Picture of Waterskin Canteen - DIY
Hi all!

This is my Instructable on how to make your very own waterskin!  Growing up as a kid, hiking through the Rockies, Appalachia and the Alps, I always loved to carry a waterskin instead of a canteen, mainly because it easy to handle, and not made of rock-hard plastic (traditional waterskins were made of cow bladders and coated in resin, so unless you have access to a cow that doesn't need its bladder anymore, I think this might be a little bit easier to do). I haven't been able to find a DIY tutorial for one of these, and thought it would be a great idea to share my idea with everyone. 

If you have an old T-shirt, towel, or other fabric that you loved, but can't wear/use anymore (like a ripped T-shirt, or old jeans that don't fit), this is a perfect project for you.  And I'm betting that everyone has these materials readily available.  Let's get started.

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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
Here's all that you'll need to make the waterskin. 

- Duct Tape
- Yarn
- Needles & Thread
- Old T-shirt/fabric
- Cardboard
- X-acto knife
- Scissors
- Sharpie marker
- Plastic Ziploc bag
- Super glue
- Cork stoppers
- Empty plastic bottle

Price Range: $0 - $25.00 (depending on what you already have - any materials you don't have readily available can be found at A.C. Moore or Michael's).

Difficulty Level = Beginner. 

Time = ~2 hours

Step 2: Draw the Template

Picture of Draw the Template
Using the Sharpie and the cardboard piece, draw a template in the shape you want your waterskin to be.  Some people prefer to make it more circular, and others stick to the traditional shape of a waterskin.  I've gone with the traditional, as you can see in the photos.  It doesn't matter if the lines and arcs in the template aren't perfect - once we sew the fabric together, you won't be able to spot any flaws.This template will be used to create the faces of the waterskin, and then we'll discard it.

What about an unlubricated condom, for the bladder?

dpgillam5 months ago

Look up the Military Lister Bag (also spelled Lyster), in use since 1910. Its an oversized (36gallon) version. The bag is made from the same super-duty heavy canvas military tents used to be made of. Lister bags are are designed to "sweat", using the evaporation to keep the water inside cool. The bags tend to
lose 5 - 30% of contents to "sweating", depending on heat and air humidity.

dpgillam dpgillam5 months ago

Oh, and denim works great. But the cloth only versions all have the same problem: they will seep onto whatever they touch against without a solid liner.

Thats why the military started ruberizing the cloth for tents; keeps moisture from seeping in.

rimar20002 years ago
I agree with joen, you don't need a plastic bag inside, if the fabric is enough thick cotton. Surely a good jeans canvas works well.

When I was a boy, a hot summer I drank water from a canteen of canvas that had been in an air stream, and it was amazing how cold it was. The skin keeps humid itself with the water of the inner, but does not leak.
Emacheen22 (author)  rimar20002 years ago
Definitely going to incorporate this in my next few attempts!
Well, I will be waiting!
Emacheen22 (author) 2 years ago
Hey all,

Thanks for the feedback, I really appreciate everyone offering improvements! I'm definitely going to incorporate those comments into future designs, as I'm going to try and start selling some locally around my town. Any idea what you might pay for something that is slightly higher quality and completely handmade? I'd love to get some feedback!

Thanks again everyone!
joen2 years ago
Growing up in the north west part of the Phoenix area where there used to be cotton fields, (they are all neighborhoods now) we used to use water bags made of heavy canvas material. No plastic bladder was needed. The fabric strands would swell up with the water and not leak. However there was a slight evaporation process that kept the water cool on even the hottest days. I understand they still make them. If you try it the stitching would have to be a lot tighter than that shown in the pictures. And the cool water really made a difference.

Just an idea.
Emacheen22 (author)  joen2 years ago
Hmm, I could definitely see that working as well. I never thought about keeping the water cold, but that would be such a plus! Thanks for the comment joen!
canucksgirl2 years ago
Great project. I could also see re-using the lid from the bottle as well (if someone didn't have, or wanted to use a cork).

Thanks for sharing, and welcome to Instructables! :-)
Emacheen22 (author)  canucksgirl2 years ago
Thanks so much for the comment!
This is awesome!!! It would be great for a bug-out bag .
Can't wait to make one or two :)
SeamusDubh2 years ago
Instead of taping the bag, use a bottle with one of those flip-top or pull-out sports bottle lids.
Feed the plastic bag through the opening like before and then thread on the cap over it.
Thereby creating a better seal and negating the need for the cork stopper.