How Much Water Do I Need For Camping? [Guide For Beginners] 

Planning for a camping trip is not always the easiest thing to do. There are quite many things that you have to think about – what to pack, how many garments to take, what food to pack, and so on. But there is another important thing that you have to think about: how much water you will need for the trip!

There are quite a lot of factors that can impact the amount of water you need. I will tell you how to be smart about it, meaning knowing exactly how much water you will need. I will also cover the best ways to pack the water for camping and backpacking trips.

So, before you head on your next camping trip, I recommend that you go through this guide and read everything. Water is an essential part of life, which applies even when you are on a camping trip. Make sure that you keep this in mind when planning your next trip!


How Much Water Should I Bring When Camping

How Much Water Should I Bring When Camping Per Day?

The amount of water you need per day when camping can vary depending on your age, size, the activities you do, the weather conditions, the things you need water for, and so on. When calculating how much water to bring camping, you need to go over all these points. So, I will talk about them all and show you how to calculate how much water you need.

Drinking water for people and pets

First of all, people of different ages need different amounts of water. A child will need about a gallon of water only for drinking on a typical day. Then, a teenager or healthy adult will need up to two gallons of water only for drinking. If you plan on taking a pet with you, you will also need some water for it.

You need to calculate the bodyweight of the pet. For each pound, you should get 0.03 gallons of water. This amount can vary depending on the weather condition, the fitness level of the pet, as well as their size, and the fur they have.

Water for other needs

Aside from drinking water, you will also need water for several other things. You can use water for cooking if a camping stove is available to you. You will also need water for personal hygiene if no proper washroom or shower is available.

Another thing that you will need water for is washing dishes and cleaning. It can be something as simple as washing hands, but it can take a lot of water to do. So, add several liters of water to the drinking water for all these needs. Keep in mind the duration of the trip – a day camping trip will not call for that much water, but a 3-day trip will!

Extra conditions to consider

After calculating all this, there are a few other things that you should think about. Things like weather, transportation, and the environment can make a massive difference in the amount of water you need. So, let’s see what else you should consider when deciding on your water needs!

  • Activities – you will need more water if you plan hiking, climbing, kayaking, or doing any other type of activity. All these activities can drain you and cause you to dehydrate. So, you will have to drink a lot of water when doing them.
  • Weather conditions – if the camping trip takes place in hot weather, you will have to drink more water to stay hydrated at all times. By being in sunlight, you can lose a lot of water from your body. So, you will have to rehydrate by drinking a few extra liters of water.
  • Transportation – by this, I mean how you will get to the campsite. If you have to walk or hike there, you will need more water from the beginning. Make sure that you think about it and pack accordingly.
  • Environment and people - if you stay in an area where you are exposed to direct sunlight, you will have a higher chance of dehydrating. If there are children or pets with you, make sure that you keep them hydrated at all times.

It is a great idea to look into the signs of dehydration and over-hydration before setting off on your trip. You should avoid both of these things during the entire trip because they can harm your body.

So, a good rule is to take at least one gallon of drink water and another gallon of other needs. This is a rough estimate for person per day.

How to Pack Water for Camping?

Once you decide on the amount of water you want to take on your camping trip, you will need to think about packing that water for the trip. There are several options that you should consider and that I will talk about in greater detail.

Water bottles

First of all, you can take bottled water. It could be a whole case of water bottles or as many bottles as you need. This is also an excellent option for shorter trips, where you do not need to think about cooking or cleaning.

You can use the water bottles for drinking or washing up. Buying and disposing of so many bottles for each trip can be a bit pricey and not that good for the environment. You can always recycle the bottles, but that takes extra effort.

If possible, look into the reusable bottles you can buy and use for all your trips. That way, you can store all the water into the bottles, refill them on the trip, clean them after the trip, and use them again when you need to. It is better for the environment in any case!

Water jugs

Water jugs are another option for you to consider. Their size is upward of two gallons to hold a lot of water. A water jug is a great option if you are going to a camping spot by car and planning on being there for a while.

