BugOutBill.com

Backpacking Water Filters

March 2, 2023 // 9 minutes read

Bugout Bill is independent: we research, test, and rate the top products to help you make the right buying choice. We sometimes use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on your purchase at no added cost to you. Learn more...

Best Backpacking Water Filters - Bugoutbill.com

These handy water filters ensure safe, clean water wherever you are in the great outdoors!

Being outdoors has a lot of health benefits, but those can easily be offset by not getting proper hydration. 

That’s why drinking tons of water is essential and something you shouldn’t overlook while enjoying your time outdoors, whether you’re biking, hiking, trail running, and most especially if you’re backpacking for an extended period. 

However… 

Staying hydrated when you’re not at home with easy access to water can be challenging to a lot of people for many reasons. For one thing, I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want to lug around gallons and gallons of water when I’m already carrying heavy backpacks and other gear. 

Besides, if you’ve spent a lot of time in the backcountry, you’ll know that many unexpected things can happen; you can be well-prepared but still run out of water for whatever reason. 

And that’s why nothing beats getting your water supply from natural sources, such as rivers, streams, and lakes, along the way.

Except there’s one drawback: 

You can’t be sure if the water you’re getting from those sources is clean. You’ll already know that getting your water from sketchy-looking muddy rivers and murky ponds will 100% result in you getting waterborne diseases, but what about clear waters?  

Tempting as they look, even clear-looking waters can still have their dark secrets, from parasites to bacteria and viruses. In short, there’s no way of knowing whether water from any sources is clean and safe to drink. 

And that’s when backpacking water filters and purifiers come in handy. 

As longtime backpackers, we’re always looking for the best outdoor gear to make our adventures even more enjoyable and hassle-free— and that includes water filters, as clean water is non-negotiable for us. 

For this guide, we tested a variety of water filters and purifiers, from water filter pumps, hollow fiber filters, and straw filters to UV purifiers, all from different brands, to find the best ones for backpacking. 

Below, you’ll see our top picks and also read bout:

  • The different types of water filters; 
  • Important things to consider when buying a water filter; 
  • What qualities does the best backpacking water filter have; 
  • And much more… 

Ready to dive in? 

Let’s go!

INTRODUCTION

Water Filter - Bugoutbill.com
  • Save

There are many factors to consider when selecting the right water filter or purifier for you, such as whether you’re backing solo or with a group, your budget, and how dirty the water you’re going to filter is. 

But first… 

Let us make clear the difference between a water filter and a water purifier. Water filters are equipped with tiny little pores that work to filter out bacteria and protozoa, as well as dirt, rocks, sand, and other particulates. On the other hand, water purifiers sterilize the water and also remove bacteria and protozoa but have the added benefit of eliminating disease-causing viruses that filters can’t. 

In most cases, water filters are enough for your average backpacker, as viruses aren’t all that common in most water sources, especially on popular backpacking destinations. But if we’re talking unclear water sources or traveling to remote places in the world, it’s best to be extra careful and go for purifiers or use both simultaneously.

Also… 

Water filters come in different types and sizes designed for various needs, which we’ll discuss below. As we’ve said, we personally tried and tested the products featured in this article, so you can rest assured you’re getting a high-quality and reliable one, whichever you choose. 

Read on to know more!

Best Backpacking Water Filters

Best Fast Flow Backpacking Water Filter – Editor’s Choice Award

  • Save

Katadyn BeFree 1.0L Water Filter

  • Save
Value for Money
100
Ease of Set-Up
100
Durability/Maintenance
90
Weight
100
Ease of Filtration
100

Material – Synthetic
Capacity – 10 Liters
Type of Filter – Squeeze Filter
Included Components:

  • 1 BeFree Filter Membrane
  • 1 1-liter Hydrapak bladder

Manufacturer – ‎Katadyn North America

Overall Score:

98

The Bottom Line:

The Katadyn BeFree 1.0L Water Filter is an easy-to-carry, easy-to-use, and efficient all-in-one filtration system ideal for short trips, day hikes, and weekend backpacking trips.

