It's a simple and often overlooked piece of kit, but there is more to find the best water bottle for hiking than you might think. Even the shortest outdoor jaunt will see you work up a thirst, so carrying a drink in some form is an excellent idea, and on a longer excursion it's absolutely essential. In short, a good quality water bottle a vital element of your outdoors kit list. The recommendations below are all specially designed for hiking, or have features that will serve you well in the great outdoors, but they’re also extremely useful in daily life too.
Indeed, the best water bottles for hiking will serve you well across the board, from work meetings and days in the office, to travelling and long days on the trail, they’ll keep you hydrated and happy, as well as saving the environment from single-use bottles. If you need something that'll let you drink possibly suspect water without ending up with a dodgy tum, head to our best water purifier guide instead (and if you just want something for the office, you'll find basic / stylish options in our general best water bottle guide).
What to look for in a hiking water bottle
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Buying a water bottle for hiking should be a simple process, but even this most basic of items can throw up some unexpected conundrums. Firstly, how big should your hiking water bottle be? It’s worth making this your starting point. Larger capacities of more than a litre will obviously weigh more (a litre of water is a kilo without the weight of the container), but may be essential in warmer climates or for longer hikes, runs or bike excursions. Meanwhile, smaller flasks will weigh less, even when full, but may not be sufficient for longer jaunts.
Local knowledge can be vital here though, with many UK water sources being perfectly drinkable, allowing you to carry a much smaller flask if you can rely on finding water en route. In addition, filter systems such as Lifesaver and Lifestraw allow you to drink anything short of seawater, almost guaranteeing a top up en route – although again, local knowledge will be your friend here.
Volume aside, there are other factors to consider too, likely weather conditions being another essential. Narrow-necked bottles and hydration bladders can be very convenient in warmer weather, and can save lots of time as you can sup away on the go, but when temperatures plummet they can freeze up and become useless quite quickly. Wide-necked flasks are less easily blocked by ice, and can be filled with hot soup, squash or tea, which can make for a very timely warming boost on a cold day. The ultimate form factor for winter is the insulated flask, which can stay warm for hours, although this can add extra weight in some cases.
Finally, what material should you look for in the best water bottle for hiking? Most good quality water bottles and flasks will either be BPA-free plastic (worth checking for in cheaper bottles) or stainless steel, both of which should last for many years. Some are dishwasher safe too, which makes for easy cleaning, so something to check.
Best water bottle for hiking 2022
The Hydro Flask Lightweight Trail Series Bottle might be a bit of a mouthful, but there are some key differences here that make it one of the best water bottles for hiking available today. Many of the key points will be familiar to existing Hydro Flask owners, a robust stainless steel build, easy-to-unscrew cap, and a wide mouth that’ll make filling with soup, tea or scooping water from a stream equally straightforward. The double wall construction will keep drinks hot for 12 hours, or cold for 24 – a claim that we put to the test over the winter. The final trick is arguably the best though, and that’s a 25% weight drop over previous equivalent models, a move that cuts deep into the only real criticism of Hydro Flasks, aside from the relatively hefty RRP. However, with an excellent build quality, and all-year round abilities, this is arguably the only water bottle you need for all outdoor occasions. And if you can snag a Hydro Flask deal to make it easier on the wallet, all the better.
You might have heard of LifeStraw – it's the brand behind the personal water filter that looks like a chunky plastic straw, and will let you drink safely from pretty much any dodgy looking water source. Following on from the overwhelming success of that product, the LifeStraw has branched out with a range of water vessels based around the same technology. For hiking, our pick is the LifeStraw Go. From the outside it looks like a regular water bottle, except there's LifeStraw that fits on to the underside of the flip-up spout in the lid. This includes a two-stage filter: a membrane microfilter that will remove bacteria, parasites and microplastics bigger than 0.2 microns, and an activated carbon filter. The latter will take care of any bad taste and odour, so you can drink from pretty much any water source you encounter on your travels. Replacement filters are available but the long-lasting membrane microfilter lasts for 4,000 litres and the activated carbon filter lasts for 100 litres.
You do need to suck to get the water through the filter – this is not a water bottle that you can glug from, which can be annoying if you're thirsty. And if it's obviously not necessary if you know you're going to be able to fill up from a tap. But for off-grid adventures, the LifeStraw Go means you can carry less, provided you're not hiking in the desert, knowing you'll be able to confidently fill up along the way.
Nalgene is one of the best-established names in the world of water bottles, offering all manner of sizes, colours and shapes to suit all occasions. The Sustain range is one of the company’s latest launches, and offers the iconic wide-mouth, non-nonsense bottle, but made from 50% recycled plastic waste. That ecoboost is welcome, and the familiar wide mouth, BPA free, dishwasher safe bottle will serve you well on any adventure. The bottles are pretty much indestructible, and their lightweight, rugged simplicity is the reason they’ve been used on countless expeditions to all corners of the globe. Add a few metres of emergency duct tape for a legitimate expedition look, fill with your beverage of choice, and go enjoy the outdoors. Simple.
The LifeSaver Liberty water purifier bottle takes water filtering technology to new heights. Incorporating its own inbuilt pump, the system allows you to suck up water from questionable sources, such as rivers or ponds, then purify it for immediate drinking. While the filter will remove 99.999% of nasties such as viruses, bacteria and cysts, it is the design that really levels this device up. The pump takes all the work out of forcing the water through the filter, leaving clean water that can be easily supped on-the-go. The internal capacity of 400ml can be enormously boosted by screwing the base of the unit onto a Nalgene or HydroFlask and using that as a reservoir, which is excellent for group use. Secondly an included 5ft hose lets you stay safe and dry while getting water, pretty essential for many a riverside scenario. Finally, the main filters are good for up to 2,000 litres (activated carbon taste filter is effective for 100 litres), but they gradually block up with use, so once they’re fully blocked, the filter is finished and needs replacing – a nice fail-safe. For more info, head to our Lifesaver Liberty review.
Yeti is known for its robust, high-quality outdoor equipment – Yeti coolers, in particular, are somewhat iconic – and its line of hiking water bottles is no exception. Available in a wide range of sizes and colourways, the Yeti Ramber water bottles are insulated to keep your drink hot (or cold) for as long as possible. The brand's 'No Sweat' design keeps condensation at bay, so you won't end up with damp gear or wet hands when you stop for a hydration break. The cool thing about Yeti is that there are a range of caps to choose from: there's the Chug cap, which lets you take big gulps at once (without getting your drink all down you), the Straw cap, for smaller sips, the Hot Shot cap for hot beverages, or the Magdock cap, which looks like the Chug cap but with a magnetic docking station for the lid when it's unscrewed. Keep an eye out for a Yeti deal to take the price down.
Sometimes, light is right, and for those occasions, the flexible, foldable Vapur has to be a frontrunner. Weighing in at a mere 50g for the 23oz model, this is one of the lightest possible water bottles around, and also rolls up into a tiny package when not in use, ideal as an extra capacity booster on a long day.
An ingenious 'Drinklink' companion kit transforms the standard flask into a hydration pack, with a new cap, tube and bite valve. The bite valve is particularly neat, with a pull to open, push to close mechanism that can be operated with one hand, and each part of the system clicks positively into place, making the dreaded rucksack leak much less likely. The modular system also makes it easier to keep things clean, and also means you can mix and match, clipping the bite valve assembly straight onto the bottle if the hose isn’t needed. It’s an incredibly flexible setup, and as lightweight as it’s possible to be.