When carrying water in water jugs, you can use it for drinking, cooking, personal hygiene, and even cleaning. Again, make sure that you take enough water so that you do not run out in the middle of the trip!

How to Pack Water for Backpacking?

If you plan on taking a backpacking trip or doing any other activities, you will need something that will store a small amount of water. At the same time, it should be easy to carry and use. So, what could that be?

A hydration backpack or hydration bladder is the perfect short-term solution for water supply. You can also find it under the name camel bag – it is a part of the backpack you fill with water. Then, you have a drinking tube that goes from the bag to your head, and you can use it for drinking the water.

These hydration bags are perfect for all types of trips to the great outdoors. They do not cost that much, so you should look into them and get the one you like best. It will make a huge difference in the load that you carry!

How Do You Carry Water When Camping

How Do You Carry Water When Camping?

To ensure that you have enough water for your trip, you will need to take more water than you expect that you will need. I have already suggested that you calculate how much water you will need for everything. This will help you decide how much to take and pack it.

But what happens if you end up with too much water to carry? Well, to save yourself from carrying too much weight, I would suggest that you go to a campsite that is accessible by car. That way, you can use the car to carry the water!

There is no doubt that a car can carry more water than a person can. When using a car, you can also put a mini-fridge there to keep the drinking water cold and store your groceries. You even have the option to take more water than you need for staying hydrated.

But then again, not all good camping sites are accessible by car. 

Sometimes, to get to a good campsite, you will need to hike. If that is the case with your trip, you can carry the water either in bottles or jugs. Try attaching them to your backpack and distributing the weight on both sides of it.

Also, make everyone carry their load. Take only your water and distribute the rest to your family and friends. That way, everyone can help bring the water to the campsite!

How Do You Carry A Lot Of Water?

The smartest thing you can do if you are planning to carry a lot of water is choose a campsite that you can reach by car. Car camping trips have been quite popular in recent years, with car campers also having the ability to sleep in their cars. That way, you do not need to take any tents – only a sleeping bag and your regular sleeping pad!

But back to the water. Carrying a lot of water when going on a trip is not something I would recommend. Especially if the trip will be long and you will have to cook and clean and use water for personal hygiene. Then, you will need too much water – more than you can pack!

But even car campers do not always have enough space to put several water barrels or water jugs. So, look for alternatives instead of packing gallons of water.

I would recommend, aside from car camping, that you look for a campsite that has access to clean water. It should also be a stream that is safe to use. If you decide to go with this option, make sure that you take some filters or purifiers with you. I will tell you more about them in the following section!

How Do Hikers Get Clean Water?

Several things can help you get clean water when camping or hiking. This is in case your water supply runs out, and you have to get more water from a stream. If you are not sure the water is drinkable, you can use a few purifying methods!

Boiling water

One of the oldest and simplest ways to get drinkable water is boiling water. To boil water, you will need to fill a container and light a fire, letting the water sit over the fire for a while. Even though this is an effective method, the water you will get will be hot and not suitable for immediate drinking.

Filtering water

Those who go camping often know that having a water filter with you is smart. Portable water filters can help you purify the water right away and make it drinkable.

Portable water purifiers

Portable purification tablets are also a great choice if you know that you will be using water from a questionable spring. Even if you only go to some of the national parks on a short hike, it is a good idea to have one of these tablets with you. They can help you purify the water right away.

There are several types of these purifiers – iodine and chlorine water purifier tablets are the most common. Keep in mind that the former is not suitable for children or pregnant women, while the latter choice is suitable for everyone.


That is everything you need to know about the amount of water you need to take when camping and how to store it. Remember to be smart about the amount of water you take and make sure you have enough for the trip. Also, check for streams along the way where you can refill!

I hope that you learned a lot from this guide. I also hope you will take this advice with you on your next trip. Let me know in the comments below which part you liked the best – I cannot wait to read all about it!

Andrew Mullen

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