7 ways to keep your water from freezing while backpacking or hiking

With very cold weather that most of the United States is currently fighting I thought a post about how to keep your water from freezing while hiking or backpacking. Here are a few creative ways to keep your water from freezing.

1. Sleep with your bottles or bladders.
This is the most common of tips to keep your water from freezing. Many folks will just keep the bottle or bladder inside the tent while others will put it in the sleeping bag with them. Depending on the temps and situations you might consider putting it into your sleeping bag. Just remember to make sure that the lids or caps are on there tight. You do not want to wake up to a soaked sleeping bag in the cold.

2. Keep your bottles or bladders under your clothing.
 Using your body heat do keep your water thawed out is not just a survival tactic needed to be used in extreme situations. It is an easy way to keep your water thawed out and uses a resource that if you are hiking or backpacking will have lots of. I have found that it is much easier to do this with water bladders because they can conform to your body shape and can be strapped in using your pack straps to keep it in place while you are moving.

3. Turn water bottles or bladders lid side down.
Turning your water bottles or bladders upside down will keep them from freezing around the top, especially during the day when you’re hiking. Moving water will take longer to freeze than still water.

4. Use wider mouth bottles to help prevent freezing.
The wide mouth keeps them from freezing at the top. It also helps keep the threads from freezing allowing you to continue to drink.

5. Heat up or warm up water before setting off.
 Keep your water out of the fridge and allow it to be room temperature before heading out. One can also warm up the water using a tea kettle or your camp stove before setting off. Just remember you want to warm it up not boil it. Science will tell you that warmer water can freeze quicker.  One thing to keep in mind is that if you are backpacking or camping while you warm up your water you are also using up fuel.

6. Use Insulated bottles.
Choose to take an insulated bottle over a non insulated bottle. This will help keep the water warmer for longer even if it is only room temperature. You can even choose to charge your bottle by boiling water and putting it into the bottle several hours before you intend to set out.

7. Bury your water bottles.
In extreme cases you can dig a hole at you campsite a few inches deep and put the bottles of water in there at night to keep them from freezing. The farther you dig the warmer the ground will be, however you do not need to get to crazy and end up with a 6 foot deep hole for a water bottle.