When you are hiking, camping, and engaging in other outdoor activities, it is always important to remember to have plenty of filtered and safe drinking water in order to keep yourself properly hydrated, especially in the sun.
Since there are so many different portable water purification systems to choose from when you are looking for one to take camping or hiking with you, it is important to consider several things, including the item’s weight, the amount of space available in your camping or bug out bag bag, how many uses you get from the product, and how easy to use it is.
Looking for the Best Water Purifier
A good camping water filter will be easily portable and have plenty of uses, otherwise you might not be able to justify spending money on the product. Most portable water filters are known to filter out contaminants and bacteria, but if there is a virus in the water, some filtration systems have difficulty removing those, so a portable water purification system may be necessary
Treating drinking water while camping or hiking outdoors is one of the most important safety precautions that you can take. Bottled water from home is great to pack, but what happens if you find yourself stuck or out of water, and you need to keep hydrated?
A backpacking water filter can help eliminate the vast majority of contaminates and pathogens in the water, and most can be used multiple times with amazing results.
Filtering the contaminants out of your drinking water is an essential precaution to take on any hiking or camping trip. A quality backpack water filter can help ensure that you do not end up with diseases from drinking water that is dirty. Water can be contaminated by animals, plant life, dirt, and other environmental factors, so be sure to pick up some sort of water filtration device before you pack your gear bag for a hike or a camp out!
Backpacking Water Filter Reviews
Below, we have reviewed five of the best backpacking water filters on the market. These can be used while camping, hiking, backpacking, or simply kept in the case of an emergency. Following each description are bulleted points that discuss the item further, such as:
- Size and weight
- Replaceable Filter
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter Review
For just under $20, The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter is one of the most popular portable water filters available on the market, and is a great purchase for those who are creating survival kits or those who want to save some space in a gear bag on a hiking trip.
The LifeStraw is an award-winning product that has been around since 2005, and can filter 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria from natural water supplies, as well as 99.9% of protozoa parasites in the water that can cause illness.
Anything larger than 0.2 microns can be filtered out by using the LifeStraw, and the straw does not use any chemicals or require batteries to provide you with clear, clean drinking water. This outdoor water filter comes in a sealed package, you can easily store them for emergency situations or inside of a survival gear bag.
As far as camping water filters go, the LifeStraw is one of cheapest, easiest to use options there is.
The LifeStraw system is EPA approved.
- Type: Water Filter Straw
- Size and weight: Height: 8″, Weight: 2 oz.
- Uses: Filters up to 1,000 liters or 264 gallons
- Replaceable Filter: No
Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System Review
The Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System averages around $20, depending on the color choice (there are several – black, blue, orange, green, pink, and camouflage), and can be purchased up to four in a pack.
This portable water filtration device is probably the most popular personal water filter. If it’s not, it is tied with the LifeStraw, but this is incredibly popular.
Being one of the best camping water filters, it can filter out contaminants up to 0.1 microns, which is very impressive due to the size and weight of the product.
The filtration system removes up to 99.99999% of pathogens, protozoa, and waterborne bacteria that can cause illness. The system attaches to the included drinking pouch, or you can attach it to a standard size plastic water bottle and it will filter out the bacteria as you drink from it. The filtration system is well priced for what it can do, and it can filter plenty of water.
The Sawyer filter is a great water filter for hiking or backing or for keeping on hand for emergencies.
- Type: Water Filter Pump
- Size and weight: Height: 8″, Weight: 1.6 oz.
- Uses: Filters up to 100,000 gallons
- Replaceable Filter: No
Katadyn Pocket Water Filter Review
The steeper price tag on this product might be deterring to the casual nature explorer, but those who spend a lot of time outdoors hiking or camping will be able to justify the purchase.
The portable water purifier is great for those who travel internationally often, or those who camp and hike on a regular basis. The filter comes equipped with a silver-impregnated ceramic element, which works wonderfully for removing any bacteria and protozoa in the water, helping to keep sicknesses at bay.
The filter removes all microorganisms, as long as they are larger than 0.2 microns, and in return will provide you with water that is clear and drinkable. The filter’s rounded pumping handle allows for easy pumping and use. Depending on the quality of the water being filtered, the cartridge can filter up to one quart of water per minute, up to thirteen thousand gallons of water.
- Type: Pocket Water Filtration Pump
- Size and weight: Height: 10″ Weight: 20 oz.
- Uses: Filters up to 1 qt. per minute, each replaceable filter can filter up to 13,000 gallons
- Replaceable Filter: Yes
Survivor Filter – Reusable Portable Water Filter Review
Similar to the LifeStraw, the Survivor Filter is a water purification straw, offering a great way to take water filtration on the go. Whether you plan on camping, hiking, or just keeping a water filtration system in your survival kit, these are a wonderful way to ensure clean drinking water.
With a price tag of $30, it is slightly more expensive than other backpacking water filters, but it also has a higher filtration rate – it filters out anything larger than 0.05 microns. The filtration system has three stages: a cotton prefilter, internal ultra filter, and carbon filter.
The water filter for hiking can filter up to seven ounces per minute, and the filtration system has also been able to remove viruses as well as bacteria, which can ultimately help eliminate any chance of illness from drinking from an outdoor water supply.
- Type: Water Filter Straw
- Size and weight: Height: 8″, Weight: 3.5 oz.
- Uses: Replaceable carbon and prefilters can filter up to 1,000 liters (264 gallons). Internal filter can be removed and cleaned to filter up to 100,000 liters (26,417 gallons).
- Replaceable Filter: Replaceable carbon filter, non-replaceable internal filter.
Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets Review
Unlike many of the water purification pumps or straws, Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets are good for filtering out harmful viruses, instead of just bacteria.
It helps to make water that might seem a bit questionable safe for drinking purposes, and once you place the tablet in the water to be cleansed, it will be ready in approximately 30 minutes.
The iodine tablets are best used only for emergency purposes, unlike the water filtration devices, as they do rely on chemicals to remove bacteria from the water. These tablets are great to keep in an emergency bag or a survival kit, as they will do their job in a pinch.
The tablets come in a 50-count size, and can be purchased as a single pack or in a twin pack, which is helpful if you have more than one backpack for hiking or are putting together more than one survival kit.
The tablets are an EPA product, and also do not have an expiration date.
- Type: Portable Water Purification Tablets
- Size and weight: .21 oz.
- Uses: One bottle (50 tablets) treats 25 qt. of water
- Replaceable Filter: N/A
My Vote for the Best Water Filter Backpacking
I always want to preface my own vote by saying that just by making this list, you can be assured that all of these products are quality. These are the best portable water filters on the market today, so you really can’t go wrong with any of them.
That said, I do have a personal preference.
Again, choosing a camping water filter can be daunting; there are a lot of different filters that are priced similarly and can really focus on removing contaminants in the water.
However, compared to ratings, price, and looking to see which products are EPA registered, I believe that the LifeStraw and Mini Sawyer water filters are the best portable water filters for the money. They don’t have the best filtration rates, but they are comparable, and their prices can’t be beaten.
If you are looking for a camping water purifier, these are excellent option, but should probably be paired with at least a few purification tablets to rid the water of any viruses.
The LifeStraw is an innovative product that has been sworn by for several years now, being developed and added to meet the needs of hikers, campers, and survivalists. The Mini Sawyer allows you to gather water in a much more efficient way than the LifeStraw, but does require a few more pieces of equipment.
While other products have attempted to copy the design and tinker with these designs, you cannot go wrong with the price or quality of these two products.