Gone are the days where you need to bring clumsy and unpractical water filters with you backpacking. With advanced technologies, backpacking water filters now weigh less than 1 lb and can fit in the palm of your hand. Additionally, they can efficiently filter hundreds of gallons of contaminated water before you need to replace them. The purpose of this article is to make you, the reader, more informed about the best water filter for backpacking.
At quenchingyourthirst.com, we have researched many water filters. We have handpicked our top 5 favorite for the best water filter for backpacking and will review them in this article.
Our Top Pick
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
Filters Up To 1000 L Of Contaminated Water, 0.2 Micron Filter Size, High Flow Rate For Drinking, Light Weight, Great For Backpacking And Camping. Find it on Amazon here.
What Are We Looking For?
While researching and reviewing the best water filter for backpacking, we rated them on the following:
- Previously, water filters were larger in size, had many moving parts. Some even required batteries. Modern water filters are small in size and simple to use. While researching the best water filter for backing, we made note of which ones were easy to use, efficient at filtering water, and suitable for various scenarios.
What Does It Filter Out?
- After all, they are called water filters. In this category we were interested in the type of contaminants that the filters remove, and how efficient they were at doing it. Typical filters remove up to 99.99999% bacteria and 99.9% of protozoa from contaminated water. Additionally, we looked at whether filters met the United States Environmental Protection Agency standards for filters.
How Long Will It Last?
- You don’t want to be replacing your water filter after every backpacking trip. In this section, we reviewed the contaminated water volume that can be passed through a filter before it needs replacing. Of course, the numbers vary depending on how contaminated your water source is, however it gives you an accurate idea. Water filters reviewed in this article are designed for hundreds of gallons or thousands of liters of contaminated water, if not more.
Size and Weight
- The best water bottle filter for backpacking will be one that is small in size and lightweight. You will be carrying a lot of other gear when backpacking, you want a filter that is efficient, yet minimal in size. In this article, filters range from 2 to 16 oz (0.13 to 1.0 lbs). Additionally, all can easily be stashed in backpacking packs.
Considering all that was discussed above, our top 5 picks reviewed in this article include water filters from the following companies (1) LifeStraw, (2) Sawyer Products, (3) Katadyn, (4) Platypus, and (5) MSR.
Some general details for each of the top 5 picks for best water filter for backpacking can be seen in the comparison table below.
Scroll from right to left on a mobile device to view hidden options.
|Filter Size||0.2 microns||0.1 micron||0.1 micron||0.2 microns||0.2 microns|
|Replace After||264 gallons (1000 L)||100,000 gallons (378,541 L)||264 gallons (1000 L)||1500 gallons (5678 L)||528 gallon (2000 L)|
|Weight||2 oz (0.13 lbs)||1.6 oz (0.1 lbs)||2.3 oz (0.14 lbs)||11.5 oz (0.72 lbs)||16 oz (1 lb)|
|Filters||99.9999% bacteria, 99.9% protozoa||99.99999% bacteria, 99.9999% protozoa||99.9999% bacteria, 99.9% protozoa||99.9999% bacteria, 99.9% protozoa||99.9999% bacteria, 99.9% protozoa|
Keep scrolling down to see detailed reviews and pictures of each water filter.
1. LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
The personal water filter by LifeStraw is great for hiking, backpacking, and travel. It measures 9″ (22.9 cm) in length, 1″ (2.54 cm) in diameter and only weighs 2 oz (0.125 lbs).
Therefore, the ultralight water filter can easily fit in your backpack or be carried by hand. The LifeStraw was designed to be placed directly into a dirty water source with the mouth-valve end pointing up.
As you suck on the mouth-valve, contaminated water is pulled up through the straw and filtered into clean, drinking water.
Inside the straw is an advanced membrane that filters contaminated water. Pores of the membrane were designed to be smaller than bacteria, and parasites.
As the water passes through the pores, it captures the bacteria and parasites, resulting in filtered drinking water. The reusable LifeStraw will filter up to 1000 liters of contaminated water.
The capabilities of the LifeStraw Personal water filter include:
- Removes 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria
- Removes 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites
- Filters to 0.2 microns
If we haven’t already convinced you, read the Amazon reviews to see what others love about the LifeStraw Personal water filter.
LifeStraw Universal Water Filter Bottle Adapter Kit
Alternatively, you can add a LifeStraw to one of your existing water bottles. This is made possible with the LifeStraw Universal Water Filter Bottle Adapter Kit.
It includes a 2-stage filter, standard and sport sized mouthpieces, as well as a leakproof lid with carrying kit. It has all the filtering capabilities of standalone LifeStraw.
However, you can now attach it to your favorite water bottle. Read the Amazon reviews to see what others love about the LifeStraw Adapter Kit.
Amongst others, the LifeStraw Adapter Kit is compatible with the following water bottles:
- Hydro Flask
- Wide Mouth 32, 40, 64 oz
- Standard Mouth 21, 24 oz
- Podium Chill
- Eddy Glass
- Klean Kanteen
- Classic 27, 40, 64 oz
- Wide Mouth 27, 40, 64 oz
- ATB Bottle and OTG / OTF 22 oz
- Wide Mouth and Steel Backpacker 32 oz
- Steel Standard 38 oz
2. Sawyer Products MINI Water Filtration System
The Sawyer Products MINI Water Filtration System boasts a capability of filtering up to 100,000 gallons (378,541 L) of water.
