How to Keep Drinks Cold In a Backpack?

Useful tips for keeping your drinks cold and refreshing during the hike

Written by Elisa Chan. Updated on How to Keep Drinks Cold In a Backpack

If you love hiking, you know how refreshing a cold drink can be to soothe the thirst. However, even if you are not hiking in summer, your water and other beverages will pretty soon get warm in a backpack!

And since drinking a warm substance that does not bring your thirst down is far from being delightful, most hikers wonder how they can keep drinks cold during the trip in their backpack.

So today we will share a few methods with you that will allow you to have your drinks always cool and refreshing while you are on the way.

How to Keep a Drink Cold All Day In a Backpack?

Since it is impossible to make drinks stay cold long enough after they are taken out of the fridge, you can opt for one of the simple methods of retaining the coolness of a beverage while you are hiking outdoors.

These how-to-keep-drinks-cold life hacks can be used separately, but you will get better results and your drinks will be able to retain their coldness way longer if you make use of several methods at the same time. And since all of the suggested ways are very easy to make use of, you will not need any specific appliances or skills for making your drinks stay cold longer in a backpack.

Provide It With Enough Insulation

One of the simplest ways that can keep your drink cold is to provide the beverage with proper insulation. Fortunately, you don’t need to do anything special for that since today there are plenty of special backpacks in the market designed for insulating the drinks.

These backpacks have special pockets that are meant for keeping the drinks insulated in them. Like this, cold drinks stay cold and warm drinks remain warm while being kept in there.

As an additional option, to make your drink stay cool longer while you are hiking outdoors, make sure you provide it with the source of coldness. Obviously, the very first source of that kind one can think of is ice.

So what you can do is to make use of an ice chest for keeping your drinks chilled (only choose the one that is travel-size!). Or stick to the even simpler solution and make use of an ordinary thermos. For better effect, your thermos can be cooled in a fridge in advance so that it provides even more coldness for the drink inside of it.

How to Keep Drinks Cold In a Backpack all day
Credits: EXTREME Photographer, via

Keep Your Drinks Away From Sunlight

This is basically the simplest and the most obvious way of keeping any drinks cool longer. So even if you are using extra sources of cold (such as ice) or your drinks are being kept in a thermos or an ice chest, make sure you keep those containers away from the reach of direct sunlight. Like this, you will help the liquid to avoid warming since sunlight still has an effect and reduces the time your drinks could have stayed cold.

Get the Right Backpack Cooler

Using cool bags for travel is the simplest way you can keep your drinks chilled longer. However, to make the drink retain the coldness long enough, you need to know how to choose a cooler that keeps drinks cold effectively.

There is one simple tip you need to know for being able to choose a proper cooler. This is the material the item is made of. And the best type of material that is able to keep drinks properly insulated is polystyrene which is also known as Styrofoam.

This material is extremely lightweight, besides, it is moist-resistant, easy to give shape to, and it has a rather low manufacturing cost which means that coolers made of it will be quite cheap and affordable. So if you are going to buy a cooler to take with you while hiking, consider looking for those that use Styrofoam in them.

How to Keep Drinks Cold In a Backpack no sun;ight
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Get the Drinks Ready For the Hike

Preparing your drinks for the hiking tour is the same important as keeping them cold later. In fact, proper preparation will guarantee that the liquids will retain coldness much longer on the road.

The simplest thing you can do to get the drinks ready for the hike is to keep them in a freezing camera for two nights or more before you set off. In fact, this method can even help if you are not going to bring thermos with you or if you have no ice chest to stuff the drinks into and keep them chilled.

There is another simple life hack that will help you to extend the time your drinks can remain cold on the tour. Right before you set off from your home to go to the hiking spot, take the bottles with the drinks out of the fridge and wrap them with plastic bags. And then keep them wrapped with anything that provides insulating functions (for instance, a woolen cloth, your sleeping bag, etc.).

The plastic bags will stop any moisture from transferring, this is why it is important to make sure that these bags are not leaking!

How to Keep Drinks Cold In a Backpack get ready for hike
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Handy Tricks You Can Use For Keeping Drinks Cold?

The methods and life hacks we have just described above will surely help you to keep the drink cold while you are on the go hiking. However, to be absolutely sure that the beverage remains properly chilled long enough, we would still recommend you make use of additional measures.

Try to add some salt into your cooler once you fill it with ice. You see, salt and ice, when being combined together, produce a chemical reaction that boosts up the cooling effect. Why does it happen, you may wonder? Well, salt has the capability to lower the freezing point as you probably know. As a result, ice becomes extremely cold in the cooler thus making all the drinks there cold way longer.

As an alternative and very helpful solution, keep all the cold water bottles and drinks in your backpack closely together. The less spare space there is between the bottles, the less chances that warm air gets in contact with them and warms up the liquids. Ideally, make sure there is no spare space between the bottles at all!

Don’t forget to use help from mother nature while being on a hike. If the place where you are heading off has any sources of cold water, for instance, streams or lakes, take a container with you to fill it up with cold water from those ponds. Like this, you will have a source of cold that you can place your drinks into.

