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5 Best Camping Water Containers for 2024

Are you tired of lugging around bulky, unreliable water containers during your camping trips? Or worse, arriving at your campsite only to realize that drinking water is miles away? It can be so frustrating dealing with containers that leak, break, or can’t keep your water fresh for long.

Not all water containers for car camping are created equal, though. If you just can’t seem to fill enough water bottles and are tired of worrying about what you will drink outside, it’s time to find the perfect water container for you.

We’ll tell you everything you need to know about selecting the perfect water container for your outdoor trips. Our top pick is the Igloo 6 Gallon Camping Water Container, which stands out for its durability, capacity, and how easy it is to use.

Amongst the range of similar jugs and collapsible containers, there is a surprising amount of variability in quality. We’ve outlined the best camping water container for your specific needs, from durability to packability to versatility to help you find the right camping water container for your needs.

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Best Camping Water Containers

Best Overall: Igloo 6-Gallon Camping Water Container

best-camping-water-containers
Image by Igloo

Specs:

  • Capacity: 6 gallons
  • Packed Size: 13.82 x 7.32 x 20.63 inches
  • Materials: plastic
  • BPA free
  • Spout
  • Two handles

The handy and durable water storage container has an impressive capacity for how affordable it is. It’s easy to carry with its handles and has a spout for pouring. For a plastic container, the Igloo container is very rugged with a heavy wall.

It’s great for dispersed camping, where you won’t have access to water. It requires very little storage space, due to its upright design, so if you know you won’t have access to potable water, this large container is a great addition to your camping setup.

The spout comes off so won’t get in the way when you are just storing water. There’s a pull-up vent to allow the water to flow smoothly. This container’s only downside is the last of a spout, so if you are washing dishes, you may have a difficult time without an extra set of hands.

Most Durable: Scepter Military Water Container

best-camping-water-containers
Image by Sceptor

Specs:

  • Capacity: 5 gallons
  • Packed Size: 13.7 x 6.8 x 18.8 inches
  • Materials: plastic
  • BPA free
  • Cap with two-sized openings
  • One handle

The Scepter camping water container is BPA-free and designed to have fresh water even over long periods. It’s made from food-grade LDPE and HDPE plastic to ensure that the water is free from harmful chemicals and safe to drink.

It’s thicker than a standard water container and has a thickness of 2.5 mm. Reviews say they put this five-gallon water container to the test and it had no leaks. Additionally, you can purchase with container with water purification tablets if you’re on a camping trip without access to clean drinking water.

It has one opening cap with different sizes for pouring water, but it will require a second person to assist with things like watching dishes. This container is a great choice for storing water for a long time because it keeps it clean. It’s waterproof corrosion and fungus-resistant with a large capacity.

Best Collapsible: GSI Outdoors Folding Water Cube

best-camping-water-containers
Image by GSI Outdoors

Specs:

  • Capacity: 5 gallons
  • Packed Size: 10.5 x 10.5 x 2.5 inches
  • Materials: Polyethylene
  • BPA free
  • Spout
  • Two handles

The Water Cube from GSI Outdoors is a convenient, collapsible water container that lets you flatten your water container into a small storable collapsible cube. Store water in this foldable, food-grade polyethylene container, and then pack it away to have extra space on your camping trip.

When expanded, there is an integrated handle and a tap for easy pouring. A tap allows for better water flow than just a spout or opening. This collapsible cube is great for cooking and cleaning while camping, and backpacking, as it’s really easy to use.

You must wash this container after use and it can’t be heated up in any way or used with bleach, so it’s less sturdy than other options but much more convenient than a water bottle or a large container if you have limited space.

Best for Minimalist Camping: UST Roll-Up Water Carrier

best-camping-water-containers
Image by UST

Specs:

  • Capacity: 2.5 gallons
  • Packed Size: 10.5 x 10.5 x 2.5 inches
  • Material: Synthetic
  • BPA free
  • Two handles
  • Spout

This is the best budget option for your next adventure. When you need your water supply for multiple things, but don’t have the capacity for collapsible cubes, roll-top water storage is a good way to go. This option can be used in multiple ways, whether filling bottles or just carrying extra water.

The UST Roll-Up Water Carrier is a low-cost water container that has a spout for easy pouring or showering. You can also take it off and fill the water container quickly.

Even though it’s made of plastic, the handles have a wood support so they won’t tear as you carry the water. The handles also roll up easily to store it away. You’ll need somewhere to hang it, so camping near trees or a structure helps.

Best for Daytime Activities: Hydrapak Seeker Water Bladder

best-camping-water-containers
Image by Hydrapeak

Specs:

  • Capacity: 2, 3, 4, 6 L
  • Largest Packed Size: ‎7.3 x 17.3 inches
  • Material: Plastic
  • One handle
  • Cap

For the active camper that needs potable water, the Hydra Seeker is a great option. This roll-up water storage offers several size capacities depending on what you need it for. It’s easy to carry with a sturdy handle and is great for carrying safe drinking water.

