The Best Camping Water Jug Containers for your Next Trip

It is camping season right now and maybe you’ve been fortunate enough to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. One of the most important things about camping though, is to make sure you have the right gear.

When it comes to camping, having a reliable water source is essential for staying hydrated and enjoying your outdoor adventures to the fullest. A sturdy and efficient water camping jug is a must-have companion for any nature enthusiast.

If you are like me and you camp with your family, there’s a chance you are going to need gallons of water to keep everyone hydrated and happy. While it’s not very exciting, today we are going to talk about the best camping water containers because you just can’t go a long time without water and it’s essential for your camping trip. 

Whether you’re a backpacker, hiker, or family camper, we’ve got you covered with our carefully curated selection of long-lasting jugs that are designed to meet your specific needs.

My daughter came back from summer camp with a funny little line that all the kids were saying. When I tell the kids to fill their water bottles before we go anywhere, she reminds everyone to “hydrate OR die-trate!”  (I love teens, they are hilarious!)

I mean, she ain’t wrong. We need enough water to live and be healthy. And when you are camping you are going to need it for dishes, drinking, cleaning up, putting out a bonfire, and more. There’s absolutely no question about it, you are going to need a water source.

I’d recommend bringing a few different kinds of styles and different sizes of water jugs when you go camping. Bring smaller containers like your best water bottles that you can carry around on hikes, but you will also want a bigger camping water storage container to leave at your campsite where you can go and fill up your smaller bottles again and again.

If you are going to a campsite at a place like a national park you may be able to fill up your containers there with potable water, but if you are camping where there aren’t many facilities or doing some backcountry camping you will want to bring your water in.

If you are going car camping you don’t have to worry about hiking in and carrying all that water.  These are some factors to consider when selecting the right jug for your camping trips.

If you are hiking in you are going to want to bring containers in that might be a little easier to carry and don’t take up too much space while still providing you with all the water you will need on your trip. 

Because let’s be honest with ourselves – a lot of water can be heavy to carry.  We want to use containers that will make it the easiest on us.

You don’t want to just put your water in any container. You need to make sure it’s food grade so that it isn’t harmful to you. You can pretty much trust that any water bottle or container you buy that is specifically for water will be fine but if it’s a bottle that isn’t designated for food or water, I recommend not using it for this purpose. 

It may not be BPA free and therefore can leach chemicals into your water that you are drinking.  And nobody wants that!

While my purpose for sharing this list of the best water containers is for camping, the truth is it isn’t a bad idea to have some water storage jugs for at home. I learned that the hard way years ago about how important it is to have an emergency supply of water at home. Our power went out in a wind storm and we were without water for about 35 hours. We couldn’t even flush the toilets! I learned a very important thing that day – to always have an emergency supply of water.  

So, consider stocking up on some plastic bottles of water at home as well because you just never know when you might need them!

Let’s get into some of the top picks that are a great option for bringing clean water into your campsite so you can do all the things you need to do with all that H2O.


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Water Storage Cube

This water storage cube is one of the best collapsible water containers. This one is perfect for everyday use when camping, especially when you are at a camping site that has potable water because you can collapse the water container on your way to and from the site to save on space, and then continue to refill it at the site. It has a spigot for ease of use.


Coleman Chiller

If you prefer a more durable plastic container, consider the Coleman Chiller. This is a 5 gallon water container that also has a spigot for easy pouring. It’s a good option if you want to bring your water from home and don’t need to collapse the container. In my opinion it’s one of the top-rated water camping jugs for family camping.


Yeti Silo

Okay, I’m gonna be straight up honest with you – you won’t see me buying this Yeti cooler. Not because it isn’t totally awesome, but because I can’t get past the price point. It’s a lot of money for a cooler.

That being said, Yeti is definitely high quality, and all the reviews on this cooler are of people very happy with their product and so that’s why I’m including it in here.

Chances are it will last you a very long time, and if you find yourself needing a cooler often for drinking water often you could very well get your money’s worth. I may not like the price point but I think there’s no denying that this is a great water container.


Sceptor Military Water Container

This 5 gallon water tank has a carry handle to make it easier to transport. Because of it’s narrow design it can fit into small spaces. Some people like to buy these containers to have at home for emergency preparedness. Whether you take it camping or have them to hold liters of water for at home in case of an emergency, this water jug will definitely be useful.


Insulated Rugged Stanley Jug

I’m a big fan of Stanley products.  They are good quality and often last.  This cooler comes in either 1 gallon or 2 gallon jugs which is a nicer smaller option than the other ones listed here.  This jug also has a carry handle making it easier to transport it. Basically, you can’t go wrong with a Stanley product in my opinion! 



