Backpacking Water Filter For Survival

Backpacking water filter

A backpacking trip isn’t complete without water, as we all know. But how do you choose the best water filter for backpacking?

If you had consumed all your water supply on your outdoor adventure, what would you do? How is it possible to maintain a continuous supply of drinking water?

It is essential to carry a backpacking water filter with you when you are outdoors. In this way, you can ensure that clean and safe drinking water is available at all times.

A backpacking water filter will help eliminate harmful bacteria and other microorganisms from any water source. In addition, this allows you to stay healthy and prevents dehydration.

If you go on a long-distance hike, you may reach the point where you might drink all your water. Carrying a water filter will keep you from running out of water.

Backpacking Water Filter – Water Source

When backpacking, you must also find a good source of clean water. While there are many sources of water, you need to find the cleanest one. The filter will have an easier time cleaning the water this way.

There are many brands available on the market. Choosing the best water filter is extremely difficult and overwhelming at the same time.

Is there anything you should mainly keep in mind when choosing the best backpacking water filter? Following are some recommendations that you should check before purchasing a water filter.


Of course, you have to consider the water filter price, especially if you are on a tight budget. Although price often correlates with quality, an expensive water filter does not mean it is the best one. To point out, you will need to select a low-cost water filter that can provide you with the most benefits.


Weight is also significant since you will be carrying this on your backpack. Therefore, you need to make sure that the filter is light enough to carry. At the same time, you should be able to pack the water filter easily.

Another critical point is that you do not want to add more weight to a heavy backpack which is inconvenient and uncomfortable for long-distance hikes.


A durable water filter will provide you with comfort and peace of mind. You do not have to worry about the filter breaking. In addition, a durable filter can withstand abuse and exposure to harsh conditions.

Specifically, durable water filters should be puncture and abrasion-resistant. You do not want to waste your time fixing a broken filter while backpacking. Keep in mind how often you will need to clean or replace the filter.


Additionally, A good backpacking water filter should be easy to set up. Avoid water filters that have tiny parts that are easy to lose while backpacking.

If the water filter is straightforward to set up, you will find yourself drinking clean water in no time. Similarly, It is also essential to consider if the water filter can be used on different water sources—for instance, shallow water and puddles.


You should consider a water filter that can clean water fast, especially if you need to move quickly when backpacking. It will be an inconvenience if you need to wait for hours before you can have clean water.

Moreover, portable water filters should be fast enough to provide you with adequate clean drinking water.


More importantly, you have to choose a filter that has a fast flow rate. You will have clean and safe drinking water instantly. The filter should be able to eliminate bacteria and other contaminants effectively.

While you are on a backpacking adventure, make sure to look for the cleanest water source available to lessen the maintenance and cleaning of the water filter.

If possible, avoid a murky water source with a foul odor, which means that the water is contaminated and is not safe to drink – not to mention the inclusion of heavy metals, chemicals, sediments, and silt.

A good backpacking water filter should be able to clean the water quickly. Unfortunately, some water filters get clogged up and are very hard to clean.

Choose the best filter that does not clog up quickly. This would be very inconvenient, especially when you are backpacking since you need to clean it every time.


The storage capacity will depend on your backpacking needs, especially if your outdoor adventure requires long-distance hikes. Specifically, you will need a backpacking water filter that has a large capacity.

Choose a water filter that you will need depending on the type of backpacking you plan.

Best Water Filter For Backpacking 

We have narrowed the list to the best water filters that you can use for every backpacking adventure. Each has its pros and cons to make it easier for you to decide which one to buy.

Sawyer Squeeze

The Sawyer Squeeze is an ultralight water filter that weighs about 3 ounces. It is also straightforward to use. All you need to do is fill up the 32-ounce pouch at any water source—for instance, streams, rivers, and lakes. After filling up the container with water, screw the filter directly onto the pouch.

Once the filter is secure, squeeze the bag into a clean water bottle. You can also attach the straw included and insert it directly into the filter. Then, drink straight from the straw. Similarly, you can also use the inline filter with a hydration bladder.

Eliminates Harmful Microorganisms

The Sawyer Squeeze also has an excellent filtration system. It eliminates 99.99% of bacteria such as E. Coli, leptospirosis, salmonella, and cholera. It also eliminates protozoan cysts like cryptosporidium and Giardia. Aside from bacteria and protozoa, it thoroughly filters microplastics.

The 0.1 Micron absolute filter contains a large number of U-shaped hollow fiber microtubes. It traps contaminants and allows filtered water to pass through at a high flow rate.

The Sawyer Squeeze Filter also includes two 32 fl. oz. reservoir bags. The filter can also be used as an alternative gravity filter. You can also use an inline filter that is efficient for backpacking, hiking, trekking, camping, or any outdoor adventure.

The downside of the Sawyer is that the squeeze bag wears down after using it a couple of times. Additionally, this backpacking water filter is intended for personal use only. It is not advisable to use it for a large group of people.

Overall, the Sawyer Squeeze is versatile, reliable, and durable. This efficient water filter system can provide a continuous supply of safe and clean drinking water. This is an excellent backpacking water filter.

Sawyer Mini Filter

The Sawyer Mini Filter is a versatile and durable personal water filter. It has a hollow-fiber membrane with a 0.1-Micron filter that physically removes bacteria such as cholera, E. Coli, and salmonella.

It also removes protozoa such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium. But, on the other hand, it is not effective in eliminating viruses.

