Best Backpacking Water Filters and Purifiers in 2021

This is a review of best backpacking water filters and purifiers for camping.

You know clean water is super important for backpacking and camping and that’s why you are here!

Drinking, cooking or even washing things, you need it.

Thanks to technology, purifying water is so much easier now!

There are varies kind of backpacking water filters and purifiers and we have picked 10 best water filters and purifiers for backpacking.

You can have clean, cool, delicious water almost immediately, no matter how deep into the woods you’ve walked.

Read on!

10 Best Backpacking Water Filters and Purifiers

1. Survivor Filter Pro

The Survivor Filter Pro is a pump-style water purifier that can move a lot of water from the ground into your water bottle or cook pot quickly.

The prefilter prevents algae and other biological contaminants from entering the carbon and internal filters, helping to preserve their longevity.

Simply place the pre-filter into a body of water, place the clean tubing into your water bottle or hydration pack bladder, and start pumping.

The faster you pump, the faster the water is drawn through the filter.

Why We Like It:

  • The Survivor Filter Pro passes water through three filters, so even very dirty water will be thoroughly filtered.
  • It is easy to move a large amount of water at once
  • Filters up to 100,000 liters over its lifespan, so it will last for many years.

Why It Might Not Be For You:

  • Pump filters require physical work, so it means that in order to purify the water, you will need to hand-pump every last drop up from the ground and into your container.
  • At sixteen ounces, it is one of the heavier purification systems for backpacking.

2. MSR TrailShot

The ultralight MSR TrailShot can squeeze into your pocket and add almost no weight to load.

Because you can drink immediately from any water source, it is a good choice for times when you do not want to carry water with you.

If you have a hydration pack, you can fill the bladder, attach it to the MSR TrailShot, and drink directly from your hydration pack.

Why We Like It:

  • The TrailShot is incredibly light and weighs just 5 ounces, so it is a good choice if you do not want to add weight or bulk to your pack.
  • Since it is a filtration-based water purifier, it removes debris from the water as well as harmful bacteria and protozoa.
  • It works as quickly as you squeeze it, so you can either place it directly in your mouth or use it to fill a water bottle or hydration pack.

Why It Might Not Be For You:

  • The flow rate can decrease if the filter is clogged by very dirty water.
  • It might be a challenge to filter large amounts of water.

3. SteriPen Ultra

SteriPen Ultra is a pocket-sized ultraviolet device that will sterilize contaminated water quickly.

You can go from an empty to a full water bottle in just a few minutes.

The sterilization method of purifying water means that there are no added chemicals to affect the taste of the water.

Using a UV sterilization device also means that you have no tubing or filters to clean when you are in the backcountry.

Why we Like It:

  • The SteriPen Ultra is a very small, very lightweight option.
  • No pumping is required, so it is a low-work way to attain water.
  • It has a long battery life and is easy to recharge.

Why It Might Not Be For You:

  • Since this is a sterilization device and not a filter, the water will remain cloudy, and it will taste the same as it did right from the lake.

4. LifeStraw Water Filter

The LifeStraw water filter is a hand-held device that allows you to drink water right from the source.

By using LifeStraw water filter, you can either fill your water bottle and drink with the LifeStraw, or you can drink directly from the body of water with the LifeStraw.

Why We Like It:

  • With a very long life of filtering 4000 liters of water, the inexpensive LifeStraw is a good investment.
  • Since there is no pumping or waiting for a UV light to purify the water, you can consume water instantly wherever you find it.

Why It Might Not Be For You:

  • It is challenging to use this version of the LifeStraw for anything other than drinking, so if you need to purify water for cooking, you would need a different device.

5. Platypus GravityWorks

Platypus GravityWorks is a low-work way to purify a lot of water at once, which can be a big help if you are cooking a larger quantity of food at camp.

It is also helpful if you need to have larger amounts of water for cooking or filling a hydration pack, so having a gravity filter in addition to another purification system can be a great option for groups.

Why We Like It:

  • No pumping! The Platypus GravityWorks allows you to simply fill the reservoir with contaminated water, hang it from a tree, and purify it while you do other tasks.
  • Purifying a large amount of water (four liters) at once saves time, and is useful for groups or for cooking and cleaning up.
  • The filter removes water-clouding elements.

Why It Might Not Be For You:

  • Over time, the flow rate slows if the filter becomes clogged with debris from dirty water.

6. General Ecology First Need XLE

General Ecology First Need XLE is a low-maintenance, solid water purifier that will clean water for years.

The simple design of this water filter has not changed over the decades because it works so effectively.

Like other pumps, you place one end of the tubing into a body of water, and place the clean end of the tubing into your water bottle.

The base of the First Need also fits directly into the mouth of a standard Nalgene bottle, which makes filling that kind of water bottle simple and effective.

Why We Like It:

  • This pump can purify water either by pumping or by using a gravity feed bag.
  • The nearly two liters per minute output means that you can quickly acquire a lot of clean water, which means more time on the trail and less time pumping.

Why It Might Not Be For You:

  • Larger and heavier than some systems, the First Need’s durability means that it might take up a little more space in your pack.

7. Katadyn Hiker Microfilter

The Katadyn Hiker Microfilter is one of the lowest-maintenance water purification systems available, so it is a good choice for beginners or people who do not want to spend a lot of time cleaning or maintaining their water filter. It is a compact and lightweight trail companion without a lot of bells and whistles.

