The Best Backpacking Water Filters Of 2022
June 10, 2022 | By
We tested the best backpacking water filters and purifiers for your next trip into the great outdoors.
You dont need much to have a successful backpacking trip. Yes, youll need some gear . But most importantly, youll need a way to get clean, safe water while on the trail.
Before we explain in depth how each water filter works, here are a few things that will help you through this guide. There are many different methods of filtering water. The most common methods are through a cartridge or tube, with either activated carbon, UV light, or chemicals.
Filters also come in different styles: straw-style, pump filters, gravity filters, and UV or tablet treatments. They all make water safe to drink but differ slightly in size, durability, and price.
Weve spoken to thru-hikers, put many of these to the test, and read hundreds of customer reviews to find out which water filters on the market are truly the best.
Scroll through to see all of our recommended buys or jump to the category youre looking for:
Best Overall Water Filter: Sawyer Squeeze
This water filter system is the gold standard for many thru-hikers and backpackers across the globe. The Sawyer Squeeze filters down to 0.1 microns, making it effective against bacteria and protozoa .
What customers said: The Sawyer Squeeze has over 1,000 five-star ratings. Top feedback from customers includes the ultralight trail weight, the ease of use , and the durability over time.
How Do I Clean A Gravity Water Filter
Three main components need to be cleaned: The hang bags, hose, and filter. All three of these need to be clean for the water to be properly filtered.
One great way to clean the system is backflushing. This is when you use clean water and run it in the opposite direction through the filtering system. When the water runs the other way, it can clean the filter from the bigger chunks that can get stuck. The Platypus GravityWorks system includes a plunger syringe that is filled with clean water and pushed back through the filter from the clean waterside.
To fully clean the filter, clean it out with water and a little bit of bleach to kill any remaining pathogens.
Taking A Family Break From Modern Life Make Sure Your Camping Equipment Is Up To The Job
Modern life can be all-consuming and getting back to nature offers the perfect antidote, but before you head off-grid make sure you have a portable water filter you can trust. Concerns about screen time, a poor diet, too much time indoors, school pressures and the environment, in general, can prove overwhelming for parents.
The immense pressure no doubt helps to account for the popularity of family camping holidays, woodland breaks and the rise in ‘off-grid getaways.’ Getting back to nature is a chance to get away from it all, reconnect with your children and tear them away from their screens.
When planning your escape though, having the right equipment will make a difference. Do you really want to go camping and end up driving out to the nearest convenience stall to stock up on drinks or plastic bottles of water? Or can you be sure about the quality of the water you will have access to onsite?
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Can Viruses Be Filtered Out Of Water
Yes! Purifiers like the Grayl Geopress Purifier are built especially to filter and protect against everything you could encounter, whether in the backcountry or in a developing country.
As long as you are following the instructions on your filter or purifier, it will protect against whatever its rated for .
Zen Water Systems Countertop System
You will be at peace when you have a countertop filtration and purification system from Zen Water Systems. It primarily completes five jobs for you: filtering, purifying, mineralizing, alkalizing, and magnetizing. By the end of the process, when you are already drinking that water, you will realize that healthier, safer, and high tasting water is real.
The best countertop gravity water filter system effectively removes odor, eliminates bacteria, and reduces the harmful contaminants found in tap water. It takes advantage of the pH level to slightly alkaline and releases essential minerals naturally. Zen Water is all about the promotion of natural processes, so just maximizing gravity, it can transform any tap water to produce spring-like mineral water. The water filtration materials are also all-natural like maifan mineral stones and magnetic spigot. There are no synthetics substances or chemicals used in the entire process.
The filter chamber is designed transparent, so you look inside to satisfy your curiosity. A filter can also completely purify 500 gallons of water before a replacement needs to be installed. With its user-friendly and convenient approach, assembly and maintenance are also hassle-free.
- Plastic construction
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Everything You Need To Know About Gravity Water Filter
The Gravity Water Filter is a purification method with outstanding benefits and abilities but is not that well-recognized or acknowledged. Especially that there are tons of competitors out there, who are in the same line of business that aims to one-up the other through functionalities and customer satisfaction. However, the Gravity Water Filter is not to be underestimated because it has highly beneficial features to consumers.
We live now in an era wherein everything is made possible. The modernization and development of technologies and machines have skyrocketed throughout the years. This had left us all in awe about how certain things come together and result in something greater than we cannot easily grasp or understand and leave us feeling surprised.
One of the examples that can surprise us with its greatness is the Gravity Water Filter. This article will discuss its different features, how it is helpful to its consumers, how it works, and the best Gravity Water Filter to choose.
