Some pieces of gear should be simple and not something you should think about all that much.
But that is not always the case.
People debate the merits of which sub-3oz stove boils two cups of water the best.
And water containers for camping often, well, suck.
They leak. Or are a pain to use. Don’t store easily. And aren’t efficient.
I tried various types of containers. From the collapsible cubes to re-purposing 2.5-gallon water jugs from the grocery store.
Nothing worked too well.
Then, over five years ago, I purchased a Reliance 7-Gallon Aqua-Tainer.
Over the course of the years, and used almost daily since November 2017, I have made use of this simple but well-designed product through a lot of different terrain, temps, and places. Desert camps, roadside meals, secluded mountain pull-outs, and the occasional established campground is where I extensively used my trusty water container.
The container is a cube design. Meaning it is more stable than the traditional Jerry-can style water jug.
Put it up on its side, and you have a very useful water dispenser for cooking, cleaning, or filling water bottles.
The Aqua-Tainer fits quite well with my homemade cargo shelf.
At $15, this simple item is a bargain, too. Additionally, this product is handy for disaster preparedness
If there is a downside to the product, the Aqua-Tainer does not make for as easy pouring when using it as you would a traditional Jerry-can style water jug.
However, that is a minor problem considering how I use the product.
Another issue is that 7-gallons may be too heavy to handle for some people. If so, a similar 4-gallon version is made that is lighter when full.
Most outdoor products end up being over-engineered, expensive, and have a short life.
The Reliance 7-Gallon Aqua-Tainer is not such a product. It just works. I wish all outdoor gear could be similar!
Note: Based on Amazon reviews, it looks like there was briefly a batch of these containers that leaked from the valve around 2015. I never had this problem directly. I did have a person turn the valve too much, broke the tap, and that caused a leak. 🙁 A $5 “improved” spigot assembly is available and that took care of the issue, however. YMMV.
UPDATE MAY 2020: Joan and I use the 7-gallon one for longer trips. For quick getaways or stashing in the car at the end of trips, we’ve been using the 2.5-gallon version quite well. Similar design, just easier to handle. Perfect for short trips or even stashing in the car for the end of backpacking trips.
Disclosure: I purchased this item with my funds.