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Water Storage

Typical conditions require each person to consume upwards of one gallon of water on active days -- learn how to stay properly hydrated. With such a high volume of liquid intake required, the majority of which must also be treated, a dedicated storage device is essential for camp use.

Types of Water Storage

Hard Sided Collapsible

hard sided

hard sided
  • Capacity: 3 - 7 Gallons
  • Materials: Polyethelyne
  • Weight: 1 - 3 Pounds
  • Best Uses: Car Camping, Rafting

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.

  • Reliance Desert Patrol


  • Capacity: 2 Liters - 5 Gallons
  • Materials: Various
  • Weight: 4 - 10 Ounces
  • Best Uses: Backpacking

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.

  • Reliance Fold-A-Carrier

Select Water Storage

Capacity Activity


Total Water Capacity (gallons) =

(# of People) x (# of Days)

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.

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Hard Sided

Bar Camping, Rafting


Backpacking, Kayaking, Canoeing

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.

Wrap Up

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.

Have a question about water storage? Ask us on twitter or via email.

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