It is pretty much standard for modern hiking packs to have water bottle pockets on one or both sides of the pack. However, many of these water bottle pockets are difficult to reach without stopping and taking your pack off which is why I either lash a bottle to my shoulder strap or carry one on the waist belt of my pack with an Outdoor Research Water Bottle Tote.
The Water Bottle Tote attaches to your pack via a hook and loop flap that is semi-rigid. This attachment system is versatile and fits a wide range of pack belts and webbing sizes or even your pants belt. I have been able to figure out an accessible and functional way to attach this pouch to every pack I have tried it with. The semi-rigid flap also seems to help the pouch bear weight without sagging.
It has proven to be very durable. I have used mine for years and, apart from some trail dust, you wouldn’t know it. It is also relatively light at 1.6 ounces. That isn’t exactly ultra light territory but it doesn’t cost like an ultralight pouch either.
It is sized well for most 1L bottles. I have even carried very tall, narrow bottles like the Smart Water bottles that I like to re-use for the trail. The cinch top allows the user to secure just about any bottle that will fit in the opening of the pouch.
Water bottle pouches are probably the least exciting thing you will read about all day but… This one is simple, versatile, durable, readily available, affordable, and it works. Believe it or not, that isn’t necessarily an easy-to-find combination of attributes for a water bottle pouch. This isn’t sexy gear but it is good, functional, and necessary gear (for me at least).
If you are lucky, you might be able to find these at a local outdoor retailer. If not, I bought mine from Amazon: OR Water Bottle Tote on Amazon. This is an affiliate link.