Pros

  • Exceptionally fast flow rate 
  • Kills 99.99% bacteria and 99.9% protozoa
  • Comes with a 1-liter collapsible Hydrapak bottle  
  • Hollow fiber technology 
  • Durable
  • Very lightweight and hassle-free to carry 
  • Small and compact 
  • Convenient and easy to use 
  • Easy to clean 
  • Reasonable price
  • Surpasses EPA standards 
  • BPA-free

Cons

  • Not ideal for very long trips 
  • Lacks versatility

Summary

If you prioritize convenience and fast water flow rate the most when choosing water filters and purifiers, the Katadyn BeFree 1.0L Water Filter is certainly hard to beat in those aspects.

First, let’s talk about the size and design. 

This filter is small and easy to carry everywhere. It comes with a 1-liter Hydrapak Flask with a cap and mouthpiece, giving it the look of a sports bottle. Because the bottle is collapsible, you can easily fit it into small spaces like vest pockets or the side pockets of your backpack, and it won’t take up much space in your outdoor kit.  

We’ve used this on a week-long backpacking trip in Colorado, and we were so impressed at how easy it is to use— simply fill it with water, attach the cover, and be on your way! The wide mouth makes scooping water a breeze. And we love that we can either drink straight out of the bottle for on-the-go hydration or squeeze out the water into another water container! 

On top of that…

This water filter is equipped with 0.1-micron hollow fiber technology that eliminates 99.9999% bacteria and 99.9% protozoa for completely clean and filtered water. It’s very fast at filtering water, and the water flow rate is excellent, at two liters per minute. 

As we said, it’s a hollow fiber filter, so unlike other filters, this one is very easy to clean— no need for backflushing or any special cleaning tools. To clean it, just fill the bottle with water, screw the cover back on, give it a good shake, and that’s pretty much it! 

Overall… 

We love this filter’s simplicity and ease of use, and that’s why we choose it as our Editor’s Choice. It gets rid of the need for us to stop and take our backpacks off when on a hike just to get a separate water bottle and the need to carry cleaning tools. At 0.14 pounds, it weighs almost nothing, making it hassle-free to carry. 

This filter is not without its downsides, though…  

We’d say the biggest drawback is probably the lack of versatility. For one thing, it’s only compatible with the bottle it comes with, so if the bottle breaks, you can’t just go to a store and get a standard-size bottle as a replacement. The filter also has a shorter life span compared to others, capable of filtering only 1000 liters of water, so we wouldn’t say it’s the best choice for longer trips.

Best Budget Backpacking Water Filters – Best Value Award

  • Save

Sawyer Products Squeeze Water Filtration System

  • Save
Value for Money
100
Ease of Set-Up
80
Durability/Maintenance
90
Weight
100
Ease of Filtration
90

Material – Plastic
Capacity – 540 Gallons
Type of Filter – Squeeze filter
Included Components:

  • 1 Squeeze screw-on water filter 
  • 2 32-ounce Collapsible pouches 
  • 1 Replaceable pop-up drinking spout 
  • 1 Syringe filter cleaner 
  • Instructions 
  • 1 Mesh storage bag

Manufacturer –Sawyer Products

Overall Score:

92

The Bottom Line:

Versatile and affordable, the Sawyer Products Squeeze Water Filtration System will give you great value for your money; it filters water from any unwanted bacteria and sediments while making it taste good.

Pros

  • Very affordable 
  • Super small and lightweight 
  • Removes 99.99999% of bacteria, 99.9999% of protozoa, and 100% of microplastics 
  • Great-tasting water 
  • Versatile and adaptable 
  • Fits standard-size water bottles 
  • Filters up to 100, 000 gallons of water  
  • Can be used as a gravity filter
  • Easy to backflush clean 
  • Comes with 2 32-ounce BPA-free water pouches, a syringe, a drinking straw, a set of Sawyer Inline Hydration Pack Adapters for the filter, instructions, and a mesh storage bag

Cons

  • Can be a bit hard to fill the included water pouches at first 
  • Doesn’t have the fastest flow rate

Summary

The Sawyer Products Squeeze Water Filtration System is one of the most popular filters among backpackers and hikers— and for good reasons. 

Weighing only 0.2 pounds, this compact filter isn’t bulky and fits nicely in our suitcase, backpack, pockets, and even our palms!  

Despite its size, this budget filter bottle packs a lot of punch. This is the one we brought to our trek in the beautiful Amazon Rainforest, and we had the easiest time clearing and filtering river and stream water. 

