The water filter you have on your next hiking adventure will literally be your life source. Drinking clean water isn’t as simple as it is when you’re at home. You need to find a running water source, capture it, then find a way to purify it. For the entirety of history, until a few decades ago, purification meant boiling the water. Now, we have many types of water filters available that helps us clean our water so that we can drink without getting sick.
Not all water filters are the same. They come in different sizes and functions. However, every backpacking water filter shares the same goal. So how do you find the right one for you? Here is our list of the 10 best backpacking water filters in 2021.
View The Best Backpacking Water Filter Below
1. Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System
Finding a water filter that you can take on the go easily is a must. The Sawyer mini water filter only weighs 2 oz and fits in the palm of your hand. It attaches to various types of water bottles and has its own pouch in which you can filter the water into. It has the capability to filter up to 100,000 gallons of water before needing to be replaced.
It filters the water using a microfiber hollow inline water filter. It cleans the water by removing 99.99% of bacteria and harmful diseases such as E-coli and salmonella, among others. It also has a super handy built-in straw that you can use to drink straight out of the containers you have pumped into. Included is a 16-ounce squeeze pouch and a cleaning plunger.
+ Super small and lightweight
+ Easy to use
+ 100,000 gallons of capacity
+ Cleaning plunger included
+ Attachable to various water bottles
Why we like it – It is one of the smallest water filters you will find and takes up virtually no weight in your bag. An absolute must if you’re someone who needs to pack super light and wants to pump water along the way.
2. Survivor Filter PRO Water Filter
This is one of the most powerful filters available today. It is able to filter down to a crazy level of .01 microns. It has a triple filtration system comprised of medical grade carbon fiber and UF filters, and a cotton mesh filter. the triple-tiered system removes 99.99% of bacteria from your drinking water, making it totally safe to ingest and cook with. It doesn’t take long to pump your bottles full of water with a 500ml/minute flow rate.
It is built durably out of ABS plastic, food grade carbon, medical grade polysulfone filters, and steel. It weighs only 12.8 ounces and is able to filter 100,000 liters before needing to be replaced. This BPA free water filter is easy to use and will be sufficient to supply your whole camp with water for drinking and cooking.
+ BPA Free
+ Three-tiered filter system
+ Durable build
+ Fast flow rate
Why we like it – This backpacking water filter is a heavy hitter and has one of the fastest flow rates available. All while filtering down to a level that most other filters are incapable of reaching.
3. Katadyn Hiker Microfilter Water Filter
The Katadyn microfilter is a wonderful all-around water filter to help you get clean water on the trail. It has a fast flow rate due to a larger filter surface than many other water filters on the market. It has a pleated cartridge design which makes it really easy to pump bottle after bottle. It filters out microorganisms down to .3 micros. 99.99% of your bacteria will be removed while there is a carbon filter included which helps cut out unpleasant tastes and aromas.
It weighs 11 ounces and measures 3″x6″. It is small and lightweight enough to fit into any efficient hikers backpack without taking up too much weight or space. It is suitable for 1-3 people and filters water directly into your bottle of choice as you pump.
+ Filters .3 micros
+ Large filter surface
+ Fast flow-rate
+ Lightweight and small
+ Helps reduce unpleasant odors and taste
Why we like it – This filter is great for overall everyday use. It has a fast flow rate and cuts out the odors and tastes you don’t want to be drinking. It is handy, lightweight and small enough to fit nicely into your backpack.
4. LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottles
The LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottle is one of the greatest hiking advancements made recently. It allows you to quickly dunk your water bottle in the stream, insert the straw and drink on the go. The only possible downside may be the lack of capacity that the bottle has if it’s a long way between water sources.
It protects drinkers from parasites, bacteria, and microplastics in the water. It is lab tested BPA free and durable. You can drink for u to 5 years from this filter without having to worry about replacing the filter or having it break on you. When you purchase a LifeStraw, the company donates and helps one child have clean water for one year. It is a great way to get clean water while contributing to the earth. It is a 500ml bottle that comes with a carabiner to attach it easily to your bag.
