How Much Water For Camping? Easy Guidelines To Follow

One thing that I have always made sure to bring enough of while camping is water. We all know that water is important for us, but we need to remember that we need water for more than just drinking.

How much water should you bring camping? Bring at least two gallons of water per person, per day for drinking, cooking, and bathing when you are camping.

It’s easy to forget that you need water while camping for more than just drinking, but it’s true. Just take the number of people in your camping group and multiply it by 2. Then multiply that number by the number of days you will be camping.

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Bring At Least One Gallon Of Drinking Water Per Person Per Day

Water is important for us, we all know that. Our bodies are approximately 60% water and so drinking enough water is essential. If that stat doesn’t have you convinced then I don’t know what will.

Even if you do not drink 1 gallon of water per day, it is good to have that amount of water available to you for a number of reasons. The most obvious is that dehydration is dangerous. Dehydration can and will negatively affect your mood and performance, both of which you need to be in good shape while on a camping trip.

If you want to learn more about how to stay healthy while camping then click here to read another article I wrote explaining how to lose weight while camping.

Climate Heavily Affects How Much Water You Need

The climate you will be camping in can have a huge impact on how much water our body needs. If it is dry and hot then naturally we are going to need more water because we will be sweating a lot more water out. Deserts are some of the best places to camp, but we need to be prepared to combat its unforgiving dryness. It is easy to drink 1 gallon of water when you are exposed to these dry hot elements.

Your Activity Level Heavily Affects How Much Water You Need

The level of activity you will be doing while camping could also be a reason to bring that extra water, especially if it is combined with an arid climate. Strenuous activity such as hiking can require you to naturally drink much more water than what you are used to. If you plan to just sit and relax that is cool too, but you should still be sipping on some H20.

It helps to have some things to carry all that water we need in. Carrying a bunch of disposable 1-gallon water jugs will get annoying and take up too much space in your car, trust me, I have done it. Get yourself a couple of large water jugs, and it will make taking water on your camping trip that much easier.

These large camping water jugs can easily be used to pour water into a nice insulated water bottle for you to use, they really are one of the best camping gear investments that I have ever made. I also like to take a hydration backpack with me while camping so I can go on a hike and not have to stop every 5 minutes to take a drink of water.

Bring at least 1 gallon of water per person per day for other water needs

You are going to need water for more than just drinking and that is why camping water jugs are so important. You will be surprised at how much water we actually use on a daily basis when it is a fixed supply. Camping can be a painful reminder about how much water we actually need every day, but it doesn’t have to be painful if you are well prepared and know what you will need extra water for.

You Need Water For Cooking Food When You Are Camping

We need water for cooking our food. Lots of great and healthy food that you can take camping requires water to make. This especially includes energy-rich staples like rice, pasta, and oatmeal. Occasionally I have been known to sneak a box of instant mac and cheese into my pack up, it brings me right back to childhood. So just make sure to bring enough water for cooking your food as well.

One of my favorite foods for camping from above is rice. Rice is very versatile and gives you a lot of the energy that you are going to need. Consider clicking here to read another article I wrote titled “How to cook rice while camping”.

You Need Water To Wash Dishes While Camping

We need water in order to wash our dishes. After having a great meal that required water to cook, you will have to clean off those dirty dishes with some water. It won’t be like at home where you can run each dish under a concentrated stream of water, but you will still need a good deal of water to wash your dishes. Disposable plates, bowls, and cutlery can come in handy here. The point is to bring some extra water to clean up those dishes.

When you are done washing your dishes, please make sure that you practice proper leave no trace principles and dispose of dirty dishwater appropriately. If you need some pointers on how to do this then click here to read my guide on properly disposing of dishwater when you are camping.

We need water for showering or rinsing off our bodies. Okay maybe you won’t be taking a real shower when you are camping, but it is amazing how good rinsing off your body with some water can feel like when you have been camping, especially for an extended period of time. I like to take a portals shower with me because I love hiking while camping and that can lead to some serious shower needs. So be sure to have some water handy for keeping yourself clean.

Your Pets Also Need Water While Camping

We need water for our pets. We aren’t the only ones that need to drink an adequate amount of water. The pets that we bring camping with us need to have some fresh water to drink too. Don’t forget their bowl! Be sure to account for the pets when deciding how much water you need to bring.

Keep in mind that the 1 gallon per person per day recommendation is only for drinking water. Now we have all of these other things that we use water for that we need to prepare for. That is why it is essential that we have enough water storage to accommodate all the water that we are going to need. Of course, our plans may be very different and our water needs will vary, so take all of these things into consideration when deciding on how much water to bring.

Research To See If There Is A Watersource Near Your Campground

Having a water source at your campground could save you a lot of space in your car from toting all of those water jugs around. It is important to do your research to know if there is a water source at or near your campground. There are a few reasons for this;

Campgrounds can have water, but it might not always be safe to drink. Even if there is access to drinking water, I like to always bring some of my own water from home to drink. Things can change when you get to your campsite, there have been many times where I checked in only to see a sign that says the water at the campground had been temporarily shut off for whatever reason. Usually, this is because of “construction” or “seasonal closures: but if this happens to you, then you will be extra glad that you brought some extra water from home.

There are other sources of water that can be near your campground that you might be tempted to drink. Many of the best campsites are situated close to beautiful streams, creeks, rivers, ponds, lakes, etc. The water could be crystal clear, but you should always take extra precautions before ingesting it. Boiling water from these water sources is your best bet, even before using it to cook your food.

Always boil first, and if you are in a situation where you can’t boil the water or it would take too long, there are always life straws or purifying tablets. Speaking of boiling water, I wrote another article detailing 13 unique ways to boil water while camping, click here to expand your knowledge on such an exciting topic!

It Is Better To Bring More Water Than You Need Than Not Enough

Camping does not need to be complicated, and being prepared is one of the best things you can do to make a camping trip easy and stress-free. If you bring enough water, then you do not have to leave your campground activities in search of some water.

It is healthier and safer to have access to water at all times and it is one less thing to worry about. Your camping trip should not include any worries in the first place, don’t make not having enough water a worry. If you somehow managed to bring a lot of extra water, you could go around the campground and see if anyone else forgot to bring enough, or if they are running low. This just might be a ticket to meeting some new friends and making some good memories.


You need at least 1 gallon of water per person per day to drink while camping, but you also need to bring a few gallons for all of the other things that require water. Getting some large water jugs can make it a lot easier. Research the camping spot you are going to beforehand to see if there is a water source. At the end of the day, remember that if you brought more water than you needed, that is perfectly okay and much better than not having enough water in the first place.

Related Questions

How much water should you drink a day camping?

You should drink around 1 gallon of water per day while you are camping, especially in warmer climates.

How much water do you need for 3 days camping?

For 3 days of camping, you should expect to use at least 2 gallons of water per person, per day. This would be 6 gallons per person for a 3-day camping trip.

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Zachary Smith

Zach is an avid outdoorsman that loves going camping with his Prius every chance he gets. He also regularly enjoys hiking and fishing. When he's not outside you can probably find him writing about it on this website. See his full bio here

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