This filter boasts tiny, 0.1-micron filter pores that effectively remove all the nasty stuff from your water— it gets rid of 99.99999% of bacteria such as salmonella and E.coli, 99.9999% of all protozoa, and 100% of microplastics. 

And the best part?

The resulting filtered water always tastes great; no plastic or metallic taste whatsoever! It’s quite easy to use, as well. Just fill the included 32-ounce water bags, screw on the Squeeze filter, gently fold the bladders from the bottom, and voila, your water is clean! You can either drink directly from the filter or use it to pour water into your and your buddies’ bottles.  

If you’re wondering how this differs from the Katadyn BeFree Filter, we definitely find this one more versatile and modular. Aside from the pouches, it also comes with a drinking straw, syringe for backflushing, instructions, mesh storage, tubing and attachments if you prefer gravity filtering. That, and the fact that the cap fits standard-size bottles, make this more adaptable. 

Also, this bottle filter has a longer life span and can filter up to 100,000 gallons of water. Not to mention, this is budget-friendly. If you don’t mind doing a bit more work in exchange for versatility and affordability, get our Best Value awardee.

Granted… 

It can be challenging to fill the bags at first, but there are plenty of videos online for different tips and techniques, which we found helpful. We also recommend bringing some kind of cup for scooping water. 

This filter doesn’t have the fastest flow rate, but it’s still pretty decent if you consider how tiny the pores are.

Best UV Purifier Backpacking Water Filters – Top Pick Award

  • Save

CrazyCap 2 – Award-Winning Self-Cleaning Insulated Bottle

  • Save
Value for Money
100
Ease of Set-Up
100
Durability/Maintenance
100
Weight
80
Ease of Filtration
90

Material – 304 Stainless steel
Capacity – 17 oz
Type of Filter – UV purifier
Included Components:

  • 1 Charger  
  • 2 Extra Cap silicone O-rings
  • Alcohol wipes
  • 1 Box 
  • Instructions

Manufacturer – CrazyCap

Overall Score:

94

The Bottom Line:

The CrazyCap 2 Insulated Bottle with UV Water Purifier is an innovatively designed and feature-packed UV purifier that’s a must-have for keeping water pristine and drinks hot or cold for a long time.

Pros

  • Sturdy 
  • Equipped with powerful UV-C LED light for killing bacteria and viruses  
  • Quick purifying process 
  • Self-cleans every 4 hours 
  • Insulated 
  • “Normal” and “Crazy” mode options 
  • Prevents odors
  • Can also sanitize other things and surfaces
  • BPA-free
  • Eco-friendly  
  • NSF-tested and certified 
  • Sleek design
  • Makes for a great gift 
  • Includes a charger, alcohol wipes, 2 spare silicone O-rings, an instruction manual, and an attractive box 
  • Comes in various colors and designs

Cons

  • A bit heavy 
  • You will always need to carry the charging unit with you

Summary

On the more high-tech side of bottle filters and purifiers, we think the CrazyCap 2 Insulated Bottle with UV Water Purifier blows its competitors out of the water when it comes to value for money, quality, and features. 

This innovative UV light water purifier uses powerful UV-C LED light to kill 99.9996% of bacteria in your water with a simple press of a button. For everyday use, tap the cap twice to activate Normal Mode, and five times for Crazy Mode, which you want to use when purifying water from rivers, streams, lakes, and other questionable water sources. 

The purifying process is quick, too; you’ll get clean water in less than 60 seconds using Normal Mode and less than two minutes with Crazy Mode. We find this bottle perfect not just for our outdoor trips but also for home and office use.

Another cool thing about this bottle is that it auto-cleans itself for about twenty seconds every four hours, so you can be sure that your water stays clean and fresh while the interior of the bottle remains free of funky smell throughout the day. 

What’s more… 

This bottle has top-notch insulation, so you can use it for coffee, tea, juice, soda, or any beverage you want to keep either hot or cold for 24 hours. Because who doesn’t want a warm serving of coffee on a cold morning after a night of camping? It’s sturdy, too, and didn’t get damaged even after we accidentally dropped it several times. Plus, you can use the cap to sanitize other things, such as your phone, computer keyboard, or door knob!

Our Top Pick is also eco-friendly, which always gets plus points in our book. We like the sleek, ergonomic design and that it comes in multiple colors and designs. It’s packaged in a nice-looking box, making it awesome for gift gifting.  

