Alternative water carrier for winter hiking and camping

Preventing the water in your canteen or water bottle from freezing can be a problem when the temperature is well below 0*C/32*F. It’s true that in this situation there’s a good chance there will be snow around which can be melted and used for drinking and cooking, but this isn’t always convenient or possible.

One way to keep a supply of liquid water with you is to use a thermos as a canteen. Everyone is familiar with using thermoses for their intended purpose of keeping hot drinks/soups hot, but they are also effective at preventing slightly warm or room-temperature liquids from freezing in the winter, thanks to their insulative properties. Just fill yours up with water at home before you head out or with boiled/filtered/treated water while in the wilds, just like you would with a regular canteen or water bottle, and you’re good to go. It’ll save you both time and effort!

By the way, did you know you can use a thermos to cook some foods as well? Just add the correct amount of boiling water and the contents of your favorite rice or pasta meal package to the thermos, shake it up well and hit the trail/woods. Your food will prepare itself without any chance of it burning and will stay hot for hours! I picked up this tip from The Backwoodsman Magazine.

And to my Finnish readers: hyvää itsenäisyyspäivää! 🙂


8 comments on “Alternative water carrier for winter hiking and camping

  1. OutdoorEnvy says:

    That’s a good tip about the thermos. I usually take mine when I’m hunting and don’t plan on having a fire right away. That’s a good idea about cooking your food in it too. But I’m going to be honest…building a fire to cook with in the woods is fun to me so I’ll probably just keep doing that most of the time. But there are areas that won’t allow fires and we do go through burn bans in my area so it would be useful in those situations too. Thanks for the tip

  2. Ron says:

    Good idea about cooking your food in a thermos, but if you’re going to have water too it means bringing 2 thermosflasks.
    Last winter I noticed that it took at least an hour at -20 for water from home, at about 6-8 degrees, to start to freeze. That was a steel 1L canteen in a webbingcarrier. Maybe the movement when walking keeps it liquid for longer? The advantage of a single wall steel canteen is that you can put it right next to the fire in order to warm up again, while cooking a meal or simply warming up youraself.

    • Sure, you’d need two thermoses if you want to do both. The cooking idea was just something extra that came to mind which I thought I’d add to the post. 🙂

      Yep, water doesn’t freeze instantly just because the temperature is low, but if you go out in the morning and come back late (or camp overnight), it will freeze eventually. Heating your metal water bottle by the fire works, of course, but it’s nice to not have to do it. 😉

      BTW, I do believe keeping the water moving prevents it from freezing sooner.

  3. I like the idea of using a thermos for cooking- boil your water during breakfast and you will not have to build another one for lunch.
    Thanks for the tip!

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