Hard sided storage containers offer assured durability while sacrificing weight and versatility. With numerous nozzle options, these containers offer an ease of access just like if you were at home. They hold between five and seven gallons, and range in cost between fifteen to forty dollars.
Hard sided storage is best used for car camping, or rafting trips where the container never needs to be carried in a bag.
Collapsible jugs easily pack down into sizes appropriate for backpacking and paddling trips. Made up of either plastic or nylon, these containers save weight and space while sacrificing some durability. Sizes range from one to five gallons.
Collapsible jugs book-end the price range for water storage, with plastic versions available for less than ten dollars and MSR's dromedary bags in the upper forties.
One of the main factors in choosing a quality campsite is proximity to drinkable water. However, for those cases where a whole trips worth of water must be brought in before, an accurate estimation must be made.
The general rule is 1 gallon per person per day. So a rafting trip with 7 members for 5 days would need 35 gallons of water (7 x 5 = 35). This covers drinking, cooking, and cleaning but hotter weather would increase this number and likewise cooler weather would reduce it. It's always a good ideas to play your water estimate conservatively and bring a little extra.
Because collapsible containers can fit into packs and odd shapes, such as a kayak hatch, they can be taken on a wider variety of trips. The advantages of hard sided containers are that they become easier to manage once at camp. But there is no reasonable way to lug around a five gallon square container in a backpack. Instead a dromedary or two can be used and easily hung in a tree to create a wash station or any other water oriented program necessary around camp.
Water jugs hold the water you need for daily requirements, such as: drinking water, dish water, personal hydration, and backup hydration. Since they are so cheap it's great to make sure you have some extra water with you for those just-in-case situations that arise.