Finally, be smart while staying on the road. If you know there is a small town on your way and there are stores in it where you can buy extra cold water or drinks, don’t carry too many bottles of water or drinks with you. Better buy the additional ones when you reach that location.

How to Keep Food Cold on Camping Trips - Happy CamperHow to Keep Food Cold on Camping Trips – Happy Camper

What Drinks Are Better to Be Avoided In Your Hiking Backpack?

We all know that, when we are heading off for a long hiking tour, we need to have enough water with us to simply not dry out while being on the road. This is why having a proper amount of liquid is vitally important even if you are going to spend a day or two outdoors.

Of course, if you are planning to make long breaks while hiking, you might want to take some other drinks with you. Families that set off for a long weekend walk might want to have some juice with them for the kids while adults could prefer having some cold tea or coffee instead.

However, there are certain drinks and liquids that are better to be avoided in your backpack if you want to stay healthy and feel good while on a hiking trip.

  • dairy drinks (for instance, milk, milk cocktails and drinks, liquid yogurt, kefir, etc)
  • fizzy drinks
  • soda
  • alcohol
  • energy drinks

But why are these liquids forbidden if you are on a hike? Well, if we talk about dairy drinks, they are better to be avoided simply because they tend to spoil way too fast. It means that they carry a huge potential health hazard for you if being consumed spoiled.

As for the alcoholic beverages, first of all, it is simply dangerous to hike when you are under the influence of these liquids. In addition, alcohol is extremely dehydrating. And since on a hike it is basically pretty difficult for us to retain our body fluids, drinking alcohol will only make things worse.

The same is true for soda and fizzy drinks that are also very dehydrating. Since they contain extremely high amounts of sugar, when drinking them, you actually bring no proper water needed for your body during a hike. This is why when you sweat, those liquids are not replaced. And since you basically need several cans of soda to replace one bottle of water, it makes no sense to carry so many bottles with you!

In addition, the high sugar level that these drinks are known for make you feel tired way faster. While being on a hike, you definitely don’t need to tire your body even more since hiking is already tiresome enough.

In fact, energy drinks work the same except for the fact that they are even worse in comparison to soda and alcohol. All because energy drinks make us both dehydrated way faster and at the same time, the extreme dose of caffeine they contain create a ruining drawback. These drinks do not allow us to replace the liquids we lose!

So avoid these liquids when heading off to the hiking trip. Better take enough water with you instead.

How to Keep Drinks Cold In a Backpack how often to drink
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How Often You Shall Drink When Hiking?

Drinking proper liquids is not the only thing you need to know about before setting off for a hiking trip. It is also important to drink them at the proper time. First of all, make sure your body is well hydrated before you start your journey. For this, drink a few cups of water, a cup of orange juice, and a small sports drink. That will be a great start!

Also, it is essential to stay well hydrated during the hike. To save your body from losing liquids, drink frequently in small amounts. For instance, it is way better to drink one 16oz bottle of water an hour being split into thirds rather than drinking it whole at a time every hour.

See, if you drink large amounts of water every five hours or so, you will get very dehydrated this way pretty fast. In addition, it can make you feel sick and bloated.

Also, it is important to drink properly after you finish your hiking trip! But even though things can be taken easier now, keep on drinking water gradually during the next day to keep your body liquids at a proper level. If you drink a whole sports drink right at the end of your trip, it will be even better since it will allow your body to renew all the electrolytes it has lost.

How to Keep Drinks Cold In a Backpack dehydgration
Credits: Maryviolet, via

How to Recognize Dehydration?

Dehydration is what you must be aware of when being on a long hike! It can not only make it more complicated for you to get to the end of the trip. In most severe cases, it can even threaten your life!

This is why take into consideration the following symptoms that show your body is dehydrated:

  • weakness
  • tiredness
  • cramps

These symptoms develop because, when our bodies get dehydrated, we lose electrolytes and muscle strength. As a result, our bodies can’t properly regulate the nervous system and muscles. Also, we can even faint or feel overall sickness.

So with all these tips and life hacks in mind, ensure you prep your body for the hiking trip properly and get it well hydrated. Also, remember to bring enough water with you and keep it cold with the help of the life hacks we shared with you.

Frequently Asked Questions

⭐ How much coffee is safe to drink when hiking?

One cup of unsweetened coffee per day is ok.

⭐ How long can backpack coolers keep drinks cold?

On average, they can keep drinks cold for two to two and a half hours.

⭐ What is the best cooler for hiking?

They are Coleman soft backpack cooler, YETI HopperBackFlip 24 Soft Cooler, and TOURIT Lightweight Insulated Cooler.

Written by
Elisa is a passionate cook who will advise you on healthy and delicious food topics! With her help, you will discover how to properly store and freeze food, as well as learn important nuances about preserving vitamins in your meals to make them stay nutritious.
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How to Keep Food Cold While BackpackingHow to Keep Food Cold While Backpacking