7 Ways To Carry Water While Walking

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Carrying water with you while walking can range from a nice convenience to an essential. But how will you carry this water while walking?

Due to its lower intensity walking can be done for longer periods of time compared to other workouts. Even just walking 3 miles can take up to 45-60 minutes.

On top of your regular water needs, walking also makes you sweat. Depending on things like temperature, distance, and how easily you sweat you may want to carry water with you to replenish your fluid stores.

The solution for this situation can be relatively simple and inexpensive. This article will go over 7 ways you can carry water while walking and their advantages and disadvantages.

Summary: ways to carry water when walking

  1. Water Bottle Belt Clip
  2. Small Walking Backpack
  3. Handheld Bottles
  4. Handheld Soft Flasks
  5. Hydration Belt / Waist Pack
  6. Hydration Backpack
  7. Hydration Vest

What to look for in water carrying equipment

There are some things to keep in mind when looking for equipment to carry water with you while walking. Some walking accessories will be great for certain situations while being a bad choice in others.

In any case, you want to test out any options you invest in on shorter walks where they are not as crucial. This way you can predict at least a bit whether they will be adequate for longer walks.


The first thing to pay attention to is the fluid capacity of the equipment. For shorter walks, you likely do not need a hydration backpack with a capacity of 170 oz (5L). For longer walks and hikes, a water bottle of 17 oz (500ml) just won’t do the job.

The capacity range can vary from a few hundred ml to a few liters. Not having enough can lead to extreme thirst and worse. Carry too much water while walking may be uncomfortable and slow down more than you have to.


Another very important aspect of any walking equipment is comfort. Especially if your walk or hike will be long enough to have to carry water with you.

Within the comfort aspect, there are many different sub-components that include size, bouncing, chaffing, weight distribution, impact on stride, and so on… All of these components can impact your walking in one way or another.

How comfortable a piece of walking equipment is, is somewhat subjective and hard to predict. You may need to try a few different ways to carry water and figure out which one suits you best. As mentioned before it is likely smart to do the equipment testing during a shorter walk or hike instead of trial by fire.

Can it carry other things

Water may not be the only thing you want to carry with you while walking. Things like gels, salt tablets, other electrolytes, and other nutrients will likely also be helpful during long-distance walks in warm weather.

You also may want to carry non-food things like your phone, sunscreen, keys, sunglasses, etc..

Some of the options below help you carry a lot of these extra things, others none at all.

1. Water bottle belt clip

  • Capacity: Low, generally used with bottles up to 17 oz (500ml)
  • Comfort: Low-medium, may involve a lot of swinging
  • Can carry other things: Generally not
  • Investment price: Very low

For this first piece of equipment to carry water while walking you need a separate water bottle first. Once you have that this inexpensive option can help you carry your water bottle in a more comfortable way than by hand.

A water bottle belt clip is basically something that you can attach to a bottle which allows you to attach the bottle to your belt or a backpack.

There are generally 2 types of models. The first one is the string version. One downside of this one is that the bottle may swing around a lot. This is generally not comfortable during your walk.

The other version which is closer to a strap, can keep your bottle more in place. This is generally more comfortable.

A downside of this way of carrying water this way is that the amount of water you can carry is generally small. There is also no storage room for other things.

If you are looking for a low-investment option for short walks these water bottle belt clips may be what you are looking for.

2. Small walking backpack

  • Capacity: High
  • Comfort: Medium
  • Can carry other things: Yes, generally a relatively high amount
  • Investment price: Low

Using a small backpack as a way to carry water is not rocket science but definitely an option worth mentioning. Again you do have to provide the water bottles yourself. Once you have these you can load up on as many or as few water bottles as you want.

A benefit of a small backpack is that there is more of enough room for other things you may need during your walk or hike.

One thing is that the contents of the backpack may move around during walking a lot. You also want to pay attention to how you pack it to avoid any water bottles poking your back.

Another thing is that the weight distribution of a backpack compared to your body is not ideal. Wearing a heavy backpack while walking may put unwanted pressure on your back.

A backpack also covers a lot of skin surface. This may lead to a lot of extra sweating, especially in hot weather.

In short, a small backpack can be an inexpensive way to carry a wide variety of things while walking. However, some people may find this piece of equipment uncomfortable.

3. Handheld bottles

  • Capacity: Low, generally up to 17 oz (500ml)
  • Comfort: Many people do not like holding a bottle during their walk
  • Can carry other things: Sometimes but not a lot
  • Investment price: Medium

This first option may have passed your mind in a different form. There are handheld water bottles made specifically for walking so that your hands have to put in less effort compared to a regular water bottle.

There are a few problems people have with this option. Even if they are made specifically for making your hand do less work, your hands will still have to do more work compared to some of the other options.

