Water containers and storage for camping – BPA-free

Carrying your own water supply is essential for wild camping, and very handy for campsites too. So, we’ve been looking for the best water containers.

Our wishlist? BPA-free, won’t leak, split or spill; easy to fill, and preferably with a tap. 

Here’s what we found.

We’ve tested a LOT of water carriers. Disposables are out because there’s way too much plastic rubbish already. But we have found some real winners.

Latest update: July 2020

 From foldable water containers to buckets with taps..the best water carriers for camping

Our top choice
5/5

Sea to Summit Pack-Tap

In a four- or 10-litre option, this is a perfectly flat water container with a one-hand operated tap. The inside bladders are mylar (the stuff they make wine bladders out of) and the outside is rip-top nylon, so it’s durable and won’t taint your water.

Although we weren’t keen at first that it didn’t stand up, it’s turned out to be the one we use most. The 10-litre version hangs nicely on the side of our van or in a tree and the tap is easy to use with one hand while you hold a water bottle or kettle with the other. 10 litres is also a decent quantity for a two-day trip.

The only downside is that the fabric can get wet when you fill it. Dries quickly, though. Costs between £17 and £40. Great for minimal packing and for avoiding any chance of plastic-y water.

Packable and stands up
4.4/5

The Source Liquitainer

The Liquitainer is great for refilling drinking bottles and it’s proved very handy on the campsite and wild camping.

Its downside is that it’s a bit small at four litres, but just take two. We like it for its foldability and the fact it also stands up. BPA- and phthalate-free, wide top for easy filling (you can get ice into it too). It uses a material that inhibits bacteria build-up. Just make sure you pull the clip across the top to seal it! Around £20.

Top for versatility
4.6/5

Colapz 2-1 buckets for water

While they don’t look as if they’d be OK for drinking water, David at Colapz tells us thes are absolutely food-safe, UV and frost resistant and BPA-free.

The Colapz buckets fold virtually flat (with a nifty stretch cord to keep them closed, have a lid and a tap that can be replaced with a cover for easier storage.

Around £25. They hold eight litres.

We use ours with the brilliant Colapz rechargeable shower (have a look at our camping shower feature), and there’s also a 3-in-1 folding bucket with a detachable watering can nozzle. Plus a mains water kit for caravans and campervans.

Fast fill, good handle
4/5

Platypus Platy Water Tank

Clever water storage that comes in two-, four- and six-litre options. The wide-mouth, press-close opening is easy to fill and clean. It’s BPA-free and even has a technology to stop the tank getting mouldy or contaminated by bacteria.

It stands more or less stable on rough surfaces and has a comfortable handle. A pouring spout rather than a tap, but nice to pour and water comes out quickly, which can be an advantage (use as a watering can at home!).

Costs between £20 and £40. Store it away empty for travel because the press seal on the top isn’t absolutely trustworthy.

Use at home too
3.7/5

Fridge water storers with tap

There are a few of these and most seem to be BPA-free. You may want to sterilise the inside now and again, though, as the plastic can be hard to clean out thoroughly. Not great for carrying around on a campsite because they don’t have handles.

The Balvi water dispenser (above) holds 5.5 litres and gets a good rating. To get a decent flow from the tap, you need to allow a little air inside through the bung. Around £20.

Brita make the Flow Maxtra (8 litres) with tap and filter cartridges. Around £30.

Jerry cans

As simple and sturdy as it gets, but bulky. These come in a wide range of sizes and with taps in various positions. Very practical. Whether they’re BPA-free is questionable in some cases.

The Ridgemonkey jerry can (recommended to us by an experienced van camper) is a little rough around the edges, but it’s made of HDPE and comes in three sizes. If you want to know a little about which plastics are deemed safe, check out this article. The 10l Ridgemonkey costs around £25.

Avoid the squashy jerry cans

One to avoid. These tend to make water taste unpleasant no matter how well you rinse them out. Made of nasty PVC.

MSR Dromedary

VERY robust and very packable, though needs to be laid flat, these are water bags with a screw-off cap and a nozzle. The Dromedary comes in four- and 10-litre versions.

From around £40, depending on size. Drop it out of a plane and it survives, apparently.

Igloo Legend cooler container

An insulated water container with a top handle and sturdy build. Costs around £30 and holds 10 litres. Doesn’t pack away neatly, but an option if you have the space.

Ortlieb water bags

Ortlieb make good drybags, so they’ve turned that idea inside-out to make bags that keep the water on the inside.

They carry 10-litres and have handles for carrying or hanging. No tap, though. Instead there’s a nozzle system that can be adapted for a drinking pipe or for pouring. Around £25.

Kampa Keg

People seem like this camping water storage keg but, as with many folding plastic options, they easily puncture or develop leaks where the folds weaken the plastic. Two sizes from £10.

What to avoid unless budget is VERY tight…

Eurohike roll-up water carrier

Comes with a tap, but is basically a roll-up bag, so super-small when not in use. Won’t stand up and the top isn’t all that secure. Still, it’s only £6. I’d prefer to get something long-lasting.

Plastic water bags

From as little as £1, these are the most basic option for camping water. Simply a bag with a handle and tap. Made of polyethylene (PE), they tend to come as five- or 10-litre options. You’ll need to hold them while filling as they don’t stand up very well. Won’t last, so you’ll end up adding more plastic to the waste mountain. A bit rubbish.

Concertina water carriers

We’re not all that keen on this type (which is a more basic form of the Kampa Keg). Again, the folds are a weak area. We also wonder whether they are actually BPA-free…who would know! Guaranteed not to last, so more plastic waste. Cheap, but buy something that will last instead.

And to avoid plastic altogether for your water storage?

Gorgeous, eh? This is a fusti – a dispenser for olive oil, honey or water. These are made by Nuova Sansone and cost from £50. Sizes range from three to 10 litres.

Heavy, breakable and with no carrying handle, but this glass eight-litre Kilner drinks dispenser would definitely be taste-free and not leach anything nasty into your water. Around £20.

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One Comment

  1. Chris Vesey

    We bought a source liquitainer……tap cover no longer supplied despite showing in ads and description, falls over after you walk away, tap came out when turning on, apart from that its ok, hang it outside,
    Chris
    ED: Sounds like you got a dud there, Chris. We love ours. We do lay it flat or hang it, as it’s not very stable standing up. Our tap does have a cover. It’s been very robust and reliable for the last four months.

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