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Stay Cool on Trails: How to Keep Water Cold While Hiking

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When we moved to New Mexico we learned firsthand how important it is to stay hydrated and cool while hiking. Something we found to be helpful was keeping our water bottles cold throughout the hike. It’s just so much easier to drink enough when your water isn’t tepid and warm. In this article, we’ll go over the best ways we have found to keep water cold while hiking. Let’s jump in.

Key Takeaways:

A woman hiking in the desert drinking from a recycled insulated bottle

Using an Insulated Bottle or Thermos

When it comes to keeping your water cold while hiking, using an insulated bottle or thermos is a nearly perfect solution. If you are going to be hiking often we recommend investing in a good insulated water bottle. The insulation that keeps water cold while hiking also keeps drinks hot in the winter,



Investing in a High-Quality Hydration Pack With Insulated Bladder

When it comes to staying hydrated on hikes, investing in a high-quality hydration pack is a wise choice. It ensures you have a sufficient water supply, it keeps your water cold, and it keeps your hands free as you hike. You can either get an insulated pack or buy a bladder insulator. Both will keep your water cold for hours.


There are several benefits to using a high-quality hydration pack:


While hydration packs offer many advantages, it’s important to be aware of a few potential drawbacks:

The Frozen Bottle Method

The frozen bottle method is a popular technique for keeping water cold while hiking. We almost always freeze a spare bottle to keep in our packs for the end of the hike. To do this take a partially filled water bottle and freeze it overnight before heading out on a hike. The frozen water serves as a natural ice pack, gradually melting throughout the day keeping the water cold.



Freezing Techniques to Prevent Bottle Damage

To prevent bottle damage when using the frozen bottle method, follow these freezing techniques:

  1. Leave space for expansion. Do not fill the water bottle to the brim. Leave about 20% of the bottle empty to allow for the expansion of the freezing water.
  2. Avoid turning the bottle upside down. Placing the bottle upright during freezing minimizes the pressure on the lid and reduces the risk of leaks.
  3. Check for damage before packing the water bottle. You don’t want to show up at the trailhead with no water and a soaking wet backpack.

A man hiking in the desert drinking from a recycled insulated bottle

Wrapping Your Water Bottle In A Wet Cloth

Wrapping a water bottle in a wet cloth is a simple and inexpensive DIY method to keep water cold while hiking. This method utilizes the natural process of evaporation to create a cooling effect. It’s cheap and simple and lasts as long as you have water to wet the cloth and the weather is warm.


The wet cloth method offers several benefits for hikers looking to keep their water cold on the trails:


While wrapping your water bottle in a wet cloth can be effective, there are a few drawbacks to consider:

How It Works

The wet cloth method works by utilizing evaporation to cool the water bottle. When the cloth is wet, the water on its surface evaporates as warmer air passes over it. This process absorbs heat from the water bottle, lowering its temperature and cooling the water inside.

The Importance of Staying Hydrated and Cool on Hikes

We can’t talk about keeping your water cold on hikes without taking the opportunity to talk about hot weather safety. We’re parents, it’s how we work. Dehydration and heat-related injuries pose significant risks when hiking in hot weather. By understanding the symptoms of dehydration and heat-related injuries you can take the appropriate steps to avoid a medical emergency. Also never forget to bring a well-stocked hiking first aid kit every time you go hiking.

Recognizing Dehydration Symptoms

While hiking, stay alert to the signs of dehydration. Common symptoms are excessive thirst, dizziness, fatigue, dry mouth, and dark-colored urine. These symptoms indicate that our bodies are not receiving enough fluids. If you see any of these signs take immediate action by resting and hydrating. If the symptoms don’t go away after a short while use some electrolyte powder from your hiking first aid kit.

Heat-related injuries, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke, can be life-threatening if not quickly treated. Common symptoms are nausea, headache, confusion, rapid heartbeat, and even loss of consciousness. You can reduce the chances of a heat-related injury by staying hydrated and keeping your body cool. Please watch the video below to learn more.

How to Identify and Treat Heat Stroke | Earth Science - BBC Earth Science

The Connection Between Hydration and Body Temperature Regulation

Hydration plays a critical role in regulating our body temperature. This is why hydration is critical during physical activities like hiking. This helps our bodies maintain a stable internal temperature through sweating. Proper hydration also enables our bodies to function optimally, ensuring that we have the energy and stamina to withstand challenging hiking conditions.

By understanding the importance of staying hydrated and cool on hikes, recognizing the symptoms of dehydration, and comprehending the connection between hydration and body temperature regulation, we can prioritize our well-being on the trails. Remember to bring an adequate supply of water, utilize the methods discussed in this article to keep water cold, and take regular breaks to rest and hydrate. With these strategies in place, we can embark on our hiking adventures with confidence, remaining safe, comfortable, and fully immersed in the beauty of nature.

Before You Go …

Now you know several effective ways to keep water cold while hiking and you understand the dangers of heat-related injuries. Before you leave we would like to recommend checking out our guide on picking the right foods to take hiking. We think it would be interesting and helpful for you. Have a wonderful day and we will see you on the trails!

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By Summer and Bill

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Summer and Bill are the dynamic duo behind, a blog dedicated to inspiring others to explore the great outdoors. With a combined lifetime of experience traveling and adventuring across America, they have a wealth of knowledge to share. From hiking to camping, kayaking to travel, Summer and Bill are passionate about helping others discover the beauty of the natural world.

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