What is dry camping?
Dry camping is simply camping where there is no immediate water source. Take all the water you need for dinner, water for at night, breakfast for morning and then enough to take you to the next water source.
How much water to take when dry camping?
As a rule of thumb, a liter per five miles hiked between water sources works well. Three liters for dinner, drinking at night, breakfast in the morning and getting to a nearby water source works well. Take more water if the next water source is further away. The converse is, of course, true: Takes less water if the next water source is not far from your camp the following day.
Another tip is to cook dinner at the water source, move on and then make camp. Less water needed to be carried that way.
And if you do some or even all of your meals cold, the need for water is lessened. During the Fall and solo, I’ll often do a cold breakfast in the morning so I can just “get up and go.” My need for water is even less that way.
How to carry water for dry camping?
For more extensive water carries, I find my trusty Nalgene Cantene works well. I’ve been using one for years and combined with my two 1 liter water containers; I have a light, flexible and efficient water carrying system.
Why dry camp?
Why would a person want to dry camp? Seems odd at first for many individuals to not camp near water.
But there are some advantages:
- More flexibility. You are not tied to a set point. Enjoy the scenic view. Get closer to the where you want to be the following day. Or perhaps the distance between water sources is a bit too far for camping?
- Critter concerns lessened. Critters are like us. They enjoy being near water. It is the rare animal encounter that happens at a dry camp.
- Fewer people. Most people are not comfortable camping away from water. On the popular lettered routes or well-known backpacking destinations, dry camping is one way to avoid the crowds.
Dry camping is something every outdoor person should try at some point. By being comfortable with dry camping, your outdoor skill set is expanded. And an expanded outdoor skill set means more methods for enjoying the outdoors becomes available.
Give dry camping a whirl.
You just may like it.