+ Ease of use
+ Clean water for 5 years
+ Filters bacteria, parasites, and microplastics
+ Environmentally friendly
+ BPA free
Why we like it – This is one of the most convenient ways to get clean water on a hiking trail. No pumping or hooking up external devices. Just dunk, screw on the cap, and drink away.
5. LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
LifeStraw also makes products that don’t need a bottle. the original design has you able to put one end of the staw into your water source and drink straight from it, using no bottles whatsoever. It is able to filter out bacteria, parasites, and microplastics to keep you healthy and full of energy on the trail.
This personal water filter can handle up to 1000 gallons of capacity and weighs only 2 ounces. That is enough water for a single person to drink for up to 5 years. It is considered the ultimate survival tool to help you drink clean water in absolutely every situation. It is strong and durable enough to take with you on every hiking adventure without needing to worry about breaking it or wearing it out.
+ Personal water filter
+ Lasts up to 5 years
+ Removes bacteria, parasites, and microplastics
+ No bottle needed
Why we like it – This is one of the simplest and easiest ways to get clean water no matter where you are. It is strong, lightweight, and lasts for a long time.
6. GRAYL Ultralight Water Purifier
This uniquely designed water filter allows you t fill up the cannister and push the water through the filter into your water bottle. It is great for hiking, world travel, or just being prepared for an emergency. It can purify enough water to fill a small water bottle in only 15 seconds. Having a quick flow rate can be a huge plus when you’re in the middle of the hike and don’t want to take too long of a break.
This ultralight pack purifier removes 99.99% of viruses from the water, including bacteria and microorganisms. It uses a system of carbon, ceramic, and magnets in order to remove all bacteria from your water. It is one of the few filters available that requires no sucking, squeezing, or batteries to purify your water.
+ Easy to use
+ Durable material
+ Fast flow rate
+ No unhealthy chemicals
+ Removes all bacteria
Why we like it – This is one of the quickest flow rates of a push water filter ever seen. You can fill 500ml bottles in less than 15 seconds. It is easy to use, and easy to clean.
Backpacking Water Filter Buyers Guide
What to look for in a Backpacking Water Filter
As previously mentioned, all the best backpacking water filters will share a common function. They will allow you to pump clean water into your bottle from a water source on the trail. However, some may be better suited for various purposes, and it is important to know how to distinguish those factors.
The capacity of your water filter will be determined by how many people are in your hiking group. If you have a very small filter such as the LifeStraw personal water filter, you will only be able to provide water for yourself, and possibly another if you don’t mind sharing. The same goes with any filter that sits within a single water bottle.
If you are hiking with numerous people, then having a filter that can fill multiple water bottles quickly is important. That will make sure that you are enjoying the sights and the company of your hiking buddies, instead of spending all your time sitting at the stream.
The flow rate is an important factor to pay attention to. If your flow rate is super slow, you will be stuck at the watering hole. Filling up bottles will be a chore. It is never fun to have to stop a hike when you’re making good time to fill up a water bottle. The quicker you can do so, the better. A water filter with a fast flow rate like the Katadyn Hiker water filter will allow you to fill bottles quickly and be on your way.
Your backpacking water filter needs to be durable, no questions asked. If you’re in the middle of the woods, and your source of life gets cut off, you will be in deep dung. Don’t waste time with feeble filters that do not have the correct components to stand up to the life of a hiker. Make sure your filter is built of stong ABS, steel, carbon, or any other durable material. It may literally save your life.
Just like anything that has to do with hiking, you want to make sure your filter is as lightweight as possible. Without sacrificing function and quality, cutting down on extra weight is essential to having a comfortable and enjoyable hike. The Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System is an example of a really lightweight option.
Picking the right water filter is an important decision. But you should be well equipped to be able to make it for yourself now. Enjoy your new clean water source and happy trails!
It can be extremely helpful to have a backup water filter with you. Sometimes accidents happen, and the last thing you need is to be out of a freshwater source because something broke, or got lost in the woods. Having a backup can be a great contributor to your peace of mind.
Did you know?
If you do lose your water filter on the trail, you can always boil water. Or, if you have no way to start a fire, having a communication device to signal to authorities can be the difference between life and death.