March 27, 2015 / Comments (0)

Hydration bladder vs bottle

hydration bladder vs bottle

So, what do you think? Is it a hydration bladder or bottles for you?Ultimately, the hydration bladder vs bottle battle comes down to personal preference.

I’ve used both and I usually hike with both but I’d choose the hydration bladder over bottles for the simple reason that I tend to drink more during a hike using the hydration bladder, taking small sips frequently rather than large chugs from a bottle

Hydration bladder


  • It’s easy to access your drink so you’re more likely to take sips more often and stay well-hydrated.
  • Hydration bladders often have a controlled tap that you can use for washing your hands.
  • You carry the water, often the heaviest item in your daypack, close to your back, making it more ergonomic.


  • Hydration packs are harder to clean and require maintenance.
  • They are usually more expensive than bottles.
  • The bladder is more prone to tearing and leaks.
  • You can’t easily see how much you’ve been drinking and they’re harder to refill on the go.
  • The water in the tube can get warm on a warm or hot day. I find myself taking a big swig and spitting it out until I get to the cooler water.

If you love hiking with kids, then check out this post on the best hydration packs for kids.



  • Bottles force you to stop for a regular breather – you can enjoy the scenery while you access your bottles from your backpack, and enjoy a short break.
  • Bottles are super cheap!
  • You can easily see how much you’ve drunk.
  • If you carry a bottle, you’re less likely to get those puffy, hiking fingers because you hold your hand more upright with the bottle.
  • You can freeze a spare bottle to enjoy a nice cold drink during a hike on a hot day, after it has melted.


  • Bottles can slow your progress because you may have to stop to get bottles out of your pack if you don’t have easy access to side pockets.
  • You may not stay hydrated enough during a hike if you have to keep stopping to access your bottles from your pack.
  • If you carry a bottle, you have one less hand free for a pole, a map, or if you’re a klutz like me, to help you grab onto something when you stumble
    (Note: that’s when I stumble, not if!)

Hydration bladder vs bottle – the conclusion

In my opinion, the ease and convenience while hiking of the hydration bladder wins. However, I always hike with at least one backup water bottle, in case of leaks.

Bonus tip!

Don’t forget to leave a bottle of water in the car for after your hike. I usually leave a bottle of frozen water in the car in a cooler bag and hope that it has melted but stayed cool by the time I get back to the car. Mmm. Refreshing!

So, what do you think? Is it a hydration bladder or bottles for you?

Buying a hydration pack or bottle online

If you’re looking at buying a hydration pack or water bottle online, I highly recommend getting one from Wild Earth*. They have a great range available and often have fantastic sales where you can pick up a great bargain.

*Note: this is an affiliate link – if you click on this link and buy something from Wild Earth, then I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you. These guys are based in Queensland and I’ve bought from them before. They offer a quick service and great customer service. I only recommend suppliers I can personally vouch for 🙂

Last modified: January 26, 2019

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