Best Portable Water Filter to Purify Your Supply

Best Portable Water Filter to Purify Your Supply

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Whether you’re a rugged backcountry outdoorsman, a casual birdwatcher, or just the outdoor enthusiast who enjoys setting up a tent every now and then, you’ve no doubt wondered how you can simplify your camping situation.

From your food supply to your tent-rigging gear, there is no shortage of supplies that you need to take with you out into the wilderness. Why lug around a heavy gallon jug of water? Or even more seriously - if you’re headed out for several days at a time, carrying enough pre-purified water with you to last the entire trip might be downright impractical.

You need to invest in a portable water filter. These tools are absolutely necessary for emergency situations, working to purify water from natural sources, like brooks and rivers, so that you can remain hydrated in a pinch. Remember, you can only go a few days without water - don’t risk your survival by skimping out on one of these tools.

Not sure what to look for? We have all the information you need to know here so that you can invest in the best portable water filter to purify your supply.

Types of Portable Water Filters 

When you are shopping for a portable water filter, you will be able to choose from three different product types. The first is a basic straw water filter. These are incredibly light and frankly, look just like their namesake - over sized straws. These filters work like straws, too, meaning you must get quite close to the water source in order for them to work.

Another common type of water filter is a pump filter. These aren’t quite as tiny as straw filters, yet they can still fit into a backpack with relative ease. They require the use of a lead line that draws together the source of water and another line, and you use a small hand pump to draw in the water.

The final type of filter is a bottle filter. These portable water filters are useful even if you don’t need to file your drinking water - all you have to do is remove the filter cartridge to use it as a normal drinking bottle. When used as portable water filters, these devices work just like straw filters, except you use the bottle as a holder for the contaminated water.

All three types of portable water filters can be extremely useful depending on the setting that you are in. here are our top ten picks of the best portable water filters you can buy - each of which fits into one of those three categories

The Best Portable Water Filters to Keep You Safe in Your Wild Backyard - and Beyond

1. Sawyer Products MINI Water Filtration System

This compact water filtration system comes in a miniature size that is perfect for hiking, backpacking, wilderness camping, and exotic travel. Despite its small stature, this water filter packs a punch, offering maximum efficiency as it processes up to 99.99% of all bacteria, parasites, and viruses out of your water. A durable filter, it also has surprisingly longevity for its size. Just one filter cartridge can clean up to 100,000 gallons of water before needing to be replaced. 

This water filter even comes with a versatile adapter that allows you to attach it to whatever you might be carrying, including a water bottle, hydration pack, or pouch. You can even attach it to a faucet if you need to improve the quality of your indoor drinking water! It’s easy to use and is the perfect choice for hiking or camping in questionable locations.

This wallet-friendly device is ideal for travelers seeking a lightweight solution. It comes with a 16oz carrier and straw so that you can enjoy your purified water on the go. 

What We Liked:

  • Comes with pouch and straw
  • Filters up to 100,000 gallons of water
  • Lightweight and easy to attach to other water bottles and units

What We Didn’t Like: 

  • Squeeze bags designed to make water filtration easier are sometimes known to burst

2. LifeStraw Family 1.0 Portable Gravity Powered

As the name might imply, this portable water filter has a massive capacity. It can filter up to three gallons per hour, making it ideal for a small group of friends or family that are camping or hiking together. It can clean tons of water in a short amount of time, and it's easy to use, too. 

The LifeStraw Family Water purifier utilizes a gravity filter. All you need to do is pour water into the top of the unit and it will come out, completely filtered, at the bottom. It filters up to 99.995 of bacteria, protozoa, viruses, and parasites out of the water. It works quickly and efficiently and has everything you need for your next backwoods camping trip. 

You do need to keep an eye on this unit to watch for signs of it clogging, but as long as you are good about cleaning it on a regular basis, you should not have any problems. It surpasses all EPA standards and LifeStraw is exemplary in that the company provides clean drinking water to children in third-world countries for every purchase you make. If that’s not enough reason to buy this portable water filter, we don’t know what is!

What We Liked:

  • Easy to use
  • Your purchase supports environmentally- and socially-friendly processes
  • Can purify up to 4,755 gallons of water with no iodine or chemicals

What We Didn’t Like: 

  • Maintenance can be frustrating

3. LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

The LifeStraw personal water filter is a must-have portable water filter for avid hikers. A small, easy-to-use device, it is affordable and has a unique design that makes it compact yet also efficient. 

This water filter provides up to 792 gallons of safe water, requiring no chemicals as it removes up to 99.9% of the bacteria and parasites found in water. It has no shelf life, since it doesn’t rely on chemicals like some portable water filters do. Since it has no shelf life and no expiration date, you can store it for years in case you don’t camp that often. 

