How to Carry Water for Your Dog

Ways to Carry Water and Making Sure Your Dog Can Drink it

Today we will be covering dog hydration again, but looking more specifically at water systems.  While it’s important to have enough clean water, it is not the only consideration you should have in mind when planning a trip with your dog.  One important issue to consider is how you plan to carry water for your pup and the method of getting the water to your dog. 
All the gear we have accumulated to ensure BeeGee has water
All the gear we have accumulated to ensure BeeGee has water

In a previous post, A Guide to Keeping Your Dog Hydrated, I talked about ways to keep your dog hydrated on outdoor adventures.  Today, I am going to share the products BeeGee uses for water; when they work best; and their issues.

At a Base Camp

When BeeGee and I are out on adventures with a base camp, our REI Dog Water Bowl is the best bowl for the job.  Unfortunately, REI doesn’t carry it anymore, but carries a very similar Ruffwear bowl (its more expensive though!).  The bowl weighs 5.2 oz, is made of a flexible cloth/fabric mix, and holds approximately 1.5 liters, but is too large to fit in BeeGee’s pack.  This bowl works best when at a permanent campsite with a water faucet or water pump.  You don’t need to carry any water, just fill the bowl with water, and let your dog enjoy. 

it works great at a permanent campsite
The Rei Dog Water Bowl:  it works great at a permanent campsite 

Without a Pack

On short trips when it’s not worth the hassle to put BeeGee’s pack on or when I feel it is to hot out for her wear her pack, I will carry her water for her.  To do this I use the OllyDog 1 liter bottle.  The 1L bottle weighs 7.4 oz, is made from hard plastic, and has a form fit water bowl that attaches to the bottle.  This bottle is a water carrier and bowl all rolled up into one.  Plus, 1 Liter of water will last BeeGee a while.  However, the OllyDog bottle is heavy when filled with water and is too long to fit in BeeGee’s pack. 

It has an attachable water bottle making it a complete water system
The OllyDog 1 L Bottle.  It has an attachable water bottle making it a complete water system

The Old Method

When we go backpacking and BeeGee is carrying her own pack, the OllyDog 600ml bottles were our go to water system.  BeeGee would carry 2 bottles, 1 in each side of her pack.  This helped to keep the pack balanced and even.  Each OllyDog 600ml bottle weighs 5.2 oz, is made from hard plastic, and has an attachable water bowl.  However, carrying both bottles adds a lot of extra weight for BeeGee.  In addition, the bottles take up a lot of room in her pack and are inflexible so other items fit awkwardly. 

Carries water and has an attachable water bowl.
OllyDog 600ml bottle.  Carries water and has an attachable water bowl.

The Latest Plan

For our latest plan, BeeGee will carry 2 soft water bottles and a collapsible silicone bowl.  The soft water bottles we use are Platypus SoftBottle.  A platypus bottle weighs almost nothing at 0.5 oz, holds 500 ml, and is made of flexible plastic.  In addition, the bottles use the same threading as my Sawyer water filter, so I can filter water straight into her bowl.  Furthermore, the bottles are flexible so they fit better with the other items in BeeGee’s pack. 
A lightweight, flexible option for carrying water.
The Platypus SoftBottles.  A lightweight, flexible option for carrying water.

Unfortunately, the bottles weren’t made specifically for pets, so a bowl is needed to drink from (unless your pup will drink straight from the bottle).  To fix this I picked up an inexpensive collapsible silicone bowl at Walmart.  The bowl weighs 4.4 oz, holds around 500ml of water, and folds up all compact like.  However, the bowl is finicky about folding up and is much deeper than it is wide.  I feel that there is a better collapsible bowl out there at will continue to look.    
I don't even know the brand, but it folds up and holds water just fine
A Collapsible Silicone Bowl.  I don't even know the brand, but it folds up and holds water just fine

The new system has worked out to be a little bit better so far because it packs better and it weighs half as much as the old system.  We will continue to use this until we find something better to replace it.

Final Thoughts

I hope that looking at what BeeGee and I use will help you decide how you will carry water for your trail buddy.  My biggest considerations for her are comfort and weight.  I don’t want to carry heavy, uncomfortable gear so I bet BeeGee doesn’t want to either.  Just remember that having available clean water is the ultimate goal.  In the end, it doesn’t matter how you carry water or what bowl you use if no water is available. 

How are you carrying water for you dog out on the trails?  Also, if you enjoy the blog, please follow us on Facebook.


  1. Any chance we will see a picture of BeeGee modeling her full gear for us?? After all BeeGee is the star here!!! (Smiles)

    1. I will definitely do a post soon on what BeeGee carries and have her model for everyone.

  2. When I finally get a dog, I plan to train him to carry his own food and water as well. Great info.

    1. I'm glad you found the info helpful. Having your dog carry their gear makes everything a lot easier. Just plan on readjusting the pack and shifting weight around frequently.


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