| Outside magazine, September 1996|
TWO GALLONS OF WATER PER PERSON PER day gets heavy (a gallon weighs eight pounds), not to mention bulky. How to carry all that liquid? We have a few ideas.
Backpacking. Because staving off dehydration calls for continuous drinking, a hands-free hydration system, such as CamelBak's M.U.L.E. water pack ($70, 800-767-8725) or the Ultimate Direction Nimbus ($89, 800-426-7229), is ideal for desert hiking. If you're wearing a separate pack, you can add the water bladder to the load, but be warned: It will take up lots of space. For reserve storage, carry several Cascade Designs Platypus plastic bladders ($6 for the 2.5-liter size, 800-839-7015). They collapse when empty and can deliver water directly to your mouth when coupled with a $10 hose and bite valve.
Car-camping.Easy: Fill a few gallon milk jugs or buy bottled water in 2.5-gallon containers-the kind with the built-in tap-from a grocery store. Unfortunately, these aren't refillable and sometimes leak. Mountain Safety Research's ten-liter Dromedary bag ($27, 800-877-9677) is a better bet: a sturdy, collapsible bladder of heavy-gauge, polyurethane-coated Cordura, with a pour spout and an optional shower kit ($11).
Of course, desert rats for decades have relied on flat-sided, GI-style jerry cans. The updated version is the plastic, five-gallon Blitz Can ($10) from Dick Cepek Inc. (800-992-3735). The classic metal version of the Blitz also is still available ($11), together with brackets for mounting on any off-road-ready vehicle ($28).