water. A larger reservoir may be better for longer hikes, but they will not work as well for shorter trips.

*Features – Hydration waist packs are small in size and will fit easily into your pocket or belt. The bladder is designed not to move around when you are hiking or running.

*Appearance – These waist packs are usually made of neoprene and look stylish. You can choose from different colors and the best size for you.

5. Hydration Packs: The Best Hydration Packs For Sports And Outdoor Activities

Sports and outdoor activities require a lot of hydration. This means that you will need a hydration pack that can hold enough water for yourself and your teammates. Since you will be moving a lot, comfort is also a factor. 

*Capacity – The capacity of the hydration pack is very important. The best ones are the ones with extra storage space for carrying your belongings. They usually have a large reservoir that can hold around three liters of water.

*Features – The best hydration packs for sports are durable and will not break easily. You also need to make sure that the bladder will not leak while you are active.

*Appearance – You can choose from a wide variety of hydration packs that are different colors and have a lot of pockets. The best ones are lightweight and easy to use.


Hydration backpacks have several benefits. 

  • One of the biggest is the fact that they can carry a large amount of water in a reservoir. 
  • They are also very comfortable to wear while you are hiking or running.
  • The straps are designed in a way that they will not chafe or cause any pain.
  • The bladder is made from a material that can withstand a lot of outdoor activity.
  • They are not too difficult to clean and maintain properly.
  • An added benefit is the fact that they do not leak. 
  • Hydration backpacks are safe and are unlikely to cause any injuries during your activity. 
  • You can fill your backpack with ice cubes to keep your water cold for longer. 
  • They are easy to use and do not require a lot of maintenance. 
  • You can add a water purifier to your backpack to give you even more water to drink. 
  • If the bladder is designed properly, it will protect your back from any unnecessary pain or discomfort.
  • Most hydration backpacks come with a protective cover that can be removed for cleaning.

Types Hydration Bag

*Hydropack Shapeshifter: this comes in a different shape, making it easy for you to carry. It also has a lot of pockets so that you can store your belongings while on the trail.

*Camelbak: this is a hydration backpack designed for hiking and running. It comes with a lot of pockets that can be used to carry your tennis balls, keys, wallets, and sunglasses. 

*Platypus With A Drinking Tube: this is designed like a flask. It has a wide mouth and you can fill it with water. The hose of the drinking tube is designed to be flexible.

*Baxter: this is made of a portable hydration carrier with a reservoir that can hold around one liter. It has a six-inch tube and you can store your belongings in the side pockets. 

*Avex: it is made of a nylon ripstop material and it has three zippered pockets. The drinking tube is also adjustable.

*Camelback Plus: it is made of neoprene material and it has a reservoir that can hold around two liters of water. The tube is designed to be adjustable and fit everyone.

*Mule Hydration Pack: it is made of vinyl material and has several pockets. It comes with an adjustable pouch, so the tube will not leak.

*NRS: this is a water reservoir that is made out of vinyl material. It has an ergonomic design and allows you to use it even when  surfing.

*REI: this is designed with a large tube and it has some extra pockets for carrying your belongings. It is fitted with a hose that does not leak and it has a drinking valve.

*Hydration Backpack: this is designed with pockets to store your belongings while you are on the trail. It comes with an attached drinking tube and a cap that can be removed.

Hiking Hydration Bladders:  Necessity Or Luxury?

A hydration pack is a necessity for your hike. You need to consider your needs and make sure that you get the best one for your hike. 

  • Your Size: The backpack should fit comfortably on your back. It is also important that your back does not ache after using it for a long time.
  • Storage Capability: The hydration pack should have enough space to carry all your belongings. This includes your mobile phone, keys, and wallet.
  • Comfort: The backpack should be comfortable enough to wear when you are on the trail. For the most part, hydration packs come with some padding that will keep your back comfortable while you are hiking.
  • Temperature Control: Your hydration pack must have a way to keep things cool. Otherwise, you will get sweaty and stuffy.
  • Cost and Quality: You need to buy a hydration pack that is not more expensive than it should be. It is also important that you buy one that will last for a long time.


A water bottle or bladder for hiking, which is better? Well, it depends on what you want to do and how much money you want to spend. Considering the distance you walk, the weight you carry, the temperature of the water you use it in, and the taste of the water you drink from. It also depends if you choose a 500 milliliter or 750-milliliter bottle.

If you want to drink real fast, then a water bladder makes sense. Bladders are the best option if you crave cold water, want the lightest weight, and don’t care about taste. But they all have their drawbacks and they need to be cleaned in between walks.