If you’re heading out on the trail you need to make sure you stay hydrated at all times, however, this is often easier said than done.
If the weather is warmer than you expected, if your water bottle leaks or you simply didn’t bring enough water with you, you could find yourself in need of water or risk dehydration.
Table of Contents
- 1 Backpacking Water Filters Reviews
- 1.1 1. Katadyn Micropur MP1 Purification Tablets
- 1.2 2. Katadyn Hiker Pro Water Filter
- 1.3 3. SteriPen Adventurer Opti Mini Pack Filter
- 1.4 4. Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System
- 1.5 5. Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets
- 1.6 6. GRAYL Inc. Ultralight Water Purifier Filter
- 1.7 7. LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
- 1.8 8. Katadyn Hiker Pro Transparent Water Filter
- 1.9 9. Katadyn BeFree Water Filter
- 1.10 10. MSR Guardian Purifier
- 1.11 11. Sawyer Products PointOne Squeeze Water Filter System
- 1.12 12. MSR Unisex Trailshot Microfilter
- 1.13 13. Platypus GravityWorks 4L Water Filter
- 1.14 14. SteriPen Ultra
- 2 Best Water Filters Buying Guide
Backpacking Water Filters Reviews
Rather than drinking dirty water and risking illness, you may want to invest in the best backpacking water filters that can get rid of harmful bacteria. Making water much safer to drink, backpacking water filters can potentially save your life.
1. Katadyn Micropur MP1 Purification Tablets
Proven to be effective against all microorganisms and ensuring water tastes fresh, Katadyn Micropur MP1 Purification Tablets meet EPA microbiological standards and will give you the peace of mind you need to use the tablets as you need them.
With the ability to clean 1 liter of water per tablet, you’ll need to leave the tablets in the water for up to 4 hours if you want them to be as effective as possible.
Made to last a long time without being used, these purification tablets can be relied upon to help you in an emergency situation without a backpacking stove to boil water (check out my post on the best backpacking stoves).
Easy to store, the Katadyn Micropur tablets are reliable and won’t take up too much room in your backpack.
2. Katadyn Hiker Pro Water Filter
The Katadyn Hiker Pro means business and works to remove algae, bacteria, and protozoa from the water. With an easy-to-fill bottle and complete with an adapter, and bag, this water filter could save your life.
Weighing 8 ounces and measuring 8.4 x 8 x 2.9 inches, this backpacking water filter is compatible with many hydration systems and is quick to connect. Using a pump-action, you can make a stop at a stream or river and get all of the water you need.
Water will be clean, clear and ready to drink when you need it. Designed to give maximum output, this filter connects with ¼ inch water bottles and drink tubes.
With the ability to convert approximately 1 liter of water per minute or per 48 pump strokes, if you find yourself becoming low on water, this may be the filter you need.
3. SteriPen Adventurer Opti Mini Pack Filter
The SteriPen Adventurer Opti Mini Pack is and handheld, compact water purifier that has been designed for use on the trail. With the ability to filter up to 8,000 liters of water, the Steripen does not affect the taste of the water.
With the ability to rid the water of more than 99.9% of harmful bacteria and organisms, this filter comes complete with 2 CR123 batteries and a case. The batteries ensure that the filter can continue to work even in freezing conditions and weighing just 3.2 ounces, it won’t feel heavy in your backpack.
Used multiple times a day, this filter will not let you down. With the ability to keep water tasting exactly as it should the bacteria and organisms are dealt with in 1.5 minutes per liter of water. Users will find they can filter around 50 liters of water per 2 batteries, so you may need to take spare batteries with you on the trail.
4. Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System
The Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System is ideal for use on the trail if you’re camping or you find yourself in an emergency situation. This particular filtration system weighs 2 ounces and removes 99.999% of bacteria and protozoa, meaning water is safe to drink.
With the ability to filter up to 100,000 gallons (454,600 liters) of water, this filter can be relied upon to last a long time. Complete with a reusable squeeze pouch, a cleaning plunger, and a 7-inch drinking straw, this could be the filter you need.
5. Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets
Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets are trusted by the military and they are used around the world. Ideal if you need to disinfect water in an emergency, these tablets can be used when you’re camping or hiking.
Users will need to use 2 tablets per 1 liter of water and with the ability to remove any odor or bad taste from the water, it can be drunk in 3 minutes.
