Running around in a wool uniform in the summer can be very hot work! Your canteen is a vital part of your accoutrements - arguably the most important piece of equipment you have. There are a number of different styles to choose from that were in use by the Confederacy during the war. They range from "drum" canteens made of wood or tin, the classic M1858 "Smoothside" covered in dark blue (pictured at left), sky blue, tan or gray wool, or the US Bullseye. There were also a large number of more obscure variations including ovals, flasks, and canteens with built-in filters.
One problem with the original tin canteens was that they tended to rust. Not only did the rust make drinking the water unpleasant, it also led to leaks. If you plan to go for a metal canteen and can afford a few extra dollars, get it in stainless steel (if they'd had it they would have used it!) If you are getting a wooden drum canteen, get one with a plastic liner if possible rather than the original beeswax. If you want your canteen to also work in a Federal impression, the best bet is to go with the smoothside with either a sky blue or dark blue wool cover.
Without a full canteen on a hot day, you can quickly dehydrate and pass out. When it's hot, drink plenty of water - every chance you get, whether you are thirsty or not. Remember to fill up your canteen before you go to an event - you never know what the water arrangements will be once you get there and you may not have time to fill it then. When you get back from an event, immediately empty the canteen and hang it, cork out, upside down to dry. It is best to store it with the cork out so that mould cannot form inside while it is not in use.
C & D Jarnigan & Co. (2000 prices)
#404 US Regulation M1858 "Smoothside" Canteen (Tin) $39.95 #404 US Regulation M1858 "Smoothside" Canteen (Stainless Steel) $65.95 #407 CS Round Drum Canteen (6 inch, Tin) $29.95