Over the years, I’ve tweaked and putzed with different forms of gear to dial in my system,
It’s an ongoing process.
And my hydration system is no different.
I’ve found that carrying the potential capacity for one gallon at a time works well for me in Utah or the Intermountain West overall and that the best way to bring it is two 1.5-liter bottles and a one-liter bottle.
Before my recent trip, I had to replace one of the 1.5-liter bottles. We have two grocery stores here in Moab (and a small co-op), and only one store stocks the 1.5-liter bottles. Not wanting to go to the other store during a busy tourist season or check out a local gas station with more driving or biking, I prowled the aisles looking for something suitable.
Then I spotted a square-shaped canola oil bottle of 1.4 liters (close enough!) that could fit in the front pocket of my packs of choice easier, has a wide mouth opening for easier water collecting, and cost all of $2! As I use canola oil to treat my cast iron after cooking or for reasoning, it is something I’d use anyway.
I washed it and weighed it at under 1.5 oz, and it fits very well in the pack when I carried it for 140 miles. Better than rounded water bottles.
I still keep the traditional water bottles in the water bottle pouches, but this repurposed canola oil fits far better in the front pocket of my packs due to the more compact shape.
My favorite part of this bottle? The wide mouth makes for more accessible water gathering at water sources vs. the 1.5-liter bottle I also use.
From now on, I see this simple sub-$2 bottle as my water container of choice for extended water carries and dry camping,
Overall? As with all my favorite pieces of gear, it just works, it works well, and I don’t have to think about it when I use it.
Disclosure – Obviously, I paid for this bottle myself. And I am seasoning the cast iron as I type with the oil I decanted in a larger bottle.