Effective against viruses, bacteria, and many cysts, if you’re looking for purification tablets that will remove Cryptosporidium cysts you’ll have to purchase another product. Ideal for emergency or short-term use, these purification tablets can be used as a reliable back-up to purification devices or filters.
6. GRAYL Inc. Ultralight Water Purifier Filter
The GRAYL Inc. Ultralight Water Purifier is very easy to use and has the ability to purify water in 15 seconds. With the ability to remove 99% of protozoan cysts, viruses and bacteria, this water purifier also filters many particulates and chemicals.
With the ability to leave no aftertaste and weighing 309 grams, this filter is ideal for use on the trail. Simply press ‘Fill’ when you need to fill the purifier and ‘Drink’ when you wish to drink.
Using electroadhesion and ion exchange, the Ultralight Water Purifier can purify 150 liters of water and can stay functional for approximately 3 years after the first use.
While this filter is approximately the same size as a water bottle, it is easy to use and will give you clean water very quickly.
7. LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter is, without a doubt, one of the best backpacking water filters. Ideal for use in emergency situations and outdoor use, the LifeStraw removes 99.9% of waterborne parasites and bacteria.
Filtering at least 1,000 liters of water, the water will have no strange taste and is light enough to fit into your backpack. With the ability to work effectively and very easy, you will no longer need to carry heavy bottles of water around with you.
8. Katadyn Hiker Pro Transparent Water Filter
The Katadyn Hiker Pro Transparent backpacking water filter uses activated carbon to reduce the amount of chemicals and improve the taste of water. With the ability to protect you against protozoan cysts and bacteria, the pump filter weighs just 11 ounces and is clear so you can see the filtration system at work.
Designed to be used with very little effort and ideal if you don’t want to carry a lot of water with you, the pump filter can filter approximately 300 gallons or 1,360 liters of water. You will need to pump around 3 liters of water through the filter before you use it for the first time. This is to clear any excess charcoal and make the water safe to drink.
Undoubtedly, this is one of the best pump filters on the market.
9. Katadyn BeFree Water Filter
The Katadyn BeFree Water Filter is very lightweight and comes with a hydration bag that can be folded. When not in use, the bag can fit into a jacket pocket, or in your backpack’s pocket.
Using an EZ-Clean membrane, water can be cleaned quickly by swiveling or shaking the filter. Weighing just 290 grams and measuring 30 x 10 x 10 cm, this water filtration system is very easy to carry around with you. With the ability to carry 3 liters of water the filter is easy to fill and is able to filter 2 liters of water per minute.
10. MSR Guardian Purifier
The MSR Guardian Purifier is a very modern-looking purifier that performs very well. Complete with a bottle adapter and a display that tells you when you need to change the cartridge, this purifier means business. Self-cleaning and meeting U.S Military testing standards
Weighing 993 grams, this purifier is heavier than many other purifiers and filters but it does work well. Easy to use and quick to work the hollow fiber filter purifies even the dirtiest of waters.
With the ability to clean 2.5 liters of water a minute the Guardian can treat up to 10,000 liters of water. Ideal for use in freezing temperatures and frequent use, the Guardian can help to protect against viruses, bacteria, particles, and protozoa.
11. Sawyer Products PointOne Squeeze Water Filter System
The Sawyer Products PointOne Squeeze Water Filter System is a lightweight filtration system that removes more than 99.999% of protozoa and bacteria from the water. As far as squeeze filters go, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Complete with 3 collapsible pouches and the system comes complete with a removable push-pull cap that allows the user to pour the water into a bottle or spray it straight into their mouth.
With a lifetime warranty and weighing 363 grams, the PointOne is easy to store in your backpack and it has the ability to filter up to 540 gallons or 2,044 liters per day.
12. MSR Unisex Trailshot Microfilter
The MSR Unisex Trailshot Microfilter is a unique microfilter that has the ability to remove 99.9% of particulates, protozoa, and bacteria. Weighing just 142 grams the filter can be kept in a pocket out of the weight until it’s needed. With a one-handed operation that allows you to filter 1 liter of water in 1 minute, this microfilter works well.
While this filter does not remove as much as some filters do, its easy to use and ideal if you need water in an emergency.
