How Many Water Bottles do You Need to Carry While Cycling?

Sometimes can be hard to know how much water you should carry on the bike. Even professional cyclists sometimes overlook the importance of water during the ride.

We as humans have a tendency to drink water regularly, or we die. That’s why it is very important not to run out of water especially if you are in the middle of nowhere and you don’t know where you can fill up the bottles.

In this article, I will tell you from my personal experience how much water you should carry for different occasions.

Type of CyclingBase amountHot Weather Uphill
Road cyclingone bottle (0.6l)+ 0.5l+0.4l
Commutingone bottle (0.6l)+0.3l+0.2l
Bicycle touringtwo bottles (0.6l each)+0.5l+0.4l
Bikepackingthree bottles (0.6l each)+0.3l+0.2l
table to calculate how much water you should carry on a bike ride

I know that this table might seem a little confusing but let me explain. Let’s say that I am a road cyclist and the base amount for me is 0.6l, plus because it’s warm outside I will add another 0.5l, and let’s say that terrain is mostly steep throughout the ride which adds 0.3l more. That is a total of 1400ml (1,4l) that I need to carry with me.

Remember that this number is just a capacity that you need to carry on the bike which you can refill at any time.

Winter vs Summertime

First, let’s talk about differences in weather conditions and how it affects the amount of water that you carry whit you.

When it’s wintertime you don’t sweat as much as you do in summer and therefore you need less water in your body.

On the other hand, during the summer your body will need much more water and minerals due to extreme sweating. In that heat, I like to use electrolytes in my water.

Electrolytes are not necessary but I love to put them just to replace the essential minerals that I lost through the sweating.

High elevation and Big uphills

There is a difference in the terrain on which you cycle. If you are riding in the mountains and you are constantly going uphill it would be great to have more water with you than usual (at least 0.3l more). Also drinking more water will help your body adapt to a higher altitude.

How many water bottles do you need to carry when bikepacking and bicycle touring?

Bikepacking and Bicycle touring are very specific when it comes to water. Because you are in the wild and you can’t find the water source at every corner.

Sometimes you will be without water for a couple of days and that’s why it is important to bring as much water as you can to be able to sustain those crises.

But you also don’t want to overdo it and bring too much water whit you, that’s why I recommend carrying at least 3 water bottles.

Water will be needed for other things as well not just for drinking. For instance, if you need to cook a meal or to prepare a morning coffee as well as for your personal hygiene you will need a lot of water.

I will also like to mention a water purification system that purifies water from the wild and that way makes it safer for drinking. It usually comes in a little bag in which you can also store some water.

The only difference between bikepacking and bicycle touring is that in bicycle touring you are not completely in the wild you are mostly on some side roads. And you can stop if you find a grocery store and fill up your bottles.

That’s why you can go on a bike tour even whit 2 bottles of water.

How many water bottles do you need to carry when bike commuting?

For cycling around the city usually to the work, one bottle of water(600ml) is completely enough for most people including me.

Since you are in the city and can fill up your bottles whenever you want, you really do not need more than one bottle. Only if you will be cycling for more than 2 hours or it’s very hot outside I recommend carrying 2 water bottles of water.

Of course, you can carry more and make it easier for yourself that you don’t have to constantly fill them up.

How many water bottles do you need to carry when road cycling

Road cycling highly depends on the weather condition a the terrain on which you cycle.

I found that one bottle (600ml) is absolutely enough for a normal 30min to 2h ride in cooler weather.

But when it’s hot outside 20°C+ (68°F+) I found that 2 bottles (600ml each) are enough for the average length ride.

If you plan to do some long rides 50km,100km+ you can even consider carrying 3 bottles whit electrolytes in them to help you bring back essential minerals that you lose through the sweat.

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