Why We Like It:

  • The simple design means that there are fewer parts to maintain and clean.
  • Activated carbon in the filter improves the taste of the clean water.
  • The clean water tubing fixture fits directly to a wide-mouth Nalgene for easy filling.

Why It Might Not Be For You:

  • Since it works by pumping, it requires more physical work than gravity systems or UV purifiers, and the filtration rate may slow if the filter becomes clogged with debris.

8. GRAYL Geopress

If you are looking for a no-work solution to water purification on the go, the GRAYL Geopress is the water purification system for you.

Simply fill the outer container with contaminated water, place the filter and lid on top, and press down to purify the water.

There are no tubes to clean or filters to backflush, so if you like products with a very simple design, this might be the water purifier for you!

Why We Like It:

  • With no pumping, batteries, chemicals, or waiting for a gravity filter, this is a low-work way to purify water.
  • The very fast purification time, just 8 seconds per half liter, is among the quickest available.
  • With very few parts, there are fewer pieces to break or lose!

Why It Might Not Be For You:

  • Since it requires some upper body strength to press the pieces together, people who are smaller may have a difficult time generating enough force to press the water through to complete the purification process.

9. Purewell Purifier Water Pump

Purewell Water Purifier Pump is studry and classic.

With it, all you have to do is to drop one end of the tubing into dirty water, place the other end of the tubing into your container, and pump the purified water into your water bottle.

The pre-filter helps keep biological elements out of the filter, although it always helps to find a water source that is not full of algae to keep the filter from clogging and slowing down the flow rate.

Why We Like It:

  • A fast flow rate of almost two liters per minute can provide you and your companions with clean water in just minutes.
  • The replaceable carbon filter can clean 3000 liters of water before it expires.

Why It Might Not Be For You:

  • The strength and stamina needed for pumping a large amount of water might be more than you are able or willing to exert.

10. LifeStraw Flex with Gravity Bag

The LifeStraw Flex with Gravity Bag offers all the confidence-inspiring quality of the LifeStraw, addtional it has a gravity bag.

With it, you are able to purify a larger amount of water for yourself.

You can use the LifeStraw on its own, with your water bottle, or with the included gravity bag, which means that you can either stop on the trail for a quick drink from a stream or fill the entire gravity bag for cooking once you set up camp.

Why We Like It:

  • The gravity bag system allows you to simply fill the bag, hang it, and go about other tasks while your water is being purified.
  • The microbiological filter purifies up to 2000 liters of water.
  • Each purchase of a LifeStraw product provides clean water to a student for one year.

Why It Might Not Be For You:

  • The flow rate of this purification system is slower than a pump, so it will take longer to purify a similar amount of water.

Best Backpacking Water Purifier: What To Look For

The most obvious thing to look for in a water purification system is an assurance that it will remove harmful contaminants and things that will make you sick.

Nearly every water purifier on the market will state that they remove 99.99% of these things from water, which makes it safe for healthy people to drink.

Since that is the purpose of the purifier, you will be unlikely to encounter water purification systems that do not meet that standard.

What makes a purifier the best choice for you will depend on your needs. Here are some questions to ask when looking at different systems:

  • How many liters of water will this system purify before the filter needs replacing or the battery needs charging?

This varies significantly depending on the type of water purifier, and depending on the method of purification.

A UV purifier will have no filters or tubing to be replaced, but it will not work if the battery dies, which can be a problem in the backcountry.

Likewise, a pump might clog if very dirty water has to be cleaned, but with no batteries to replace, you will at least be able to have clean water once the filter is cleaned.

  • Can the purifier be easily cleaned when I am away from home?

A dirty filter will purify water slowly, so easy-to-clean filters and tubing make a big difference when it comes to how quickly you can purify water away from home.

Some types of filters clog more easily than others, so consider when looking at different systems.

  • How long does it take the system to purify a liter of water?

You do not want to have to wait for water when you are thirsty, and even a few extra minutes every day adds up to a lot of time when you are on the trail.

  • How heavy is the purifier?

Every ounce counts when backpacking. However, smaller purifiers might not be able to purify a large amount of water at once.

So if you are traveling with a group or you require a large amount of water for cooking, you should consider your needs.

  • Will this purifier be a good fit for my lifestyle and plans?

Suppose you know you will be using water sources that are very polluted or muddy.

In that case, a good pre-filter on your purifier will be important to help keep biological elements from reaching the main filter.

If you know that you will only be using clear, running water from a stream for drinking, a pre-filter is less important.

Some filters leave a chemical residue flavor in the water, which can be minimized by a carbon filter, so if the taste of the water is very important to you, consider that.

A UV sterilizer will not filter the water or alter its taste in any way, which can be both a good and bad thing!

Keep your potential water sources in mind before committing to a purification system.

Final Words

The right water purifier for you will not weigh you down, either with its size or its complexity.

Having a trustworthy source of water is something that should be the least of your concerns when you are far from home.

It might take a few extra minutes out of your hiking day to purify the water that you drink, but the enjoyment of staying healthy definitely outweighs that very small inconvenience.

Let’s raise our water bottles full of purified water in a toast to how wonderfully easy it is.


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest


Leave a Comment