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Water Purification Systems For Camping

Katadyn Pocket Water Filter

BEST Water Filter System for Backpacking,Hunting & Camping?

Id consider Katadyn the gold standard of water purification, not just because of their general price points, but because of their quality. They even sell a desalination system.

This particular system that Im linking to is a pocket version. Its a pump system like the Survivor Filter above. With this system youd pump the water into another container. It filters down to 0.2 microns and has a filter life of about 13,000 gallons. It can filter up to 1 quart a minute! Pretty impressive numbers there.

Katadyn is one of my all-time favorite brands and would recommend them to anyone. This particular one is super compact but they have a lot of other quality systems.

ProsConsBottom Line

Types Of Water Filters And Water Purifiers

Quick Reference Guide to Water Filters and Purifiers


  • The only additional supply you need to pack along is extra fuel.
  • Murky water doesnt impair effectiveness.
  • Serves as a readily available backup method in case your main filter breaks.


  • Time and effort required to bring water to a boil.
  • Wait time for the water to cool.
  • If its your primary treatment method, you need to pack an extra fuel container.

Pump Water Filters And Purifiers

Pump water filters filter out bacteria and protozoa, while pump water purifiers can also remove viruses. They have hand pumps that force water through the filter and out to secondary storage for future use. While pump filters do require some elbow grease to operate, they usually filter water quite quickly and are suitable for use by couples as well as individuals. Most have a pre-filter at the end of the hose that you drop into the water source to remove particulates and organic matter. This can be very handy when you cant actually reach the water source, like down a steep embankment. They can also be cleaned and replacement filters are usually available. Some examples:

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Best Backpacking Water Filters On The Market

In most cases, a portable water filter is a good option. The best filters usually have a few different elements in order to safely get rid of the most common bugs and nasties. Usually, this includes a coarse filter, as well as microfiltration. Some also have a carbon filter to remove chemicals.

They work in different ways too. Some filters use a pump mechanism, others work by squeezing or sucking water through tiny tubes. But theyre generally portable and relatively cheap as well as being quick and easy to use. Thats why they are now the go-to option for most adventurers. Youll find our top picks below.

  • Katadyn BeFree Best Backpacking Water Filter
  • Platypus QuickDraw
  • MSR Autflow XL Gravity Filter
  • Lifestraw Universal

Types Of Portable Water Filters For Camping

Outdoor Water Filter Straw Water Filtration System Water Purifier for ...

Just as the outdoors has different kinds of water sources, filters come in various types and designs. The portable water filters work to achieve a similar goal in the end but differ in the way they function. It is also evident from the above review that the filters have exciting designs and filter water differently. Here, we are going to take you through all the different types there are on the market. This will guide you in making the right buying decision as you will know exactly what you need in a filter. Whats more, you will also learn about both the good features and the bad for you to weigh your options.

  • UV filters

    These filters are the most uncommon type because they operate at a high cost. They use batteries to operate. Whats more, they use UV filters to remove contaminants from water. The best thing about them is that they are the most reliable in removing bacteria and parasites.


    Improves the taste and smell of water Doesnt tamper with beneficial minerals in the water


    Has no effect on removing heavy metals or chemicals in the water

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    Best Gravity Filter: Lifestraw Family 10 Gravity

    For a more stationary camping water filter setup, a gravity-powered unit like the LifeStraw Family Survival Water Purifier is a great choice for delivering higher volumes of clean water for several people. Like the Grayl bottle, the LifeStraw Family Survival Water Purifier is both a filter and purifier, removing more than 99.99% of bacteria, protozoa, and viruses along with solid particulate contaminants.

    Its filter lifespan is rated to 18,000 liters or 4,755 gallons before the filtration medium needs replacing, so the aptly named LifeStraw Family gravity purifier can provide a family of four with enough water for up to three years. Thats a good thing to have in an emergency situation, so its certainly good enough for camping trips.

    Why Do You Need A Camping Water Filter Or Water Purifier

    When visiting the outdoors, it is important to keep your hydrated at all times regardless of the season. That is why having water available at every stop is important. However, having to carry water as an additional weight on your back can be exhausting. Therefore, you should invest in a water filter or water purifier to use with any type of water you find in the outdoors.

    You can experience natures goodness when drinking water from a natural source and a water filter goes a long way. Another thing is that water filters offer packing convenience as they are compact and mostly lightweight. They make water from non-trusted sources in the outdoors safe for drinking. By doing this, you will protect yourself from waterborne diseases and other infections. A camping water filter is an important entity when you are hiking, trekking, backpacking and all outdoor activities you engage in.

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    Water Treatment Options When Hiking Camping Or Traveling

    When visiting places with unknown water quality, you may need to treat water to make sure it is safe to drink. Use the guide for water treatment while hiking, camping, and traveling pdf icon to help you decide which treatment method or combination of methods to use.

