Safari Water Bottles

Keeping well hydrated is very important on an African safari whether you are hunting or game-viewing from a vehicle. You might not realise you are getting dehydrated in the heat which causes increased sweating, so make a point of drinking plenty of water and make a mental note of how often you are urinating and the colour of the urine, compared with normal. Even if you don't feel particularly thirsty, if you are peeing less and it is a darker colour, drink more. Also if you feel light-headed or headachy, up your water intake.

So how much water should a person drink in a day? The Mayo Clinic recommends an adequate intake for men is roughly about 13 cups (3 litres) of total beverages a day. For women it is about 9 cups (2.2 litres) of total beverages a day in a temperate climate. In the hot climate of Africa and doing prolonged intense exercise, such as walking in the bush, you would likely need to double the this recommendation.

When you go out for the day hunting or game-viewing, the vehicle should be well-stocked with bottled water for all on board. If you spend most of the day in the truck there will be no problem keeping a plastic bottle of water handy at all times. The main advice would be checking the seal is unbroken when you open it, so there is no chance the bottle has been used before and refilled with possibly unsterile water. Also, it almost goes without saying, do not throw empty plastic bottles out in the bush.

On a vehicle that is bouncing around the African bush there is every chance plastic water bottles get dropped, roll around the floor and may get mixed up with other people's water bottles. To avoid unintentionally drinking from someone else's bottle, you may prefer to carry your own water bottle. Before you go out just decant bottled water into your own container and keep it in or hanging on your day bag. You may want to carry a few rehydration sachets to add when necessary. Some people may fill their personal water bottles with an energy drink mix which they find helps them on a long bush walk.

However, when you get off the truck to go hunting on foot or walking, it becomes very important to make sure you carry enough water for all eventualities. You may well be out for the whole day on the trail of buffalo or elephant and normal plastic bottles of water are heavy and awkward to carry. You could be separated from the vehicle a long time especially if you are hunting in thick bush with difficult vehicle access. You could, though rarely, even get lost.

How To Choose A Good Water Bottle

  • For an African safari, a water bottle needs to be lightweight and easily portable. So avoid reusable water bottles made of glass which are heavy and easily broken unless they have a shatter-proof cover. How do you prefer to carry your bottle? If you are going to hang it from your day bag or belt look for one with a loop cap so a carabiner or lanyard will easily attach it. Some come with a their own built-in carabiner.
  • A durable reusable water bottle is essential in Africa. It must not crack or break if dropped. Stainless steel water bottles are the most durable when dropped. Aluminium bottles, though generally lighter, dent pretty easily.
  • It is important that your water bottle is easy to clean and hygienic, particularly if it is used for drinks other than plain water. Heat and gunky drink residue make for an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. The worst area for bacteria build up can be the cap mechanism if it can't be taken apart. With no dishwashers in the bush, you will need a Water Bottle Cleaning Set and a detergent.
  • The volume of water that your bottle can take is obviously important. The more the better for hunting in Africa but this needs to balanced against the weight you will need to carry comfortably. The water bottle with the largest capacity will take just over a litre. If more water is needed, a backpack water carrier may be preferable.
  • The material the water bottle is made of may influence your choice. Stainless steel is tough and light, more hygienic and the interior, being polished, doesn't taint the drink with smells or taste from previous contents. Some people, however, feel stainless steel gives a 'metallic' taste to a drink. Plastic water bottles are light, durable and very convenient. They are ideal if you don't have issues about any of the 'hazards' of plastics. They may stain with coloured energy drinks and are not as easy to get thoroughly clean. Aluminium water bottles are softer than stainless steel so dent quite easily.
  • The size and style of the water bottle neck may be important. If you want to add ice cubes to your drink in an insulated bottle you will need a wide neck. Also you might want a wider neck to drink more easily without creating an airlock. Too wide though you may spill the contents if you drink while on the go. Alternatively there are designs with spouts and straws.
  • Choose an insulated water bottle if you want to keep your drink cool. Two layers of stainless steel around vacuum is best insulating construction. Insulated bottles are also ideal for taking a hot drink out with you on a cold morning.
  • Plastic foldable water bottles are useful, packing down really small when not in use. They can also be filled and frozen.
  • Cap leakage is an important feature to avoid. Not only because a faulty cap will deplete your water supply, it will also possibly ruin the contents of your day bag if that is where it is carried. Look for one with a sturdy seal and screws down very tightly. On the subject of caps, you may prefer ones that stay attached to the bottle when open in case it gets dropped and lost.

