10 Best Backpacking Water Filters of 2020 For Your Outdoors

How much drinking water can you carry for a hiking trip? Two, three gallons? What if all your drinking water runs out, how would you survive?

They say you can survive without food but never without drinking water. This is why you can’t just take drinking water with you; take a water filter to make a questionable water source into a safe drinking water source.

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
LifeStraw – Best Backpacking Water Filter – Image credit from Amazon

And when it comes to backpacking water filters, a few trusted brands with exceptional filter designs are trusted by more and more people, especially outdoorsmen. This review will help you decide which portable water filter suits you best.

1. LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter for Hiking

The LifeStraw can turn any water source into drinking water for you. This is just like what it says, a straw built with layers of filter material inside.  The LifeStraw will be able to remove 99.999999% of waterborne bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella as well as 99.999% of waterborne parasites with its efficient microfiltration membrane.

This water filter can also remove microplastics which are the smallest amounts of plastic that are found in the environment. The LifeStraw can reduce the turbidity levels of water down to 0.2 microns. With this unique filter, you can drink clear water anywhere.

Every LifeStraw can last for more than a year. It will be able to filter 4,000 liters of contaminated water to clean and safe water to drink and cook.

Conclusion: LifeStraw is a handy water filter that will give you instant results. Simply use it like you would a straw and sip water from the mouthpiece. It has layers of microfilter inside the straw that filters contaminated water.

Pros
  • Will last a long time
  • Has passed testing
  • Removes bacteria, parasites, and microplastics
Cons
  • Does not come with a water bottle

2. Sawyer Products PointOne Squeeze Water Filter System

Sawyer Products PointOne Squeeze Water Filter System

You can’t carry a lot of water when you go camping, that’s true. Which is why with the Sawyer Products PointOne Squeeze Water Filter System, you can drink any water source.

This comes with a water pouch that you will fill with water. Attach this pouch to the filter and simply squeeze clean water out. The PointOne has a hollow filter membrane that is made of U-shaped microtubules that let water in and trapping all other particles including harmful bacteria, cysts, and protozoa. These are microorganisms that cause dangerous illnesses including cholera, typhoid fever and more.

You can use the PointOne as it is, by squeezing the contents to your mouth or by filling your water bottle or placing water in a pot for cooking. Independent testing has been done and has proven that the PointOne is indeed effective in removing microorganisms, bacteria and all protozoa.

Conclusion: The PointOne Squeeze Water Filter System is handy, easy to use and won’t make you wait to have clean and drinkable water. All you need to do is to fill the water packs, attach the filter and squeeze clean water out of the filter. You will have clean water for drinking and cooking in no time.

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Removes bacteria greater than market standard
Cons
  • May not last longer
  • Pouches can tear

3. MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter Water Filter

MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter Water Filter

The MSR MiniWorks is a microfilter water filter that you can use for any outdoor activity. It can efficiently remove dangerous disease-causing microorganisms, chemicals, and other microparticles.

This small but handy water filter pumps clean water at a rate of one liter a minute. It cleans water and even removes the smell and taste of dirty water. The filters are also long-lasting and can treat up to 2,000 liters of water.

Conclusion: Just like hand pumped water filters, there is no wait when using the MSN MiniWorks filter time to get clear, clean, odor-free and taste-free drinking water when you use this water filter. All you need to do is to attach the parts to the water pump and with a few quick pumps of the handle; you can get clean water flowing from the spout to your water bottle or pot for cooking.

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • With a higher output rate
  • Lightweight and can be taken anywhere
  • With replaceable carbon and ceramic filter
Cons
  • Needs some assembly
  • Does not come with replacement filters

4. Katadyn Vario Water Filter

Katadyn Vario Water Filter

You can adjust the Katadyn Vario Water Filter according to your backpacking or hiking conditions. The Vario water filter is for multiple uses, ideal for group trips, camping and family outings. It is designed to provide continuous water flow with very little effort.

This has a high-performance pump made of ceramic for longer life span as well as plexiglass fiber for efficient operation. The pump has a high water output and has a replaceable carbon core that will keep water smelling and tasting fresh.

This portable water filter needs to be assembled on site but it can be carried anywhere inside your backpack. It can be set up in minutes and replaceable parts are available for ordering anytime.

Conclusion: The Katadyn Vario Water Filter won’t make you wait to treat your water. As the water flows through the filter, toxins, microorganisms and other harmful particles are trapped automatically.  With the Vario, clean water for drinking and cooking flows through the system effortlessly.

Pros
  • With replaceable carbon core
  • Will last for a long time
  • With high-performance glass fiber filter
Cons
  • Complaints that it leaks

5. Platypus GravityWorks 4.0 Liter High-Capacity Water Filter System

Platypus GravityWorks 4.0 Liter High-Capacity Water Filter System

For high-capacity water filtration for a group of people, the Platypus GravityWorks water filtration system is your choice. This is a gravity-fed system that is perfect for high volume filtration.

This system meets standards for removing bacteria, protozoa, giardia, E. coli, salmonella, cholera, and cryptosporidium plus more. There is no need to pump because water will be filtered by gravity.

The Platypus GravityWorks comes with a 4-year dirty water reservoir and a 4-year clean water reservoir. The flow rate is faster at 1.75 minutes and the kit weighs a mere 11.5 ounces, still light enough to carry anywhere.

Conclusion: When using the GravityWorks filter, you may need to wait around 2.5 minutes for dirty water to be filtered and then stored in the clean water bladder. Otherwise, it is an efficient and handy water filter to take anywhere.

Pros
  • High capacity filter
  • Ideal for group camping and other outdoor activities
  • Removes most bacteria, protozoa, salmonella, and coli to name a few.
Cons
  • Does not remove viruses,
  • Needs assembly to work

6. Sawyer Products Select Series Water Filters and Purifiers with Micro Squeeze Filter

Sawyer Products Select Series Water Filter

The Sawyer Products Select Series Water Filters and Purifiers are made of three types of water filters.

