If you enjoy hiking in summer – or whenever the weather is hot – you are probably familiar with the challenge of keeping your water cold, especially when your adventures start becoming a bit longer than “just a good walk”.
Whether you use a hydration pack or a trusty old reusable bottle, the challenge is the same: warm weather and water would never swipe right on each other.
If you have only just discovered the joys of hiking, you might have made the rookie error we all do at some point.
You diligently put your water in the fridge the night before, only to discover midway through that a combination of your own body heat and the weather has taken your refreshing drink to something you could nearly make a coffee with. Gross.
If you have tried to freeze your water the night before, you have probably encountered everything from the expanding water bottle, the water not defrosting fast enough crisis or the blocked connection to your hydration pack’s pipe insert frustration.
You might be starting to wonder why people bother with this hiking stuff considering it’s enough to stress you out before you’re even out the door.
Well, if you feel hiking is not your vibe after all, that’s your choice but if a cold sip of H20 is what’s keeping you from hitting the trails, we’ve got good news.
There’s a simple trick that not many people know about, it seems. It does involve freezing your water – bottle or bladder/pack – but not as you know it.
It works with whatever receptacle you prefer to use for hike hydration purposes.
Keeping water cold on long hikes top tip: Freeze only half
With a straight up water bottle, this method is straight forward. Fill your water bottle half way, close the lid and pop it in the freezer overnight. Remove from the freezer and fill it up to the top before you leave. You might want to your bottle out a few minutes before you head out the door, just to give the top a bit of time to loosen up.
If you use a hydration pack, you’ll have to adapt your freeze half method depending on what sort of pack you have. Some hydration packs work best when you freeze it with the pipe already connected, while others are far less cumbersome and more forgiving. If you freeze your hydration pack with the pipe inserted, remember that you might still run into the frozen-water-blocking stuff problem.
If you are hiking on a very hot day this will probably resolve itself very soon. If you’re starting off in the shade, you might want to remove your frozen hydration pack a while before leaving to make sure you have some time to loose the ice.
You can also freeze a bit more than half if you’re heading out on a particularly scorching day and do a little less if you just like something coolish during the winter months.
And if the defrosting condensation annoys you, pop the bottle or hydration pack into a reusable plastic bag – or one of those waterproof “Dribags” if you’re feeling fancy or don’t might spending some money on gear.
Antoinette is a recovering journalist, having written for Sports Illustrated, The Guardian, Daily Maverick and others. She has won multiple SAB Journalist of the Year awards, across a variety of categories. She thinks it’s strange writing about herself in the third person, unless she’s playing as herself in The Sims…which she’s been doing for over 20 years.