When going out for a backpacking trip, it’s necessary that you have a source of clean water. Most backpackers either choose between a small filtration system or purifier. While both generally get the job done well, it’s important to know the different kinds of filters and purifiers that are out there, as well as the various methods to clean water. Keep in mind, while a filter pushes out bacteria, only a purifier kills viruses as well; though usually with chemicals. Know what you’ll need where you’re going, and always choose the one that feels more safe:
The Sawyer Squeeze and most Sawyer products in general are the most popular water filters on the backpacking market these days. These little pouches are easy water filtration systems that are light, compact, and for all intents and purposes, ‘cute’. It’s great for backpackers who are only heading out for a few days, but are confident that the water sources just need to be a little filtered. It’s really best for one person as opposed to a couple or a group, and while it’s great at getting out bacteria and protozoa, it does not filter out most viruses.
The Platypus GravityWorks is a reliable filtration system that unlike the Sawyer Squeeze, is great for backpacking groups, as its size can accommodate more than one person. This filter will have your back through the longer hikes, since it can hold up to 8 liters of water at a time. It also filters your water in speed-time, which is useful if you’re feeling dehydrated. It’s EPA approved to get rid of bacteria and protozoa, but again, not as effective on viruses.
The SteriPEN Adventurer is unique in that it’s compact and modern. Unlike other methods of cleaning water, this device is a UV purifier, so it supposedly does a very good job of filtering out viruses more so than other systems. However, there has been speculation about the true reliability of UVs, so make sure that you understand the details before purchasing something else instead. The little light on the pen will tell you if the filtration worked, and it also functions as a flashlight. Pretty cool if you ask us!
Aquamira Water Treatment Drops
Aquamira Water Treatment Drops are another alternative to the traditional methods. While it’s not an actual pump or device, the lightweight quality of this solution is good for those who need to be mindful of the weight on their back. These drops are little chemicals you can put into your water to purify it. However, chemicals aren’t always the preferred option for everyone.
First Need XL
There should be no compromising when it comes to making sure your water is clean, especially if perhaps you’ve had issues in the past. Though you can never be totally sure if your water is safe, this filter does the best it can. The First Need XL, which actually looks like it belongs in a hospital, has been recognized as one of the best water filters when it comes to safety assurance.
The Puralytics Solarbag is not only safe, but it’s environmentally conscious and a multi-purpose tool; something that many backpackers are passionate about. This awesome gadget is completely solar-powered. Yes, it uses the almighty power of the sun to filter your water, chemical free and pump free. It eliminates bacteria and viruses that can be found in unclean water, without the hassle. It’s small and easy, and even has a ring to clip it onto your bag easily.
Kor Nava Water Bottle
Just because you want to be safe, doesn’t mean you have to give up the classic water bottle when hiking. Technology has prevailed, making it possible to keep the whole water issue familiar in none other than a typical bottle. The KOR Nava Water Bottle is made from a carbon-activated coconut shell, with a filter straw inside to clean your water quickly. Keep in mind, there’s isn’t enough information out there yet to guarantee the true reliability of this product. For now, it’s better for a day-hike.
MSR Sweetwater Microfilter
The MSR Sweetwater Microfilter has been recommended highly among backpackers who feel more comfortable filtering the water themselves. With many similar products out there, this one has won the competition. The device is a simple pump which folds up easily so there’s room in your backpack. It does a good job of filtering your water, and its portability is preferred by many.
So, which water filter is best for you? Make sure that you’re choosing the right mix of affordability, size, weight and, most importantly, purification. There’s nothing worse than not being able to drink the water around you when you’re miles out in the backcountry!