Larger Water Containers

Water Drop by M Hansson

6 1/2 Gallon Water Container

So, I’ve been talking about water, having access to water, and having a large amount of it, a lot recently.

There’s a reason: we need water. To drink, to cook, to wash, to live.

Unless you’re minimalist camping (although we could argue this one), hiking from site to site, or backpacking, you want a larger container that you can fill and keep on the campsite.

If you’re living in a tent or long term camping, you need a few.

If you’re a weekend warrior or just out for a quick trip into nature, you should have at least one that’s a good size.

Some people like to just buy and fill gallon jugs at their local grocery store. It’s fine, but not great overall. The store jugs aren’t actually designed to last, and the plastic is thin and behaves as though it’s even thinner.


What Makes a Good Water Container?

  • decent size – at least 4 gallons, but 5 or higher is better
  • durable – steel and aluminum are great, but heavy, and the shape matters as well
  • handles! – you need to be able to carry it
  • made of a material that won’t leach who knows what into your water supply – that whole BPA thing really changed the water bottle game for campers (those of us who cared, at least)

Now, the container itself can be a can/jug or bag. It can be plastic or metal or a mix. It can come with one of an endless variety of ways water goes in and comes out.

You need to be able to:

  1. fill it
  2. empty it
  3. clean it
  4. carry it

If the container you’re looking at doesn’t fit each point, you won’t actually use it.

You might tell yourself you will, and you might even drag it with you. However, as you try to fill and move it the first time, wherever you set it down initially is where it will stay until you leave (and it may not even come home with you).

As with all containers, don’t put carbonated beverages or gritty teas in your larger containers. It wears the material down fast and becomes impossible to really get clean.


Today’s Example 

Cause I try to always have an example:



I didn’t talk about the venting in my lists above because, unless the packaging actually says it is, you don’t have any way to know until you use it the first time.

Most collapsible and bag styles aren’t, because they shrink and grow with the water. Many hard-sided containers aren’t, and you have to deal with the sputtering, or put a hole in it (which is not worth doing 99% of the time). Sometimes, however, you get lucky and find one.

Hence my discussion of this particular container.

This one also has 2 handles, which may seem silly to anyone who hasn’t lugged a large water jug before; but I can bet that the rest of you are nodding along.


What’s it made of?

You know that HDPE stuff that the water pipes in newer housing is made with? This is actually that same material. It’s used for water transport regularly already.

It’s used for a bunch of other stuff too, but that’s not the point here.

Sturdy as all get out, and safe for drinking water.

It won’t filter it for you, though – before you start dreaming, I just wanted to point that outDon’t go putting dirty water in it and expect to not get sick. If you can’t figure out if it’s potable or not, assume not!


Why This Container?

Partially because it holds 6.5 gal and partially because it’s a material that won’t kill us slowly.

Mostly, because the container holds up to heavy use and has 2 well-placed handles.

I know, I know, some of you may find this reasoning to be silly. But I tell you what: carry a full 6 gal with only one handle more than once, then we’ll talk. Well… you’ll talk, I’ll laugh. Sorry not sorry. 🙂

Seriously, don’t underestimate a strong container with good handles.



So, what do you think of today’s example?

Do you have a favorite water container?

Share in the comments!

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Again, just to remind you, the links may be affiliate programs; but you don’t pay extra for it!


I'm (now) an Affiliate, who blogs about the materials, gear and supplies needed for living in a tent and long term camping: http://longtermcamping.siterubix.com I also enjoy reading and sci-fi in all its many forms.

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