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How Do You Get Water While Backpacking?

Getting water while backpacking can seem like it might be challenging, but it does not have to be. One of the most important things to factor into your plans is water. How you can get it while backpacking and how to treat it once you’ve found it are two crucial things that every backpacker should know.

You can get water while backpacking from streams, lakes, water caches, waterfalls, rivers, and even animal watering basins along your trail. You can purify water by boiling it or using purification tablets, a UV pen, a sip or squeeze filter, or carrying a bottle with a built-in purifier.

In this article, we’ll discuss how to get water while backpacking, how to treat it once you’ve found it, and what to do if there are no water sources available on your trail. Now let’s get started!

Getting Water While Backpacking

If you’re going backpacking for an extended period of time, whether it be a few days or for several weeks, you’ll need to know how to access water along the way. Drinking enough water while backpacking is essential for keeping your energy up and will make you less susceptible to experiencing things like hypothermia or sunstroke.

Water can quickly weigh down your backpack, but you will need to carry some to start off your hike with. If you’re hiking near or in the direction of a water source, you will be able to carry less water, as you can replenish it along the way. To do this, you need to know where to find water along your trail, as well as how to treat it once you’ve found it.

Study Your Potential Water Sources

Before you set out on your chosen trail, you should study all of the potential water sources you could find along the way. This could be anything from streams, lakes, and caches to waterfalls and large rivers. Some more established trails may even have designated water points along the way where you will be able to find clean, fresh water.

To do this, you can use Google Maps to locate some water sources before you set out to go backpacking, and then map out a route that will take you to those water sources. You could also use a good ole map to find water sources in the area of the trail you’re planning to take, or you could get an official trail map if you are hiking in a national park or nature reserve.

Continue learning about ways to get water while backpacking, written by Erick Musambi here.


May 7, 2022

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Trail & Summit

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Here’s my quickie “about me”…

  • Husband to my high school sweetheart Kristen.
  • Father of two boys, Jake and Josh.
  • Ultramarathoner – completed two 100 mile races and training for my 3rd.
  • Online marketing nerd – been making my living online since 2000.
  • Based in Bend, Oregon – not a bad little mountain town to raise a family.

Take care,



Of all the creepy crawlers, ticks keep me on high alert. They can be very tiny in the nymph stage and difficult to see. They love to hang out in tall grasses along the trail and hitch a ride on hikers passing by. I plan on treating most of my clothes and gear with Sawyer Permethrin.

Joanne Gigliotti


Ultra-compact and lightweight

House Grail
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I would often just drink directly from the sawyer squeeze if I was feeling lazy- which by the way works wonderfully.

Rachel McVittie