An incredibly lightweight portable filter, it has a 1,000 liter filter capacity. It’s recommended that you bring some other water bottle or carrier so that you can scoop water, filter it with this device, and then dump the rest out. 

What We Liked:

  • Lightweight and inexpensive
  • Removes nearly all bacteria from the water
  • Uses no chemicals, so it has no expiration date

What We Didn’t Like: 

  • Requires a lot of suction to get the water moving

4. Katadyn Vario Water Filter, Dual Technology Microfilter

The Katadyn water filter is a unique portable water filter that has an intelligent design. It is equipped with both an inlet and outlet hose, each of which measure three feet long. There is also a plastic clip that attaches this hose to your water bottle so that you don't have to worry about it falling as the bottle fills up.

This portable water filter is one of the best pump-style water filters you will find. It works quickly and is small enough to fit into your backpack without adding a lot of weight or bulk. Despite its small size, it can filter up to two quarts of water per minute. 

The Katadyn Vario water filter allows you to pump multiple times without having to stop to clean between cycles. This is because it has a ceramic pre-filter that makes it perfect for desperate emergency situations.

This pump is incredibly efficient, requiring minimal effort on your part to pump and filter the water. It uses charcoal filters to remove unappealing smells and tastes, making your water not only safe to drink, but palatable, too. And if you’re not sure how to get started, this portable water filter comes with detailed instructions that you can take with you on the go.

What We Liked:

  • Fits onto most water bottles
  • Convenient to carry with you
  • Filters a gallon of water every two minutes

What We Didn’t Like: 

  • The pump’s valve and piston assemblies are sometimes known to stop and become air-locked

5. Survivor Filter PRO Water Filter, 0.01 Micron

The Survivor Filter PRO Water Filter is a small, compact water filter that does an excellent job at removing most contaminants in the water. An efficient model, it is rated to remove 99.9% of all bacteria, viruses, and parasites in the water. It can also remove up to 99.5% of heavy metals that are commonly found in water, a unique characteristic for a portable water filter to have. This filter also removes common protozoa that can make you sick.

This small portable water filter has a tiny bump that nonetheless works overtime to filter your water in an efficient fashion. It can produce a whopping 17 ounces of fresh water each minute, making it ideal for cooking or bathing. In addition, it comes with all the accessories you will need to make filtration easy, straightforward, and safe. Just one bacteria filter cartridge cleans up to 100,000 liters of contaminated water - you’ll have this portable water filter around for the long haul. 

The Survivor Filter PRO Water filter uses a three-stage filtrate motion system and is endorsed by a lifetime manufacturer's warranty. It has a 0.01% micron rating that makes it easy to clean and easy to pump.

What We Liked:

  • Comes with a lifetime manufacturer's warranty
  • Incredibly easy to carry, clean, and use
  • Removes heavy metals in addition to bacteria

What We Didn’t Like: 

  • Hose bending can cause a delay in the flow of water

6. MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter Water Filter

The MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter Water Filter is another high-capacity portable water filter. It allows you to clean about a liter of water every minute, making it a quick and functional product for group camping trips. All you have to do is fill it up and head back out on the trail. 

A lightweight water purifier, it only weighs about one pound. It can remove about 99.999% of bacteria from the water and it builds pressure easily. While it is known to slow the flow of water, filling the filter after pumping about three liters, it can easily be sped up by some simple cleaning. This portable water filter also comes with a limited manufacturer's warranty and is rated to complete 2,000 liters of water filtration per cartridge.

What We Liked:

  • Pumps a liter of water per minute
  • Weighs one pound and a has a compact design to fit easily into your backpack
  • Cartridge has a life of 2,000 liters

What We Didn’t Like: 

  • Builds pressure slowly

7. Etekcity Water Filter Straw with 1500L 3-Stage Filtration, 0.01 Micron

Another popular water filter straw that serves as one of the best portable water filters is the Etekcity Portable Water Filter Straw. This product is shipped with a collapsible water pouch -you can easily carry water with you from the stream before continuing on up the trail. It also comes with a carrying case and has the capacity to filter up to 1,500 liters of water before needing to be changed. 

This water filter works with a three-stage filtration system. Although it requires a substantial amount of suction to use, an exhausting endeavor if you’re already thirsty, this water filter has a low price tag and surpasses all EPA standards.

What We Liked:

  • Comes with a viable collapsible pouch for water
  • Goes through multiple stages of industry testing to ensure quality and performance
  • Bonus carrying case is included

What We Didn’t Like: 

  • Requires a great deal of suction to use

8. LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottles with 2-Stage 

The LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottle is an excellent product for people who enjoy being out in the woods, as well as for folks who simply want a good addition for their emergency kits. Ti comes with a two-stage activated carbon filter cartridge that removes any unpleasant smells and tastes. It also has a hollow fiber membrane that can remove99.999% of all bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. 