Just keep in mind… 

This bottle is battery-operated, so you always need to carry the charging unit. The battery life does last up to seven days, in our experience, but for longer trips, you definitely want the charger with you.

Best Backpacking Water Filter For Camping

Platypus GravityWorks Group Camping Water Filter System

  • Save
Value for Money
90
Ease of Set-Up
90
Durability/Maintenance
80
Weight
100
Ease of Filtration
100

Material – Plastic
Capacity – 4 Liters
Type of Filter – Gravity filter
Included Components:

  • 1 4-Liter dirty reservoir  
  • 1 Hollow fiber microfilter 
  • Hoses  
  • 1 Shut-off clamp
  • 1 Storage sack

Manufacturer – Cascade Designs Inc.

Overall Score:

92

The Bottom Line:

The Platypus GravityWork Group Camping Water Filter System filters large quantities of water in a short time— perfect for families and large groups.

Pros

  • Ideal for group or family camping  
  • No need for pumping or squeezing 
  • No chemicals or batteries required 
  • Quick filtering process  
  • High capacity
  • No taste 
  • BPA-free  
  • Easy to carry and transport
  • Meets EPA/NSF guidelines
  • Comes with 1 4-liter clean water reservoir, 1 4-liter dirty water reservoir, hoses, a shutoff clamp, and a storage sack

Cons

  • A bit expensive  
  • Can freeze up in cold temperatures

Summary

If you’re not a fan of pump filters or squeeze filters, you might like the Platypus GravityWorks Group Camping Water Filter System, a gravity filtration system. 

This is a great option for basecamps, if you’re backpacking with your family or buddies, or for emergency preparedness. In fact, this filtration unit is our go-to whenever we go on backpacking trips as a group of ten. 

Each kit contains two 4-liter reservoirs (one for dirty water and one for clean water), a hollow fiber microfilter, high-quality hoses with a shutoff clamp, and a storage sack where you can store everything once you’re done filtering.  

What we like about this is that it doesn’t require any battery or chemical, and you won’t have to pump or squeeze; all you have to do is hang the dirty water reservoir from a tree branch and let gravity do all the work for you!  

It’s great because we can do other tasks while waiting for it to filter water— and we never have to wait long! With a flow rate of 1.75 liters per minute, we can have four liters of clean, filtered water in less than five minutes. The hoses are long, so it was easy to put the clean water reservoir on the ground, which makes the whole filtering process even quicker. 

Moreover… 

Because of the reservoirs’ high capacity, we don’t have to lug water around anymore, as it filters a large amount of water in a short amount of time. No more frequent refilling! The bags have straps too, so they’re easy to transport. We never run out of water for cooking, washing, and other activities.  

The filter itself is impressive. We once got some brown water from a river, and after running it through the filter, it came out crystal-clear and tasted like it was fresh out of a commercially bought bottle!  

But there’s a catch… 

It’s quite pricey. However, it’s understandable for us as the quality is definitely there, and it includes many components. Besides, we think the fact that you’re getting a large amount of filtered water in no time alone makes this product worth the price. Keep in mind also that the filter can freeze up if you leave it outside of your tent, with below freezing temperature, which we had to learn the hard way. If you’re camping during cold weather, make sure to store it inside your sleeping bag with you.

Best Portable Backpacking Water Filter

Waterdrop Gravity Water Filter Straw

  • Save
Value for Money
90
Ease of Set-Up
80
Durability/Maintenance
80
Weight
100
Ease of Filtration
90

Material – BPA-free food-grade material
Capacity – 100,000 Gallons
Type of Filter – Straw filter
Included Components:

  • Personal water filter straw 
  • 1.5 gallon-portable foldable gravity-fed water bag 
  • 16-ounce BPA-free reusable, collapsible water bag 
  • User’s manual

Manufacturer – Waterdrop

Overall Score:

88

The Bottom Line:

The Waterdrop Gravity Water Filter Straw is a highly portable and multi-purpose water filter that’s easy to carry anywhere and will impress you with its excellent functionality and versatility.

Pros

  • Highly portable 
  • Long-lasting 
  • Multi-purpose and versatile 
  • Well-designed
  • Wide opening for easy refills 
  • Lightweight
  • Budget-friendly  
  • Includes a gravity-fed bag, a collapsible water bag, and a user’s manual 
  • Straps and closure on the water bags

Cons

  • Takes quite a lot of space
  • The included water bags could be a bit thicker

Summary

The Waterdrop Gravity Water Filter Straw is an excellent user-friendly option that won’t break the bank. 

