Top Rated Backpacking Water Filters

Top Rated Backpacking Water Filters for 2020 [Amazon Best Sellers]


If you are preparing for the trail, you will need one of these top rated backpacking water filters prepared for you here in the list, all reliable Amazon best-selling outdoor tools.

What is in the list

So here you have water filters for hikers, backpackers, campers, travelers, etc. You will need them in any of these and similar activities. I myself am an active mountaineer and hiker and I have one of these filters always in my backpack. Without a water filter, I normally need up to 3 liters of water for a whole day activity in the mountains. This depends on the weather conditions and on how hard the activity is, so sometimes this cannot be enough. My backpack feels very different with and without such an addition.

But if I go in the area with lots of water springs and flows, I normally only have one 3/4 liter bottle of water, and then refill occasionally whenever it is necessary. My strict rule is never to drink the water without filtering it first, regardless of how clean it can look.

The items in the list are in any of the following two groups:

  • Water filters.
  • Water purifiers.

Now, when this is about mechanical process of cleaning the water, a purifier is a filter as well, but a filter is not necessarily a purifier. This is about the size of the pores through which the water is filtered. A purifier is able to remove all living organisms, viruses included. Water filters cannot remove viruses, some of them are too small. But if you are on the trail, having viruses in water is very unlikely, they need living creatures to survive, and they do not remain in the water for long. So in most cases, you need just a good filter and you will be safe.

If you would rather have some purifier that does not remove microorganisms physically, but kills them instead, please check our separate list.

So how to know which is which and how to choose?

  • First, you have to be sure that the item is reliable, and I am sure this is not always so. But you will see the top brands here in the list, those are the most reliable in this industry, like MSR, Sawyer, Katadyn, LifeStraw, and a few more.
  • Second, as mentioned above, this is about the size of the pores in the filter/purifier. Viruses are usually 0.02 – 0.4 microns size, the smallest seems to be the Porcine circovirus type 1 with a diameter of 0.017 microns. So if you have a system with filtration pores that are 0.01 micron, you are pretty much safe from any virus and bacteria. 

Note that such filters and purifiers do not remove chemicals and pollutants, though some of them can reduce the amount of some of the chemicals. So it is best to avoid taking the water from places where such stuff may be present. These tools also cannot make fresh water out of seawater.

These are outdoor tools, but it is good to have such items at home as well, for emergency situations in general and family preparedness, in particular in areas with hurricanes, and where floods are expected.

Regarding the size and principle of work, you can have the following types:

  • Small filters/purifiers to use on the go. This is what I use most of the time. Note that here you have two sub-types:
    • Filters/Purifiers which you use to drink directly.
    • Filters/Purifiers which allow you to collect clean water and carry on the trail, as you can see in the top picture above. I would suggest using this type, and this in particular if you do not know the trail which is waiting for you and have no idea where the next water supply might be. So here you have either i) a bladder which you fill with water and then squeeze through the filter into a clean water bottle, or ii) a system with a pump which takes the water from the stream and filter it into the clean bottle. The second option is a bit heavier and bulkier.
  • Gravity systems suitable to use when you are in the camp. So you put water in the reservoir and let gravity do the job, the water will flow through the attached filter and you will have the clean water collected in the container; meanwhile, you can do other things in the camp, cook, read, or just rest. These are camping water filters and purifiers but they can be used as water filters for hikers and backpackers as well.

These are all Amazon best-selling water filters and purifiers, many of them are Amazon Prime items so you can have them shipped for free. The differences in prices can be huge, but this does not mean those cheap items are unreliable. This is all about the technology used; some of those expensive items are heavier, with ceramic filters, and suitable for groups.