Stainless Steel Safari Water Bottles

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This Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Bottle is made of food grade stainless steel and doesn't retain or impart flavours so a drink stays fresh. Rounded corners are easy to clean with no hard angles where dirt, germs or other bacteria can stick. The loop cap is made from BPA-free polypropylene and can be clipped onto backpacks, bags or belt loops. Comes in numerous colours, sizes and caps. Buy Now

This Klean Kanteen Insulated Bottle is equipped with a leak-proof Stainless Loop Cap, you can clip it onto your bag or throw it inside. The slim design of the Kanteen Insulated has rounded corners to make the bottle easy to clean and the 100% stainless steel interior won't retain or impart flavours. It keeps contents hot or cold for up to six hours. Buy Now

This Stanley stainless steel water bottle comes with a lanyard securing the cap, a leak-proof lid with integrated ice catch and a rolled lip, wide-mouth tumbler for unobstructed filling, drinking and cleaning. Buy Now

This 18-ounce hydration bottle has durable stainless steel interior and exterior, flip-top lid with built-in sipping design, button activated lid and additional clasp for secure travel. The double wall vacuum insulation locks in temperature to preserve flavour and freshness. Condensation-free with cold beverages. Buy Now

Hydro Flask's insulated water bottles are made of food grade stainless steel. The bottles have no liner (like most aluminum bottles) and are BPA free. Unlike plastic water bottles or single wall stainless bottles, Hydro Flask will keep your beverage at your preferred temperature for hours. All Hydro Flask products feature a lifetime warranty and are double wall vacuum insulated. 40 oz capacity. Buy Now

Plastic Safari Water Bottles

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The Thermos Intak Hydration Bottle is made from BPA free, impact-resistant Tritan copolyester. It has a locking leak-proof lid with one-hand push button operation. There's a flip up loop for easy carrying; ergonomic design for comfortable usage. Monitor your intake with the rotating intake meter. Ideal for water, iced tea, juices and sports drinks - 24-ounce capacity. Buy Now

This Nalgene water bottle has a wide mouth water which is easy to wash, fill, drink from and adaptable with accessories. Tritan construction is 100 percent BPA-free. Easy to use screw top lid is secure when packed and loop-top can be clipped to bag or harness. It can be adapted to have a smaller outlet with the Nalgene Easy Sipper Buy Now

The Vapur Element water bottle rolls, folds or lies flat when it's empty. When you fill it up it stands by itself. The larger Vapur Element holds more liquid than standard sports bottles and does not include BPA. It has an integrated carabiner to carry easily on your day bag. It is freezable, has a wide and is easy to open with a pop-up cap. Buy Now

This collapsible plastic water container is durable, softer and flexible. It is easy to carry with a clip gate handle. It has anti-microbial and anti-slime properties so water stays fresh and tastes fresh. The 'DuoLock' dual-locking cap won't accidentally flip or twist open, averting leaks. 1 litre (34 oz). Buy Now

Aluminium Safari Water Bottles

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Sigg's Nat SiGGnificant water bottle combines outstanding durability and leakproof protection. It has an integrated straw for easy sipping and a pressure relief valve that makes it perfect for carbonated beverages. Buy Now

The Sigg Siggnature wide-mouth water bottle has a large opening that makes adding ice easy. It's crafted of lightweight aluminum, with a BPA-free EcoCare liner that doesn't retain taste or odour. Buy Now

Safari Backpack Water Carriers

Safari backpack water carriers or hydration packs are ideal for long days out walking in the bush wilderness. Worn on your back, they carry a lot more water than most reusable water bottles and all the gear you might need.

The soft sided reservoir of water is contained in the backpack and a tube to sip from can be attached to the front of your clothing for easy drinking on the go. This has the major advantage that you remember to drink to more often and therefore stay well hydrated.

African hunters who opt for this water carrying system will need to consider whether it is really necessary for the type and location of their hunt. If the intention is for possibly long distance walking on elephant or buffalo tracks in a wilderness area, this system can be ideal. Every African hunter has his own way of doing things but generally hunting is best done with nothing but the minimum of kit hanging off your body. Things might get a little snarled up if you add another layer of strapping plus a drinking tube while carrying your rifle sling, binoculars and other oddments. The alternative of a tracker or gunbearer carrying your water backpack makes it difficult to drink on the move.

So for African hunters considering a backpack water carrier it is recommended to choose the lightest, sleekest design with the least extraneous loops, additional straps and webbing, which will carry the amount of water you want.