Included with each purchase are a Sawyer MINI filter, a 16 oz (473 ml) reusable squeeze pouch, a 7″ (17.8 cm) drinking straw, and a cleaning plunger. The MINI filter weighs only 2 oz (0.125 lbs) and makes for a great addition to your camping or backpacking trips.
Sawyer Products MINI water filter removes contaminants from dirty water. As water runs through the filter, it captures bacteria and produces clean drinking water.
The MINI water filter removes 99.99999% of bacteria, 99.9999% of protozoa and 100% of microplastics.
Sawyer designed the MINI filter to be adaptable, and it can be used in multiple different ways. These include:
- Using the filter with 16 oz reusable squeeze pouch
- 32 oz and 64 oz squeeze pouches are also available on Amazon
- From a container using the 7″ straw
- Screwing the filter to standard thread sized water bottles (water bottle not included)
- Attaching the filter to a hydration pack (pack not included)
If we haven’t convinced you already, read the Amazon reviews to see what others love about the Sawyer Products MINI Water Filtration System.
3. Katadyn BeFree 1.0L Water Filter
Katadyn BeFree 1.0L Water Filter is great for backpacking and hiking. It only weighs 2.24 oz (0.14 lbs), and the best part is it is collapsible.
Therefore, it is easy to stash in your backpack or jacket pocket. When not collapsed, the Katadyn BeFree measures 4.2″ (10.7 cm) in diameter at the base, 3″ (7.6 cm) in diameter at the top, and is 10″ (25.4 cm) in height.
The 0.1-micron water filter is attached to the bottle nozzle and sits in the contaminated water. When you tilt the bottle towards your lips, dirty water flows through the microfilter and removes contaminants.
With the ability to filter all unclean waters, the Katadyn BeFree removes harmful contaminants at rates greater than required by EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency).
Furthermore, this Katadyn product filters 99.9999% of bacteria and 99.9% of protozoa.
Other notable features of the Katadyn BeFree 1.0L water filter include:
- Long-Lasting – can filter up to 264 gallons (1000 L) of contaminated water
- Ez-Clean Membrane – shake or swish filter to remove debris
- Hydrate Quickly – flow rate of up to 2L per minute
If we haven’t convinced you already, read the Amazon reviews to see what others love about the Katadyn BeFree 1.0L water filter.
4. Platypus GravityWorks 4L Complete Water Filter Kit
While previous products reviewed in this article are more for personal use, the Platypus GravityWorks 4L Water Filter Kit is great for groups of backpackers.
The kit weighs only 11.5 oz (0.72 lbs) and includes a 4L dirty reservoir, a 4L clean reservoir, a microfilter, hoses, a shutoff clamp, and a storage bag.
Designed to utilize the concept of gravity, the Platypus GravityWorks Water Filter Kit is very easy to use.
Firstly, fill your dirty reservoir with contaminated water and hang it somewhere above the ground (a tree, bench, etc.). Next, connect the filter and hose to both the dirty and clean reservoirs.
After that, place the clean reservoir on the ground, or at a lower height than the dirty reservoir. Now gravity does its part.
Unclean water will flow through the microfilter, removing contaminants, and fill the clean reservoir with filtered, drinkable water.
Other notable features of the Platypus GravityWorks 4L Complete Water Filter Kit include:
- Meets EPA Filtering Guidelines – removes 99.9999% of bacteria and 99.9% of protozoa
- Replaceable Cartridge – filters up to 1500 gallons (5678 L) before requiring replacement
- High Flow Rate – filters 1.75 L per minute, that is a full 4 L reservoir of filtered water in less than 2.5 minutes
If we haven’t convinced you already, read the Amazon reviews to see what others love about the Platypus GravityWorks 4L Complete Water Filter Kit.
5. MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter Water Filter
Different from other water filters for backpacking reviewed in this article, the MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter utilizes a handheld pump and hose to filter water.
Firstly, attach one end of the hose to the pump, and place the other end in unclean water. Secondly, screw the pump onto compatible sized water bottles. Finally, you just need to pump.
Contaminated water travels by hose up to the filter. It passes through the membrane and exits out the bottom into your water bottle.
The MSR MiniWorks is capable of filtering 0.26 gallons (1 L) of water per minute, which will take approximately 85 pumps.
Meeting the requirements of The Public Health and Safety Organization (NSF protocol P231), the filter removes 99.9999% of bacteria and 99.9% of protozoa.
Additionally, the replaceable 0.2-micron filter cartridge is long-lasting, filtering up to 528 gallons (2000 L) of water before requiring a replacement.
Other notable features of the MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter include:
- Small In Size – measures 7.5″ (19.0 cm) in length, (7.0 cm) 2.75″ in diameter and 16 oz (1 lbs)
- Compatible – fits standard sized water bottles from Nalgene, CamelBak, etc. and includes adapter for non-standard sizes
- Multi-Use – great for backpacking, camping, traveling and hiking
If we haven’t convinced you already, read the Amazon reviews to see what others love about the MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter Water Filter.
In conclusion, we researched and reviewed our top 5 picks for the best water filter for backpacking. Our top 5 included water filters from the following companies (1) LifeStraw, (2) Sawyer Products, (3) Katadyn, (4) Platypus, and (5) MSR.
We rated the best water filter for backpacking on the following categories:
- Practical application
- What does it filter out
- How long will it last
- Size and weight
For any comments, questions or feedback you might have, please send us a message through our contact form.