Best Backpacking Water Filters of 2019

There is no substitute to clean reliable drinking water, even on backpacking or hiking trips. Drinking untreated water is dangerous and can make you sick on trips, the last thing that one would ever want to happen.

Various kinds of impurities are found in drinking water. With several water treatment options, it has become easier to treat water on-the-go, thereby giving you clean water that is free from disease-causing pathogens.

A lot of people are in dilemma about water filters and water purifiers. Both work out on the same lines but are bit different in their functioning.

Water filters are capable of straining out only the larger size waterborne bacteria, unlike purifiers that are also capable of killing tiny viruses.

best backpacking water filters

As far functioning of these water filters is concerned, all of them include a cartridge, which has microscopic pores that catch debris, protozoa and harmful bacteria.

They also make use of activated carbon, as it removes any unpleasant taste from water. It is very important to select the right system of water filters based on personal needs and requirements.

With so many options on the market, it’s hard to decide what is the best backpacking water filter. A lot of factors like budget, trip type, and group size, influences the purchase.

To ease it out for you, we’ve rounded up the best water filters for backpacking in 2019. Take a look:

Best Water Filters for Backpacking in 2019

Platypus GravityWorks 4 L Complete Water Filter Kit

With a weight of about 10.75 oz., this is one of the most lightweight filters you’ll come across.  Highly versatile, this water filter system works effortlessly and makes it convenient to get clean water practically anywhere.

It is basically a high-capacity system that filters water for groups and dispenses it to your convenience. With such a high-capacity system, there is no worry or hassle to store plenty of water for bigger groups. The best part, it is easily packable too.

The Platypus GravityWorks 4L Water Filter System filters water quickly and delivers four liters of filtered water is just 2.5 minutes with no pumping. Yes, no pumping.

This gravity filter quickly filters water, straight into your water bladder, bottle, or Clean water reservoir bag. This is like crazy fast, in fact, it is faster than most pump systems. It has a filter life of 1500 liters, which is decent enough.


This filter is equipped with hundreds of hollow fibers that are bundled together into a single filter. Water flows through the walls of these fibers, and such a huge number of fibers leave no stone unturned to catch the impurities. Thereby, it gives up to 18 times more surface area than traditional filter media.

It comes with a dirty bag, a clean bag, and a Shutoff clamp. The dirty bag needs to be filled and sealed at the top with the ziplock closure. Then hang this dirty bag in a way that it is above the clean bag.

You can easily hang the bags around tree branches as this include buckles to make hanging easier. The screw top or the shut-off clamp connects the output tubing to the clean bag, thereby controlling the amount of dirty water to be filtered.

It works in accordance with gravity. All you have to do is, just fill in the reservoir and then let gravity filter the water for you. As this filter confers to all the EPA and NSF guidelines, it effectively removes Bacteria and Protozoa, including Giardia, Cryptosporidium, E.coli, Salmonella, and Cholera from the water before you drink it. This filter comes with a lifetime warranty, plus a repair service as well.

This filter is so quick and effortless to use that you can filter large amounts of water being hands-free to work on other essential stuff. Available at a  premium price, this one is a quality gravity filter that totally justifies its price tag. Undoubtedly, it is a reliable, durable and convenient means of filtering water while on the trail.

MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter Water Filter

MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter Water Filter is the best-selling micro-filter by MSR and is praised by the backpackers for its durable nature and longevity. With a weight of about 14.6 ounces, this filter weighs a bit heavy.

This long-lasting water filter can easily remove any pesticides, bacteria, and protozoa including giardia and cryptosporidia from water, as it is equipped with Ceramic/carbon Marathon™ EX element. It can filter up to 1-liter water per minute with the help of AirSpring accumulator.

The filter is field- cleanable, i.e. it can be easily cleaned for as many numbers of times until its filter life and no tools are required to do the same. The green scrub comes along that cleans the filter and the gauge ensures that you are not over-scrubbing the filter.

Equipped with Marathon EX carbon core, this filter ensures clean, tasty drinking water by removing any unpleasant tastes and odors that are caused by organic compounds, such as iodine, chlorine, and pesticides. The carbon/ceramic element is durable and reliable enough and has been engineered for frequent and heavy use.

