Best Camping Water Filters of 2020

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Water is an essential need when camping especially in the remote areas and during summer periods. However, having to carry gallons of water on the back in search of a better camping place can be a challenge. To solve this, you can involve the use of camping water filters. These are units that make any type of water you come across in the wilderness safe for drinking. Thus, having them is beneficial to every camper who enjoys different types of adventures. It reduces the need to carry more when packing for your camping trip. Finding the perfect camping water filter for your needs is not an easy task. This is because there are plenty of options on the market that offer different results. That is why this article narrows down the options available to enlighten you on the best camping water filters. You will find everything you need including an ultimate buyer’s guide on these portable water purifier reviews. This will make it easy for you to select the right water filter to bring along on your outdoor trips.

Table of Contents

 

Best Overall Water Filter for Camping

1. Katadyn Long Lasting Portable Camping Water Filter

Katadyn Long Lasting Water FilterKatadyn Portable water filter is a perfect unit for any outdoor enthusiast taking short or extremely long trips in the wilderness. First off, the construction of this water filter is out of this world. It features a lustrous steel exterior that keeps out the harmful external elements. What’s more, it presents an effective silver-infused ceramic element that is responsible for filtering out bacteria and protozoa. This also gets rid of any algae in freshwater streams. In short, this water filter has the ability to filter all microorganisms that are bigger than 0.2 microns. This result in much clearer and safe to drink water.

The best attribute about the Katadyn Pocket filter is that it provides one liter of drinkable water in a matter of 60 seconds. This makes it a perfect companion for backpacking, outdoor campers, military personnel, and international travelers. What’s more, the cartridge has the capacity to filter up to 50,000 liters of water regardless of the water condition. It features a round pump handle that makes it easy for any person to pump out water. It is worth noting that thanks to the durable construction, the water filter is the only one with a 20-year warranty.

What we like:
Features a high-quality ceramic build that is durable; easy to clean anywhere; you get over one liter of water in a minute.
What we don't:
It doesn’t come with the carbon cartridge bottle adapter.

 


 

Best Gravity Water Filter

2. Platypus GravityWorks High-Capacity Water Filter System for Camping

Platypus GravityWorks High Capacity Water Filter System for Group CampingCampers who like to move in groups should not neglect this Platypus GravityWorks water filter. This is due to the fact that the water filter offers high levels of clean and fresh water at any given place, every time. It gets its name from how it functions. All you need to do is fill one bag with dirty water then hang it on a branch of a tree. You will notice clear liquid flowing into the other attached bag for clean water in a matter of seconds. It provides up to four liters of safe water in 2.5 minutes. This feature makes it ideal for use especially in emergency preparedness and other extreme outdoor adventures.

The filter bag removes up to 99.9999% of bacteria as well as 99.9% of all protozoa in the water to make it safe for drinking. These kits are lightweight and weigh approximately 11.5 ounces each. It includes a hollow fiber microfilter, hoses, storage sack, and a shutoff clamp. The cartridge has replaceable filters of up to 1,500 gallons with a flow rate of 1.75 liters per minute. This Platypus filter has the ability to remove taste, odors and all other organic compounds to have the safest water for drinking in the wilds. However, you have to purchase the carbon element separately.

What we like:
High water capacity; effortless cleaning and easy to use and store with the storage pack.
What we don't:
Getting the carbon element separately; the buckle on the hanging straps seem weak.

 


 

Best Budget Water Filter for Camping

3. Sawyer Products Mini  Backpacking Water Filtration System

Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration SystemIf you are on a budget, then the Sawyer mini water filtration system is a great option when hiking or backpacking. The filters feature a high number of miniature U-shaped hollow fiber microbules responsible for trapping contaminants. What’s more, water passes through them at a high flow rate which reduces the chances of it getting re-contaminated after filtration. Not only does it provide excellent performance, but it is also conveniently compact for all your outdoor needs. It weighs about 2 ounces which means it can easily fit in the palm of your hand. This feature allows you to take it wherever you want and use it to make water safe for drinking.

The Sawyer water filter is a versatile little kit that lets you use it in four different ways. You can filter water into a bottle or drink water directly from the source as it includes a straw. Also, you can screw it on to water bottles as it has a threaded top. You can also connect it to a hydration pack with the integrated hose connectors into the filter.

What we like:
High performance; durable; allows direct water drinking from the source; affordable.
What we don't:
The pouch features a cheap build which leaks after several squeezes.

