Water Bottle vs Hydration Pack
Water is absolutely essential when backpacking or on a hike. Unfortunately, it is also one of the heaviest items we are forced to carry. With that in mind it is no wonder companies are constantly trying to improve the way we carry our water, and no “improvement” has been more readily adopted than hydration bladders like the Camelback. Nevertheless, hydration bladders are not perfect and many backpackers continue to choose water bottles. Below are a few pros and cons along with some general advice.
Pros: Allow you to carry a huge quantity of water close to you back where it is easiest to carry, yet also makes it extremely convenient to access.
Cons: Hard to clean and can mold if not properly cared for. Prone to leaks and punctures. Difficult to fill in streams.
Pros: Extremely durable and dishwasher safe.
Cons: Most people have to stop to drink. Heavier than a bladder
I have come to the conclusion that the answer for which is better really comes down to the type of hike and the type of hiker you are.
Most of the time I prefer the durability and reliability of Naglene water bottles. I never have to worry about them leaking and I know I can throw them in the dishwasher when I return home. Plus, I can’t say I mind stopping and taking a moment to enjoy the scenery while I have a drink.
Nevertheless, there are some instances where a hydration bladder makes a lot more sense. When trail running or on a day hike I prefer a Camelback with a little extra room to hold my gear such as the Camelback Octane XCT shown below.