You need to pump, in order to get clean drinking water. However, the pump is thick but it requires noticeably more force to pump than any of the other pump filters. So, this one is not great enough for big groups.


This filter complies to the protocols of NSF P231 for removal of bacteria (99.9999%) and protozoa (99.9%) from beginning to end of filter life in “worst-case” water. It has a filter life of 2000 liters, which is pretty good.

It’s bottom screws onto an MSR Dromedary Bag or Nalgene water bottle for easy operation. It is also compatible with a variety of wide mouth water bottles, and hydration bladders that are sold separately.

Disassembling this filter is easy. It is BPA free and uses polyurethane as the housing material. Made in USA, it features 3 years manufacturer’s limited lifetime warranty.

Due to its heavier weight, it is not at all the ultra-light backpacker’s choice. This heavy filter is only ideal for shorter hikes, backpacking, camping, travel, survival, and emergency preparedness. It needs considerable maintenance and is running behind the new technology, therefore is too slow for modern times.

It comes at a whopping price, and given the features and old technology, this one is not at all worth its price. A lot many better options are available in this price range.

LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottles with 2-Stage Integrated Filter Straw

This advanced LifeStraw Go water filter bottle is your ultimate travel companion. A water filter that has now been incorporated into a sports bottle is simply a blessing in disguise, for modern times and is one of the most advanced personal water filters available.

Offering ultimate convenience on backpacking or hiking trips, this water filter bottle filters up to 1,000 liters of water down to 0.2 microns without the use of any chemicals. It is produced from high-quality food grade plastic, as per the US FDA standards.

With a weight of about 7.8 ounces, it is one of the lightweight filters you’ll come across. It is a 2-stage water filter bottle that protects against bacteria, parasites, and microplastics, and also reduces chemicals like chlorine, thereby improving the quality and taste of water. It has been engineered to withstand harsh conditions and is extremely durable.


This  23-ounce water bottle is a leak-proof bottle and its hollow fiber membrane removes 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria (> log 6 reduction), and removes 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites. It has a cartridge capacity of 1,000 liters and will stop taking water after that.

The activated carbon capsule reduces any bad odor, chlorine, and organic chemical matter and will be effective for up to 100 liters (26 gallons), or if you use it for 3 months continuously. However, you can anytime resort to replacement filters that are sold separately.

It is lab-tested and is BPA free. In fact, it has been rigorously tested to surpass EPA standards for removing E. Coli, Giardia and Cryptosporidium oocysts, and many other waterborne contaminants.

The best part is that the filter of this bottle is detachable which allows you to reuse this bottle indefinitely, thereby saving plastic wastage. The food-grade flexible silicone mouthpiece is easily removable to allow for easy cleaning.

Overall, it is so easy to use that all you have to do is just fetch water from a stream, river, or tap, no matter how dirty it is and this water bottle will filter it on the go.  Genuinely priced, this one is totally worth the value. It will not only save the world from plastic but is also easy on the pocket.

Katadyn BeFree Water Filtration System

Katadyn as a brand needs no introduction. It enjoys a strong 90-year reputation and till date assures its customers of quality products. Katadyn BeFree Water Filtration System is no different.

With many awards to its credit, this lightweight and compact bottle cum filter are incredibly great. This pocket-sized filter is perfect for on-the-go use as it weighs only 2.33 oz.

The collapsible 0.6L Hydrapak Flask allows for easy filling and is easily packable; it fits small and can be adjusted into your pockets. As you are ready to go, this collapsible flask packs small to fit into tight spaces.

It is incredibly fast and will filter out water in seconds. Constructed out of thick BPA-free plastic, this bottle can withstand little abrasions.

Extremely convenient, it filters up to 2 liters of water per minute via easy Free Flow Channels to hydrate you quickly. The EZ-Clean Membrane works to filter clean water. All you do is just fill the flask and water will be filtered. The flask can be gently squeezed for instant refreshment.


This EZ membrane of this filter bottle is field cleanable. All you have to do is simply fill the flask with water, attach the cover and shake or swish in any lake or stream to clean debris. No back-flushing or extra tools are required to do the same; making it extremely convenient.

