Water Canteens have been around since prehistory when hunters and gatherers realized they needed to carry a supply of drinking water with them on their forays and have been made of a very wide variety of materials including animal guts, leaves, gourds, wood, glass, clay and metals right up to modern plastics, depending on what was available.
It is interesting to note that the designs used today would be readily recognized by ancient peoples the world over, even though the materials in their construction may not.
Covers serve several functions aside from aesthetics, such as:
- Protecting the canteen itself
- A readily available place to attach carrying straps
- Soak the cover so evaporation keeps the canteen cool
- If over time your canteen develops a pinhole leak, as an emergency repair, you could use pine pitch (Nature's Glue) or tape from your survival kit to patch it.
- To maintain your minimum daily requirements, it is recommended that you drink one to two quarts of water per day.
- Stay hydrated, you will feel better, stronger, and more alert.
- Water is heavy. In very arid areas, you may need to carry more than one water canteen.
- Because of today's alleged environmental and health issues with plastics and aluminum, we prefer stainless steel for its durability and versatility. You can even boil water in it if necessary. (Remove the cap if you do this to avoid an explosion.)
With all the alleged issues regarding plastic and aluminum, a stainless steel water canteen is an excellent alternative.
Civil War style canteen
- Stainless steel construction
- Holds 16 oz
- Wool cloth cover
There are pros & cons to all types of canteens.
The ultimate choice in water canteens is yours.
- Metal water canteens will sustain minor dents with little or no affect to their integrity however, pinholes may appear in the dents over time.
- Canteens made from animal hide, or bladders and some plastics are light, very flexible, and easy to stow when not in use, however, they are subject to easy puncture and cracking over time.
- Those made of gourds or light wood cannot withstand much abuse. If you accidentally drop it when it is full, it is very subject to fracture.
- Gourd, wooden or animal hide water canteens are more appropriately used as reenactment props rather than emergency survival equipment, although they will work.
They range in size from a small pocket flask that will hold a few ounces to larger containers that hold gallons. Making your own water carrier in the wilderness is both time consuming and work intensive. The need for a simple water canteen could become painfully obvious in a survival setting.