Backpack Water Carrier Options

  • A water-only backpack which is basically a set of straps and pouch to hold the water reservoir on your back with no, or minimal, additional gear storage space.
  • You could add the bare water reservoir and tube to your own backpack if it has an adequately sized, convenient pocket to take it.
  • Or you calculate the amount of storage space and volume of water you want and choose a spacious hydration backpack with lots of compartments.

Water-Only/Minimum Storage Safari Backpacks

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This rugged hydration pack is constructed from heavy-duty nylon and is resistant to tears and abrasion. The fully removable water bladder has a 3 litre (100 ounce) capacity. Water is drawn via the hands-free hydration hose with bite valve to open up the flow of water. Sleek and compact in design. Buy Now

The Big Zip LP hydration system comes with an easy-to-clean wide-mouth opening and a low-profile design that fits the back panel of any backpack. Buy Now

CamelBak's Classic Hydration Pack has a 2 litre (70 oz) hydration reservoir. Breathable-mesh back panel circulates air between your back and the pack to keep you cool. Durable water-repellent coating for long-lasting performance. Lightweight mesh harness. External fill. Essentials pocket. Buy Now

CamelBak Rogue Hydration Pack has breathable mesh construction which keeps you cool, easy-to-access, quick-release reservoir flap for quick refilling and a few convenient pockets for gear. 2 litre (70 oz). Buy Now

The CamelBak ThermoBak Hydration Pack has 3 litre (100 oz) 'Antidote' Reservoir with 'Quick Link' exit port and 'HydroLock' bite-valve adapter, which allows for faster refilling and auto shut-off. It's made of strong nylon fabric with quick-attach pressure strap for easy on-the-move hydration. Buy Now

Water Reservoirs For Own Safari Backpack

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Outfitted with the 'Antidote' reservoir and 'Quick Link' attachment system, this versatile, low-profile, insulated reservoir holds 3+ hours of hydration in any backpack. Durable water-repellent finish. Available in various capacity. Buy Now

Turn an existing backpack into a hydration pack or replace old reservoirs with CamelBak's Military Water Beast Omega replacement hydration reservoir. 3 litres (100 oz). It has proven durability with Hydroguard anti-microbial protection. It includes an insulated delivery tube with Quick Disconnect Hydrolink, a Hydrolink Port Plug and Hydrolink Big Bite Valve. Buy Now

Safari Backpack Water Carriers With More Gear Storage

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The Camelbak Ambush hydration backpack is a simple pack with big compartments, a velcro strip and the hydration bladder. The main compartment is covered in webbing so you can add compatible pouches onto it if you choose. It's made of sturdy material and features a 100oz polyurethane hydration reservoir which is designed to collapse in on itself. The opening is large enough for easy cleaning and makes filling with ice or drink mixes much easier. Buy Now

CamelBak's M.U.L.E. hydration pack is built to hold your supplies, has an advanced hydration system and the comfort of a cushioned back panel that maximizes airflow. 3 litres (100 oz) 'Antidote' reservoir with 'Quick Link' system lets you easily remove the tube for quick filling. 'Big Bite Valve' self seals after each drink and 'HydroGuard' technology lets you turn off water flow. Buy Now

CamelBak's Rim Runner hydration pack is smartly built for a full day on the trail. It has a 3 litre (100 oz) reservoir, a padded back panel and multiple compartments. Buy Now

The spacious CamelBak's Asset hydration pack has an insulated water tube, 2 litre (70 oz) 'Antidote' reservoir and plenty of organizer pockets in the main compartment. Buy Now

The efficient design of Platypus' Tokul XC 5.0 hydration pack holds 2 litres (70 oz) of hydration, it can store gear. Buy Now

Women's Safari Backpack Water Carriers

Obviously women can use the same personal water bottles and water-only backpacks as men. It is only the water backpacks with lots of storage space that need to be sized especially for women.

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CamelBak's Spark 10HR hydration pack offers ultralight storage and easy organization for women. The 2 litre (70 oz) 'Antidote' lumbar reservoir keeps the weight where you want it. Women-specific design features a shorter torso length and S-shaped harness that prevents chafing. Buy Now

CamelBak's Aventura hydration pack features a spacious, trail-ready backpack with an integrated 3 litres (100 oz) Omega HydroTanium reservoir in an insulated pocket so your water stays cool. Buy Now

A technical backpack with a state-of-the-art reservoir-integration system, CamelBak's Vista FT hydration backpack features a well-ventilated back panel, generously padded shoulder and waist straps and load-controlling compression straps. Women-specific design with a shorter torso length, S-curved shoulder harness and a narrower harness spacing to fit a women's shoulders. Buy Now

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