How Much Water Per Day Should I Bring Camping?

Ensuring you have all of your camping supplies in order is an essential part of prepping for any camping trip. From first-aid kits to food items, a well-prepared camper makes doubly sure that they’re stocked for anything that nature throws their way.

And if you’re heading to a campsite or camping grounds with limited running water or none to speak of, packing in water for everything from drinking to personal hygiene concerns is an absolute must. The effects of dehydration, dirty dishes, and dirty campers can turn the best camping trip into a nightmare full of headaches. You need to bring a surplus of water for multiple uses when camping, tailored to the number of campers and age of campers in your party.

Let’s take a detailed look at how much water you’ll need per day on your next excursion into the Great Outdoors. 

camper drinking water from a water bottle

How Much Water Should Adults Drink Per Day While Camping?

The average adult should drink about a half gallon of water per day. That’s 64 ounces of H2O goodness that helps adults recover, hydrate, and rejuvenate themselves after a normal day’s work and play.

However, camping is rarely a normal day’s work and play. If you’re hiking, biking, swimming, rock-climbing, or engaging in any other sort of active pursuit on your trip, you’re likely to need even more drinking water to make up for the extra expenditures of energy.

Keep these key tips about hydrating while camping in mind when plotting your drinking water supply for your next camping adventure —

  • If you’re camping in a desert area or any locale that’s arid and hot enough to up your sweating quotient, increase your water supply as a counterbalancing tactic.
  • Are you camping up in the mountains? Are you headed to a much higher elevation than you’re used to? We lose twice as much water during respiration at high altitudes as we do under normal circumstances!
  • The more physical activities you plan to engage in while camping, the more drinking water you need to have on hand for replenishment and nourishment.

All things considered, you should plan to bring at least a gallon of drinking water per adult per day while camping. It’s better to be overstocked on drinking water than to be left wanting when your body needs it most. 

How Much Water Should Children Drink Per Day While Camping?

The amount of water a child should drink while camping varies based upon the following factors —

  • Age
  • Level of physical activity
  • Other sugary drinks they might be consuming

A child aged 1-5 should drink about 1.3 liters of water per day normally. A child from 5-10 years old should drink anywhere from 1.5 to 1.8 liters per day. Babies and infants will have specific needs based on their current age.

child drinking water on the beach

When camping, you may need to tack on an extra liter or two if a child will be engaging in more physical activity than normal. Also, any sodas or juices with high sugars or carbonation contents may act as a diuretic and end up increasing their drinking water needs. The more pop they drink while hanging out at the campsite, the more pure drinking water they’ll need to counterbalance that after a particularly busy day.

Plan to bring about 3/4 of a gallon to a gallon or so of drinking water for a child per day while camping. You can increase that based on their age and assumed activity levels, just to be safe. 

How Much Water Should Dogs Drink Per Day While Camping?

Most dogs need about .03 liters of water per day per pound of body weight. So, a dog that weighs 25 pounds needs about 3/4 of a liter of drinking water per normal day. A dog that’s 50 pounds needs about 1.5 liters on average.

However, you need to make sure that your puppy is hydrated to meet the added activity and demands of a camping excursion.

So, the water your dog needs depends on whether your best friend is a chihuahua or a golden retriever.

Remember, though — the added physical exertion and demands of a trip into the Great Outdoors will likely up your dog’s water needs on a given day. Multiply their normal drinking water needs by 1.5 or two times based on the environment and itinerary of your camping trip.

Camping is much better with dogs. That’s just a fact, but make sure to give them plenty of water to keep them healthy.

What Other Uses Do You Need Water For When Camping?

Drinking water is an absolute necessity when camping. There’s no way to dispute that. But, there are also other common uses for water that you need to consider when packing in H20 to a camping ground.

Those include:

  • Personal hygiene concerns (bathing, showering, brushing teeth, etc.)
  • Water for cleaning and cooking
  • Dousing campfires

Plan to bring about 2 liters of water, or 72 ounces per person for personal hygiene usage. Cooking water, cleaning water, and campfire dousing needs will vary based on what you’re cooking, how big your party is, and how often you’re planning to have fires going at your campsite.

camper enjoying the view overlooking forest with camera and water bottle

How Much Water Overall Do You Need Per Person When Camping?

Regardless of whether your campsite has running water available or none at all, the following is a rough guideline of the amount each member of your camping party will need per day:

  • Adults — 2 to 3 gallons (or more)
  • Children — 1.5 to 2.5 gallons (or more)

Always err on the side of preparing too much when packing water in for a trip. The more water you can comfortably have on hand, the better off you’ll be for the duration of your camping adventure. 

A typical water container for camping will be able to handle 4-10 gallons. With that in mind, make sure you choose the right size water container for the number of campers in your group.

What Alternative Water Sources Are Available On The Go?

If you’re camping with limited pack space as a backpacker or regular camping enthusiast, packing in tens of gallons of water with you might not be feasible. 

If you are looking for alternatives to hauling mass amounts of water to your camping ground, here are some things you should try —

  • Check your desired campsite for sources of potable water. If your campground doesn’t offer potable water and one nearby does, consider changing your site for an easily accessible freshwater supply.
  • If there’s a nearby town to your camping site, do some research on whether or not they have areas for people to wash up and grab water. A little bit of preparation might save you plenty of pack space.
  • Invest in camping-ready water filters. With the right filter in tow, you can filter and drink water from nearby streams, rivers, waterfalls, and lakes.

Don’t go camping unprepared for your potable water needs! Just a few minutes of planning is the difference between hydrating properly on your camping trip and feeling awful the whole way through.


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