    When visiting places with unknown water qualitywhether you head to a remote location to camp or hike or travel to a new placeit may be necessary to disinfect the water to kill waterborne germs before using it.

    Drinking contaminated water or using it for cooking, washing food, preparing drinks, making ice, and brushing teeth can make you sick with diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain. Treating these symptoms can be difficult while you are away from home or abroad and without access to medical care.

    Benefits Of Camping Water Filters

    The Best Backpacking Water Filter System? | Sawyer Squeeze w/ 2 Cnoc Vectos

    The heaviest filter on our list weighs 1.3 pounds. That means if youre planning on drinking more than 2.5 cups on your trip, youll save weight by using a filter compared to packing water. With a filter, you only need enough to get you to the next natural source. For camping trips, this means you can pitch your tent near a lake or stream and be taken care of indefinitely. If youre traveling abroad, a small filter can protect you from questionable drinking water coming out of the tap, too. If you still need convincing, do a quick search for waterborne illness.

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    Water Max Delta Water Purification System For Boats And Camping

    Sale pricePrice£749.99Regular priceUnit price/ per

    With the Water Max Delta you can now safely draw water from any water source. Our unique purification system uses a series of 5 filters and UV light which means that you can have unlimited water on demand for washing, showers and other water usage.

    Although not suitable for drinking, a further filter can be added which then makes the water drinkable.Please note we do not guarantee even with a further filter that the water is safe to drink you will need to make your own choice regarding this

    At an amazing 15 ltrs per minute you can fill large water tanks in minutes, not hours.

    No fitting is necessary, just plug in the 200 watt water pump and UV light and you’re ready to enjoy unlimited water!

    The Water Max Delta can draw water from rivers and canals or any water source and is also available with a small invertor for people with 12v only systems.

    Hand built into a compact bespoke box

    Dimensions of box

    Lifesaver Bottle Water Purifier Kit For Camping

    If you find yourself away from a clean water source, then the Lifesaver bottle is a great way to make the water drinkable. This water bottle filters out waterborne viruses, cysts, and bacteria to allow you to drink water from rivers, lakes ponds, etc. The bottle uses an ultra-filtration system that filters out 99.99% viruses, 99.9999% bacteria and reduces 99.9% cysts. Whats more, there is a failsafe technology where the filter stops filtering water when it reaches its limit. It comes with foil sealed 6000 UF replacement to reduce chemicals in the water. This also gets rid of chlorine, awful taste and odor to make the water completely safe for drinking.

    The Lifesaver bottle features a dry weight of 22 ounces and has a filtration capacity of up to 6000 liters. This bottle has a flow rate of 0.67 gallons of water per minute and can carry up to 750 ml of water. However, the amount of water filtered by this bottle depends on the condition of the feed water i.e. composition and thickness. It features an integrated activated carbon filter that is easy to use simply fill, pump and drink the water. Whats more, it comes with a maintenance pack which includes a silicone grease, pump seal, drinking nozzle, O-ring and pump O-ring.

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    How Water Filters And Purifiers Work

    Every filter and many purifiers include an internal element or cartridge, a component that has microscopic pores that catch debris, protozoa and bacteria. Over time, strained matter gums up an elements pores, requiring it to be cleaned and eventually replaced.

    Most purifiers use chemicals to kill viruses, which are too small for most filter elements. Another purification method relies instead on ultraviolet light to treat the pathogens.

    Many filters and purifiers also include activated carbon in their elements because its effective at removing unpleasant tastes from things like leaf tannins. Activated carbon also reduces contaminants like pesticides and other industrial chemicals.

    Best Overall: Sawyer Pointone Water Filter

    Outdoor Water Filter Straw Water Filtration System Water Purifier for ...

    Portable filters move water through a filtration medium in several different ways: via pumps, squeezing, sucking, or even gravity. Typically, a filter system is designed to be used in only one way, but the Sawyer PointOne water filter is our favorite due to the fact that it can be used both as a personal filter or as a pump that allows you to dispense filtered water directly into a separate container.

    This two-in-one versatility, paired with excellent filtration that removes more than 99.99% of bacteria and protozoa , makes the Sawyer PointOne our top recommendation for most people.

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    Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System

    Award: Honorable Mention

    WHY WE LIKE IT: The Sawyer Mini can filter up to 100,000 gallons of contaminated water with its 0.1-micron filtration system much more than what the LifeStraw is capable of. Its ideal for camping enthusiasts looking to spend more time in the great outdoors.


