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).