How to add a water bottle holder to a hiking backpack

Hiking can be daunting and exhausting, and having easy access to water is essential. When your bottle is tucked away in a backpack, it can often be overlooked, and that’s where a water bottle holder comes in. Whether you want to save some money and do it yourself or buy an easy attachment, the choice is yours. Let’s take a look at some of the options on how to add a water bottle holder to a Hiking Backpack.

Why would you want to add a water bottle holder?

When hiking, it can be an annoying chore to have to stop every few steps to stop and pull your backpack around to get your water bottle out. It is even more annoying for your hiking partner when you ask them to get it out for you. When hiking, the ideal scenario is to have easy access to your water to ensure you stay hydrated and can keep your pace up.

you can opt for Hydration bladders which is a more sophisticated solution but it comes at a cost or you can opt for simple DIY hacks to create your own convenient bottle holder on your backpack straps.

DIY Hacks

Attach to the backpack strap

One DIY solution is to attach the water bottle to your backpack strap yourself. This way it will be on the front of your backpack for easy access while hiking. To make this method work, you must first have attached a fabric runner to the straps of your bag, loosely sewn along the strap so you are still able to attach things onto it. You can then tightly tie a string of elastic around this fabric and attach your water bottle to this elastic loop. The bigger your water bottle is, the bigger you make the loop.

Use what you already have

Some backpacks come with attachments and features that you could utilize as a bottle holder. For example, some backpacks have a trekking pole attachment already. You can turn this into a makeshift hiking water bottle holder. If you don’t have a pack that has one of these, they are cheap and easy to buy.


Something as simple as hairbands can be used as a water bottle holder. Weave them together for stretch, and then slide them through the shoulder loop on your backpack. These can be used to secure a bottle in place. Rubber bands are a good alternative, but these can sometimes be a little tricky to work with.

Paracord or shoelaces

Believe it or not, something as simple as a shoelace can be used to attach a water bottle to your backpack. If you can teach yourself to tie a jug knot, then you should have this method covered. A paracord could work better, but the shoelace should do just fine.

Solutions you can buy

If you are not the DIY kind, there are plenty of options out there that you can purchase to make your life a little easier.

Hanging water bottle buckle – A hanging water bottle buckle is a simple and effective way to attach your water bottle to your pack. You can place the rubberized hole over your bottle top, and use the carabiner to securely fit it onto the straps.

Bottle carrier – A bottle carrier is a lightweight option that holds all different-sized water bottles thanks to the Velcro straps. It can be placed on the front shoulder strap of a backpack.

Bottle sleeve – A bottle sleeve is a slightly more solid version of the bottle carrier, as the bottle can completely fit inside the sleeve, which in turn can attach to a backpack. With this option, you have the choice of opting for a padded version, for comfort and insulation.

Alternates to Water Bottles 

Hydration bladders are a godsend to hikers. They solve the problem of hard-to-reach water bottles, and they take up little to no space when they are empty. The water pouch can be safely tucked away in your back on your back, and then a water tube stretches from the pouch to your front, making it extremely easy to drink from. You take a sip without even stopping. If your pack doesn’t have a suitable hole to feed the tube through, you can easily make one.

Hydration backpacks – You can get entire backpacks made purely for hydration purposes. It includes a bladder that perfectly fits inside the small backpack, which helps to keep the water inside nice and cool.

Hydration belt – Similar to a hydration backpack, but on a smaller scale, is a hydration belt. These can be worn around your waist. In addition to hiking, these can be worn for sports such as paddle boarding, as they are worn around the middle of the body it does not inhibit movement or lower your sense of gravity. A tube runs from the belt to a strap around your neck for easy access.

When prepping for a hike, even a short one, the small things can make a huge difference. Having easy access to water can be the difference between a successful and a failed hike. All options have their own pros and cons, so you should pick the one that fits your needs and preferences, such as access and comfort. 

Emily Winters

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