Top 8 Backpacking Water Filters

Backpacking requires preparation and a lot of equipment and essentials to guarantee a successful fine. Like what? Everyone needs water especially clean and accessible water. Clean drinking water is vital to consider for any amount of time especially hiking in the back-country. You can’t drink straight from streams and lakes, so you need to research and invest in the water filter. Why? Simply enough, a water filter is a purification and filtration system designed intently for backpacking.

An ideal backpacking water comes in a variety of ways that include pump water filters, gravity filter systems, squeeze style filters, chemical purification, and even using ultraviolet light. Check out these variety of water filters made specifically for hikers, day trips, and of course backpacking adventures. These top choices include a wide variety of filters that are as powerful to use for long term camping to compact filters made for quick and on the go adventures. Read more below to find out what you need to spend on backpacking water filters. You have a wide selection of backpacking water filters that are aimed for everyone that may work best for camping, hiking, running, and more outdoor adventures. Knowing what you want to buy on Amazon for backpacking water filters is key, so continue below to see the best options.


Top 8 Backpacking Water Filters 

  1. Best Overall Water Filter: Katadyn Hiker Water Filter “A convenient and large water filter that is quick to use while camping, hiking, and on the road.”
  2. Best Budget Water Filter: Aquamira Water Treatment “The lightest, most effective, and reliable filter on the market that is best of all easy and relatively fast to use.”
  3. Best Filter for Dirty Water: MSR Guardian Water FilterAn industry respected filter known for being a powerful purifier to combat dirty water; a military grade filter that is almost a near guarantee for safe water.
  4. Best Innovative Filter: Grayl Ultralight Water Filter “An innovative and refreshing filter for a technological edge in water filter changes in water purification and filtration.”
  5. Best Lightweight Filter: MSR TrailShot Water FilterAn efficient filter that is so small it can fit in your pocket, so it is ideal for hikers and backpacking trail enthusiasts.”
  6. Best Bottle Water: Katadyn BeFree Collapsible Water Filter “An easy to go, light, and portable bottle filter with streamlined design and simplicity.”
  7. Best Versatile Water Filter: Sawyer Micro Squeeze Water Filter “Incredible flexibility and functionality because of its lightweight size, compact design, and effective filtration.”
  8. Best Pump Water Filter: Katadyn Vario Water Filter “A well designed and crafty water filter with a fast pump that is overall easy to use and fast.”

Benefits of Water Filters

  1. Removal of Particles: First and foremost, most importantly a water filter is ideal for the removal of particles. Why? These particles may cause discolouration of the water.
  2. Chlorine Removal: There are a number of factors that make water dangerous, so Chlorine removal is vital to safe and usable water.
  3. Neutralisation: There are issues of smell and odors that need removal, so water filters can greatly help and aid with neutralisation of any odours.
  4. Health and Wellness: Water filters are very important for anyone seeking to keep healthy by providing a line of defense between your body and an estimated 2100 amount of known toxins that may be active or in drinking water.
  5. Lead Removal: This is a serious issue that needs to be taken seriously, so lead removal is crucial. Lead in water is removable through reverse osmosis filters, so filters are very important.
  6. Environmental Benefits: Bottled water produces a lot of plastic. Therefore, when you decide to use water filters you are sparing the usage of plastics that need to be thrown away through landfills and may end up in the environment.

Types of Water Filters

types of water filters

  1. Reverse Osmosis: This type of water filtration that works and cleanses using Reverse osmosis, which takes dirty water via a membrane. How? Basically,  contaminated water passes through a membrane, going into a fine and detailed filter. Furthermore, through the pressure the water then goes through on the other side with the contaminants removed and mostly clear.
  2. Ion Exchange: Some of the better filters that are better for trying to soften water for consumption and usage. Ion exchange can remove minerals and more by splitting apart atoms from substances to make ions. Furthermore, ions are trapped and then let go of the more negative ions. Filters like this clean by trapping contaminants and replacing it with sodium ions.
  3. Distillation: An easier method to purify water is to boil water, but distillation is similar and just as easy. In its basic essence, distillation by taking the steam and cooling it back into water within a different container.
  4. Activated Carbon: This type of filter is easy to use and set up and works by absorbing the contaminants.The carbon filters are cheap but effective against antibacterial properties and killing a whole range of organisms in water.
  5. Pump Water Filters: These types of filters and purifiers are able to remove and greatly minimize bacteria and protozoa. The hand held pumps move water via a filter and through to another storage for usage.
  6. Chemical Water Purification: This type of filter works by using an added ingredients like Chlorine Dioxide, which kills and destroys bacteria, protozoa, and viruses. The chemical additive is tasteless and colorless and easily provides protection and delivers usable water.
  7. Squeeze Water Filters: This type of water filter is a viable option for bacteria and protozoa removal. The squeeze filters are single stage filters and best used with water that is low in particulates and matter and require washing and flushing to remain effective.
  8. Gravity and Inline Water Filters: These type of filters utilize much larger amounts of water utilizing the power of gravity. Essentially, the output of the filter works by filtering water from a hose to another reservoir for usable water. Overall, this is a more effective filter for smaller groups.
  9. Bottle and Straw Water Filters: This is a type of filter that is easier to use because you only utilize a bottle or straw for filtration. While using this filter, a bottle is the only filtration point to quickly access water to be consumer.