Do Gravity Filters Remove Bacteria
The type and quality of your gravity water filter will determine exactly what can be filtered out. The lower-level gravity water filters will focus on chlorine and physical pieces being filtered out. Once you go for the more expensive and high-quality filters, you will be able to filter out more contaminants.
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Water contaminants include many things such as bacteria, protozoa, pesticides, heavy metals, and more. For example, if you look at the Platypus GravityWorks, it removes 99.9999% of bacteria. In addition, it removes 99.9% of protozoa, including giardia, cryptosporidium, E. coli, salmonella, and cholera. No filter removes 100%, so this is about as good as it can get.
Again, removing bacteria is not something that happens with every gravity water filter. But, it is very important to consider bacteria. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, water with bacteria and other pathogens can make you sick. Also, you cannot test the water every time before you drink it. This is where a gravity water filter can come in and save the day.
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From Ultralight Chemical Purifiers To Gravity Filters For Large Groups We Break Down The Top Outdoor Water Treatment Options
- / Best Backpacking Water Filters of 2022
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Everyone exploring the backcountry needs water, but staying hydrated is not as simple as drinking straight from streams and lakes. To protect against protozoa, bacteria, and even viruses, there is a wide range of water filtration and purification systems built specifically for backpacking . Our top picks for 2022 below include everything from ultralight bottle filters and chemical drops to pumps and large-quantity gravity filters. For more background information, see our backpacking water filter comparison table and buying advice below the picks.
- Best Inline Filter for a Hydration Reservoir: MSR Thru-Link Inline Water Filter
What Is A Gravity Water Filter
Gravity water filters dont rely on water pressure to push water through a filter. Instead, they use gravity hence their name to slowly filter water and gradually remove contaminants. This often means that a gravity fed water filter can do a much more thorough job of filtering water, by giving it longer exposure to filter media.
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Nikken Water Gravity Filter
Another great option to filter water is the Nikken water gravity filter. This water filter is one of the more expensive options yet totally worth it because of its great features, reliable filtering capacity, and guaranteed performance to provide you and your loved ones with safe and healthy drinking water.
What makes the Nikken water gravity filter a high filter is its advanced filtration, which I prefer. This filter has multiple filtration processes to ensure that contaminants present can be efficiently removed. One of the filtrations medium used is a natural carbon filter known for its excellent absorption capacity to filter out harmful elements from your water.
The Nikken water gravity filter is duly tested and certified to have met strict safety and quality standards. It has a gold seal filtration, which is given only for those who must meet all the rigorous standards or safety, performance, and capacity. You can be more confident that this water filter can effectively purify your water.
I also prefer the best gravity fed water filter because of the health benefit it offers. This filter does not only work to filter out the bad from your water but also adds natural minerals in your water and improve the overall quality of your water that will have beneficial results for your body.
- Does not have a good warranty
Platypus Gravity Water Filter Best Overall
The GravityWorks water filter system from Platypus is an all-in-one system that includes the dirty water and clean water bags, as well as the filter and hose to connect them. It weighs 11 ounces in total, which is a bit heavy for this type of system. But were willing to carry a few extra ounces, for the extra ounces that these reservoirs provide. They can each hold four liters of water, so youll be able to collect and filter over a gallon of water at a time.
This filter removes over 99% of bacteria and protozoa, making it a great choice for use on trails. With a flow rate of 1.75 liters per minute, it wont slow you down when youre trying to make miles. You also wont have to replace the in-line filter often since it lasts for 1,500 gallons. In our testing, it turned murky water crystal-clear, and it passed the taste test even when the original source smelled less than pleasant. Overall, we love the fast filtration, large capacity, and clean water it produces, which is why it has earned the top position on our list.
- A bit heavy at 11 ounces
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Msr Miniworks Ex Water Filter
Best Pump Water Filter
Great for: people who prefer a hand pump filtering system, fast water filtration
Pros: can be disassembled in the field and cleaned without extra tools
Cons: not compatible with water bottles other than a wide-mouth Nalgene, pumping water can be tedious and require a lot of manual effort, slightly heavier than other options on this list
The MSR MiniWorks Ex Water Filter is one of the best hand pump water filters out there if you prefer a pump filter over a gravity filter. It has a ceramic/carbon filter to remove bacteria and protozoa and it can process up to water at 1 liter per minute. The bottom can also easily screw onto an MSR Dromedary Bag or Nalgene bottle for easy operation.
This filter comes with a cleaning kit for easy cleaning in the field.
Hand pump filters are our least favorite due to the ease of newer gravity and squeeze style filters, but for people who like the old-school techniques, this is the best pump style water filter.
Travel Berkey Gravity Water Filter
Berkey also tops our list with their smaller and more portable system the Travel Berkey water filter.
This system also comes equipped with two Black Berkey filters and removes all the same contaminants as its big brother.