This filter consists of coconut shell activated carbon, multiple internal filtration filters, and 0.1-micron filter pores for maximum absorption. It uses a 5-stage filtration process to minimize harmful substances such as sediments, dirt, chlorine, sand, and any unpleasant odor and taste. 

We love how multi-purpose and versatile it is— you can drink the filtered water directly from the mouthpiece, connect it to a different drinking vessel and water bag, or use the included water bag to create a gravity filtration system. 

Initially, we were hesitant to bring it on our 5-day backcountry hike at Grand Canyon, but it turned out to be a piece of cake to carry, as the combined weight of the filter and the water bags is only 0.48 pounds. Oh, and the water bag can hold up to 1.5 gallons, equal to about eleven 500-ml bottles, so we didn’t have to go back and forth to the river.   

Also… 

It has a great flow rate of 700 ml per minute and can filter an impressive 100000 gallons of water. This filter is well-designed and definitely filters more contaminants than most backpacking water filters we’ve tried in this price range. We brought some backup chemical treatments with us on the trip, but since we’ve had no stomach issues, we didn’t even need to use them. The strap and closure at the top of the water bag are very handy features, as well.

Now… 

The whole thing will take up some space, so we suggest looking up the product dimensions first to know if it will fit in your backpack or luggage.

Best Lightweight Backpack Water Filter

MSR TrailShot Pocket-Sized Backcountry Water Filter

  • Save
Value for Money
90
Ease of Set-Up
100
Durability/Maintenance
80
Weight
100
Ease of Filtration
90

Material – Plastic
Capacity – 1 Liter
Type of Filter – Pump filter
Included Components:

  • Filter 
  • Hose 
  • Instruction manual

Manufacturer – Cascade Designs Inc.

Overall Score:

92

The Bottom Line:

The MSR TrailShot Pocket-Sized Backcountry Water Filter is an effective, reliable, and ultralight water filter device that makes filtering water effortless.

Pros

  • Ultra-lightweight 
  • Pocket-sized and compact   
  • Extremely simple to use  
  • Removes 99.9999% bacteria, 99.9% protozoa, and particulates 
  • Filters up to 2000 liters
  • Hollow fiber technology
  • Has a pre-filter
  • Very fast flow rate 
  • One-hand operation 
  • Easy, tool-free cleaning/backflushing  
  • End-of-life indicator
  • NSF- and EPA-certified 

Cons

  • Won’t filter out viruses 
  • Pumping can get a bit tiring on the hands

Summary

Looking for a simple yet reliable filter device that won’t slow you down? The MSR TrailShot Pocket-Sized Backcountry Water Filter could just be what you need.  

This filter is small, compact, and ultra-lightweight, with a measurement of 6 x1.4 x 2.4 inches and weighing a mere five ounces. It’s tiny, takes only seconds to pull out or stow, and it’s a good option if you have limited space in your backpack or any other storage. 

In our opinion, the biggest advantage of this filter is how easy it is to get water from sources and filter it. It features an easy, one-handed mechanism and a quick-deploy design that lets you filter a water bottle in a minute.  

To use, just place the end of the tube, which has a pre-filter, into the water. The pre-filter will take care of the larger particles, and then the water goes through the tube up to the main filtration system, where the filter will remove bacteria and protozoa as you pump away. No need to lay down on the ground to consume water directly from the source, and no need for a gravity water bag, either— the quickness and simplicity make it perfect for trail runners and hikers. 

Furthermore…

This filter is a time-saver; we like that we don’t have to stop to pull out a water bag or bottle to take a drink. Cleaning is super easy, too; once you’re done, simply squeeze out the water left, put the cap back on, and store it. It doesn’t require any tools, such as syringes, which is nice. 

It meets NSF protocol P231 for removal of protozoa and bacteria, and the U.S. EPA drinking water standards. 

However, there are things you should consider before getting this… 

Because it’s a pumping type filtration system, filling multiple reservoirs can be a bit tiring. Switching hands helps a lot, though. Another thing to remember is that it’s not a water purification system, so don’t expect it to remove viruses from the water. If you’re planning to go on a trip where the water is very contaminated, we highly suggest bringing chemical treatment with you or boiling the water before use.