Top 8 Backpacking Water Filters Detailed Reviews

<Best Overall Water Filter>

Katadyn Hiker Water Filter  Katadyn Hiker Microfilter

A very effective and quick water filter that is ideal for a variety of different types of trips from hiking to camping. The Katadyn Hiker, produced by a company in Switzerland, makes water filter that are best for one to two people on the move and of course backpacking. This is a pump based water filter best used in the outdoors for camping and more.

This particular filter has a large filter, so this works well for extra packing and storage. As well, the filter is designed in a compact way and is adjustable to most backpacks or travel luggage or bags. The process of filtering for this product is with active carbon, which diminishes odorous smells and taste from the water. How do you do this? Basically, you place the hose end in water and then take the other end to your water storage and pump. You get about one liter around every other minute while pumping water into your thermos or water storage. The sturdiness is impressive for this filter and made of ABS plastic, and fairly sealable and reliable considering the price point. Quite simply, the Katadyn is a convenient and large water filter that is quick to use while camping, hiking, and on the road. The filter life is 750 liters.

All in all, this is a wonderful and highly praised filter because of the price point and good company reputation. The filter is not perfect, but well regarded for doing a lot for filtering and safe water processing considering its price. The drawbacks are minor in comparison but revolve around maximum water filtering and design.

Positive: A highly dynamic filter with the power and reputation to make the dirtiest water clean and safe for use; and Katadyn has a great reputation.

Negative: The plastic design material may turn some off as well the lack of protection for viruses as well as expensive filter replacement.


<Best Budget Water and Chemical Filter>

Aquamira Water FilterAquamira - Chlorine Dioxide Water Treatment Two Part Liquid

This is a Chlorine Dioxide water treatment liquid set that comes in two parts. The Aquamira filter is the lightest, most effective, and reliable filter on the market that is best of all easy and relatively fast to use. Essentially, this is a cheap, efficient, and durable water filter.

Aquamira is a liquid form Chlorine Dioxide mix and formula that kills a lot of different germs. In particular, Aquamira effectively kills viruses, protozoa, and bacteria, so this is certainly filter to use for guaranteed hygiene. You need to start by purifying water then mixing 7 drops from the water filter solution set. Quickly enough by fifteen minutes you will be able to start using the water. There will be protection from Giardia and other viruses by 15 minutes, but you will need to wait 4 hours for any protection against Cryptosporidium. If you are looking for a filter that is easy to use then this is the filter for you because it is lightweight, cheap, and hard to damage.

All in all, with this reliable and affordable purification system you do need to realize that there will be particles because it is not a full physical filter. However, there is a good ability to make mountain and spring water safe for consumption less than standing water.

Positive: An amazingly effective purification system that is fairly efficient, lightweight, affordable, and easy to carry around.

Negative: The problems with this water filter are more prone to an unpleasant chemical taste that may be apparent after using the tablets.


<Best Filter for Very Dirty Water>

MSR Guardian Water FilterMSR Guardian Water Purifier

This is one of the most effective and strongest water filters to combat very dirty water. MSR Guardian is a filter that really aims to purify and clean water that would be the most difficult to process.

