Stop Water from Freezing When Hiking (Like a Professional)


Keeping your water from freezing is essential! Your trip can be ruined very easily, which is why I’m going to be sharing these tips and tricks with you.

There are many ways to stop water from freezing when camping and hiking. You should put your water container in your sleeping bag, jacket, or backpack. You can also heat it up with a camp stove or get an insulated bottle. That was a quick summary, let’s get into more detail!

Sleep with Your Water

Keep in mind that bladders and water bags are the same things, just so you don’t get confused throughout this article.

Whether you are using a bottle or a bladder, you should always keep it in your tent. Your tent gets pretty warm during the night since it’s closed off and you also emit a lot of body heat.

Just throw your bottle or bladder inside of your sleeping bag and sleep with it! You can keep it warm very easily in-between your knees.

Also, make sure you tightly seal your container so you don’t wake up drenched in water!

Heat up Your Water

Remember to keep your water out of the fridge or cooler! You must allow it to reach room temperature before going out.

If it’s not warm enough, you can always just use a tea kettle or a camp stove to warm up your water.

Remember to not boil it, just warm it up enough. Warming it up too much will cause your water to freeze quicker, which is something I never knew!

Keep your fuel consumption in mind, since warming up water will use quite a bit.

Use Your Jacket

Jacket with Pocket Inside

Using warm clothes, especially your jacket, will help you out tremendously!

Your jacket retains heat and is also on you, which means it’s the perfect spot to put a water bottle! Your body heat will keep the water warm.

Remember, you will give off tons of body heat when doing activities like hiking and backpacking. Why not put it to use?

Water bladders are easier to use in a jacket since they take the shape of your body. You can also strap them using pack straps to keep it in place during your adventure!

If your jacket doesn’t have a pocket inside, that’s pretty unlucky. Almost all jackets will have pockets inside. This is great because you can just stick your bottle inside your jacket and not worry about it.

Remember to keep the bottle upside down to prevent it from freezing around the top, especially during the day when you are hiking!

Use Your Backpack

Backpacks are one of the best methods for keeping your water warm!

Just put your water bottles against the back wall of your backpack, so your back is against the water bottles. Your body heat will prevent the water from freezing.

You can also position your water bladder against the back wall of your backpack!

Remember to put the bottles upside down, so ice will form at the bottom instead of the top. Like I mentioned earlier, if your water freezes at the top, you have no access to any of the water underneath.

Your backpack also acts as a great insulator. Remember to keep one bottle always close at hand for drinking, because opening your backpack a lot will cause warm air to escape.

Use Insulated Bottles

My favorite insulated bottle is called the Yeti Rambler, you can check the current price of it here on Amazon.

Insulated bottles help keep your water warm for a longer amount of time. They’re also extremely useful since you won’t need to use your body heat to keep them warm!

A great tip I found out is to boil some water and put it in an insulated bottle a few hours before going out on your adventure. It’ll stay warm for an extremely long amount of time!

If you are not in the mood of getting an insulated bottle or you don’t have one, you can always make one yourself. Just get a normal bottle and add something like Reflectix around the bottle to insulate it.

You can also just buy a water bottle parka.

Yeti Rambler Insulated Bottle

Bury Your Bottle

Burying your water bottle is a little bit of an extreme method, but it does work.

Just dig a hole at your campsite a few inches deep and throw your water bottles inside the hole during the night. This will prevent them from freezing.

The lower you go, the warmer the ground will be. Just remember that you don’t have to go down too far! I don’t want you digging a 10-foot hole just for your water bottles.

If there is snow around you, you can just cover the hole with snow. You’d be surprised at how good of insulator snow is.

Also, remember to store your bottles upside down to prevent the lid from freezing!

Just Use a Water Bottle

I wouldn’t recommend bladders because they are usually a bit of a hassle to deal with.

I go backpacking a lot in the winter so I stopped bringing water bladders. They’re way harder to keep unfrozen than water bottles.

I just don’t think the effort in keeping them unfrozen is worth the benefit of having a fast drink.

Get a Wide Mouth

Nalgene Wide Mouth Water Bottle

Getting a wide-mouth bottle or bladder is essential. A wide mouth keeps your water from freezing at the top.

If your water is frozen at the top, you won’t be able to drink any of the water underneath.

Nalgene is one of the best companies for wide mouth bladders and bottles.

Extra Bladder Tips

If you use a water bladder, remember that you must keep blowing the water back into the pipe/hose of the bladder!

Also, remember to take a sip about every 5 minutes to keep your water circulating.

Blowing water back into the bladder and taking quick sips will prevent your water from freezing, which can be very bad for a water bladder.

Try to run the hose/pipe through your clothes to prevent it from freezing!

Camelbaks and other reputable water bladders can break because freezing will expand the bladder. They also aren’t that great for holding boiling water.

You could put some hot water in your water bladder and wrap space blankets around it. This will retain its heat for way longer than usual.

Less water in the bladder means the water has more space to move. If water is moving, it will freeze way slower. Drink a ton of water before going on your journey and keep your water bladder a little empty.

Extra Tips

You should always start the day with hot water and drink as much as you can before going hiking or backpacking.

You should also eat some sweets to lubricate your mouth.

Remember, if you are camping in the winter, snow is extremely useful. You can always eat snow, but it might be dirty!

One last trick up my sleeve is to add a shot of vodka to your water. This will lower the freezing point and also add a lot of fun on your trip!

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