You can use any of these filters to make any water source drinkable. However, there are different uses for each one. The Green S1 foam filter bottle will help you remove bacteria, protozoa, taste and odor, and chemical or pesticides. The Blue S2 will additionally remove viruses and the S3 will additionally remove heavy metals.

This is useful when you go camping, backpacking, fishing or hiking. Simply fill the water bottle with water and screw the spout on top. Wait for at least 10 seconds and squeeze water out of the bottle, through the spout to your mouth or to your container.

Inside these water bottles are foam membranes that are capable of reducing chemicals, pesticides, microorganisms, taste, and odor. You can have clean and drinkable water from any source

Conclusion: The Sawyer Products Select Series filter is handy but water has to be treated before drinking. After placing water inside the silicone bottle, screw the cap or spout on and wait for ten seconds to treat water. This goes for all the water bottle filter types (S1, S2, and S3).

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Durable silicone water bottle
  • With innovative replaceable foam membranes
Cons
  • Small capacity water bottle
  • You need to purchase all three bottle filters

7. Katadyn Hiker Pro Transparent Water Microfilter

Katadyn Hiker Pro Transparent Water Microfilter

The Katadyn Hiker Pro Transparent Microfilter is the answer to carrying gallons of water to the campsite. If you have a potential water source then this system will turn questionable drinking water into a drinkable, safe and odor-free and taste-free water source.

This is an 11-ounce Hiker Pro Microfilter that will provide you with enough drinking water for your trip.  It takes a few minutes to set this up and with a simple pump action; you can collect clean, ready-to-drink water that is free from odor and taste.

It comes with a 0.2-micron filter that removes all harmful microorganisms such as bacteria and protozoa. You can connect the fittings to a hydration pack so you can readily drink your newly filtered water. This is a durable hand-held filter that even a novice can use.

Conclusion: The Katadyn Hiker Pro is quite similar to the Vario and there is no need to wait to get drinking water. Just pump water through its microfilter and carbon filter and you can fill your water bottle or hydration pack.

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Ultra-light you can take this anywhere
  • Compact can fit inside your backpack
Cons
  • Will need some assembly

8. Katadyn Pocket Microfilter

Katadyn Pocket Water Microfilter

You can now travel the outdoors without fear of drinking contaminated water with the Katadyn Pocket Microfilter water filter system. This is indeed small enough to take anywhere. The ceramic material is made from ceramic with silver particles to remove sediments, giardia, protozoa, and other disease-causing microorganisms.

This pocket filter has a 1 liter a minute output and can be used and reused for many, many times. You can even clean the different parts on the go.

Conclusion: The Katadyn Pocket MIcrofilter is quite easy to use and will not make you wait to get clean, drinkable water. All you need to do is to assemble the filter and the attachments and then pump water in. Clean and drinkable water will come out the other end and this may already be used for drinking and cooking.

Pros
  • Very portable
  • Easy to use
  • Field-cleanable
Cons
  • This needs assembly
  • Does not remove viruses

9. Renovo Water MUV Eclipse Survival Water Filter System

Renovo Water MUV Eclipse Survival Water Filter System

The Renovo Water MUV is a water filtration system that is completely adaptable. It is for hiking trips, camping, fishing, survival challenges and more. You can transform questionable water sources into clean and safe drinking and cooking water using its multi-filter attachments.

This portable water filter is hand-operated with a pump, a gravity bag and a water bottle for ease of use. Your purchase comes with three MUV water filters. Each one may be stacked and installed inside the pump to improve filtration according to the level of water contamination you are going to filter.

This water filter is handy, can be placed inside your bag or backpack and comes with replaceable parts. It does not come with replacement filters though so you need to purchase these separately.

Conclusion: Because of the Renovo Water filter’s efficient filters, there is no need to wait because water is not treated at all. It will simply pass through stages of filters until it is clean and ready to drink.

Pros
  • Highly-adaptable
  • Comes with all parts
  • Easy to set up and lightweight
Cons
  • Needs assembly before use
  • Does not come with replacement filters

10. Boston Fortis Personal Portable Water Filter

Boston Fortis Personal Portable Water Filter

The Boston Fortis is an advanced water filtration system that comes with a 4-stage purification system. It will make contaminated water safe, drinkable, odor-free and good tasting with its efficient filtering system.

It has passed laboratory tests and certification because it can remove more than 99% of bacteria, microorganisms, protozoa, and chemicals. This water filter also doubles as a survival gear because it comes with a compass, whistle, mini-knife, and fire flint.

Conclusion: The Boston Fortis filter is handy and efficient. There’s no need to wait to get clean water for drinking or cooking in camp. The Boston Fortis system lets you transform contaminated water to drinkable and usable water easily with its easy filtration system.

Pros
  • Comes with survival gear
  • Laboratory tested and certified
  • With 4 stage water purification system
Cons
  • Needs some assembly
  • Does not come with extra filters

How to Choose the Right Backpacking Water Filters for You

When choosing water filters for your next backpacking trip, it pays to consider the following tips

1. Consider water filters that can remove bacteria, protozoa, and This type of filter may be quite expensive but it’s still the best buy.

2. Choose an easy to assemble system because complicated filter systems can only lead to costly mistakes.

3. Look for easy to carry and lightweight filters. Because you will be moving most of the time, it pays to have a lightweight, easy to use and easy to carry filter that fits inside your bag.

Final Words

Your camping or backpacking water supply will never be enough this is why you need a portable and effective water filter. But to find the best backpacking water filter, you need to shop smart. Consider good filter features and user convenience above anything else when you purchase.