The 0.1-micron water filter removes harmful organisms like bacteria and protozoa like Giardia & Cryptosporidium, to provide clean drinking water. It’s only compatible with 42 mm screw top,  Hydrapak Seeker reservoirs.

With cartridge capacity of 1000 liters, this bottle filters up to 1,000 liters of contaminated water without using chemicals or other devices. As it is hollow fiber water filters, it will freeze if left in cold temperatures.

The Katadyn BeFre is a great option for single persons going on trekking or backpacking trips. However, if you are looking out for a product to filter larger volumes of water for groups, then this one is not suitable. If you want to travel light, this one is for you. Given the features and price, this one is worth the money spent. Overall, it is a great package that is worth the buy. Just Smash, Stash and Go!

Sawyer Products Mini Filter

Extremely versatile, Sawyer MINI weighs just 2 ounces and is perfect minimalist water purification method for any hiking or backpacking trip. It is so tiny that it can fit anywhere.

It’s extremely easy to use and cost a lot less than other water filters. It offers Micron Absolute Filtration; i.e. the hollow fiber micro-tubes work to treat the contaminants, thereby providing clean water to freely pass through at a high flow rate.

It is certified for 0.1-micron filtration, that is the pore size is small enough to block any harmful bacteria (like salmonella or leptospirosis), protozoa, or cysts like E. coli, Giardia, Vibrio cholerae, and Salmonella typhi to pass through the filter.

This 0.1-micron filter physically removes 99.99999% of all bacteria, such as salmonella, cholera, and E.coli, and removing 99.9999% of all protozoa such as giardia and cryptosporidium. With a filter life of 100,000 gallons, it goes a very long time.

It works with the included drinking pouch, standard disposable bottles (28 mm thread), hydration packs, or included straw; use just the way you want or drink straight from the straw.

Just fill up the included reusable pouch from any water source,  screw the filter onto the pouch and drink directly or you can squeeze water into a water bottle.


This mini filter comes with a limited lifetime warranty. Backflushing is required to clean this filter and keep it flowing strong. However, you need to backflush regularly as it clogs up easily.

You can use the included syringe to backflush the filter to maintain a high flow rate. The components included are Sawyer Mini water filter, one 16 fl. oz. reusable squeeze pouch, a filter tip cap, and a cleaning syringe. Do not freeze this filter, as freezing may ruin the hollow-fiber membrane.

It includes almost all the components that you would need; Sawyer MINI Water Filter with Tip Cap, a 16 oz Reusable Squeeze Pouch, 7″ Drinking Straw and a  cleaning syringe. All Sawyer water filters meet or exceed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommended removal rates.

Perfect for the ultralight backpacker, this minimalistic weight, a mini filter has been affordably priced and is surely a great option. With Sawyer Products Mini Filter, you can drink clean water directly from the source, without carrying any excessive weight.

Comparison Table of Best Water Filters for Hiking, Backpacking

Below-mentioned table segregates some of the important features for you to make an informed choice:

Basis Platypus GravityWorks 4.0 MSR MiniWorks Lifestraw Go Katadyn BeFree Sawyer Products Mini Filter
Filter Medium Hollow fiber Ceramic with carbon core Hollow Fiber Membrane with Activated Carbon Hollow fiber Hollow-fiber membrane
Output 1.75 liters per minute 1 liter per minute Not Applicable 2 liters per minute Not applicable
Cartridge Life 1500L 2000L 1000L 1000L 100,000 gallons
Filter type Gravity Pump Bottle Squeeze, Bottle Squeeze, Straw

A portable water filter by your side on backpacking trips is extremely crucial as most of the water sources are unsafe and can make you sick. These filters remove these dirty contaminants from water, making it safe to drink.

Over time, the pores of these water filters clog and require time-to-time cleaning. Depending on the filter life, replace the cartridges timely.

Rating Table of Best Water Filters for Hiking, Backpacking

Best Water Filters for Hiking, Backpacking
  • Platypus GravityWorks 4 L Complete Water Filter Kit
  • MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter Water Filter
  • LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottles with 2-Stage Integrated Filter Straw
  • Katadyn BeFree Water Filtration System
  • Sawyer Products Mini Filter
4.8

Conclusion

Research the options available well-in-advance and identify the right water purifier that matches your needs and requirements perfectly.

Leave a Reply