World Bike Touring Hydration

From the jungles of Idaho to the garden hoses of Spain to the nilbogs of Namibia, water refills are as vital as taking a breath. You’ll need to be able to get water from any scenario because chances are you’ll be facing it at some point. While it’s smart to have 8 liters capacity, I only used a single 1.5 liter Nalgene bottle during rides in cool climates.


King Cage Iris Stainless Cages:

“Cage” mean’s holder in bike lingo. These Art Deco babies are as pretty as a picture and work just like regular cages, though maybe more grippy.

Wolftooth Double-Barrel Adapter:

A pair of semicircle chunks of metal doubles your frame’s row of eyelets, giving you a place for two cages side-by-side instead of one. That wasn’t enough. To get a frame bag through the two cages, I bought longer bolts and cut 3/8” tubing to be spacers. The result: going from one 500ml bottle to two one-liter bottles plus a frame bag that holds a 3L water reservoir. I abandoned this idea after it tore a hole in my multi-thousand dollar custom frame. After a $120 repair, I’ve returned to the setup but leave the bottles in the cages by running a hose through the lid.

Containers (8L)

1.5L Nalgene Wide-Mouth Bottle:

These suckers work perfectly with my rear pannier’s back compartment. The wide mouth is great trying to fill up sideways in a French café’s sink or beneath a Zimbabwean water pump, and you can store clothes in it during colder months. They say you can fill these with hot water and chuck it in your sleeping bag, but I’ve yet to try.

1.5L Plastic Bottle:

I used to dual wield Nalgene’s but when I left one by the side of the road, I realized having a disposable bottle has its benefits, which I’ll get to in the water filter section.

1L Soma Further Bike Bottle (x2):

It’s currently the largest bicycle bottle that will fit in a standard bottle cage, though bottles for designer water may best this. What I love about these in particular is that a CamelBak hose slips right through the hole in the top. Instead of pulling out the bottle each time, I can sip through the straw like a beautiful butterfly.

3L CamelBak Water Reservoir:

This stays in storage most of the year, because I’m hardly ever more than a few liters between fill ups in most parts of the world. It becomes indispensable in African deserts, where I have to try to go 30 hours between reloads.


Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter:

The filter screws onto any drink bottle, which is why getting a 1.5L bottle was a big improvement. Before I was filling my CamelBak with dirty water and attaching it via a hose to an adapter on the filter. It meant putting pressure on the water reservoirs, loose connections between the CamelBak’s mouthpiece and the filter’s gray hose, and contaminating something that is hard to clean. With a disposable bottle, I can swap it out next time I’m in town.

Aqua Salveo Water Disinfectant Drops:

Boiling water is a surefire way to sanitize even the most rancid water, but a recent study has found that nobody has time for that. Filtering gets out particles and bacteria, but viruses and accidents still get through. This South African brand makes flavorless water droplets that seem to take care of the rest. The bottle goes so far that I put in a few drops even at pumps and taps in rural Africa. In the US and Europe, I’m not sure if I ever needed disinfectant, but tablets should work.