13. Platypus GravityWorks 4L Water Filter
With the ability to filter 4 liters of water in just 2 ½ minutes, this impressive gravity filter allows you to transport and filter water. Weighing 305 grams and with an 8-liter capacity, the Platypus gravity filter allows you to collect water even when you’re in a challenging situation.
With the ability to make dispensing water very easy thanks to the shutoff clamp bacteria and protozoa will be removed from the water with ease.
When it comes to gravity filters, very few can compete with the Platypus gravity filter.
14. SteriPen Ultra
The SteriPen Ultra has the ability to get rid of 99% of protozoa, viruses, and bacteria. With the ability to treat approximately 15,000 liters of water, the Ultra comes complete with an OLED display that lets you know the status of the battery and how the treatment is progressing.
Completely rechargeable using a solar panel or computer, the USB port means you can use the SteriPen Ultra whenever you need to. Weighing 136 grams and measuring 18.5 x 3.3 x 4.1 cm users will enjoy 50 treatments per charge and typically 300 discharge cycles per SteriPen.
Best Water Filters Buying Guide
Water filters work by filtering out bacteria and viruses etc and allow you to drink clean water right away. However, many of these filters need to be pumped which can use up a lot of your energy and take time.
Gravity filters, on the other hand, don’t take much effort to operate and can be ideal if you’re hiking with large groups.
UV light purifiers
UV filters have the ability to sterilize the water using UV light, and you can drink the water right away.
Using minimal effort, they can be quite expensive and they need batteries too which are not always convenient.
Boiling the Water
If you decide to boil water rather than using a filter you may have to wait up to a minute for the water to boil.
You will also have to ensure you’re carrying fuel for the stove and a pan or cup too. Boiling water is useful if you’re cooking, but it can be a lot of work.
Water treatments can vary in price, but it depends on the model and make that you choose. Chemical treatments usually cost less than other forms of treatment whereas UV purifiers can be the most expensive. Think about what you need from water treatment, and pay what you think is reasonable
Weight is a hugely important factor to consider as you’ll want your backpack to be as light as possible. Keep weight to a minimum and so you can cover more ground using up less energy. Factor weight into your purchasing preferences when you’re on the lookout for a water filter.
Leave no Trace
When you have to use the bathroom when you’re on the trail, please make sure you dig and hole and bury any feces. You should also make sure that you defecate at least 200 feet from any water source.
A lot of water contamination in the country is due to feces, so you need to leave no trace by being sensible with what you leave behind.
If things go wrong you’ll need to have a backup method. Even the most trusted water purifiers can clog or simply refuse to work. Batteries can run out and filtration systems can break. You, therefore, need a backup method in the form of purification tablets that you may unexpectedly need.
Most water purification tablets contain chlorine dioxide. Chlorine dioxide is a chemical that kills viruses, bacteria, and parasites in water.
Ease of Use
Chances are, you’ll have to treat water more than a few times each day. It would, therefore, make sense for you to have an easy-to-use water treatment system that takes no effort.
Judge the Source: It’s important that you choose to filter the cleanest water around. Look for flowing, cold water that’s clear. Medium sized streams can be the perfect source.
Lakes can also be a good source of water, however, there will be bacteria and sediment around, particularly near the shoreline. Try to avoid areas where there is a lot of animal or human activity as there may be feces nearby.
You may wish to know that filters do not kill or remove bacteria whereas purifiers do. Viruses may be found in water in developing countries so it will be a good idea to use UV purifiers, high-tech pump filters or chemical treatments to filter water.
Other Water Bottle, Flask, and Bladder Choices
Wash your Hands
Bad hygiene is often the reason why some people become ill. Take some hand sanitizer with you and use it whenever you would ordinarily wash your hands and before you eat.
Bottles and Bladders
Using plastic bottles that have a small mouth is ideal when you’re backpacking as they’re usually quite durable, affordable, and lightweight.
If you need to carry a lot of water try to take some Platypus bottles with you as they are ideal for storage. Bladders can leak and be hard to use, so stick to bottles if you can.
I love hiking. From the Camino de Santiago to the West Highland Way in Scotland or simply a great day hike on the weekend. Hiking refreshes me, my mind, and keeps my body reasonably fit. So far I have walked three Camino routes and many other long distance hikes in the UK, Canada, and around the rest of Europe. One of the best was my hike up Ben Nevis.