The Sawyer Mini includes one 16 fl. 01. reusable squeeze pouch. It also consists of a filter cap and a cleaning syringe. You can use the syringe to backflush the filter to keep it clean. Backflushing will also maintain a high flow rate. 

This is excellent for backpacking since you can use the filter for drinking straight from any water source. Typically, you can also fill up the bottle with water and insert the filter and start drinking. You can also use it as an inline filter.

What is excellent about the Sawyer Mini is that it can fit the threads on most water bottles. It would be better to have water bottle containers since the included bags may wear out. On the other hand, water bottles are more durable as compared to bags.

To point out, the Sawyer Mini is great for backpacking adventures since it is very light, durable, and versatile.

Katadyn BeFree

The Katadyn BeFree includes a collapsible flask that you can easily pack inside your backpack. It also has an impressive weight of 59 grams which is light enough to carry.

The BeFree is also equipped with an EZ-Clean Membrane™ that filters bacteria, cysts, and other microorganisms. It is also considered one of the best on-the-go water filtration systems. Significantly, a great feature of the filter is that it can eliminate odor and unpleasant taste in the water.

The EZ-Clean Membrane™ is easy to maintain. All you need to do is to fill up the flask with water. Then, attach the cover and simply shake it to remove debris. Another way to clean the filter is to swish it into running water, like rivers or streams.

The BeFree™ is also known to be suitable for clear and cloudy water. However, a downside of this water filter is that the collapsible bag can break while using it. It also wears out quickly. Significantly, you can bring with you a more durable water bottle.

The Katadyn BeFree is a versatile, on-the-go filtration system that you can use for your backpacking adventures. It is very light, compact, and eliminates waterborne microorganisms.

MSR MiniWorks EX

The MiniWorks EX is a lightweight and compact water filtration system. In particular, it has an excellent microfilter that utilizes Marathon EX carbon and ceramic elements. This helps eliminate odor and unpleasant taste in water. At the same time, it also ensures safe and clean drinking water.

The MSR MiniWorks can eliminate bacteria, protozoa, and other harmful microorganisms. In addition, MiniWorks can remove toxic chemicals such as pesticides, iodine, and chlorine.

The MiniWorks is also equipped with an AirSpring Accumulator. This is capable of pumping a maximum of one liter per minute. It increases the flow rate and can treat a maximum of 2000 liters.

The ceramic filter can be cleaned and maintained in the field repeatedly and does not require any tools. However, the downside to MiniWorks is that it is heavy. This could be a significant inconvenience for some backpackers. However, it is still effective and reliable in providing safe and clean drinking water.

MSR TrailShot Pocket-Sized Water Filter

The TrailShot is a wonderful choice for backpackers, trail runners, hikers, and anyone who wants to enjoy the outdoors. What is terrific about the TrailShot is that it is amazingly pocket-sized.

With the TrailShot, you can drink directly from any water source. In addition, TrailShot is very easy to operate, and you only need to use one hand.

The pump can be operated by simply pressing them with your palm or fingers. You do not need to use your arm to pump water. Specifically, you do not need to set up anything, and you can even use it to refill your water bottle.

The MSR TrailShot can filter one liter in 60 seconds. This is extremely fast and, at the same time, eliminates harmful waterborne microorganisms such as bacteria and protozoa. However, it cannot remove viruses.

To sum up, the MSR TrailShot is a good choice for fast-moving backpackers. Moreover, you do not need to wait for a long time to have clean drinking water.

Hydroblu Versa Flow

The HydroBlu Versa Flow is a versatile and lightweight hollow-fiber water filter. The Versa Flow has tiny holes that eliminate harmful bacteria such as E. Coli, Giardia, and cryptosporidium. It also removes protozoan cysts.

Amazingly, these harmful organisms are too large to fit through the 0.1 Micron holes. Unfortunately, however, the HydroBlu water filter cannot remove chemicals as well as viruses from water.

You can use the Versa Flow with most water bottles. All you need to do is screw the filter onto a plastic bottle. You can also use it as an inline filter for your hydration pack. It can also be used as a bucket filter as well as a gravity filter.

You can use it as a straw to drink directly from the water source. The Versa Flow can filter 100,000 gallons before replacing it.

Lightweight Filter

The overall weight of the HydroBlu Versa Flow is only 2 ounces and can fit anywhere. This is an excellent water filter for backpacking, camping, hiking, and other outdoor travel and adventure.

You can filter water through the outside of the tubes by bending the hollow fiber. This will also increase the surface area and flow rate of the filter. Specifically, the Versa Flow has an impressive flow rate of 1 gallon every 5 minutes.

To maintain the Versa Flow, you will need to backflush the filter to eliminate sediments and silt. This will increase the lifespan of the filter element. If you maintain the filter continuously, you do not need to replace or buy a new one.

Overall, the HydroBlu Versa Flow is a great backpacking water filter due to its versatility. In addition, this water filter is exceptionally light enough to carry. The Versa Flow provides safe and clean drinking water. It also protects you from bacteria and other harmful microorganisms.

Final Thoughts

It is crucial to select the best backpacking water filter for your outdoor adventure. In addition, it is essential to determine what you need when it comes to efficiency, durability, weight, and versatility.

Significantly, make sure to select the best water source to manage water filtration more accessible. Always carry a backup water filter, especially if you plan to go on long-distance hikes.