Not really … but bear with me as I share my backwood’s tale of woe.

Carrying water in the backwoods is always a challenge.

Water is the heaviest item in your pack at 1 kilogram per litre, yet likely the most important! So when it comes to water, there are loads of questions and a zillion different answers, and every wanna-be campologist has an opinion!  How do you carry the world’s most valuable resource? Where do I get it? How do I ensure it’s safe? Do zombies drink water? How do Urban Cougars survive only drinking Cosmo Cocktails?


Water management is all over the Map. I have seen an extremely cautious germ-a-phobic camper carry a full 5-gallon container (UGGG), and a less guarded camper who only brings a cup to drink directly from the lake. You can purify water by boiling, pumps, drips, chemicals and electronics. Then there are the bladder suckers and the bottle sippers.

This post is for the “sippers”… I’m not a bladder (suckers) fan for multi-day trips, however, I love’em on day hikes. Just sayin’.

Suckers carry the water bladder in a balanced spot deep within their pack, while Sippers generally carry their water bottles in outside pockets. Inside and centre are best for balance and security, however, those nifty side pouch pockets integrated into your $300.00 backpack are perfect if you want quick access … or are they?

bottle pocket3
The multiple DANGER signs never warned us of “unsafe loads”

Recently I went on a 2-day ski camping trip with my good friend Ted in Gatineau Park just north of Ottawa. The weather was perfect, and the conditions were icy. Not a problem.  Our packs were relatively light and our skills were up to the challenge. All was fine and dandy until we were confronted with a particularly steep and twisty pitch. I went down first. I managed the icy trail and navigated the hairpin turns at a slow and controlled pace. At the bottom, I waited patiently in the valley. It was Ted’s turn.

Ted was looking good. Slow and controlled. Then … thump, whack and ouch!

bottle pocket2
The culprit … an escaped, rogue water bottle 🙁

I scrambled quickly to my horizontal buddy and checked his condition. Bruised ribs and an injured pride were the diagnosis. We later learned the cause for the tumble … a water bottle had popped free from his backpack’s side pocket sleeve, rolled down the hill ahead of him, tangled with his skis, and Ted lost his edges and tripped up all control.

The lesson learned … If you need to keep your precious water bottle safe and secure … keep it inside your pack.



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