How Much Water Should You Bring When You Go Backpacking?


When you are going backpacking, one of the things you will need to do is decide how much water to bring on your trip. That is one of the essential items to bring, among other items which don’t include food and anything to keep your hygiene up to par. You want to get enough water to help prevent dehydration while backpacking. However, water bottles can weigh a lot which means you will be lugging heavy weights on your trip. You do not want to do that either. Therefore, what is the sweet spot for bringing enough water to carry? Let’s talk about the optimal amount of water you should carry on your backpacking trip.

The Amount Of Water To Carry Depends On Your Age And Body Type

The average amount of water you should carry on your backpacking trip should be around one liter or 0.3 gallons every two hours. That is, every two hours of backpacking, you will be doing ahead of time. However, that is only the average because the amount of water to carry depends on your age, how much you will hike, how long you will walk, your body type, and the weather. Logic tells you that the hotter it is, the more water you need.

The thing to remember is that one liter of water is just over two pounds, and you don’t want to become obsessed with having something very lightweight to carry if you need water. If you are backpacking and hiking, you need water! You know that you will be in serious trouble if you don’t drink enough water to keep up with an intense exercise such as hiking. You will need to consider varying your water intake depending on when, how far, and other factors for your hiking. Your weight, age, and body type alone will not be the only determining factors of how often you need to keep hydrating yourself. Let’s delve into that a little more right now.

What Other Variables To Consider When Estimating How Much Water To Bring While Backpacking

You know that the weather or the humidity levels will have a significant factor when it comes to your water requirements on the hike. Therefore, if it is very hot or humid, you will need to have an extra liter each hour, so you have enough water in you to sweat without getting dehydrated. You also have to consider how much water you need based on the distance—factor in the time of day, and the duration of your hike.

You also want to know how challenging the trail is to walk and the altitude of where you are hiking. You also need to factor in the weight of your backpack. How many other items are you carrying? If you have a tent, snacks. Other essentials, then that adds a lot of weight to it.

Additionally, are you hiking alone? Or are you hiking with family or friends? Are there children coming on the hike? Those factors also play a role in how much water to carry with you on a backpacking trip. That is why there is not a one-size-fits-all answer to this issue. Let’s dig further into determining how much water to take when you are on this type of trip.

How To Determine The Correct Amount Of Water To Take

The best thing to do is to determine how much water to take with you; you want to factor in time instead of distance. Therefore, the average adult will walk about 20 minutes per mile, and another hour must be added to the equation for every 1000 feet as the elevation rises. When it comes to taking breaks such as snacks, stopping to take in the views, as well as checking wildlife, you should add another half-hour into the equation.

For instance, if you are going to walk for six miles and walk uphill about 500 feet, you will need roughly one liter of water. The way that works is if you are walking for six miles and multiply that by 20 minutes, then that equals two hours of hiking. Therefore, you need one liter of water.

Factor in the elevation gain, which is half an hour, and margin time which also accounts for a half-hour (such as taking a break to stop to eat a snack or to rest for a bit), which takes up one hour as well. You have to have one liter of water for that too. Therefore, the total amount of water to carry is two liters of water in this example. That is the amount of water that will help prevent hydration.

What Are The Complications Of Dehydration?

If you do not drink enough water, you will become dehydrated, which can cause serious health problems that will land you in the hospital if you do not take care of it. Your body requires enough water for circulation, digestion, and temperature control through sweating. When you increase your physical activity, you need to increase your water intake.

You have to remember that when you sweat, you lose electrolytes. If you lose too many electrolytes, you will end up with exhaustion, and you can get dizzy, and you will pass out. If you deplete your electrolytes, it can get in the way of your organs functioning correctly. You will end up in the hospital if you do not replenish your electrolytes. You need magnesium, sodium, calcium, and potassium.

If you become dehydrated on your hiking trip, you will want to carry sports drinks with electrolytes that can help replenish you right away. You should also bring slaty snacks such as pretzels to help balance them out. You do not want to be in a situation where you become dehydrated.


When you are taking a hiking and backpacking trip, you know that one of the things you must bring is water. The last thing you want to face is becoming hydrated, which can cause significant health problems. However, how much water you should get all depends on factors. Your body type, age, temperature, distance, and time you take away from hiking to have snacks or rest will determine how much water to bring on your trip. Many hiking trails have shops nearby to pick up bottled water and sports drinks if needed, too, so you also do not need to worry about having to pack all of it if you are going on a long hiking trip.