Water filter options are an excellent idea as well when going camping. Here are a few options:

Water Purification Tablets

You can grab some water from a freshwater source and add one of these tablets to make the water safe for you to consume. Carrying a few of these around in case of emergency is a good idea whenever you are in the bush.



The lifestraw is a straw you can carry around with you and use just like a straw in a stream or another freshwater source. It will protect you against harmful pathogens in the water and it has an unlimited shelf life. A lifestraw should be in everyone’s survival pack.



Everyone has their own opinion of what is the best water bottle, but I’m going to share some that I think are perfect for bringing on a camping trip.

Nalgene Wide Mouth

Of course I want to start out with the classic Nalgene. I prefer the wide-mouth bottle because it’s easier to fill and it’s easier to clean. Nalgene has made a really great reusable water bottle for years and it’s a brand you know will provide quality. Nalgene is a popular option for a reason.


Hydrapak Seeker

These water bottles take up very little room, even when full! They are compact size when not in use especially though, because they can collapse. This water bottle is perfect for when you are hiking and may be walking for awhile.

You can take a couple of these and when one has been used you can collapse the container and stick it in your bag. Their small size makes them a hiker’s favorite! This is one of the best lightweight water camping jugs for backpacking.



This stainless steel wide mouth bottle keeps liquids either cold or warm.  This bottle comes with two different lids, the normal wide mouth lid as well as a sports straw style lid. This is another water bottle that people seem to really love.

Iron Flask Sports Water Bottle

If you prefer a stainless steel water bottle that has a straw to drink out of, this is the one you want.

Camelbak Hydration Pack

These hydration packs you can wear on your back are super handy to have when out on the trails or biking when camping.  This one is 70 oz so that should keep you hydrated all day!


Kids Iron Flask 

Sometimes small kids need something just a little…smaller.  If you want any chance that they just might carry their own water bottle – at least for some of the time, you want it to be a good size for them.  This stainless steel kids water bottle has a straw lid to make it easier for them (and for you because they won’t spill it everywhere!)  It also comes in fun designs and come on, what kid doesn’t like fun pictures on their water bottle?



We don’t want to forget about your furry friend!  If you bring your dog camping with you it’s imperative that you make sure they have enough water.   This water bottle is awesome because not only does it have a collapsible dish for water, but it includes a second collapsible dish for food!


It’s not a bad idea to make sure everyone brings two individual water bottles when camping.  That way if they lose or break one they will have a spare bottle they can fill up to stay hydrated.


Camping is such a fun activity to do with the whole family, but your trip can quickly turn miserable if you don’t bring the right equipment.  

I’ll never forget one of our first camping trips we took.  We didn’t make a list and we forgot A LOT of stuff.  Things we didn’t think about like a cheese grater or a spatula.

Thankfully, we were camping with friends but I’m pretty sure we borrowed half of their belongings.  We quickly learned from our mistakes though and we made sure to always have a list going forward.  While it’s important to be prepared with what supplies you need to have, it’s that much more important to be prepared with the amount of water and the way you will store it.


And of course, water is super crucial.  It’s pretty much the last thing you ever want to forget when going camping, especially if you don’t have a clean water source where you will be setting up camp.

Every season is very different with camping and the list of things you will need will vary.  In the colder months you need to make sure you are warm enough, in the summer you want to make sure you are cool enough. 

But in all seasons you want to make sure you are drinking enough water! Of course, in the summer you will need more water.

There have been stories of people going on hikes when out camping and not making it because they didn’t carry enough water.  Don’t ever underestimate how much water you are going to need, especially if you are out on a hike in a place that is known to get very hot.  

So, wondering how much water to bring camping?  Well, you have to consider all your water needs.  You’ll want to have at least 2 liters of water per person per day JUST for drinking.  And then there’s dishes, and cleaning, and putting out campfires.  

2 gallons of water per person for every day you camp is a good amount to bring. 

If you have a dog and kids you’ll need to bring extra water and you need to plan for that.

If you have kids and pets carrying water super far may be out of the question, so you may decide to camp somewhere you can drive into.

When our kids were very young we had to carry everything for them.  As they’ve gotten older they carry their own stuff, including their water bottles.  It allows us to go farther when hiking because “many hands make light work.”

So if you are in the stage where your kids are young and it feels impossible to be able to go anywhere and do anything, let this be an encouragement to you that a time is coming when they will be able to carry their own water in!

If you are camping with kids you’ll might need to remind them to drink water periodically.  Kids can get distracted when they are busy having so much fun and the last thing you want is for someone to fall ill from dehydration.  That will really put a damper on your whole trip so remind those little ones to drink up!