The MSR Guardian is a big piece of equipment, intended for military use at one time, which removes a whole battery of things from questionable water. For example, you will get protection from bacteria, protozoa, and even particulate from water sources that are contaminated from any variety of water sources. Moreover, this process of filtering pumps at a quick rate of about 2.5 liters every minute, so it can treat up to 10,000 liters in total. The price tag for this filter may be high, but it does offer a filter and purifier that is even trusted by emergency response teams after disasters around the world. Be prepared for a large filtration system as this is not a small unit because it has a state of the art and innovative self cleaning technology.The incredible nature of this filter can’t be unnoted because there are not stronger or more resilient filters that can adequately clean and filter water. Some customers have claimed to use this in remote locations with challenging issues and still in the end not get sick at all. The size of this filtration water system is 17 ounces and still perfectly suitable for backpacking and dependable to not break or malfunction.

There are not stronger or more intense water filters or purifiers on the market, so the MSR is a stand alone and highly reliant an effective filter to help in challenging locations. Beware this is a great product that is heavier, bulkier, and more expensive than the competition.

Positive: One of the most powerful and strongest purifiers and filters to combat dirty water; this is a military grade filter that is almost a near guarantee for safe water.

Negative: Expensive, but worthwhile for effectiveness and bulky by comparison to other filters and purification systems.


<Best Innovative Water Filter>

Grayl Ultralight Water Filter GRAYL Ultralight Water Purifier

The Grayl is a wonderful filter for traveling, outdoor treks, emergency situations camping, fishing, and survival. This is fast and easy to use filter that is using newer ways to filter and clean your water. Instead of using a clunky filter that needs a lot of exertion the Grayl filter provides a different option.

If you want a filter that does not require pumping, squeezing, odd hoses, and odd chemicals. The Grayl filter is mainly just a simple, no fuss design, bottle that of 16 ounces. What makes the Grayl special is that it utilizes a one press button process for cleaning your water. So, you get purified drinking water in almost as quick as 15 seconds. The filter removes about 99% of viruses from Hepatitis to harmful diseases that cause bacteria like E. Coli, Cholera, and more. There are a variety of factors and harmful things that need to be recognized and removed. Also.you get purification and filtration with this filter, and as well you get a plunger to the water to cleanse and make your water usable. Unfortunately, despite the cool design, you can only filter .5 liters at a time. The Grayl is an innovative and refreshing filter for a technological edge in water filter changes in water purification and filtration.

Overall, the Grayl filter is wonderful for travelers and adventurers seeking a filter for a wide variety of scenarios. You will get a filter that does well for sediments and heavy metals, but not great for longer trips.

Positive: One of the most innovative filters to fight sediments to common germs and bacteria without the clunky or obtuse filter processing; utilizing a one button bottle filter process and method to cleaning water.

Negative: Not able to process and filter water at more than .5 liters and not ideal for long term traveling and backpacking.


<Best Bottle Water>

Katadyn BeFree Collapsible Water Filter Katadyn BeFree 1.0L Water Filter

Katadyn has another easy to use filter that clean and process around 2 liters of water per minute. This is a stylish water filter that is hollow and perfectly used for sports, running ideally on trails, and short term trips. This a widely compatible and flexible bottle filter for action oriented hikers and backpackers.

The BeFree Water filter is part of a larger bottle system that features a filter and a 0.6 Liter squeezable soft bottle. It is a plastic bottle filter that is BPA free and compatible with 43mm wide-mouth bottle. The whole filter and bottle filtration unit is handy and best suited for day hikers, bikers and professional cyclists, and even people into fishing. In terms of germ removal, the water filter effectively removes protozoa, including Giardia and Cryptosporidium, and nearly full proof guarantee and effective protection for removing bacteria. In terms of ultimate hygiene, you are able to protect your bottle with a mouthpiece to keep away from possible contamination and overall sanitary. The guarantee of this bottle filter is that you can filter up to 1,000 liters of water that would be deemed contaminated. The best thing about this guarantee is that you are able to clean water without the use of chemicals, so this is a clear benefit.

Overall, this is a worthwhile and popular bottle filter that can do the job smoothly for light backpacking and active outdoor enthusiasts. There is not a lot of negative feedback on this item save for some issues of versatility and adaptability. In a nutshell, this is an easy to go, light, and portable bottle filter with streamlined design and simplicity.

Positive: A sleek and lightweight bottle filter for anyone looking for active and short term backpacking, which is easy to use and reasonably priced.

Negative: Not the most durable bottle filter as well issues with adaptability overall for usage.


<Best Lightweight Water Filter>

MSR TrailShot Water Filter MSR TrailShot Pocket-Sized Water Filter

MSR has another effective and compact filter that is designed for maximum use while on the go and on the trails. This is a pocket sized filter that is suitable for camping, traveling, backpacking, and in general any emergency situation.

