By Travis Birch
We have found that we are always looking for a canteen when we are headed out for the day. Regardless of how many we keep around, when you need one, they are never handy. Since we split our time on and off the grid, we sometimes have forgotten our handy water apparatus, canteen in town with our camping gear. By the time we make the trip to the cabin, the nearest outdoors store is well over 100 miles away. Heading out on a day trip hike without something to keep us hydrated would simply be foolhearted.
We found ourselves looking for a container one day, and needed to improvise. Making a quick scan of our surroundings a couple of things jumped out, something that might just work. We keep mouthwash around for rinsing and because some brands tout antiseptic qualities. I poured out the remaining contents into a glass, and rinsed the bottle out.
The bottle is designed to keep liquid sealed in. The only thing that I needed to do was create a way to keep the bottle upright to get through the hike. A couple of things we have around will work great. Taking an old canvas belt to make a strap, or paracord would be great. These items are always around, and the paracord is in abundance. With the para cord, I made a loop, and positioned it around the bottle. Making it snug will allow it to hang from my shoulder while keeping the opening face upwards.
You can weave the cord through the holes in the belt to make it comfortable to carry on your shoulder, or you can just use the paracord to do the job. First prepare your bottle. Empty the contents and give it a good rinse. Rinse the cap as well, then fill it with water and seal the lid. Turn it upside down to see if it will still successfully hold water through the cap.
Now you will want to give your container the opportunity to keep its contents at a descent temperature. Foods will begin to spoil with the application of warm temperatures and/or light. What we did was take some duct tape and wrap the entire outside of the bottle. In today’s market you have a large variety of tape designs to choose from. I went with what I had on hand, classic gray. You may decide a camouflage style is appropriate for camping, or use your favorite team colors. Either way, eliminating light from hitting the water is the goal. Plus it adds a slight thermal property to what you’re keeping inside.
Attach your cord to the bottle so you are hands free, and begin the adventure. This isn’t designed to be a long term replacement to your trusty canteen, but you’re at least going out ready for what the trail holds in store for you. Plus anytime you can protect yourself by including the basics in your routine, you can come out ahead. As my family points out, anytime I can take yesterday’s trash and give it a rebirth and attach a new value to it, I call that a victory.