In any case, you have a number of the filters here that are on sale, a chance to save some money. So here is our list with best water filters for backpacking, hiking, and camping, please have a look:

SaleBestseller No. 1
Katadyn Hiker Water Filter, Lightweight, Compact Design for Personal or Small Group Camping, Backpacking or Emergency Preparedness
301 Reviews
Katadyn Hiker Water Filter, Lightweight, Compact Design for Personal or Small Group Camping, Backpacking or Emergency Preparedness
  • Easy-to-use design is great for the beginning camper to the serious backpacker
  • The 0.2 micron glassfiber filter media is designed for high output with little effort
  • Activated carbon in the core of the filter improves the taste and reduces chemicals in your drinking water
  • Provides safe drinking water in any challenging conditions
  • Lowest maintenance water filter available; no need for constant backflushing
SaleBestseller No. 2
Sawyer Products SP128 Mini Water Filtration System, Single, Blue
5,260 Reviews
Sawyer Products SP128 Mini Water Filtration System, Single, Blue
  • Ideal for outdoor recreation, hiking, camping, scouting, domestic and international travel, and emergency preparedness
  • High-performance 0. 1 Micron absolute inline filter fits in the palm of your hand and weighs just 2 ounces; 100% of MINI units individually tested three times to performance standards by Sawyer
  • Attaches to included drinking pouch, standard disposable water bottles, hydration packs, or use the straw to drink directly from your water source
  • Removes 99. 99999% of all bacteria (salmonella, cholera, and E. coli); removes 99. 9999% of all protozoa (such as giardia and cryptosporidium); also removes 100% of micro plastics
  • Filter rated up to 100, 000 gallons; Includes one Sawyer MINI filter, 16-ounce reusable squeeze pouch, 7-inch drinking straw, and cleaning plunger
SaleBestseller No. 3
Katadyn Hiker Pro Transparent Water Filter, Lightweight, Compact Design for Personal or Small Group Camping, Backpacking or Emergency Preparedness
80 Reviews
Katadyn Hiker Pro Transparent Water Filter, Lightweight, Compact Design for Personal or Small Group Camping, Backpacking or Emergency Preparedness
  • Proven protection against bacteria and protozoan cysts down to 0.2 micron with pleated glass-fiber filter media
  • Activated carbon in the core of the filter improves the taste and reduces chemicals in your drinking water
  • The field cleanable filter protector screen extends the life of the cartridge in challenging conditions
  • Long-time trusted option for backpackers with it's ultra-light 11oz, compact size and compatibility with hydration bladders
  • Transparent design allows you to see the filtration working
Bestseller No. 4
Platypus GravityWorks 4.0 Liter High-Capacity Water Filter System for Group Camping and Emergency Preparedness
345 Reviews
Platypus GravityWorks 4.0 Liter High-Capacity Water Filter System for Group Camping and Emergency Preparedness
  • High-capacity, gravity-fed, hollow-fiber water filter system is ideal for group and family camping, outdoor adventures, and emergency preparedness
  • Meets all EPA/NSF guidelines for removal of 99.9999% of bacteria and 99.9% of protozoa, including giardia, cryptosporidium, E. coli, salmonella, cholera
  • No pumping required; reservoir fills easily and hangs from a tree to deliver four liters of filtered water for cooking and washing in 2.5 minutes
  • Includes 4-liter dirty water reservoir, 4-liter clean water reservoir, hollow-fiber microfilter, hoses, shutoff clamp, and storage sack
  • Replaceable cartridge filters up to 1,500 gallons; produces flow rate of 1.75 liters/minute; kit weights 11.5 ounces; made in the USA
Bestseller No. 5
Katadyn BeFree 1.0L Water Filter, Fast Flow, 0.1 Micron EZ Clean Membrane for Endurance Sports, Camping and Backpacking
99 Reviews
Katadyn BeFree 1.0L Water Filter, Fast Flow, 0.1 Micron EZ Clean Membrane for Endurance Sports, Camping and Backpacking
  • 0.1 micron water filter removes harmful organisms like bacteria 99.9999% and protozoa like Giardia & Cryptosporidium 99.9%, surpassing EPA standards
  • Collapsible 1.0L hydrapak soft bottle flask packs down small to fit in tight spaces (jacket pockets, purses, backpack, fly vests)
  • Ez-clean Membrane is simple and easy to clean by simply shaking or swishing the filter to clean debris, no backflushing or extra tools required
  • Filters up to 1, 000 liters of contaminated water without using chemicals or other devices and hydrate quickly and easily with the free flow channels fast flow rate
  • Stay clean drink nozzle keeps the mouthpiece clean and sanitary (replaceable with standard plastic water bottle caps)
