One essential item for any camping trip is an adequate supply of water for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. Having the best water container for camping can help make your camping trip as hassle-free as possible.
Even though my camper has an internal supply of water, I always bring a water container camping because it’s nice to have a supply of water on the picnic table for outdoor cooking or grabbing a drink when sitting around the campfire.
Water containers for camping come in various shapes, sizes, and materials, each with their unique features. In the article below, I’ll provide an overview of my top 5 choices for the best water container for camping.
But based on all of my years camping, my choice for the best water container for camping is the Coleman Chiller Series 5 gallon water container. It has been a reliable camping companion.
Best Water Container for Camping
Having a reliable water container during camping is about more than convenience. In addition to saving a lot of back-forth-trips to a campground’s water source, they can also be used to put out campfires. Further, they can be essential if you’re camping off grid away from a potable water source.
I’ve used a portable water container for decades during camping trips and while we’re staying at our remote, off-grid Alaskan cabin. Based on my experience, I’ve found the best water container for camping, and provide my reviews of other products I’ve used in the past and why they are good (or not so good) during camping.
The Coleman Chiller Series Water Carrier is a reliable investment for camping enthusiasts wanting a convenient and sturdy water container.
I’ve been using the Coleman Chiller Series Portable Water Carrier for years now, during numerous camping trips and stays at my remote cabin. It’s evident that this 5-gallon water jug has been designed to withstand outdoor environments while ensuring practicality.
Pouring water from this container is a breeze, thanks to the easy-use spigot. Just turn it on and fill your drink directly. Although the flow rate could be a bit faster, it still does the job.
One of the most praiseworthy aspects is the molded handle that makes lifting and carrying so much easier. I appreciate when outdoor gear is designed with user comfort in mind, especially when hauling 5 gallons of water back to your campsite.
One issue I’ve encountered after about 10 years of use was a broken spigot. However, a spigot replacement was only a minor setback and can easily be replaced. I’ll also note that this only broke after nearly 10 years of use where the container received a lot of wear and tear and exposure to sub-zero temperatures in Alaska.
I have been using the Igloo Water Container at our remote cabin for nearly 10 years and am generally pretty happy with it.
It is rugged and has a heavy-walled construction. This is one durable water container for camping. I’ve also had one of these for nearly 10 years and it’s still going strong!
The molded-in handle on the side helps with carrying the container, even when it’s filled to capacity.
The absence of a spigot eliminates any potential breakage issues, making this container a more reliable choice compared to some other models.
One downside is that the container is not designed to be stackable. This may pose a problem if you plan to store multiple containers in a limited space. Additionally, if you’re traveling with it full, because of its shape, it can tip over pretty easily unless secured.
A dedicated bottom grip for pouring would have been a helpful feature to make pouring more comfortable and controlled.
Despite these few issues, I’ve found that the Igloo 6 Gallon water container is a great water container for camping.
Coghlan’s Collapsible Water Container
Things I love:
- Portable and collapsible
- Leakproof spigot with easy-pour design
- BPA-free and food-approved materials
Things I don’t like:
- The lightweight material can develop holes if not handled with care
- Spigot might be difficult to screw on
- Container doesn’t fully maintain a cube shape when filled
- 5 gallons
The primary feature of the Coghlan’s collapsible water container that makes it a good choice is its collapsibility. Its collapsibility saves a lot of room in my vehicle, leaving us more space for other camping gear.
However, while using Coghlan’s container during camping trips, I had to be extra careful not to puncture it. And after a number of trips, it ended up springing a leak. Because of its lightweight design, this container is prone to developing holes if treated roughly. It’s important to handle the container with care while moving it around to prevent any leaks.
Another quirk I noticed during use is that the container doesn’t quite maintain its cube shape when filled. Although it’s not a major issue, it can make placement during use more challenging. The Coghlan’s water container seemed more rounded than cubed, but it still functioned well in holding and dispensing water.
If your top priority is a water container for camping that can collapse and save storage space, the Coghlan’s collapsible water container is probably a good choice for you. But if you’re in need of a rugged water container for camping, then this probably isn’t best choice for you.
Things we love:
- Environmentally friendly and non-toxic
- Easy to clean and versatile for outdoor activities
Things we don’t like:
- May need some off-gassing before use
- Not the most durable for extreme conditions
- Design may require space considerations
- 5 gallons
The UPWOIGH 5 Gallon Water Jug for camping offers a leak-proof design ensuring that your other camping gear stays dry while traveling to your campsite.
I appreciated the easy-to-clean design. You can literally stick your hand inside and scrub with the included brush which makes cleaning a breeze.
I also like that there are various size options for this water jug for camping. It comes in the following size: 2.6, 5.0, 6.6, and 8.2 gallons.
However, some users report that there can be an initial plastic smell when you first receive the jug. Thus, I suggest letting it off-gas for a day or two before use. Other users have noted that the plastic is a little thin possibly making it more prone to puncture.
The CAMPMAX Water Container is another great water jug for camping. Its high-grade HDPE plastic is free from harmful substances like BPA and PVC. I also liked that it’s quite transparent, which made it easy for us to see the water level.
One of the standout features of this water container is the leakproof spigot. I was also pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to clean this water container, thanks to the larger opening.
I also liked that it has the option to stand upright while camping, but it can also stand on its side, allowing for greater stability when traveling when its full of water.
Users have observed that the nozzle on the spigot could be more durable, as it feels somewhat flimsy.
The container itself is a bit pricey compared to other options on the market, but sometimes you get what you pay for.
Buying Guide for Camping Water Jugs
Buying a water jug for camping isn’t a huge investment, but no one ever likes buying a piece of junk and wasting money. So, before you decide on the best water container for camping next summer, make sure to consider the following features in a water container.
A water jug for camping should be tough and sturdy. Nobody wants a leaking container during a camping trip. Look for materials like BPA-free plastic or stainless steel, which are known for their durability. Make sure the container can withstand some wear and tear, especially if you plan on taking it on longer camping trips, or will be using it in more rustic environments.
Size & Capacity
The size and capacity of a water jug for camping are critical factors. Ask yourself: how much water do I need for my trip? Think about the number of people, the length of the trip, and whether there will be a water source nearby. Keep in mind that larger containers may be harder to carry, so consider the trade-off between convenience and capacity.
Portability & Ease of Use
Handling and carrying the container should be easy. Look for features like lightweight materials, sturdy handles, and ergonomic designs. After all, you don’t want your arms getting tired while carrying water from the source to your campsite! Additionally, consider a container with a stable base, so it doesn’t tip over easily on uneven surfaces.
Having a reliable water jug for camping is a lot more important than people think. If your container springs a leak or becomes unusable, your camping trip will become more difficult. And in environments where water is limited (e.g., desert camping), it could quickly put an end to your trip, or even lead to dehydration.
So, before heading out, consider what type of water jug for camping is best for the type of camping you plan to do. There are many great options out there, these are just five of my favorites.