Despite the relevance of water interactions, explicit analysis of vapor adsorption on biologically derived surfaces is often difficult. Here, a system was introduced to study the vapor uptake on a native polysaccharide surface; namely, cellulose nanocrystal (CNC) ultrathin films were examined with a quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring (QCM-D) and spectroscopic ellipsometry (SE). A significant mass uptake of water vapor by the CNC films was detected using the QCM-D upon increasing relative humidity. In addition, thickness changes proportional to changes in relative humidity were detected using SE. Quantitative analysis of the results attained indicated that in preference to being soaked by water at the point of hydration each individual CNC in the film became enveloped by a 1 nm thick layer of adsorbed water vapor, resulting in the detected thickness response.