Best Survival Backpacking Water Filter

GRAYL UltraPress 16.9 oz Water Purifier

Value for Money
90
Ease of Set-Up
100
Durability/Maintenance
100
Weight
90
Ease of Filtration
100

Material – Polypropylene
Capacity – 16.9 Fluid ounces
Type of Filter – Bottle purifier
Included Components:

  • UltraPress Cap 
  • Inner press 
  • Outer refill 
  • Purifier cartridge 
  • Quickstart Guide

Manufacturer – GRAYL

Overall Score:

96

The Bottom Line:

The GRAYL UltraPress 16.9 oz Water Purifier and Filter Bottle filters and purifies water of every type of impurity, making it easy to have safe water to drink wherever you are.

Pros

  • Sturdy 
  • Well-constructed  
  • Removes everything from bacteria and viruses to chemicals and particulates
  • Made from high-quality materials
  • 10-second water purifying process   
  • Makes water taste pleasant
  • Replaceable purifier cartridge 
  • Rotatable flip-up carry handle  
  • Easy to fit in backpack pockets and cup holders
  • No set up required  
  • Doesn’t leak
  •  

Cons

  • Quite pricey 
  • Not that easy to disassemble for cleaning

Summary

The GRAYL UltraPress 16.9 oz Water Purifier and Filter Bottle might look deceptively simple at first glance compared to other more complex filtration systems, but this is a solid product and is a must-have for any outdoor adventurer.  

The first thing we noticed when we first got this was the durable construction, and it’s also obvious that it’s made from high-quality materials. The design of this water filter bottle is minimalistic yet interesting nonetheless: There’s an external shell, an internal container that can be separated from the shell, and the purifying cartridge is attached at the bottom of the internal container. 

The way it works is pretty simple— you separate the outer shell from the inner container, fill the outer shell with the water you want to purify and apply steady pressure to push the inner container down into the shell. Then enjoy your purified water!  

We always take this with us during our week-long summer camping trips, and we love how it effectively cleans even the murkiest of waters. There’s no sign that the water came from sketchy water sources, either; it always ends up tasting so good! This filter removes just about everything from viruses and pathogens to protozoan cysts, volatile organic compounds, chemicals, and unwanted flavors and odors, thanks to the activated carbon in the filter— no need for backup filters. 

As if that’s not enough… 

The whole water treatment process is incredibly fast— as quick as ten seconds— and the bottle holds enough water so you have enough supply even when you’re away from a water source. It’s low-profile and not too heavy, so it fits nicely on vehicle cup holders and side pockets of our backpacks. For this reason, we also love bringing it when mountain biking and traveling.

It also has a flip-up carry handle for easy transport. The cartridge can be used up to 300 times, capable of treating up to 40 gallons of water, and is replaceable. The bottle comes in lovely muted colors to suit different tastes. 

We have to say, though… 

It’s a bit hard to disassemble the bottle for cleaning, but we also consider that a good thing, as that means the fit is tight. As for the cost, it’s on the pricey side, but you definitely get what you pay for with this product— it’s well-made, well-constructed, and will give you peace of mind that you’re drinking safe water wherever you are.

Buyers Guide: How To Choose The Best Backpacking Water Filter

Water Bottle With Filter - Bugoutbill.com
  • Save

What are the different types of water filtration systems and water purifiers?

Gravity water filters or Inline water filter

If you’re base camping or backpacking with a large group, gravity filters are the way to go. Gravity filtration systems use inline filters and are a great option if you don’t want to exert much muscle power to squeeze or pump water manually or if you need to treat large amounts of water. This system can look complicated for beginners, but it’s actually as simple as filling the dirty water reservoir with water, hanging it from a tree branch, and letting gravity do all the filtering work for you. You can choose to drink the clean water via the hose or have it go straight to a hydration bladder or a separate clean water hydration reservoir, which often comes with most gravity filter kits. 

However, this type isn’t without its disadvantages; for one thing, you have to look for somewhere high enough to hang it from, and it’s not the most portable option. They also take up space in backpacks, so keep that in mind.

UV light purifiers  

As the name suggests, UV light purifiers sterilize water and remove protozoa and bacteria using ultraviolet light. Because they purify water instead of just filtering it, they also provide protection from viruses. Other things that contribute to their appeal are the quick purification process, short wait time, and the convenience of being able to drink clean, purified water right away. 

