When we go on a camping trip with friends or family, there’s one item always on our list of camping gear: a large, portable water container. No, we’re not talking about a slimline HydroFlask or water bottle. We mean a big, multi-gallon container that can hold an emergency water supply of fresh, drinking water. It may seem a bit excessive, but trust the experts: this is one piece of camping gear that can make a big difference when it matters. Whether it's for survival, or simply comfort, a water container for camping is always a great idea.
In a hurry? Here’s the test winner after 10 hours of research:
Best Water Container For Camping - Overview
And here’s an overview of the best water containers for camping on the market today:
Did you know humans can only survive for 3 days without drinking water? Yes, there are stories about hikers surviving for weeks in the wilderness, but those are the ‘lucky’ ones who found a stream or water access. In general, 3 days is all it takes for dehydration to take over. You can mitigate this risk by ensuring you have a container of clean, potable water at hand.
To help you navigate your way towards the best products online, we’ve compiled a list of our 5 favorite options, bundled in a comprehensive Best Water Container For Camping Overview. There are options for every type of camper. From heavy-duty, hard-shell designs to lightweight, foldable options that collapse to easily fit in a daypack. We’ve included something for each type of outdoor enthusiast.
Discover details about our top-rated, best-value water storage containers below, and get inspired to upgrade your camping gear with this must-have piece of (emergency) equipment!
- Rigid, 7-gallon rectangular water container with molded contour grip
If you want maximum capacity and durability, the Aqua-Tainer 7 Gallon Water Container by Reliance Products is a favorite amongst campers. This high-quality, extra-large container is made of BPA-free plastic and offers a 7-gallon (26.5-liters) capacity. The design measures 15.75 x 11 x 11 inches, which means it will take up quite a bit of space in your car, truck, or campsite. It goes without saying that due to its size and capacity, this is not a water container for taking on the trails when hiking or backpacking.
That said, this high-capacity water tank is perfect for car campers, truck campers, or RV's. The container is even big enough to even double as a washing station at your campsite, though we'd use it for keeping an abundant supply of potable drinking water.
The Aqua-Tainer 7 Gallon Rigid Water Container by Reliance Products has a simple, yet functional design. The container features a reversible hideaway spigot and handy screw-on vent. To enable a comfortable grip when carrying, the tank also has a smooth ergonomic handle.
5-Year Product Guarantee
Also good to know: the Aqua-Tainer 7 Gallon Rigid Water Container is backed by a 5-year Product Guarantee in case of any manufacturing defects. Reliance Products is so confident in the quality of its tank, that it promises to replace any defected item within 5 years of original purchase. Which serves as a testimony of the high-quality standard that the brand adheres to.
With hundreds of 5-star customer reviews, the Aqua-Tainer 7 Gallon Rigid Water Container is a top-rated best-seller in water storage tanks. Outdoor enthusiasts praise the design's big capacity, ease-of-usage, and its convenience to always have fresh drinking water at hand. Minor cons mentioned are that the spigots may leak, but according to reviewers, this can easily be fixed by inserting an extra O-ring from a hardware store. Also, the plastic shell is not the thickest, so you might want to be careful not to dent it to prevent damaging the tank. Also, some customer complains the tank is very heavy when filled to maximum capacity. But we think that is more or less what can be expected when you buy a 7-gallon tank. And wouldn't count it as a con, more as a logical consequence.
So, if you're looking for a hard-shell water container with an easy-access spigot and ultimate capacity, the Reliance Products Aqua-Tainer 7 Gallon Rigid Water Container may be your perfect match.
- FOOD-GRADE ODORLESS GREAT TASTE: PE plastic made with highest quality USA raw material. Environmentally friendly non-toxic, No BPA PVC or DEHP, No plastic PVC odor and water taste will not be...
The WaterStorageCube Collapsible Water Container is a compact, foldable solution to your drinking water needs. The lightweight design is collapsible, ideal for storage and portability when traveling to or from a campsite. The WaterStorageCube is available in a 1.3-gallon (5-liters), and a 5-gallon (20-liters) capacity, allowing you to pick the size that best matches your camping requirements.
A big perk of the WaterStorageCube Collapsible Water Container is its affordability. As one of the cheaper options on the market, this handy container is a budget-friendly buy. Even better: this affordable tank doesn't compromise on quality. It is made of BPA-free plastic that doesn't retain odor or taste. This food-grade material is approved by the FDA, guaranteeing it's a safe, non-toxic choice to store your water.
The WaterStorageCube Collapsible Water Container is pliable, yet retains shape when filled. The collapsible container is a one-piece design. Meaning it does not have any seams, separate handles, or parts that may be prone to breaking. Instead, the reusable tank comes with handles molded into the silhouette itself, making it easier to transport when loaded to maximum capacity. The design also features a spigot with a gasket-less design. Basic, yet functional, the spigot is leak-roof and easy-to-use with a simple on/off mechanism.
