Whether you’re going for a few days or just one night, the question of how much water to take camping is always a priority. What is considered enough? How much water should you take camping per day?
On a camping or hiking trip, bring 1 to 2 gallons or water per person for each day. This includes enough water for basic hygiene, cleaning, cooking, and drinking.
The specific amount of water you need to take camping per day depends on the temperature, your activity level, if there are any medical conditions that might cause dehydration, and how much food you will be eating.
If you have access to water at your campsite or along your trails, this will also affect the amount you need to bring with you.
It is difficult to determine exactly how much water a person needs each day since factors vary greatly from one individual to another.
Read on to take a deeper look and decide the correct amount of water for you and your fellow campers to bring.
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How Much Drinking Water Will I Need While Camping?
You should drink about 2 litres or 64 ounces of water every day that you are camping. This adds up to about half a gallon and is enough water to keep your system going and to stay hydrated.
You may need more water depending on certain conditions including the level of physical activity you’re planning on, your sun exposure, the temperature, and the altitude of the land.
You will also want to pay attention to the electrolytes you are putting into your system through food and drink, as well as the amount of water you need to replenish electrolyte loss from perspiration, breathing, etc.
Electrolytes are essential minerals that are important to keep your muscles and nerves functioning. Without them, you can experience nausea, cramping, fatigue, or other symptoms of dehydration that will not be pleasant when camping.
You can also get a portion of your water intake from certain foods. Fruits, vegetables, and broth-based foods like soup each contain a decent amount of water. You can supplement up to 20% of your drinking water with these foods to meet your needs.
Some popular foods with water include tomatoes, cucumbers, watercress, apples, celery, watermelon, lettuce, peaches, zucchini, and broth.
Is Campground Water Safe to Drink?
While the water at many campgrounds is perfectly safe to drink, you should always consider purifying any water that is not from a tap.
Many campgrounds post signs about the presence of harmful microorganisms in their water sources or bodies of water. You can also ask staff members for more information before drinking any water at your campsite.
If you’re unsure about the quality of the campground water, it’s best to use caution and only use this water for cleaning and hygiene purposes. You can also use this water for cooking or boiling to make it safe to drink.
How Much Water Will I Need for my Personal Hygiene While Camping?
You should also bring enough water to meet your basic hygiene needs while camping.
For example, you will need about a litre or 32 ounces of water for every shower you take. If you are shaving, brushing your teeth, or washing your face, you will need about 8 ounces of water for each activity.
It’s easy to use a lot of water quickly while showering, shaving, brushing your teeth, etc.
To avoid running out of water too quickly and cutting these activities short or being forced to wash less thoroughly than you’d like, try pre-measuring your water in bottles or other containers.
You may also want to use a bowl or basin, so you can reuse water for washing or shaving your face. This way, it doesn’t instantly drain into the ground. If you’re reusing your wash water, save a little bit of clean fresh water for your final rinse.
How Much Water Does a Camp Shower Use?
Although we have mentioned that 32 ounces are sufficient for a camping shower, this is a very modest amount of water and will typically need to be used in small amounts with a washcloth so that it doesn’t run out too quickly.
If you plan to take a longer shower and there are no camping facilities available, you will need to bring a camp shower. The majority of outdoor portable showers hold about 5 gallons of water in them.
This is a large amount of water to carry around if you’re backpacking, so it’s best for those who have access to a spigot or a natural body of water nearby.
If you have a camp shower with this capacity, it will take about an hour to heat the water in the tank or bag when placed in the sun. You can also use smaller or collapsible camping showers that hold less than one gallon of water. This will be enough water for a very quick rinse of your body and hair.
How Much Water Will I Need for Cooking While Camping?
The amount of water you will need for cooking and cleaning on your camping trip will depend on the types of foods and beverages you plan on preparing.
If you cook most of your food in foil packs and other disposable containers, you won’t need as much water to wash dishes. In this case, you can use about 16 ounces of water for washing dishes and cooking utensils.
If you plan on preparing a lot of meals in pots or pans while camping, then it’s best to bring at least a litre or 32 ounces of water per person per day to prepare food with.
Getting Water While Camping
Depending on the type of camping you plan to do, it may be easier to get your water from a nearby source.
In most cases, campgrounds will provide access to clean tap water via a spigot. There may also be water fountains set up throughout the campground that are convenient for hikers who are far from their campsite.
This water is perfectly safe to use for hygiene and cooking purposes, but you should always consider purifying it before drinking.
If your campground does not have a tap water source available or if the quality of the water isn’t up to par with your standards, then get fresh clean bottled water from nearby stores instead.
If you’re backpacking, a great option is to get a collapsible water container that can be filled up at a nearby source such as a river or lake and then carried with you into the backcountry.
You will want to make sure that you have a purification method available to you, such as a LifeStraw inserted in a water bottle.
How Do You Pack Water for Camping?
Deciding on how to carry your water during your camping trip is as important as the amount you plan on taking, especially if you’re backpacking and will have to carry all of the weight yourself.
Water weighs 8.34 pounds per gallon, so it can be very heavy if you are carrying multiple gallons of water with you. You can imagine that the weight increases significantly when you’re storing it in bulky metal containers.
You should consider the weight-to-volume ratio when looking for a container to carry your water in on camping trips because this will determine how easy or difficult it is to transport large amounts over long distances.
Always opt for lightweight containers when you can to reduce the weight of your pack. If you’re backpacking, it’s best not to use any metal water bottles because they will add too much weight and take up too much room in your bag.
CamelBak-style hydration packs are becoming more popular among campers and hikers.
These packs typically hold three litres of water and they are positioned on your back so the weight is evenly distributed throughout your body instead of just in one place, such as a backpack or belt bag.
They are also easy to drink from without having to take them off since they have a long straw attached to a nozzle.
If you do not have the option of using Camelbak-style packs, then consider purchasing collapsible water containers instead. These options are great because they can be folded down when empty and stored away until needed again, making them perfect for backpacking trips where your total pack weight matters most.
Another option is to use plastic bottles because they are lightweight and can be refilled or filled up at a nearby tap water source. You can also distribute the weight of the water bottles evenly between your fellow campers if you are going on a larger trip.
Unfortunately, water bottles create waste, making them a challenging option for a clean footprint and minimal amount of waste.
Now, you should have a general idea of how much water will work best for you on your upcoming camping or backpacking trip. Make sure to make adjustments for factors such as the weather, your daily activities, and your personal preferences.
On top of all these amounts, it’s always best to have some extra water handy in case any emergencies arise while camping. It’s safer than not having enough in the first place!
When in doubt, bring a small purification system that can provide drinking water in a pinch. With this backup and a plan in place, you should have everything that you need to stay safe and hydrated on your camping trip!
Looking for more expert camping tips for your next excursion? Check out our list of essential guides here.