Basically, this gravity water filter packs the same quality and punch as the Big Berkey in a smaller unit which is better for people looking for a more portable or convenient option or who dont have as much space.
Main Features & Benefits
Contaminants removed: This system removes the same 232 contaminants as the Big Berkey.
Filter lifespan: The Black Berkey filters in this model likewise have a 3,000-gallon capacity each or about 4-7 years lifespan.
Filtration rate: The filtration rate is slightly lower at 2.75 gallons per hour.
Capacity & Size: The storage capacity of the Travel Berkey is 1.5 gallons, and the dimensions are 7.5 inches in diameter by 19 inches tall.
Certifications: This product has not been certified but likewise passes independent testing for NSF standards 42, 53, and P473.
Price: Theres only a slight price difference between this model and the Big Berkey, but its still reasonable for its performance.
- Some customers report the filters failing the red dye test
Who Its Best For
If you want a hardy yet more easily transported gravity water filter, then the Travel Berkey has your name on it. If you dont want to have to do much maintenance on it either, then youre in luck.
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Main Types Of Filters For Camping
The Pump – The standard camping filter uses a pump system to draw water from the source. The pump forces the water through a micro-filter and then the clean water comes out a tube that can be placed in a container or cooking pot.
Gravity-Fed Bag – Another type of water filter for camping is gravity-fed. You fill a pouch with the source water and elevate it or hang it from a tree, allowing gravity to pull the water down through a filter that removes 99.99% of bacteria and protozoa.
The Straw – The other main type of camping filter uses a straw and filtration media. One type of straw filter you place directly in the stream or source water and suck. Water is drawn up through the filtration media providing safe drinking water. You can also get a straw water filter bottle, which is usually more convenient. Both straw type filters are designed for personal use and cannot provide water to fill other containers.
Best Countertop Under $: Santevia Gravity Water System
A water filter system for the kitchen countertop can be extremely pricey, with most being $300+ . But the Santevia Gravity Water System sets itself apart from the crowd at just $188.76 + free shipping. This filter prides itself on being the “Our most advanced water filter” from Santevia and it proves it with all of its purification power – which runs on gravity alone.
Not only does the Santevia Gravity Water System filter out harmful contaminants such as chlorine, bacteria, parasites, and microplastics, but it’s also designed to get rid of undesirable fluoride, too. While the filter works tirelessly to get rid of harmful contaminants, it works just as hard to ensure you have the freshest, most delicious water by adding minerals that alkalize and mineralize.
It’s easy to use and provides excellent results, all for under $200. If you need a gravity filter for you and your loved ones, look no further than the Santevia Gravity Water System.
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Lifestraw Flex Advanced Water Filter
You cannot get any more versatile than with the LifeStraw Flex Advances Water Filter with Gravity Bag. With this product, you have the liberty to use it in 5 different unique but beneficial ways. You can either use it as your straw since it comes with a soft bottle, as an in-line filter compatible with most hydration packs, with a gravity system, or as attached to a disposable container of your choice.
This becomes a staple filter system because you need safe and clean water anywhere you may be, and this makes it so convenient because wherever you are, you can get that water. Aside from its portability, it also gets the job done of providing you with next-level protection and peace of mind wherever you are.
It is more than capable of removing bacteria up to 99.99%. Parasites like E-coli, Giardia, and Salmonella are also eliminated alongside heavy metals like Lead. It doesnt matter if you are just going camping or you are going to an international and remote destination. This system gets the job done each time. For your added peace of mind, it exceeded the US EPA drinking standards and the NSF 53 standard.
If you are planning to be away for a while, no worries because the LifeStraw Flexs microbiological filter can clean 500 gallons of water. It is more than a years worth, and the disposable carbon filter can process 25 gallons of water, roughly three months of consumption.
- Needs a place to hang
What Are The Benefits Of A Gravity Water Filter
The biggest benefits of a gravity fed water filter relate to convenience, performance, and portability. Simply put, gravity water filters dont require a lot of effort from you.
You can basically fill up the reservoir and let it do its thing. When you come back in half an hour or so youll have clean water ready for drinking and other uses. Contrast that to the filters that require you to turn a crank or work a pump.
Performance wise, its almost impossible to beat a gravity filter. High-end filter elements are capable of removing tremendous amounts of chemical, heavy metal, bacterial, and virus based contaminants.
They can take water that would have seriously sickened your family and make it into pure, clean tasting drinking water.
The last big benefit is how portable they are.
While there are inline filters that provide similar levels of performance and convenience to a gravity filter, theyre all permanent units that require professional installation.
You definitely cant bring them with you if you go out for a longer camping trip and need to set up a basecamp. You also cant use them outside your home if you want to have some water while enjoying the outdoors, as an example.
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