Best Water Filtration System for Backpacking

Looking for the best water filtration system for backpacking? Check out our article for a helpful look at these top water filters available.

Did you know that even the cleanest wilderness water sources often contain harmful microorganisms such as Giardia?

There is no better way to ruin a backpacking trip than to get sick from drinking untreated water. This is why it’s essential to have the right filtration system to protect yourself from parasites and bacteria. 

Many people make the mistake of thinking that all water filtration systems are the same. The truth is that some are more effective than others. If you want to find out about the best water filtration system for backpacking, keep reading, and we’ll tell you everything you need to know. 

The Best Gravity and Inline Filters

These systems use inline filters to purify water. They are an ideal kind of water purifier if you’re backpacking in groups of four or more. They are easy to use and extremely effective at filtering large amounts of clean water. 

All you need to do is fill the unpurified water pouch, connect the filter to the hose (or port), and wait for the water to filter through the purifier.

Some gravity filters use an additional plastic bladder that collects purified water. There are other types that deliver clean water through a hose, which you can place inside the containers that you want to fill. 

One of the biggest downsides of these filters is that they tend to be heavy and take up lots of space. This means that they aren’t ideal if you’re on multi-day treks. You’ll also need to spend lots of time setting these systems up. 

Here are some of the top gravity and inline filters that you can find. 

Platypus GravityWorks 4L

This convenient water filter is one of the most popular tools for backpackers. It has a flow rate of almost two liters per minute, which means it’s one of the fastest filters on the market. 

It’s also easy to use. All you need to do is hang the “dirty” bladder from a tree and wait for gravity to do its work. Even though it’s an ideal filter for large groups, you can also use it if you’re in the backcountry alone. It is also an ideal water filter for those who need to set up a basecamp

Keep in mind that this is not a minimalist setup. It has two bags, a filter, and a coil of plastic tubes. It can also be frustrating if you don’t have a nearby fast-moving and deep water source, which you need for filling the dirty reservoir. 

At a cost of one hundred and twenty dollars, the filter isn’t cheap. But if you do choose to purchase this filter, you can rest assured that you’ll be using one of the best water purifiers that money can buy. 

This is a great filter for backpackers who are on the hunt for the best gadgets to use while in the outdoors. 

MSR Thru-Link Inline Water Filter

This filter caught the attention of many avid adventurers when it was first released because of its unique features. Unlike similar inline filters, the MSR Thru-Link can attach directly to the hose of your reservoir so that you can filter water and drink it at the same time. 

This gravity setup allows you to filter water by simply hanging the dirty water reservoir and letting gravity do its job. With a weight of two and a half ounces and at a cost of forty-five dollars, this is a must-have tool for every serious backpacker who likes to visit isolated places like Rocky Mountain National Park. 

The Best Pump Filters and Purifiers

If you’ll be backpacking with small groups of less than five people, you should consider using a pump filter. They are especially helpful in situations where you need to filter water from shallow water sources. 

These filters require the most effort to operate because you need to physically pump water through them. These kinds of water filters have been around for many decades, which means that most backpackers know how to use them. 

Despite their many benefits, they do have several downsides. They are heavy and tend to filter water more slowly than other kinds of purifiers.

Lastly, it takes quite a bit of effort to clean the filters, which is necessary to do from time to time. Here are some of our top picks. 

MSR Guardian Purifier System

With a price of almost four hundred dollars, the MSR Guardian does not come cheap. It costs about ten times more than other filters. But it has more features than any other water purifier on the market. 

Since it is both a water purifier and a water filter, you can be confident that it is the best filter that money can buy.

The pump also has a self-cleaning feature, which means that you can depend on it. This is such a great filter that it’s often used by the military. The MSR Guardian is a great piece of equipment to have if you’re setting out on an epic camping trip

The main problem with this filter is that it is extremely heavy. People also say that its features are overkill. You probably won’t need such a sophisticated piece of equipment if you’re just going out for a hike in the mountains. 

Katadyn Hiker Microfilter

This is one of the most reliable water filters on the market. It’s also easy to use. All you need to do is place the hose in a pool or stream, attach the other end to a water bottle, and start pumping. 

It can almost a liter of water every minute if you’re pumping it as fast as you can. The downside of this filter is that it doesn’t get rid of viruses such as hepatitis A

The Best Bottle and Squeeze Filters

These are one of the easiest water filters to use. They connect to the spouts of water bottles, which means you can drink water and filter it at the same time.