Though it’s smaller, you can carry a gallon of clean water in this portable and packable water holder. It fits easily into a pack, so if you’re doing any outdoor activities while camping, a water bladder is extremely convenient.

It features a Plug-N-Play Cap to dispense water and auto seal so it doesn’t spill everywhere. It’s one of the lightest containers that aren’t hard plastics and with a wide opening so it’s easy to drink and pour. It also comes with a lifetime warranty.

How to Choose Water Storage for Camping

When buying a water container consider factors like how much space you have, how durable you need your water container to be how it pours, and what it’s made of.

Packed Size

While some car campers and overlanders have plenty of space and can hold a large water jug if you plan to do outdoor sports and carry your water or wish to have something smaller while car camping in a small car, you may wish to use a roll top or a water bladder for water storage.

Check the dimensions of your water storage options and choose the one that will comfortably fit in your car or pack and consider where you will put it, as you don’t want any leaks!

Durability

The thicker the plastic, the more likely your container will be sturdier. The Scepter Military Water Container has a very thick exterior and will be the least likely to leak, but you may not have space for a container that large. Thinner water holders can be less durable but more packable.

Pouring Method

The preferred pouring method is personal. A camper may prefer a spigot, spout, or just a cap on a jug. If you choose a water container with a tap, you will have a free hand to wash dishes or hold a bottle. If you shoot one with just a spout, you may need to work some balancing magic to pour the water.

Spigots are easier to use but may spill more easily. The strength of the flow will be different on each container. If you’re able to try in advance, make sure the flow meets your needs. A pouring cap will be quick and easy but may not be the best if you need to wash dishes or shower.

Materials
Most camping water holders are plastic. Check that your water container is made from non-toxic materials. Looking for details about whether the container is fungus-resistant and designed to keep water fresh is important.

BPA is known to have negative effects on the brain and prostate glands of children, infants, and fetuses. Sometimes BPS and BPF are used instead of BPA, which may also have health risks. Check how easy it is to clean your water container, as five gallons or more of water should certainly be able to stay fresh.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long can water be stored inside a plastic container?

The length of time water can be safely stored inside plastic containers depends on various factors such as the type of plastic, the quality of the container, storage conditions, and whether the water has been treated or purified.

In general, if stored properly in a clean, food-grade container away from direct sunlight and at room temperature or below, water can typically be stored for around six months to a year without any significant degradation in quality. Check the water for any signs of contamination like a strange flavor.

Do longer camping trips change what type of water storage you need?

For extended camping trips, you’ll likely need a larger-capacity container for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and washing. Your container will need to withstand the rigors of the outdoors without leaking or spoiling the water. Select a high-quality, durable, and large-capacity water storage for a longer camping trip.

Which type of water container is best?

The best type of water container for camping depends on how much space you’ll have, how durable you need your container to be, and how much water you will need. Some popular options include collapsible water holders, rigid jugs, and hydration bladders (like for a backpack).

Each type has its advantages and disadvantages, such as portability, durability, ease of use, and water capacity. Ultimately, the best choice for you will depend on factors like the amount of water you need to carry, how you plan to transport it, and how easy it is to use.

Are collapsible water containers good?

Collapsible water storage options are great for space-saving. They are lightweight and foldable, making them easy to pack and transport, especially for backpackers and hikers with limited space. However, the durability of collapsible holders can vary, and they may not withstand rough handling.

What types of water storage containers are there?

Water storage containers for camping come in multiple types, like a water jug, bladder, collapsible container, or roll-top container.

Rigid jugs provide durability, while collapsible containers are lightweight and pack away when empty. Hydration reservoirs can be fit inside a backpack for convenient drinking during activity.

Portable water tanks are ideal for extended trips or group use, often equipped with dispensing spigots for easy access. Bladders are foldable and easy to transport when empty, providing a convenient option.

Where can I refill water containers while on the go?

You can refill water containers at various locations such as campgrounds, visitor centers, stores, restaurants, cafes, and public buildings. These places often provide public access to water sources for refilling containers.

It’s helpful to ask a local or seek a campsite to find a water source. Sometimes local parks and gas stations offer free water and allow campers to fill up.

The Best Water Containers for Camping

Choosing the perfect camping water container can be a daunting task, but water containers are easy to pick when you know what type of camping you’ll be doing and for how long. Traits like durability, capacity, and convenience are crucial for selecting the ideal container for a steady supply of water.

If you need something for the long haul but have plenty of space, a more durable water jug may be best. If you have limited space but want to use water for showering and washing, you may want a roll-top container.

Our top recommendation, the Igloo 6-Gallon Camping Water, stands out for its exceptional durability, spacious capacity, low cost, and user-friendly design featuring handles and a convenient spout for effortless pouring.

Whether you’re embarking on a short weekend getaway or an extended camping adventure, the right water container will allow you to relax, drink up, and enjoy your weekend away.


For more hydration resources, Check out our picks for the Best Hiking Water Bottles.

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  1. Don’t forget how heavy water is. 1 gallon is 8.3 pounds. It’s okay to carry 50 pounds of water in your vehicle but it’s really hard to handle unless you use smaller vessels to bring it there.

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