SaleBestseller No. 6
Sawyer Products SP131 Squeeze Water Filtration System with Three Pouches
1,304 Reviews
Sawyer Products SP131 Squeeze Water Filtration System with Three Pouches
  • Lightweight, easily portable 0.1 absolute micron hollow fiber membrane inline water filter
  • High-performance 0.1 Micron absolute inline filter fits in the palm of your hand and weighs just 2 ounces; 100% of MINI units individually tested three times to performance standards by Sawyer
  • Built-in and removable push/pull cap; spray water straight into mouth or bottle from included pouch; attach to standard threaded water bottle
  • Comes with three BPA-free collapsible pouches (two 32-ounce, one 16-ounce) that roll up tightly for easy packing; can be reused hundreds of times
  • Backed by manufacturer's lifetime limited (independent testing laboratory Hydration, LLC.; Microbiological Report S05-03); 100% of Squeeze Filter units individually tested three times to performance standards by Sawyer
SaleBestseller No. 7
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter for Hiking, Camping, Travel, and Emergency Preparedness
8,465 Reviews
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter for Hiking, Camping, Travel, and Emergency Preparedness
  • Award-winning LifeStraw water filter is a must-carry tool for hiking, camping, travel, and emergencies; no disaster kit is complete without it
  • Filters up to 1000 liters of contaminated water without iodine, chlorine, or other chemicals; does not require batteries and has no moving parts
  • Removes minimum 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria, 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites, and filters to 0.2 microns; surpasses EPA filter standards
  • An alternative to iodine tablets and bulky purifiers, it weighs 2oz for ultralight portability, and has a high flow rate for drinking from the source
  • Comes in a sealed bag, perfect for storing in a bugout bag or other prepper gear supply kit; measures 9 x 1 x 1 inches.BPA Free materials
Bestseller No. 8
MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter Water Filter
541 Reviews
MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter Water Filter
  • Microfilter water filter pump for hiking, backpacking, camping, travel, survival, and emergency preparedness
  • Replaceable carbon and ceramic filter removes bacteria, protozoa, organic compounds, and particulate, delivering clean, taste and odor-free water
  • Pumps at a rate of one liter per minute; compatible with a variety of wide mouth water bottles, and hydration bladders (sold separately)
  • Meets NSF protocol P231 for removal of bacteria (99.9999%) and protozoa (99.9%); one replaceable filter cartridge treats up to 2,000 liters of water
  • Pump measures 7.5 x 2.75 inches and weighs 1 pound; storage bag included; manufacturer’s limited lifetime warranty; made in the USA
SaleBestseller No. 9
Katadyn Pocket Water Filter, Long Lasting for Personal or Small Group Camping, Backpacking or Emergency Preparedness
  • Pocket water filter designed four outdoor enthusiasts and international travelers
  • Filter's silver-impregnated ceramic element is effective against bacteria and protozoa
  • Filters all microorganisms larger than 0.2 microns to produce clear, drinkable water
  • Round pump handle for easy pumping; outlet hose attaches to containers with clip
Bestseller No. 10
Sawyer Products SP160 One-Gallon Gravity Water Filtration System with Dual-Threaded Mini Filter
150 Reviews
Sawyer Products SP160 One-Gallon Gravity Water Filtration System with Dual-Threaded Mini Filter
  • Easily create gravity-based water filtering system with 0. 1 micron absolute dual-threaded Sawyer MINI water filter and 1-gallon reservoir
  • High-performance 0. 1 Micron absolute inline filter fits in the palm of your hand and weighs just 2 ounces; 100% of MINI units individually tested three times to performance standards by Sawyer
  • Dual-threaded MINI allows you to screw the push/pull cap onto the filter for easy on/off functionality; lightweight wide-mouth bladder for fast, easy filling; convenient carry handle
  • Versatile water filter system is great for use as a camping water filter, backcountry treks, emergency prepping, and disaster kits
  • Includes MINI Water Filter, 1-gallon bladder, cleaning plunger, cleaning coupling, and gravity hose with adapters; 100% of MINI units individually tested three times to performance standards by Sawyer

Last update on 2020-01-26  / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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