 


 

Best Other Options

4. LifeStraw Flex Advanced Camping Water Filter

LifeStraw Flex Advanced Water FilterIf you are looking for a compact, lightweight and versatile water filter, then the LifeStraw Technology is an ideal solution. You can use it with a straw, the included gravity bag, plastic bottles or with in-line hydration bladders. This filter offers high-quality protection as it gets rid of all bacteria and parasites like Salmonella, Giardia, E-coli, etc. It features a hollow fiber membrane with a size of 0.2-micron pores. The filter removes 99.999999% of bacteria, 99.999% microplastics and 99.99% protozoa. What’s more, it can also get rid of chemicals and heavy metals like lead, chlorine and organic matter with the carbon filter capsule. This works by improving the taste of the water. The water filter makes it the most reliable for international use and emergency preparedness.

The LifeStraw Flex has a lifetime of 2000 liters using the hollow fiber membrane. This is close or more than 1.5 years of using it to drink water. With it, a school going kid in places where water is a problem is most ideal. What’s more, the replaceable carbon capsule has a longevity of up to three months or even more of drinking water. It includes a one-gallon gravity bag with a capacity of 3.7 liters and has a quick connect hose. In addition, it comes with a backwashing syringe to ensure you get clean and safe water on ever use.

What we like:
Powerful 2-stage water filtration; versatile and flexible; easy to use; improves taste, compact and lightweight.
What we don't:
Having to change the dirty water bag after every 100 liters.

 

5. Lifesaver Bottle Water Purifier Kit for Camping

Lifesaver Bottle Water Purifier kit for CampingIf 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% (log 4) viruses, 99.9999% (log 6) bacteria and reduces 99.9% (log 3) cysts. What’s 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. What’s more, it comes with a maintenance pack which includes a silicone grease, pump seal, drinking nozzle, O-ring and pump O-ring.

What we like:
Filters water from a wide range of contaminants including bacteria, viruses, chemicals, and odors; greatly reduces the turbidity of any type of water.
What we don't:
It is expensive, bulky and not quite durable.

 

6. Katadyn Hiker Pro Transparent Water Filter for Backpacking

Katadyn Hiker Pro Transparent Water Filter with Lightweight and Compact Design for BackpackingKatadyn Hiker Pro is an effective portable water filter that is perfect for all outdoor enthusiast. It makes any kind of water fit for drinking in seconds. The water filter removes all bacteria and protozoa or cysts with the 0.2 micron and an edged glass-fiber filter media. It features quick-connect fittings on the hydration pack that allows you to fill your bottle fast and easily. What’s more, this easy-to-use design makes it possible for anyone to use the filter without difficulty. Also, it is lightweight, presenting about 11 ounces and has a durable design suitable for extreme use in the outdoors.

The Hiker Pro features an activated carbon at the central part of the filter cartridge which reduces chemicals from water. This also improves the taste of the water to ensure it tastes as it should. It includes a filter protector screen which is field-cleanable and adds more life to the cartridge in extreme conditions. This filter directly attaches to a hydration pack with water bottles and ¼ inch drink tubes for fast and easy operation. The kit includes a prefilter and a plush carry bag to add to your style.

What we like:
Excellent portable design; easy to use; compact and lightweight; provides more clean water using little effort.
What we don't:
The price for replaceable filters are high; small water capacity.

 

7. Sawyer Products Squeeze Camping Water Filter System

Sawyer Products PointOne Squeeze Water Filter SystemWhen hiking, camping, backpacking or simply traveling, it is important to have a reliable water filter to use. The Sawyer PointOne water filter is a perfect companion in these situations. This is because it has the ability to get rid of 99.99999% of bacteria and 99.9999% of protozoa that cause it to be unsafe for drinking. What’s more, it removes 100% of microplastics in the water making it completely suitable for drinking. It has more tiny tubes on the filter which are responsible for the faster flow rates.

The Sawyer water filter uses an advanced technology that allows you to easily operate it. All you need to do is to fill up the dirty water pouch with lake, or stream water and screw the filter to it. Then, let the water into a bottle by squeezing the bag which also filters the water to make it clean and safe for drinking. The Sawyer kit comes with a squeeze screw-on water filter, 32-ounce pouch, and replaceable drinking spouts. In addition, it includes a faucet adapter and a syringe filter cleaner for easy maintenance.

What we like:
Durable and effective performance; easy to use; provides up to 540 gallons of safe to drink water in a day; reliable kit
What we don't:
Cheaply made water pouches as they tend to burst at times.

 

8. LifeStraw Go Backpacking Water Filter Bottles

LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottle for Camping, Hiking and BackpackingLifeStraw Go water filter bottle is a perfect companion for hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts with shorter outdoor stays. It has an impeccable design that allows the user to drink water directly from the bottle. This is because the design offers the fastest way to filter the water, meaning, you don’t have to pump or wait for the dirt to settle. What’s more, it features 2-stage filtration technology. The first gets rid of bacteria, parasites, and filters 1000 gallons per filter. Stage two removes chlorine in the water and enhances the flavor as well as reducing bad odor. In addition, it reduces organic chemical matter and has a longevity of up to 25 gallons.

What makes the LifeStraw Go bottle tick is its construction. It features a fully BPA-free material with an EPA approved design making it perfect to handle drinkable water. The bottle also features an ergonomically silicone mouthpiece which doesn’t cause harm to your lips and teeth. Generally, it presents a leak-proof design but that doesn’t mean you should place it on the sides for long.

What we like:
Durable construction; it is ready to use; easy to clean filter; ideal for everyday use.
What we don't:
It tends to leak when placed on the sides for long.

 


 

Camping Water Filter Buying Guide

best camping water filter
The market is overflowing with a lot of these water filters or water purifier. This makes it quite impossible for you to select one that works for you. That is why we have gathered major things to consider from features and functionality for you to make an easy buying decision. What’s more, you need to learn everything there is to know on a product before purchasing it. This prevents regrets in the future. When you read through this buying guide to its entirety, you will equip yourself for camping with the right buying information. This knowledge will give you the confidence you deserve when buying a water filter for your specific needs.

The Top Things to Consider When Buying Camping Water Filter

  1. Portability

    The main reason for having a camping water filter in the first place is not to carry water when packing for the outdoors. Therefore, how portable a water filter is should be the key priority when buying one. For starters, an ultimate water filter should be extremely portable for you to take and use it anywhere you deem fit. For this reason, size and weight also affect how you carry the kit. Too much weight on a water filter makes it suitable for car camping where weight is not an issue. However, this can be problematic for a backpacker or hiker since all the weight is mostly on their backs. It is most ideal to have a lighter water filter if you are a casual user.

    Another thing is about the size. You need to fit the kit into your hiking/camping backpack conveniently in order for you to carry it with ease. The bulkier options take up too much space which makes it difficult for you to pack and carry it. Therefore, if you are planning on backpacking, then go for a compact option. The weight and size of the water filter vary in different models. For this reason, it is important for you to check for its weight before making a purchase. Don’t let the small size fool you because they can be heavy to lift and carry.

    If you are planning to have a long-distance trek, then it is important to go for a small filtration system. You can always get one that fits perfectly into your pocket and has the ability to filter more gallons of water than the standard size. Larger filters are great for when you have plenty of space while packing or when driving yourself to your camping destination.

  2. The water condition

    You should know what contaminants the unit you intend to buy can filter out in simple steps. If you are planning on visiting areas where there is a high risk of specific water pollutants, then a special filtration system is ideal. That means that you should go for the one with a design to filter out such contaminants. But also, if you don’t know exactly what contaminants to expect, then go for an all-round filtration system. This means that it can filter viruses, bacteria, and protozoa to make the water safe for drinking.

    There are filtration systems that get rid of both bacteria and viruses at once. Also, there are some that with a design to remove sediments in order for you to get much clearer and cleaner water for drinking. The filter you buy should be able to improve the quality of the water you intend to drink. Therefore, you should pay attention to how the filter functions in order for you to get effective performance.

  3. Filtration speed

    Camping water filters and water purifiers are units designed for use in the outdoors. Therefore, the faster they filter, the better. That is why it is important to look for the time a filter takes to make water safe for drinking in the wilderness. An ideal water filter is one that will remove contaminants in a large capacity of water in a matter of seconds. For instance, there are filters that can filter out one liter of water in 60 seconds. These types are ideal for use when trekking or hiking on a large group or when you are in a hurry. This is because they make water available for everyone within a short time.

    There are other filters, however, that take up too much time to filter the amount of water you need while camping. Therefore, you should choose a filter depending on how much water you need at a given time. It is ideal to have a water filter with a high filtration speed for you to save on time in the wilds. In fact, one that will let you drink directly from the water source is most ideal. However, filters with a high flow rate include a high price tag and it depends on the brand.

  4. How effective is the filtration?

    Another key factor to consider before making a purchase on a filtration system is the technology used to filter water. Water filters use different styles and designs depending on the brand and model. The technology used on a filter determines how effective the filtration is. Filters using fine sieves will provide much clearer and safer water than those with larger ones. Therefore, you should pay attention to the size of microns in the filtration system to have your desired results.

    Generally, filters with smaller micron levels are better at making water completely safe for drinking. Small levels of microns range from 0.1 to 0.2 and have a better chance of removing microorganisms and viruses. For this reason, a micron rating is essential. A micron rating is the measure of the size of openings on a filter. Filters that remove viruses and cysts have a smaller micron rating compared to those removing bacteria. Therefore, you should check the pore size before drinking water from rivers, springs and deep wells.

  5. Ease of use

    The convenience you get depends on the type of water filter you get. You should have prior knowledge of the type of filtration system to find out how it functions and what it offers. While in the wilderness, the last thing you need is a complex water filter. There is a type of water filter that requires you to immerse it in water for you to suck it directly from the source. What’s more, there is one that you need to use effort to pump up the filtered water into a bottle or container.

    You should always go for the one that offers perfect convenience in the outdoors. You will find that some of the water filters come with parts that need assembling before use. These ones take up more time and can be sometimes difficult to assemble. Filters with hoses and screws are a perfect example because they come with plenty of parts to attach to them. Filtration systems with a simple construction are perfect for use in survival events in the outdoors.

  6. Durability

    How long a water filter lasts is also another important factor to take into consideration. If you use the filters on a regular basis, then you should go for those with a longer lifespan. Different types of water filters vary performance and longevity. There those that let you use them for a short time and dispose them off. Also, there are others that have a longer lifespan. They can filter a large amount of water for years of continuous use without failing. Therefore, you can choose a water filter depending on the type of camping and how often you are going to use it. Obviously, you will part away with a large sum of money on the one with longer durability.

  7. Price

    For you to get a better deal on a water filtration system, you should be willing to spend more. High-end water filters use advanced technology to ensure you get safe water to drink while in the outdoors. However, this doesn’t mean that the affordable ones aren’t as effective. You will find cheaper options on this review that offer excellent quality. With that said, your budget will determine what filter to buy. If you buy a cheap filter, then it means that you will have to keep replacing the parts to enhance performance.

5 Types of Portable Water Filters for Camping

water purifier camping
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. What’s more, you will also learn about both the good features and the bad for you to weigh your options.

  1. Straw filters

    As the name suggests, these are filters that resemble a big straw. They are filtration systems with an extremely lightweight design. Hikers and backpackers prefer this type of filter because they offer the convenience of packing as they are also compact. The filters are no different from actual straws in terms of how they function. To use them, you have to be at a water source whereby you immerse them halfway and begin to draw in water. You need to use a more powerful draw to get the water flowing in the filter. This is so unlike with a regular straw where you only require negligible effort to draw.

    However, this is the type which has an easy filtration system that is straightforward. The cartridges in these filters feature a hollow fiber membrane that is woven tightly closer together. This means that water passes through plenty of fibers before getting to the drawing straw. The reason why water can pass through is that the fibers have tiny pores to allow passage. Membranes in this category use holes with a width of 0.2 microns. These are responsible for trapping even the tiniest of bacteria, viruses, and parasites found in the water. That is how you get your clean and safe water to drink in the wilderness using a straw filter.

    Pros

    • Easy to use
    • Effective filtration performance
    • Eliminates odor causing particles in the water

    Cons

    • Frequent replacement of the membrane as the holes get clogged
    • Doesn’t remove dissolved chemical components in water

  2. Pump activated filters

    This type refers to a compact filter that any outdoor enthusiast will want to have since it requires little packing space. The filter requires manual labor to function. You use it by connecting a lead line to a water source and the other to the receiver. With it, you draw water using a pump or lever. You can either find that it uses ceramic or fiber filters and incorporates an activated carbon filter for effective performance. Fiber filters, just like straw filters, feature hollow membrane filters that trap contaminants in your drinking water.