Another important point is that the weight from the water bottle can influence your walking gait. One way to counteract this slightly is by walking with one bottle in each hand.

Even then just like walking with wrist weights, walking with a water bottle in your hand may lead to a change in gait. This in turn may increase injury risk and reduce comfort. Once the bottle is empty you also still have to hold it. The water capacity of handheld walking bottles is also not that impressive.

That being said, some people have no problem with, they even like, these handheld water bottles. Something handheld bottles do positively stand out in is that many types have storage room for a phone or other things.

In short handheld water bottles may be suited for shorter walks. Due to their low water capacity and potential comfort issues, they may not be suited for long-distance walks and hikes.

4. Handheld soft flask

  • Capacity: Low, generally up to 17 oz (500ml)
  • Comfort: Similar to handheld bottles but less sloshing and you can store handheld soft flasks when empty
  • Can carry other things: Generally not
  • Investment price: Low

At first, the difference between handheld bottles and handheld soft flasks may not be entirely clear. There is however a difference that can make a big impact when it comes to walking.

Soft flasks are made of foldable material instead of the hard material of regular bottles. As you drink your flask becomes “smaller” until when empty, it barely takes in any volume.

The first benefit of this is that as you drink water you will experience less sloshing compared to a half-filled hard bottle. A second benefit is that when the soft flask is empty you can store it in a pocket instead of still having to hold it.

Besides that you do again have to hold this flask in your hand while walking as long as it contains water.

In short soft flasks are a slightly more comfortable and more inexpensive handheld bottle with less storage capacity for other things. These will generally be more suited for shorter walks due to their limited capacity and lack of storage for any other provisions.

5. Hydration Belt / Waist Pack

  • Capacity: Low-medium, generally up to 25 oz (740ml)
  • Comfort: Medium-high with the right size and wearing height
  • Can carry other things: Yes
  • Investment price: Low-medium

The next way to carry water while walking comes down to having a belt which stores water bottles.

A benefit of hydration belts over the previous two options is that you don’t have to hold anything in your hands during most of your walk. This equipment also often has room to carry other things like gels, snacks, a phone, keys, etc.

The downside of this equipment is that it is less a “one size fits all”. You want to get the right size for you personally. On top of that, you don’t want to wear this belt too loose since this can lead to bouncing and chaffing. On the other hand, you also don’t want to wear it too tight which can lead to discomfort and hinder blood circulation.

Most hydration belts come with “hard” bottles. This means that even if you attach the belt perfectly you may experience some water sloshing.

Also make sure you wear a hydration belt at the right height. If you wear it too low it can interfere with the movement of your legs.

In short, hydration belts can be a good option for people who do not like to hold a water bottle in their hands while walking. Since they offer some extra storage for provisions they may be suited for slightly longer walks but their water capacity is still relatively low. Wearing a hydration belt incorrectly can also lead to bouncing and chaffing.

6. Hydration backpack

  • Capacity: Medium-high, generally from 70 oz (2L) up to 170 oz (5L) and more
  • Comfort: Medium-high, size and correctly wearing it are important
  • Can carry other things: Yes, generally a relatively high amount
  • Investment price: Medium

The next option is a type of backpack with a collapsible pack to store water. These have a tube that runs from the backpack to the front so you can drink more or less hands-free. These walking hydration backpacks also often have a lot of storage room for other things.

Because the water pack is foldable you should not experience too much sloshing. This is great since you are able to carry a lot of water with a hydration backpack.

This option to carry water while walking is again less of a “one size fits all”. You want to get the right size for you personally and wear it in the right way. This is especially important since a walking backpack generally covers more skin than a walking belt. That means there is more surface area for possible chaffing.

A downside of a hydration backpack is that the weight from the water is not entirely distributed evenly. This is not perfect for your back and walking posture.

Walking hydration backpacks are a good option for carrying enough water with you on longer walks or hikes. They have a high capacity, extra storage room, and offer hands-free drinking. Do make sure you get the right size and adjust it for you personally.

7. Hydration vests

  • Capacity: Medium-high, generally from 70 oz (2L) up to 170 oz (5L) and more
  • Comfort: High, size and correctly wearing it are important
  • Can carry other things: Yes, generally a relatively high amount
  • Investment price: High

A hydration vest is slightly different from a hydration backpack. With a hydration vest the weight of the water is also located towards the front.

This makes it so your walking posture is minimally influenced by carrying water with you this way. The foldable material of the water storage part also helps avoid sloshing.

A hydration vest generally covers even more skin surface than a backpack. This makes choosing the right size and wearing it right even more important. Most hydration vests are made of breathable material but because it covers more of your body it may reduce evaporation slightly.

For people who walk long distances and are willing to invest in a good piece of equipment, the hydration vest may be the right choice. They do not influence walking posture a lot, offer a lot of water carrying capacity, have storage for other provisions, etc.

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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.