People enjoy using them because their lightweight and don’t take up much space. They are popular with trail runners, bicyclists, and solo hikers. 

If you’re setting out on the trails alone or want your gear to be lightweight and compact, it’s a good idea to take a bottle filter on your trips.

You can also use bottle filters to squeeze purified water into additional containers so that you can store drinking water for future use. 

One of the major downsides of these filters is that they filter water more slowly than more advanced models. Here are some of the best bottle and squeeze filters that you can buy. 

Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter

This three-ounce filter is popular with hikers who don’t want to mess with hoses and extra pouches. It has a lifetime warranty and is one of the most affordable water filters that you can buy. 

To use it, all you need to do is fill one of the included bladders with water from a stream or pool, connect the filter, and squeeze purified water into a jug or into your mouth. 

This water filter does have downsides. The included pouch is difficult to fill if you aren’t able to dip it into a fast-moving water source. It also tends to wear out quickly. 

Katadyn BeFree Collapsible Bottle

This lightweight bottle filter is easy to use and compact. It comes with a HydraPak bottle, which you can use just like any other water bottle. The only difference is that water will pass through a filter before it goes into your mouth. 

This is a great tool to have if you’re out trail running. Its main downside is that the filter doesn’t last long. It will only filter about one thousand liters before you need to replace it while its main competitor, The Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter, has a lifetime warranty. 

The Best Straw Filters

Straw filters are popular with adventurers such as runners, solo trekkers, and bicyclists who don’t want to worry about carrying unnecessary equipment. All you need to carry with you is a straw that weighs less than six ounces. 

Despite their versatility, it’s important to know that these filters are not ideal for anything beyond simple day trips. One of the biggest drawbacks is that you can’t use them to store clean water for later on. Here are some of the best straw filters that we recommend. 

Lifestraw Personal Water Filter

This is one of the most useful tools that an outdoorsman can have. It will fit in your pocket, and you can use it to drink water directly from streams or lakes. 

Since it’s able to filter over a thousand liters of water, it will last you many years. This filter costs less than twenty dollars and doesn’t have any moving parts. 

The Best Chemical and UV Purifiers

Chemical purifiers usually use chemicals such as iodine or chlorine dioxide to treat water. They will effectively get rid of dangerous microorganisms such as protozoa, bacteria, and viruses. UV purifiers work by shining ultraviolet light to kill harmful microorganisms. 

One of the best things about these types of purifiers is that they weigh next to nothing. They are also easy and quick to use since you won’t need to pump them or squeeze plastic bottles to filter water. 

The downside of chemical and UV filters is that they don’t work well if you need to purify water that’s not crystal clear. This means that they won’t be helpful while you’re in the wilderness unless there are glacial streams nearby. 

It’s also important to know that chemical purifiers that use iodine and chlorine dioxide will add an unpleasant taste to your drinking water. UV purifiers won’t change the taste of your water, but you’ll need to have batteries to use them. If they run out of juice or you forget to bring them, your UV filter will be useless. 

Here are some of the best chemical and UV purifiers that we recommend.

Katadyn Micropur MP1

If you’re looking for a straightforward and effective way to purify water, then you should consider investing in these tablets. Even though they’re more expensive than other brands, these drops weigh less than an ounce.

All you need to do to use them is add a tablet to a bottle of water. After fifteen minutes there will be no viruses or bacteria in your water. It will take thirty minutes to get rid of Giardia. 

SteriPen Ultra UV Water Purifier

SteriPen took the world by storm more than ten years ago when the company introduced the world’s first UV water purifier. People love this purifier because it is so convenient. All you need to do is turn it on and stir it inside a bottle of water to purify it. 

Unfortunately, this personal filter won’t remove debris from your drinking water. But if you don’t mind drinking silt at times, this is a great water purifier to have. It’s especially popular with bicyclists who want to refill their hydration packs while they’re on the go. 

Find the Best Water Filtration System for Backpacking Today

There are many options available for those who are looking for the best water filtration system for backpacking. If you are looking for something that won’t take up much space in your backpack, consider getting the Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter. If you want the best filer and purifier and filter that money can buy, you can’t go wrong with the MSR Guardian. 

If you want to get the best possible gear for your next outdoor adventure, check out our hiking articles to find out more about everything you need.

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