It’s also a good idea to have a place you can drive to if you need to get water in case you run out or are in an emergency situation.  If you are hiking in are there some checkpoints you can walk out to if you ran out of water too early?

You’ll want to plan for the unexpected.  Water bottles can get knocked over, or damaged.  What happens if your water container gets destroyed by something falling on it, or it dropping?  If you were to be out of water where could you go in that situation?

That’s why it’s a good reason to bring some sort of lifestraw or water purification tablets if you are hiking into a campsite.  If something was to happen to your water supply, you could drink water from a stream if you are armed with the right equipment.

Of course, let’s be honest.  If I’m alone and lost in the woods, I’ve lost all my water supplies, and I don’t have water purification tablets or a straw I’m still going to drink out of that stream if my options are to drink unfiltered water or die.  However, the truth of the matter is that anytime we do that we are putting ourselves at risk to get very sick.  So that’s always a last resort.

There’s one more option when it comes to water purification if you are stuck in a tough situation.  If you are able to start a fire and have a pot, boil the water you collect from a stream or a lake.  I’d let it boil hard for at least 15 minutes.  You can then let it cool down and drink it.  The heat from the boiling process should kill most things.


More than likely your water bottle won’t attract animals, but if it’s been near food or had beverages other than water in them, there is a small chance that it could.  If you are like me (okay, sometimes I’m over the top when it comes to bear safety) you’ll want to be on the safe side and keep them away from your tent.   

We often grab our water bottles when we are eating so there very well could be traces of food on your water bottle and it’s just better to be safe than sorry.   

That being said, there are others who will keep water in their tent and not worry about it.   If you decide to keep a water bottle in your tent make sure it’s nice and clean and only contains water in it.


Many RVs have big water storage containers built in that you can fill up.  These come in handy if you don’t have access to water.  Maybe you are staying at a site without hookups, or maybe it has electrical hookups but no water.  Some campgrounds will have a separate place you can go to fill your RV with water while others have a direct hookup.

If you are boondocking you’ll definitely want to fill up that water container in your RV.

I still think it’s a good idea to bring some separate camping water jug containers that are smaller.  You may want to use them out at a picnic table, or if you run into trouble with your built in water storage container you will always have a back up if you bring a separate jug.

I don’t think you need to bring 2 gallons for every person for every day if you have an RV, but just having a little extra water on site is not a bad idea.


So, in my opinion, if I was choosing the best overall containers I’d pick:

  • Sceptor Military Container

The reason I’d choose this one is because of it’s durability, and water capacity, and the fact that it can fit in narrow spaces.  The handle is quite useful too.  You know, for when my husband carries ALL the water into our site. (Okay, I guess I’ll help carry some too.)

I’d say the best overall water bottle for camping is the:

  • Hydrocell

I’ve chosen the Hydrocell because of the two different lids, and because it can keep things both COLD and WARM.  That means I could toss some hot water in there with a tea bag and I’ve got some hot herbal tea when I go camping.


You see, these are the best options for me and my situation, but you need to evaluate you and your family’s needs to determine the best water containers that work for you.  If you are avid bikers or go out on hikes that will take hours on end I’d suggest the Camelbak and the collapsible watercube because they are very portable.

Whatever you choose, bottom line is to make sure you have enough water for everyone, including your pets on your camping expedition.  Having enough water for your crew means there is more of a chance that everyone will be safe and be feeling their best allowing you to spend the time making memories and having fun.

I have to say, after writing this post I’m insanely excited to go on my own family camping trip in two weeks!


So, you’ve got the water thing figured out now, but what about packing?  Remember my story up above about our first time camping without a packing list.  Save yourself some trouble and don’t do what we did.  Make a packing list.  You’ll be surprised at what you don’t think of packing until you get out at your site and realize you forgot some important items.

Of course, maybe you just don’t know where to start when it comes to making a packing list because you are new to camping.  Well, you are in luck because I created a camping checklist that you can print out so that you remember everything you need!  You can find that checklist over at my blog post, 10 Best Camping Essentials (printable packing list included!)

Looking for some more information about camping?  Read some of the following articles:

Are Camping Trailers Worth It?

7 of the Best Tips for RV Camping with Dogs

The Best Snacks to Bring Hiking

10 Make Ahead Camping Meals

Selecting the right water camping jug can significantly enhance your outdoor experiences by providing a reliable and accessible hydration solution. Whether you’re a solo adventurer or embarking on a family camping trip, our guide to the best water camping jugs ensures you’ll stay hydrated while enjoying the wonders of nature.

Remember, investing in a quality jug will not only quench your thirst but also contribute to your overall comfort and convenience during your outdoor escapades.






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