This is a wonderful filter that is best for backpackers and activer people who require an ultralight filtration system. Why? Because the filter only weighs 5 ounces and is small as well. The MSR filter works by hollow fiber technology, which works by having water go through a filtration system. All in all, the MSR filter is able to protect users from dangerous protozoa, bacteria, and viruses. This type of filter works by a “squeeze bottle” pump action mechanism, so it can be worn down gradually. In terms of performance, the filter is able to clean one liter of water in about 60 seconds. Overall, the MSR filter is an efficient filter that is so small it can fit in your pocket, so it is best used by active backpackers rather than campers.

The simplicity of design for the MSR filter, which is basically a one handed pump makes it easy and lightweight for immediate use anywhere. However, be warned that this is not  a serious alternative for longer traveling or journeys.

Positive: A well designed and lightweight filter for people on the go that is easy to use, but still very effective and adequate in making your water safe.

Negative: It is slow in comparison to other filters because of its size and should not be intended to be used for long term backpacking trips or seriously dirty water.


<Best Versatile Water Filter>

Sawyer Micro Squeeze Water Filter  Sawyer Products Micro Squeeze Water Filtration System

Sawyer has the most versatile and flexible water filter on the market. Why? Simply this water filter can do more than most filters and is most adaptable in the field or traveling in a variety of areas. The Sawyer Micro filter is a compact, lightweight, and fairly affordable filter.

The biggest selling point of the Sawyer Micro squeeze filter is how fast, effective, and adaptable the filter is overall. In terms of water filtration and processing, the Mico filter has a flow rate that is better than most of its competition. How versatile is this filter? If you are concerned about finding a filter that is usable for a variety of ways then this is the best filter for you. Because you can use this  squeeze pouches, bottles of water, or even use it with straws that go right to the water source. Essentially, you can put this filter in conjunction with a hydration bladder, so you can filter and drink as you go. Or as well, you set up a gravity filter system for another option for filtration. Overall, the Sawyer Micro filter is ultra lightweight and ideal for anyone at 2 ounces, which makes this easily accessible. The filter removes about 99.9% of all bacteria, so a pretty surefire protection against a multitude of things like salmonella, cholera, E. Coli, and other dangerous bacteria. In addition, you are able to remove nearly 100% of all microplastics.

All in all, this is regarded as one of the better filters for its adaptability to filter in different ways, lightweight size, compact design, and effectiveness. The frustrations that have been mentioned in regards to this filter are numerous and range from problems not being able to protect against viruses, durability and usage being worn down over time, and the need for backwashing.

Positive: The functionality of this squeeze filter makes it very popular and adaptable for use in a variety of ways; as well the filter is reasonably priced.

Negative: The filter requires backwashing to remain active and efficient, so the flow rate gets worse over time; as well this filter does not protect against viruses.


<Best Pump Water Filter>

Katadyn Vario Water Filter  Katadyn Vario Water Filter

One of the more stylish and effective pump filters that is compact enough for backpacking. The Katadyn water filter is an efficient and effective option for pump filters because it has the ability to filter up to 2 quarts of water every minute.

Katadyn is a well regarded and reputable company that is able to deliver the effectiveness of larger filtration systems. The functionality and smart design wins a lot of points for being the most appealing about this pump filter. In terms of parts, the water filter has included an outlet and inlet for processing and filtration. These two parts are then attached to a plastic clip that is meant to go along with your water bottle, which protects the filter while the bottle is being filled with clean water. This is a relatively fast filter that can does not require too much effort. Even though it is a pump filter the filter is easy to use and requires less exertion than other similar optional filters. In addition, there is an inclusion of a charcoal filter for extra protection and quality control. Charcoal filters have the ability to remove unpleasant tastes and smells for maximum satisfaction. Essentially, this is a great filter to have if you want to be able to drink water that is drinkable and relatively good for taste purposes.

In summary, this is a wonderful water filter that manages to be fast, effective and easy to follow but also quite streamlined in design and use. Some of the problematic issues with this filter are more with the pump eventually malfunctioning or getting locked. But, overall, a stylish well designed water filter with a fast pump that is overall easy to use and fast.

Positive: A fast water pump filter that is easy to use and quick to see results for any backpacking adventures; as well there is a charcoal filter for maximum quality.

Negative: There have been issues with the pump jamming, even stopping, and in general malfunctioning due to an issue that would best be described as getting air locked in certain instances.

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