    • Straw is too short for drinking water directly from the source
    • Filling the plastic pouch is challenging

    Sawyer water filters and purifiers are usually lightweight and reliable, the Sawyer Mini being a miniature version of the Sawyer Squeez Water Treatment System. The Squeeze filter is a bit heavier than the Mini. Sawyers lightest water filtration system weighs only 0.2 ounces, much like our top pick. Its filtration system comes with tiny hollow fibrous membranes with pores measuring 0.1 microns in size, allowing it to also remove harmful bacteria, protozoa, and microplastics effectively. The fiber membranes are sealed in a special case to prevent physical damage.

    Every Sawyer product goes through rigorous testing thrice before hitting the market to guarantee that no pathogens can pass through. Unlike our top pick, the Sawyer Mini comes with a reusable pack that can store 16 ounces of water. For your home needs, check out the best whole house water filter systems.

    When Do You Need A Water Filter

    You should always use a water filter when backpacking or hiking. Even if the water source looks to be perfectly clear, there is no way of knowing whats going on upstream, far beyond your sight. Perhaps livestock defecated in the middle of the stream, an animal carcass has been washed into the water, or a recent rainstorm has unearthed a hikers poorly dug cathole.

    While the overall likelihood of you getting sick might be low, the consequences if you do get sick can be quite severe.

    Our take: I have personally suffered from rapid dehydration on a few occasions, once from contaminated water in Mexico City. I went from perfectly normal to writhing on the ground in less than 8 hours. If I had been in the backcountry, unable to walk, burning through my limited food supplies, and without access to a bathroom, I would have been smashing the SOS button on my inReach satellite messenger. It is not worth the risk.

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    Tips For Water Filter Maintenance

    You need to observe proper maintenance in order for you to increase your camping water filters performance. This will not only have an effect on the filtration performance but also increase the durability of your portablewater filter. You will find that the manufacturers include elaborate cleaning tips which work perfectly in maintaining the water filters. But if you happen to miss the instructions, then below are essential tips for cleaning your camping water filter.

  • Find the cleanest water in the area to use your filter on:

    The more you make your filter work, the faster it will wear out and need replacement. Therefore, it is most ideal to use cleaner water in your filter. This aids in improving the way your filter will handle the water.

  • Allow mud in the water to settle:

    You can carry a container with you that you will use to fetch water from its source. Give the water some time to settle all mud and sediments that may appear suspended in the water. By doing this, you will have much clearer water to place in your filter. This reduces the number of filter replacement.

  • Backflush:

    You can do this by reversing or slowing down the flow rate. This is dependent on the type of camping filter you have. Press water through the inlet hose in order for it to flow backward. A filter that you use regularly requires the reverse flow. However, if you havent used it for a while, you will have to let the water go through it in the normal direction, slowly.

  • The Best Water Purification System For Camping

    Best Water Filter System / Hiking and camping

    Obviously, this depends greatly on your specific circumstance, but for our money, we like to carry a pump filtration system backed up by the two-part chemical Aquamira.

    Pump filtration systems last a long time and can pull water from shallow murky sources with no problem and as a backup its hard to beat Aquamira for simplicity and the tiny space it takes up in a pack.

    Links To Some Of Our Favorites

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    The Most Important Features To Consider

    When purchasing a water purifier for camping, there are various factors to consider to find the right one that meets your needs. If you want to see the stars on your next camping trip, you may want to also bring along the best refracting telescope.

  • Storage: If youre camping in an area thats far away from a water source, you might want to get a purifier that can store enough water for you to avoid making multiple trips. Instead of straw-shaped filters, consider gravity filters as they mostly come with storage bags for purified and unpurified water. Take note that storage wont matter as much if youre camping in an area with easy access to water. And if you want to protect your gear from getting wet, place them in the best waterproof bag.
  • Capacity or output: Aside from considering how much water you need to purify at a time, you might also want to decide how quickly you want it to purify water. Some take about 30 to 45 minutes to disinfect water. Water filtration systems, on the other hand, can purify larger volumes of water in shorter periods.
  • Purification method: Some purifiers can be used directly from a water source, while others have to be pumped using gravity to filter out the contaminants.
  • Best Filtration Pump: Survivor Filter Pro

    Most of our picks are primarily designed for personal use, but the advantage of a pump system like the Survivor Filter Pro is that it allows you to fill up multiple containers at once in a relatively short amount of time. This is something you typically cant do with at the source units like the Sawyer Mini and LifeStraw filters , and its great if youre supplying water for multiple people or just filling up a couple of your own canteens in one go.

    Another advantage of this water filter is that its very efficient and portable, doing its job more quickly than even our top pick, the Sawyer PointOne. We like the PointOne for its multi-use versatility, but for filling containers up with filtered water, the Survivor is simply a better choice just place the filter hose in your water source, start pumping, and you immediately have clean, ready-to-drink water. Its a little pricey at $65, but the Survivor Filter Pro is a field-proven design .

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