This water bottle is incredibly convenient and easy to carry with you. It’s lightweight and you can remove the mouthpiece to use the water bottle as a regular drinking container when you know that the water you are consuming is safe. To switch it back to a filtration system, all you need to do is reattach the mouthpiece and hook it back up. 

When used as a filtration system, this water bottle can clean up to 264 gallons of water before you will need to replace the straw. You will know the filter has reached its maximum capacity when it stops drawing in water.

Made out of environmentally-friendly, BPA-free plastic, this water bottle comes ready to go and it’s incredibly easy to assemble. LifeStraw often sells these bottles in a two-pack, meaning you can get two to make sure you always have something to drink out of on your camping trip. The company even offers lanyards so that you can hook the bottles to your backpack for an easy, hands-free hiking experience.

What We Liked:

  • Easy to use and to assemble
  • Can be used as a regular drinking bottle
  • Made out of environmentally-friendly and safe materials

What We Didn’t Like: 

  • Position of the filter can result in leaking when you tip the bottle

9. Sawyer Products PointOne Squeeze Water Filter System

Another top portable water filter by Sawyer Products is the PointOne Squeeze Water Filter. This all-in-one water filtration device is perfect for the traveler or camper, but is also a good resource for someone who just wants to be prepared in case of an emergency. It can remove up to 99.95 of all parasites, viruses, and bacteria, making it safe for you to drink from any water you might find.

This portable water filter is unique in that it comes with a cool adapter that enables you to attach the 32-ounce pouch to a drinking bottle. You can easily transfer the filtered water in this fashion, or you can connect it to a bucket or faucet and filter the water in an emergency situation.

A long-lasting device, this water filter can be used for quite some time, allowing you to filter up to one million gallons before you need to replace the filter cartridge. This device is perfect for cooking, since you can easily fill up the pouch and squeeze it through the filter. You only need about twenty seconds to fill up a bottle of water, so you won’t have to stand by the stream all day.

In addition, this portable water filter is lightweight, so you won’t be doubling over with back pain all day. The pouches are known to have a short lifespan, but they're easy to carry with you so you shouldn’t have to worry about the short life expectancy while you’re out on the trail - you can always have a back-up. Plus, this filtration device can be used with a regular water bottle, too.

What We Liked:

  • Manufacturer offers a lifetime warranty
  • Shipped with 64 ox portable pouch
  • Only weighs three ounces and compacts easily in a backpack

What We Didn’t Like: 

  • Gaskets and pouches don’t have a long lifespan - make sure you pack extras

10. Survival Hax Water Filter Straw with .1 Micron Purifier for Camping & Hiking

The final product on our list of the best portable water filters, the Survival Hax Water Filter Straw is definitely not the least. This three-in-one item comes with a whistle and compass, so you’ll get a serious bargain for your money. It comes with a water filter that can process up to 1,500 liters of water to make it not only clear, but safe to drink.

The Survival Hax Water Filter Straw is lightweight and less than eight inches long. This makes it easy to store and tote with you around the woods. It has a hook so that you can attach it easily to your water bottle, allowing you to fill up right from the stream. It has an excellent flow rate, working to get about four liters of water through before needing to be cleaned. The 0.10 micron purifier has excellent flow and accurate filtering.

What We Liked:

  • Removes 99.999% of bacteria from the drinking water
  • Clips onto your water bottle for added portability
  • Lightweight and only 7.5” long

What We Didn’t Like: 

  • Whistle and compass that are included don’t always work

What Should I Look for in a Portable Water Filter? 

The best portable water filter for you may not be the best device for everyone else. Think carefully about your specific needs and habits. Namely, where do you like to camp? Will you be hiking many miles back into the woods, or do you simply want a water purification device in case of an emergency at home?

Once you are able to answer these questions - and once you have a budget and style in mind - you can begin shopping. The most important characteristic for a portable water filter to have is that it should be lightweight. There’s no point in carrying around a bulky portable water filter - after all, it needs to be portable! Always take the product weight into consideration before settling on a model.

In addition, you need to think about the filtration speed and filter capacity of our device. An unfortunate reality is that all filter cartridges have limited lifespans - while some mast last a few days, others could last for months or even years. Similarly, while some portable water filters can produce several ounces of clean water each minute, others can produce double that in the same amount of time.

No matter which portable water filter you ultimately settle on, don’t risk your health. If you enjoy being out in the wilderness, a portable water filter is an absolute must. These devices can prevent a variety of illnesses related to common water contaminants, such as E.coli, giardia, salmonella, hepatitis A, and legionella pneumophila. 

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