On the other hand, UV purifiers tend to be on the pricey side. Because batteries power them, we don’t recommend them if you’re going to a place where it would be difficult to access electricity. They’re also not the best option for silty waters as they don’t remove silt and particulates. If you do need to use them on not-so-clear waters, make sure to pre-filter first. 

Chemical treatments  

Chemical treatments use iodine or chlorine dioxide, either in pills or drops, to purify water and eliminate bacteria, viruses, and protozoa like Cryptosporidium. They’re very inexpensive compared to most filters and purifiers and are so lightweight you won’t even feel you’re carrying some in your backpack. They’re also one of the easiest to use and probably the most fool-proof type of purifier as they won’t malfunction, clog, or run out of battery. 

The biggest drawback to this type is probably the long wait time. Depending on how dirty the water is, the purification process can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours. They can also leave an unpleasant taste in the water and won’t filter out larger particles, so we personally just use them as backups to an actual filter.

Features to look out for 

Weight and Size  

Like with any outdoor gear, you have to consider the weight and size of a filter before buying one. It’s important to go as light as possible when backpacking, but if you’re backpacking with a big group, you might have to prioritize size and capacity over light weight. On the other hand, if you’re camping solo or with just one buddy, then a lightweight squeeze or pump filter would be enough.

Durability  

Being durable is essential for a filter or purifier. That’s because you will use it a lot outdoors, and it should be able to withstand elements, various weather conditions, and being constantly refilled with water. The only time durability won’t matter is when you’re using chemical treatments, for obvious reasons.

Flow rate 

This refers to the speed at which water passes through the filter. The faster the flow rate, the shorter the wait time will be. Generally speaking, gravity filters take the cake for having the fastest flow rate.

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

Backpacking Water Filter - Bugoutbill.com
  • Save

Q – What type of water filter is best for backpacking?

A: The best backpacking water filters are reliable, durable, portable, have a long lifespan, are not heavy or bulky, and most importantly, effective at filtering out all the bacteria, protozoa, and dirt on the water and removing unwanted swampy taste and odor, making water clean, clear, fresh, and perfectly drinkable.

Q How long do filters last?

A: Filters have varying lifespans depending on the type and whether they use a cartridge, hollow membrane, or UV light. In general, backpacking filters have a lifespan of between 250 and 4000 liters. Those that use cartridges mostly have shorter lifespans, but even the long-lasting filters must be replaced after a certain period. Meanwhile, filter bottles and purifiers that use UV light can last pretty much forever, given that you take care of them and replace the batteries when needed.

Q – Does water filter squeeze parasites?

A:Yes, many water filters are made to be effective against parasites like giardia and Cryptosporidium.

Round-Up

Conclusion: Best Backpacking Water Filters

Bbest Water Purifie - Bugoutbill.comr
  • Save

If there’s one thing that will keep you alive outdoors and in the wilderness, it’s definitely water. That’s why filters and purifiers are a must-have to ensure you always get clean water, even in places with highly polluted water sources! 

Our list features a wide variety of water treatments, and it’s up to you to decide which one fits your needs the best. 

But if we’re going to name our top three recommendations, it would definitely be:  

First is the Katadyn BeFree 1.0L Water Filter, which earned our Editor’s Choice for its incredible efficiency, fast flow rate, and ease of use. 

For a budget water filter that’s versatile and lightweight, you can’t go wrong with our Best Value awardee, the highly popular Sawyer Squeeze Filter

And lastly, if you don’t mind paying extra for something more high-tech, then you should check out our Top Pick, the CrazyCap 2 Insulated Bottle with UV Water Purifier, an innovative product that will give you clean, great-tasting water in a matter of seconds. You can even use the cap for disinfecting other things! 

We hope you find this article helpful. If you did, please don’t hesitate to share it with your family and friends.

See you on the trail!

  • Save
Survival Emergency Weather Radio - Bugoutbill.com
Survival Emergency Radio - Bugoutbill.com

Want a Free Survival Emergency Weather Radio Delivered To Your Door?

Enter your email address below for a chance to win a Survival Survival Emergency Weather Radio ($19.99 Value) in my April 2023 giveaway.

You’ll also get my 3 Day Bugout Bag Checklist’ and be signed up for my exclusive newsletter.

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap