10 Best Camping Water Filters for Your Next Adventure

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If you plan to go on an outdoor adventure any time soon, now might be the best time to invest in a good camping water filter. Water from natural sources, such as any river or streams that you encounter on your hike, may contain bacteria and other organisms that can make you sick. 




Contaminated water can cause several life-threatening diseases such as diarrhea, typhoid, dysentery, and cholera. Globally, diarrhea alone is responsible for around 485,000 deaths every year.

Editor’s Choice: Platypus GravityWorks High-Capacity Water Filter System

The Platypus water filter might take a while to filter the water, but it is the only filter that requires zero effort when it comes to the filtration process. That is why this filter is our winning pick from the list. 

Platypus GravityWork does not require you to pump the filter or suck through straws to get clean water. You can sit back and relax by the campfire while gravity works its magic and does all the work for you. It is the best water purifier for camping. 

Another convenience of the GravityWorks filter is that it can filter up to 4 liters of water in a single go. The alternatives available have a much lower capacity in comparison. So, if the volume of water is crucial to you, like it is in larger groups, then GravityWorks is the filter to go for. 




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Top Portable Water Filters For Camping

1. Etekcity Water Filter Straw – Lightest Camping Water Filter

Etekcity Water Filter Straw

One of the cheaper options for water filters listed here, Etekcity Water Filter Straw, has a small and lightweight (2.08 ounces) design that filters up to 400 gallons of water in its lifetime.

It comes with a 480 mL foldable water pouch, an extension tube, and an inlet mouthpiece that has a pre-filtration device attached. It is easy to use as it allows you to drink water directly from the source at 400mL/minute. The Etekcity Water Filter Straw provides defense in four steps:

  1. The pre-filter removes large contaminants.
  2. Anti-bacterial Activated Carbon Ribbon removes odors from the water.
  3. Ion exchange resin removes chlorine and heavy metal ions.
  4. The 0.01-micron Hollow-Fiber UF Inline membrane filters out the bacteria.

Highlights

  • More affordable than the competition
  • Filters up to 400 gallons throughout its life
  • A comparatively slower flow rate of 400mL/minute
  • Four-step water filtration system
  • 0.01-micron Hollow-fiber membrane 
  • Weighs 2.0 ounces
  • No replaceable components

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2. Katadyn Hiker Microfilter – Easiest To Clean

Katadyn Hiker Microfilter Water Filter

The Katadyn Hiker Microfilter comes with a pre-filter and a deluxe carry bag. It weighs up to 11 ounces and can provide up to 200 gallons of filtered water through its 0.2-micron glass fiber filter. The activated carbon in its filter improves the taste of the water by eliminating odors.

The Katadyn Hiker Microfilter’s easy to use pump more than makes up for the higher price point associated with it. 

Highlights

  • Above-average price-tag
  • Cartridge filters 200 gallons of water in its lifetime
  • 0.2-micron glass-fiber
  • Weighs 11 ounces
  • Replacement cartridge is available

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3. Survivor Filter PRO – The Most Durable Casing

Survivor Filter PRO

The triple water filtration system of the Survivor Filter PRO justifies the hefty price tag attached to it. It includes:

  1. Pre-Filter: The 0.1-micron filter removes algae and other large contaminants.
  2. Carbon-Filter: Filters out heavy metals, chemicals, and pollutants. 
  3. Internal Ultra-Filter: The 0.01-micron ultra-filter removes 99.999% of staph.

With a 500 mL/minute flow rate, this camping water filter is reusable up to 25,000 gallons of water.

Highlights

  • Above-average price-tag 
  • Filters up to 25,000 gallons throughout its life
  • A comparatively slower flow rate of 500mL/minute
  • Triple water filtration system
  • 0.01-micron ultra-filter 
  • Weighs around 8 ounces
  • Replaceable components are available

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4. Sawyer Products Squeeze Water Filtration System – Longest Filter Life

Sawyer Products Squeeze Water Filtration System

In addition to a lifetime guarantee, Sawyer Product’s Squeeze Water Filtration System comes with two 32-ounce collapsible pouches and Inline Hydration Pack Adapter screw-on filters. Its 0.1-micron absolute inline filter weighs a mere 2 ounces.

This filter is in the mid-range price, yet it can filter up to 100,000 gallons of water and requires no replacement cartridges. Its built-in and removable cap allows users to drink directly from the source.

Highlights

  • Mid-range price
  • Filters up to 100,000 gallons throughout its life
  • A higher flow rate than other Sawyer Products, but slower than the other filters in the list.
  • 0.1-micron hollow-fiber micro-tube membrane 
  • Weighs 2 ounces (without pouches)
  • Fits standard water bottles with 28mm threads

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5. MoKo Portable Water Filter — Great Value For Money

MoKo Portable Water Filter

MoKo meets the highest safety standard set by the WHO. With a flow rate of 600 mL/minute, MoKo can filter up to 660 gallons of water. It comes with inlet and outlet hoses, a plunger, and a pre-filter.

This camping water filter has a three-stage water filtration system (Sediment filtration, Activated Carbon filtration, and Hollow-fiber Ultra-filter) that enables you to drink clean and odorless water on the go. The robust aluminum body makes it lightweight and durable. 

Highlights

  • Mid-range price
  • Filters up to 660 gallons throughout its life
  • A flow rate of 600mL/minute
  • Three-step filtration
  • 0.01-micron carbon filter 
  • Weighs 7.96 ounces
  • Replaceable components are available

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6. Membrane Solutions Straw Water Filter — Budget-friendly Camping Water Filter

Membrane Solutions Straw Water Filter

The cheapest one on the list, The Membrane Solutions, is a straw filter that weighs a mere 6 ounces. It is capable of filtering around 1500 gallons of water in its lifetime.

Like most of its competition, Membrane Solutions Straw Filter follows a three-step filtration technique (Coarse filter, Activated Carbon Filter, and Hollow-Fiber Filter) that removes bad taste and odor. Its filters comprise pores that are 0.1 microns in size.

Highlights

  • Cheapest filters on the list
  • Filters up to 1500 gallons throughout its life
  • Three-step water filtration system
  • 0.1-micron pores 
  • Weighs 6 ounces
  • No replaceable components

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7. MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter — Best Flow Rate For The Price Range

MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter Water Filter

MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter has a replaceable carbon and ceramic filter that removes bacteria. It pumps up to 1000mL/minute and can filter up to 500 gallons of water in its lifetime. It comes with a lifetime guarantee and weighs 16 ounces. 

MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter boasts compatibility with a variety of water bottles and hydration bladders. The filter pores are 0.2 microns in size.

Highlights

  • Filters up to 500 gallons throughout its life
  • An impressive flow rate of 1000mL/minute
  • Carbon and Ceramic filter that has 0.2-micron pores 
  • Weighs 16 ounces
  • Replaceable components are available

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8. LifeStraw Steel Personal Water Filter – Best For Emergencies

LifeStraw Steel Personal Water Filter

This is a stainless-steel filter that features a replaceable two-stage water filtration system with pores of 0.2-micron in size. It is easy to carry at just 4.2 ounces. Its Carbon capsule and hollow-fiber membrane can filter up to 250 gallons of water in its lifetime. The filter also requires no waiting or pumping and you can use it directly.

Highlights

  • Mid-range price point
  • Filters up to 250 gallons throughout its life
  • A two-stage water filtration system
  • 0.2-micron hollow-fiber membrane 
  • Weighs 4.2 ounces
  • Replaceable carbon capsule 

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9. MSR TrailShot  — Easiest To Carry

MSR TrailShot Pocket-Sized Water Filter

The MSR TrailShot is a lightweight (5.02 ounces) and compact water filter that only requires you to use one hand. You can drink directly from it or fill any water bottles and hydration packs. It can filter up to 1000mL/minute. 

It is the most compact one in the list (6×2.4”) and can easily fit in the stash pockets of trail runners.

Highlights

  • Filters up to 525 gallons throughout its life
  • A fast flow rate of 1000mL/minute 
  • Hollow-fiber membrane 
  • Weighs 5.02 ounces
  • Replacement cartridges are available
  • Super compact

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10. Platypus GravityWorks – Ideal For Groups

Platypus GravityWorks High-Capacity Water Filter System

Platypus GravityWorks is the only gravity filter in this list. It comes with a 4-liter dirty water reservoir, a 4-liter clean water reservoir, a hollow-fiber microfilter, hoses, a shutoff clamp, and a storage sack.

The Platypus GravityWorks is not the most compact filter on the list, but that is because the whole family can use this hollow-fiber filter. It has a superior flow rate of 1750mL/minute and weighs around 11.5 ounces. 

It has a replaceable cartridge that can filter up to 1,500 gallons in its lifetime. Since it is a gravity filter, it requires no pumping and manages to filter 4 liters of water for the whole family in just 2.5 minutes. 

Highlights

  • Filters up to an impressive 1500 gallons throughout its life
  • The highest flow rate in the list of 1750 mL/minute
  • 0.2-micron Hollow-fiber membrane 
  • Weighs 11.5 ounces
  • Replaceable components are available
  • Filters 4 liters in 2.5 minutes

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A Quick Guide to Buying A Portable Water Filter

Choosing a water filter for yourself can get confusing, especially if it is your first time buying one. Before you invest in a portable water filter for yourself, there are some points that you should consider. The following is a quick guide to help you with this:

Is the Higher Price Point Justified?

Before buying, you should consider the cost associated with your hiking water filter. The items on our list range from $14 up to $65. The higher cost does not always guarantee a better-quality filter. 

For instance, the MoKo Portable Water Filter, a mid-range priced product, filters up to 660 gallons of water in its lifetime. This is impressive compared to the more expensive Katadyn Filter, which has an expected life of only 200 gallons. 

Pore Size Matters

The pore size indicates how small the particle that you want to filter out of the water is. The smaller the pore size, the better the filtration. Moko Portable Water Filter, Survivor Filter PRO, and Etekcity Water Filter Straw are the only ones on the list with a pore size of 0.01 microns. The other filters in the list have between 0.1-0.2 micron pores. 

Straw vs Pump vs Gravity

There are three basic types of water filters, and one type cannot claim to be better than the other, as it is a matter of personal preferences. If you have a smaller budget, the straw filters, such as Etekcity and Membrane Solutions filters, will be less costly. 

With that said, the cheaper alternatives do come with a catch. Once the filter on them reaches its useful life, you would have to buy the product again instead of replacing a component. 

Easy to Carry Filters

With so much moving around in your travel adventure, it makes sense to buy a filter that is easy to carry and does not have many unnecessary components attached to it. 

There is often a trade-off between the filter capacity and the associated ease of carrying it around. Filters such as the Platypus GravityWorks may have a capacity of 4 liters, but it is not exactly the most portable one on the list. On the other hand, the MSR Trailshot is a pocket-sized, lightweight filter that you can use to pump water directly into your mouth or store in a bottle. 

Convenience

The pump filters may have a longer lifespan compared to the Straw ones, but on long trips pumping water can be challenging. Since the straw filters allow direct use, they are easier and faster. 

The Platypus GravityWorks Filter lets you enjoy the scenic beauty while gravity does its job. However, you should consider that this process takes longer than your basic pump or straw filter. GravityWorks takes approximately 2.4 minutes to filter one 4-liter bag of water, making it ideal for larger groups. 

The Added Burden

The last thing you would want on a lengthy hike is the added burden of a 20-ounce camping water filter. The weight of the water filter is an important consideration you need to make before buying. The design of the product and its capacity plays a huge role in its final weight. The products listed above have a wide range of weights from 2 to 16 ounces. 

A heavier hiking water filter, such as MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter (16 ounces) would be okay for camping, but could get unmanageable for hunting or a long run in the woods. For activities that require you to always be on the go, a lighter filter such as Sawyer Products Squeeze Water Filtration System would be better suited. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can a filter remove viruses from the water?

As viruses are smaller than the average pore size of water filters, they can easily pass through the filter into your drinking water. To combat viruses, you need to use a Water Purifying agent along with your water filter. 

How to clean Portable Water Filters?

Every water filter comes with a user guide that explains the cleaning and maintenance of the Water Filter. Most filters require you to simply clean them by running water over it or by backwashing (pumping water backward through the filter). However, it is crucial to let it dry first before you store it.

Which is the best portable water filter for me?

The answer to this question depends on every user’s personal preference. Feel free to compare the features of every filter and decide which one fulfills all your needs.

What do hiking water filters remove from water?

Water filters remove any large contaminants such as sediment, metals, and chlorine from the water. Most filters can also remove bacteria from the water. 

When to replace your hiking water filter?

Every filter has its own estimated life. The estimated life also depends on its frequency of use and the condition of the water that is filtered. On average, you may replace a water filter after filtering up to 500 gallons of water. 

The Verdict: A Camping Filter Companion

The best backpacking water filter for you will depend on your requirements and circumstances. We laid out the pros and cons of the best options out there, and now it is upto you to decide which one suits you best. Be sure to use our guide and keep in mind all of the different aspects of backpacking filters to reach an informed decision about the product that has all the features you need on your adventures.