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How to Keep your Water Bottles from Freezing in Winter

One of my readers aked me how to prevent her water bottles from freezing while she was camping above treeline on Mt. Rainier.

96 oz. BPA free Nalgene Canteen - Big Mouth
96 oz. BPA free Nalgene Canteen – Big Mouth

If you’re in a harsh environment like this, there are a few ways you can prevent your water from freezing at night.

  1. If there’s snow, bury your full water bottle or bladders in it. Snow is an excellent insulator, and it will prevent your water from freezing overnight. I got this tip from Allen & Mike’s Really Cool Backcountry Ski Book: Traveling & Camping Skills for a Winter Environment. It’s an incredible winter camping guide.
  2. Sleep with your water bottle in your sleeping bag.
  3. Use water bottles or water bladders with a very wide mouth, like BPA-free Nalgene Canteens. These are available in a variety of sizes, like the 96 oz. version shown here. The wide mouth inhibits freezing at the top and freezing of the threads, so you can open the bladder to take a drink.
  4. Turn your water bottles or bladders upside down. This will prevent them from freezing around the top, especially during the day when you’re hiking.

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  1. I would add, boil the water and then place it in the Nalgene to throw in my Sleeping bag. Its a great warmer when the temps dip in the teens.

  2. I second what CaptShutter said. Slip the Nalgene bottle in to a wool or fleece hat or bag and it will last most of the night.

  3. My friend got hypothermia while camping because he put his water bottle in his sleeping bag at night and it leaked. So, I would suggest making sure your water bottle doesn’t leak first! Or putting it in a waterproof bag.

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