Hydration bladders are available in various sizes, most commonly 1, 2, and 3 liters, and there are some larger ones for more specific needs. To understand what the best size bladder for you is before purchasing, you need to know how much you’re going to drink and what your requirements are.
Choosing the right size bladder is important for a few reasons:
- Water is extra weight you need to carry around with you
- Not having enough water is a serious health risk if you become dehydrated
- You need the right size bladder for your backpack/vest to be comfortable
Not drinking enough is one of the most common mistakes hikers make, and it can be costly. Staying well-hydrated should be one of your first concerns. Going hiking also presents the problem of being stuck a long way from extra supplies, but carrying too much water is going to weigh you down and tire you out faster.
So, how do you know how much water you need to take with you on a hike? There are three main things to consider:
- Weather conditions/climate during your hike
- How physically demanding the hike is going to be
- Your own personal preference for water intake
The average amount of fluid we need to drink each day is 2 liters, with around 3 liters of total fluid intake (cited from MayoClinic). This replaces all the fluid we naturally lose through sweating etc. So, if you’re going to be hiking for most of the day you need to drink a lot more than 2 liters as you will be exerting a lot of energy.
I almost always find a 3-liter bladder to be a perfect size. Which is why I developed the 3L Crystal Creek Hydration Bladder, anything smaller is really only useful for the casual hiker who is going to be hiking for a few hours. 3L is enough to carry you through the best part of a day, unless you are being very physically challenged by the terrain.
If you’re hiking overnight for two or more days you need to carry a water filter or have a way to boil water. The key thing to remember here is that every liter of water weighs around a kilo. So carrying more than 3 liters at any one time can get uncomfortable pretty quickly.
Sourcing Water and Refilling Your Hydration Bladder
As mentioned above, you can’t just carry the amount of water you need if you’re hiking for days at a time. You can reduce the weight in your backpack by carrying enough for the day, and a water filter or some kit to boil some water to make it safe for drinking and refill your bladder.
I recently published a post covering how to purify lake water safely. If you’re an experienced hiker and know where you will be able to source water you can travel a lot lighter. You should never head out hiking and assume you will find a water source, always plan ahead and make sure you’re 100% you will be able to find water.
Tips on How to Manage Your Water
I’m not suggesting you ration water, you should always drink more than enough. But, there are ways you can manage your water so it lasts longer and a few tips to keep you hydrated.
Firstly, you should get into the habit of sipping from your hydration bladder, not gulping at longer intervals. Your body can only absorb so much water at one time, and sipping at regular intervals is the most effective way to keep absorbing water.
You will notice you don’t need to stop for a toilet break as often by sipping water too. I don’t mention this just for convenience, it’s also proof that you are absorbing more water into your body and not just passing it through.
You should always drink water before you’re thirsty too. This won’t be a problem if you’re taking sips, but it’s still a common mistake a lot of hikers make. There’s no excuse either when you’re using a hydration bladder. One of the best features of a hydration bladder is having a tube that makes it easy to sip without stopping as you would a bottle.
If you are interested in 30% off of a 2-in-1 Ultralight First Aid kit, Just click the button below to take a better look.2-in-1 First Aid Kit