    Ceramic filters use mechanical filtration with a surface of 0.5 to 1-micron pores. These only blocks contaminants in the water. They are also ideal for blocking asbestos that might be present in the water. However, tiny bacteria easily pass through the ceramic filters and into your water making it unsafe. Therefore, manufacturers combine ceramic filters with activated carbon filters for great results. Activated carbon filters have awfully tiny pores between their atoms which easily trap all contaminants on the surface.

    Pros

    • Doesn’t eliminate the good minerals in the water
    • Improves the quality and taste of water
    • No frequent replacement of the activated carbon filter

    Cons

    • With time, bacteria may start to breed on the surface of the carbon filter

  3. Bottle filters

    A bottle filter includes a filtration cartridge and the container itself. The cartridge filters out contaminants to provide you with safe water when you are drinking water from a source you don’t trust. The cartridge uses fiber filters to make the water safe for drinking whereas others utilize block activated carbon filters. Models using fiber filters function in the same way as straw filters but they use a bottle to store contaminated water.

    Only clean water reaches the mouthpiece through the straw in the bottle and leaves out unsafe water.
    Models using an activated carbon block filter are almost similar but use advanced technology. This means that the activated carbon has tiny pores that can trap chemicals and microorganisms. Bottle filters have an advantage that allows you to use them without cartridges when drinking water from a trusted source.

    Pros

    • Removes contaminants and heavy metals as well as arsenic
    • Traps bacteria and viruses
    • Doesn’t interfere with the beneficial minerals in the water

    Cons

    • Not effective in removing dissolved salts

  4. Gravity filters

    Gravity filters are those that use gravitational force to filter water and make it safe for drinking. This doesn’t require the use of effort or electricity. All you need are two containers that you place above the other. Using this filter involves pouring water in one container and placing it on a branch of a tree. The water will pass through a filtration system all the way to the second container below it. This container presents a tap-like feature that lets out water to refill the recipient. Here, apart from using gravity to pull water, it combines ceramic and carbon filters to make the water safe for drinking. These action filters work to provide the cleanest and safest water for human consumption.

    Pros

    • Eliminates bacteria, protozoa, viruses and parasites from water
    • Removes herbicides and pesticides that are not fit for human consumption
    • Filters out chlorine to improve the taste of the water
    • The filter cartridges are durable

    Cons

    • It is difficult to assemble the many parts
    • It is large
    • Requires proper maintenance

  5. UV filters

    These filters are the most uncommon type because they operate at a high cost. They use batteries to operate. What’s 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.

    Pros

    • Fast performance
    • Improves the taste and smell of water
    • Doesn’t tamper with beneficial minerals in the water

    Cons

    • Expensive to run
    • Has no effect on removing heavy metals or chemicals in the water

Why do you need a Camping Water Filter or Water Purifier?

portable backpacking water filter for camping
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 nature’s 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.

5 Tips for Water Filter Maintenance

You need to observe proper maintenance in order for you to increase your camping water filter’s 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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 haven’t used it for a while, you will have to let the water go through it in the normal direction, slowly.

  4. Brush the filter:

    Use a toothbrush or soft brush to scrub the filter element to remove dirt. By doing this, you will be restoring the output to its normal state. Here, you should be keen on the manufacturer’s instructions in scrubbing the filter. If it says otherwise, use a soft cloth to clean out the dirt on the filter.

  5. Disinfect regularly:

    Since the filter traps microorganisms, it is important to disinfect it. this will prevent them from multiplying inside the filter. You can use a chlorine solution and bleach in small amounts to flush the elements after using it. Use plenty of water to rinse after that to ensure the disinfectant doesn’t remain in the filter and leave it to dry.
    If you follow the above simple steps, you will have and use your portable water filter for a long time.

Wrap up

Having a portable water filter for the outdoors is an ideal way to reduce baggage in your trip. This means that you can convert any kind of water into clean and safe water for drinking. Camping water filters also come in handy during survival events or in areas where water is a problem. Rather than leaving the available water to go to waste, the people in those areas should use water filters. They are the safest methods to make water available for drinking. Having read through the entire article, getting the best camping water filters shouldn’t be difficult. This is because you now have all the information necessary to select the right water filter for your needs. Most importantly, you should know how you are going to use the filter in order for you to get effective and reliable results. We’re hoping that these camping and backpackingwater filter reviews will enlighten you to making the right buying decision.

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