How Much Fresh Water Do I Need for Camping?

A hand pouring fresh water into the cup on a camping tarp.

Needless to say, there are many things folks must pay attention to before leaving the city for the great outdoors. Of course, we don’t need to emphasize the fact that there are no grocery stores in the wilderness. No kind-hearted bear clerks either (unfortunately). In other words: there are hardly any places where you can buy fresh water, and obtaining it might seem like one heck of a task. Unless, of course, you’re camping by the riverbank or a stream, and possess a water filter.

Anyway, one must think about bringing some fresh water on a camping trip, right? Also, one might wonder: how much’s enough? Well, that’s what we’re about to find out. In the article below, we’ll show you how much fresh water do you need for camping! Stay tuned!

A healthy adult person (above 13) needs 2 liters of fresh water a day; kids require 1.3 to 1.5 liters of fresh water each day. Also, count the fresh water for cooking (depends on your taste) and personal hygiene (about 2 liters per person each day). Lastly, always bring a little extra just in case.

Now, there’s no need to stop there! Feel free to read the whole thing!

Table of Contents

Why is drinking water important?

Okay, we get it. Even the birds in the trees know these facts. However, people sometimes tend to forget or ignore the obvious. How many of you are drinking the recommended dose of two liters or about 64 ounces of water every single day per a healthy adult person? Trust us, we don’t even want to know the answer.

Anyway, before you say: oh, so I’ll only pack the daily dose of half a gallon (about 2 liters) for each person on the trip, we’ve got something else to show you. More precisely: there are many other factors you’ll need to consider besides the recommended daily dose. Also, fresh water isn’t used solely for drinking, as we’re sure you know!

Factors to consider when packing water for the trip

Okay, so we’ve already said those 64 ounces or 2 liters or almost 1/2 a gallon ain’t gonna be enough. Why’s that so? Well, just think about all the stuff you’ll do once you set up camp, or before that even happens. Maybe you’re up somewhere in the mountains or nestled in a valley, or there might be some amazing hiking trails nearby, or maybe you’d wanna go for a swim. Anyway, what we’re trying to say is that many of the activities you’ll participate in while camping will require you to use more energy than on your average weekday.

Now, drinking the recommended dose will get you through your usual daily routine, but there’s a lot of sweat you’ll produce during some of the activities we’ve mentioned above. Not to mention the fact that you’ll probably wear a heavy backpack to camp (if you can’t reach by car or you’re just backpacking). You’ll need water to make up for those “losses”.

Speaking about heavy backpacks, here’s an article you’ll want to read.

Where are the factors?

Okay, we got a bit carried away there. Here’s a simplified version of everything you’ll need to take into consideration before packing fresh water for the trip:

  • The physical activities you’ll participate in. Are there any let’s-hit-that-10km-long-hiking-trail plans that are being made? If that’s so, you’ll need to prepare for the physically-challenging activities that lay ahead.
  • The climate. What about the environment you’ll be surrounded by while camping? Is it arid and hot, will you sweat more, etc? It goes without saying: a humid climate will probably cause you to sweat more.
  • The elevation. Did you know that our bodies lose more (precisely: two times more) water via respiration at higher altitudes than at sea level? Now that you do know this, there’s a good chance you’ll prepare accordingly.
  • The age of each member of your camping group. The recommended dose for kids is below those 64 ounces for adults. We’ll talk about it more in the next section of the article.

All in all: whatever you’ve planned, just make sure you’re bringing along enough drinking/fresh water. That’s your top priority; your and your camping partners’ hydration is, by all means, one of the most important things. Also, if you’re driving to camp (transporting your water via car) make sure you don’t “put your trust” into a single, large water jug. A single hole can drain out the jug completely and create a total catastrophe! It’s best you spread the whole amount of water you’ll be carrying into medium-sized containers and bottles.

Okay, so now that we’ve talked the talk about some general info surrounding how much fresh water do you need for camping, let’s cut to the chase. To phrase it differently: let’s give a thorough answer to the question in the title!

An orange fresh water bottle.

How much fresh water do I need for camping?

First things first, let’s talk about how much fresh water you’ll need for drinking purposes only. In other words: how much fresh water will your fellow humans (both young and old) and pets when camping.

How much fresh water do the youngest campers need?

As we’ve already said, kids don’t require the 64-ounces daily dose of water. Here are the numbers: kids between about one and eight years of age need about 1.3 liters (about 44 ounces) of water a day; kids between the ages of five to eight should drink somewhere closer to 1.5 liters every single day.

You’ll also have to count on various daily activities they’ll invest their time in. If possible, see if you can avoid giving your kids beverages that are filled with sugar, as drinking them leads to dehydration more quickly. Anyway, it might be best to bring the recommended daily dose for adults (64 ounces) per single kid.

Lastly, keep in mind that kids above 13  should be counted as adults in the world of dehydration.

How much fresh water do adult campers need?

We’ve repeated this so much, so we’ll be quick here. A healthy adult person should drink at least 64 ounces (2 liters) of water a day. Camping experts say that bringing several (or maybe a little more) water carriers that can hold 128 ounces each will satisfy the water-drinking needs of an entire camping group of adults.

How much fresh water do doggies need?

And what about man’s best friends? Needless to say, taking your dog along with you on a camping trip is always great fun. We all know how much our four-legged buddies love to be surrounded by nature (even if some campgrounds demand you keep them on a leash all of the time).

When packing water supplies for the trip, make sure you don’t miss sliding your doggie(s) into the calculation. They also need to stay hydrated! How much fresh water will they need to stay hydrated depends on their size, breed, and fitness level. Here’s how you’ll calculate this: multiply the weight of your dog expressed in pounds by 0.03 liters and you’ll get the daily water intake your doggie requires. 

How much fresh water do you need for cooking?

Not a single person will tell you exactly how much water they spend each day on non-drinking-related activities such as washing the dishes, cleaning, or cooking. It’s not that they don’t want to tell you, it’s just that they don’t know. Here’s a not-so-fun fact: the amount is surprisingly high.

Once you’re out in the wild, camping, it’s best you start being a little conservative with your water usage. Additionally, you might want to consider certain camping food options that don’t require you to cook anything. That’s because many camping cookouts demand a lot of water to be spent solely on ’em.

It’s kinda hard to figure out the number of gallons or whatever you’ll need for the cooking part of your camping trip. As we’re sure you know, meals vary from person to person, and there are many great camping recipes that don’t require you to use any water. The best way to find out how much water will you need is to make a detailed camping menu for each day of the camping adventure and see how much water you need for each meal.

How much fresh water do you need for personal hygiene?

Last but not absolutely not least, how could we forget personal hygiene? You’ll need water to wash your face with, shave (if you even want to), shower, and do other activities that keep you clean when camping. If you intend on using a specific shower or toiletry area present on the camp – skip this final section.

The thing is: most campers would recommend you pack about 2 liters of water per person each day to be used for personal hygiene only. It might seem too little at first, but some days you won’t need to spend your daily dose. That way, you might even have enough water for a decent shower.

If you’re an RV owner, you might want to check this article on water consumption.

Final words

That’s about it on the whole how much fresh water do I need for camping question! Hopefully, now you’re equipped with some info that’ll come quite in handy at one moment!

For more tips on everything that’s related to camping and other outdoor adventures, visit our blog page.

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