30-day Satisfaction Guarantee and free eBook
The foldable WaterStorageCube is backed by a 30-day Satisfaction Guarantee, making it a risk-free choice in camping gear. If you spot any issues with your container upon arrival, the manufacturer will issue a refund or replacement. As a bonus, the container also comes with a free eBook titled the Camping and Emergency Preparedness Survival Guide. Giving you extra tips on how to maximize your camping safety.
Customer reviews on the WaterStorageCube Collapsible Water Container are very positive. Campers confirm the design is indeed leak-proof and doesn't transfer a plastic taste to the drinking water. Reviewers also like the convenience of collapsing/compression the tank between uses, as this saves on storage space in a daypack, gear pocket, and tents.
Minor cons mentioned are that the container is not vented, meaning the water flow from the gasket might slow down when it's getting emptier. Also, the BPA-free plastic used is not the most heavy-duty. Therefore, some extra care is required when moving or handling the tank to prevent scratching or damaging the material. That said, for this very affordable price listed, we think that's a fair trade-off if you want to enjoy the value and compact portability of this handy collapsible tank.
- Portable, sturdy, collapsible 5-gallon plastic water container is ideal for camp, picnic, sports events, travel and emergency water storage
The Coghlan 5-Gallon Collapsible Water Container is a budget-friendly, basic choice in small-capacity water tanks. This 5-gallon water container might not be big enough for your doomsday survival needs, but that also makes it more suitable for day-trips, campsite picnics and adds to its appeal for hikers and backpackers. The handy collapsible design means it takes up minimal storage space in your pack. As it folds down to a mere 11 x 11 x 12 inches.
Coghlan's 5-Gallon Collapsible Water Container is made of food-grade, BPA free plastic that doesn't transfer odor or flavor. The pliable material is also cold-resistant, keeping its flexibility even in chilly conditions. The design comes with strong, molded handles to the side for easy handling and extra portability.
If you're looking for a basic water container without the frills, this Coghlan tank ticks the box. The style features a simple, one-handed operation spigot. The spigot is easy-to-use for all ages, which enables your kids to enjoy fresh drinking water at a campsite without requiring your assistance. Another perk is that the spout of the canister is large enough to comfortably insert ice-cubes into the container. Giving you the option to keep your water or drinks chilled for longer (if desired).
A budget-friendly consumer favorite
Also good to know: if you like this design's collapsible/expandable functionality and affordable pricing, but the 5-gallon capacity is still too large for your requirements, Coghlan may have other solutions. The brand also offers an expandable 2-gallon Water Jug, and a 2-gallon Expandable Water Can; both great budget-buys for campers with modest capacity needs.
Customers rate the Coghlan's 5-Gallon Collapsible Water Container as a great value-for-money choice to store water during camping trips. According to reviews, this is not the most sturdy of camping water containers, but for a collapsible tank, it works just fine. Don't expect super durability, but basic functionality, and you should not be disappointed. Minor cons are the water carrier does not include a gasket, making it more prone to dripping/leaking. Also, as the material is pliable, the container might struggle to retain its shape when not filled to the max. Plus, the BPA-free collapsible shell is quite thin and more prone to punctures than other, hard-sell plastic options.
That said, we think that even if this container doesn't last you for years, for the budget price listed, you'll already have got your money's worth after a few trips.
If you're looking for a large drinks container that doesn't just store water, but also keeps it chilled for multiple days, the Igloo 5-Gallon Heavy-Duty Beverage Cooler is your match. This 5-gallon capacity design features special Ultratherm® insulation in the body and lid. This blend of polyurethane foam helps maintain ice for up to 3 days in 90° Fahrenheit heat. Making it the ultimate camping accessory to keep your cool in style.
Besides premium insulation, the Igloo 5-Gallon Heavy-Duty Beverage Cooler also comes with other nifty perks. The design features a recessed, push-button spigot. The spigot is slightly angled, allowing for drip-free, leak-proof dispensing. Less water gone to waste, more hydration enjoyed! The shape of the barrel is also stackable, and the product is also available in a 2-pack, 3-pack, and 4-pack.
The jug's sturdy, reinforced handles also make it easy to move, even when filled. The water jug's pressure-fit lid is attached with a cord tether to prevent it from getting lost and/or falling on the floor. Plus, the lid is designed to not trap any dirt or mold, keeping your water clean and ready to drink. A handy cup dispenser clip is attached to the side of the barrel, allowing you to also mount plastic cups if required.
The functionality, quality, and durability of the Igloo 5-Gallon Heavy-Duty Beverage Cooler are confirmed by its outstanding customer review rating. With hundreds of 5-star testimonies, the cooler/water container is a firm favorite amongst campers. Customers praise the design's insulation, saying it truly delivers on its promise to keep your water chilled for days. Whether you want to use it as an insulated tap with direct access to drinking water or fill it with water bottles on ice: this certainly will allow you to enjoy a 'chill' trip.
