If you are an avid hiker who enjoys winter adventure, then there is a good chance that your water bottle has frozen at some point during the winter season. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or new to the activity, this is something you never want to experience. In the cold, avoiding dehydration is just as important as it is in the summer, but if you don’t plan ahead, your only water source may be frozen and unusable. It’s a problem that drives people crazy, and in the worst situations, it might even force them to abandon their journey. But this is easily avoidable with a little bit of planning! In this blog post, we will share some tips to help keep your water from freezing on those cold winter hikes!
Use an Insulated Bottle
An insulated bottle is probably the easiest way to keep your water from freezing. A high-quality insulated bottle will keep your water from freezing even if you leave it in the freezer overnight. The downside is that they are usually heavy and can be expensive, but it’s pretty hard to argue how effective they are. We recommend this HydroFlask, which is insulated and comes in multiple sizes and colors.
Hydroflask 40oz Insulated Bottle
Derek uses this bottle just about every day! It keeps cold water cold, coffee stays hot, and it is about the same diameter as a Nalgene so it fits in most hiking packs. The biggest thing about the Hydroflask bottle is that not only is it vacuum insulated, it is also completely dishwasher safe!
If you don’t want to buy a new water bottle then another good option is a bottle jacket. They do a good job at keeping bottles from freezing temporarily but aren’t as efficient as a good insulated bottle.
Use a Wide Mouth Bottle Upside Down
Having a larger opening at the top of the water bottle makes a huge difference, as a smaller hole or straw will freeze much faster. After ensuring that the bottle won’t leak, carry it upside down so the threads on the cap are less likely to freeze. This also means the water will freeze from the side farthest from the opening, so it gives you more time before all the accessible liquid freezes solid.
Bring Hot Water
Sounds obvious but this is one of the easiest ways to keep your water bottle from freezing. Simply pack hot water with you in the morning before you head out on your hike. This is especially effective when paired with an insulated bottle, as mentioned above. Keep in mind that the hose on your drinking bladder will freeze a lot faster than a bottle, so stick to a bottle or buy an insulated hose for your hydration bladder.
Both of these methods work well to keep your water from freezing but they do have one downside: this works really well for day hikes, but on multi-day trips, you will have to heat your water again each morning or constantly keep it close to your body. Pro Tip: If you are camping, putting boiling water into your Nalgene and placing it in your sleeping bag is a great way to stay warm in a tent without electricity.
Use Your Body Heat
Probably one of the most underrated tricks in the book: keeping a water bottle inside your jacket or under your mid-layer so your body heat keeps your water from freezing. Read more about what to wear hiking in the winter here. Only do this if you’re already warm, as exposing your core to cold water can suck more energy than necessary. But if you’re warm, this is an easy way to keep your water in liquid form and even cool you down a little bit. And as a bonus, it also keeps your water close at hand instead of fumbling through your pack! Some winter jackets will have a large interior pocket made just for this!
Frozen drinking water on winter hikes can be quite annoying, and even dangerous in certain circumstances. But taking the proper steps and preparing warm water ahead of time can make a huge difference and help you enjoy your hike without worrying about staying hydrated.
About the Author
My goal with my writing and Know Nothing Nomads as a whole is to share my passions of hiking, camping, and a love of the outdoors with our readers. Making the difficult and uncertain feel more approachable to people that might not know enough to feel comfortable taking their first steps into the wilderness is a driving factor for me. When I’m not writing you can find me on a trail, in a forest, or next to a river with hiking shoes on my feet and a fly rod somewhere close by.