Minor cons mentioned are that the design's lid is not super secure. As this lid is not a screw top but a push-down top, water might force its way out when moving the jug (when loaded to capacity). Also, some reviews mention the spigot is a bit flimsy and not the most durable.
That said, negative reviews on the Igloo 5-Gallon Heavy-Duty Beverage Cooler are very limited. Overall, this 2-in-1 water container/cooler gets a big thumbs up from campers. If you want a versatile, durable water storage container that still falls within a reasonable price range, this may be a valuable investment for your upcoming outdoor adventures!
Each of the water containers on this list is a great choice for taking potable drinking water with you, no matter the destination. Which is the 'Best' product depends on your requirements. Criteria are size/capacity, material, the type of material, and - of course - price. For a cheap, lightweight, and basic solution, consider the Coghlan 5-Gallon Collapsible Water Container and the WaterStorageCube Collapsible Water Container. If you need an extra-large capacity and a sturdy, durable silhouette, the Aqua-Tainer 7 Gallon Rigid Water Container by Reliance Products may be a perfect fit. And if you don't just want to store water, but also keep it cool for days on end, the Igloo 5-Gallon Heavy-Duty Beverage Cooler could be the solution you're looking for.
Rest assured, you can't make a bad choice. Each item on the list has great customer reviews, comes with quality assurance, and has our expert seal of approval.
If we had to pick a winner, the Igloo 5-Gallon Heavy-Duty Beverage Cooler would be top of our list. Not only does this 5-gallon water container hold plenty of potable drink water. But the special Ultratherm® insulation in the body and lid also helps keep your drinks chilled for multiple days. The functionality of this 2-in-1 water container and cooler appeals to us, as it means we can leave our regular ice-box at home. Also, the hard-shell makes it less prone to punctures, adding to its long-term durability. We also think that for the price listed, it offers outstanding value-for-money. And its hundreds of 5-star customer reviews give us the peace of mind that it lives up to, and exceeds, expectation.
Buying A Water Container For Camping
As you'll read in our overview, water containers come in all shapes and sizes. From hard-shell containers with an impressive 7-gallon capacity to smaller, 2-gallon water jugs: there's a match for each camper. To find your perfect fit, it's important to know your 'water container basics'. So, to help you on your way, we've listed a few factors that we recommend you take into consideration when shopping for this handy piece of outdoor gear:
Size and Capacity
Ask yourself how much space and capacity you truly need. If you're buying a water container as an 'emergency back-up', we'd advise you to size-up. After all, a 2-gallon tank won't make a big difference in your survival rate when you lose access to drinking water. A 7-gallon tank, on the other hand, will keep you hydrated for much longer.
Though if you're simply looking for a water tank to enhance your camping trip convenience. And not necessarily for emergency purposes. A smaller, 5-gallon container should be more than sufficient. This mid-sized option is ideal for car campers, truck campers, and those at a fixed campsite. And holds enough water for multi-day hydration without refills.
If you're a hiker or backpacker and plan to take your water container on the trail with you, you might even want a smaller capacity. Because the more gallon's your container can hold, the heavier it will be when filled. For portability, a 2-gallon jug or container is most convenient.
Hard-shell vs Collapsible
Another question is whether you want a hard-shell container or a collapsible water tank. Both have different pros and cons. A hard-shell container is stackable, more durable, and less prone to puncturing or damaging. However, this type of container is also heavier, and takes up more storage space in your car, truck, RV, tent, and/or campsite. A collapsible water container is foldable, meaning it takes up minimum storage space and is extra lightweight. Minor cons are that the thin, plastic shell is more prone to ripping or punctures. Whilst the pliable material might also struggle to retain its shape when much water is already emptied.
Generally, most water containers for camping are made of plastic. There are some stainless steel containers, but plastic is the preferred material of choice by most outdoor brands. Why? Because it's cheaper and lightweight, and sometimes also pliable in case of collapsible water tanks. Rest assured: though it's a 'cheaper' material, plastic has our full seal of approval.
However, we do want to give you some extra advice. When buying a plastic container, make sure the material used is listed as 'food-grade' and 'BPA-free'. This means it is approved by the FDA for safe usage as tableware/kitchen utensils, plus ensures the plastic does not contain any harmful chemicals. We'd avoid containers made of PVC plastic that don't come with these assurances, as PVC is known to potentially have health hazards.
Water storage containers come at all price-points. Fortunately, this means there is a suitable solution for every camper's budget. If you're looking for a cheap and cheerful option and don't want to splash the cash, a basic tank such as the Coghlan Collapsible Water Container should work fine for you. However, if you don't mind spending a bit more, you might want to consider a fancier option that not only stores water but also keeps it cool for days on end, like the Igloo Beverage Jug. Prices start around 10 dollars for the most basic containers and can go up into the hundreds of dollars for professional storage tanks that hold dozens of gallons.
We'd recommend you set a certain budget before you start shopping, as this already helps narrow down the options substantially. With products at every price-point, we're certain you'll find a match regardless, no matter how small your budget is.