Our Best Portable Water Filter Picks

Collage of Best Portable Water Filter Brands

Getting yourself the best portable water filter before you head out allows you to ditch the heavy water bottles and lighten your pack.

Whether you’re day-tripping, off hiking, or on a multi-week camping excursion, you’ll want to have fresh drinking water available. You don’t want to find yourself short of potable water while enjoying Mother Nature.

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BEST QUALITY
Katadyn Pocket Water Filter, Long Lasting for Personal or Small Group Camping, Backpacking or Emergency Preparedness
BEST VALUE
Survivor Filter PRO - Virus and Heavy Metal Tested 0.01 Micron Water Filter for Camping, Hiking, and Emergency. 3 Stages - 2 Cleanable 100,000L Membranes and a Carbon Filter for Family Preparedness
BEST BUDGET
Sawyer Products SP105 MINI Water Filtration System, Single, Black
MOST PORTABLE
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter for Hiking, Camping, Travel, and Emergency Preparedness
Katadyn Pocket Water Filter
Survivor Filter Pro
Sawyer Mini Filtration System
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
Effective against bacteria and protozoa

Filters microorganisms larger than 0.2 microns
99.999% filtration removal for tested viruses, staph, parasites, and bacteria

Can be used directly from fresh water source, pumped into the attached cup, or pumped into any container
High-performance 0.1 micron absolute inline filter

Removes 99. 99999% of all bacteria (salmonella, cholera, and E. Coli) and all protozoa (such as giardia and cryptosporidium)
Removes minimum 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria, 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites

Filters to 0.2 microns and surpasses EPA filter standards
$369.95
$64.95
$24.95
$17.47
-
BEST QUALITY
Katadyn Pocket Water Filter, Long Lasting for Personal or Small Group Camping, Backpacking or Emergency Preparedness
Katadyn Pocket Water Filter
Effective against bacteria and protozoa

Filters microorganisms larger than 0.2 microns
$369.95
-
BEST VALUE
Survivor Filter PRO - Virus and Heavy Metal Tested 0.01 Micron Water Filter for Camping, Hiking, and Emergency. 3 Stages - 2 Cleanable 100,000L Membranes and a Carbon Filter for Family Preparedness
Survivor Filter Pro
99.999% filtration removal for tested viruses, staph, parasites, and bacteria

Can be used directly from fresh water source, pumped into the attached cup, or pumped into any container
$64.95
BEST BUDGET
Sawyer Products SP105 MINI Water Filtration System, Single, Black
Sawyer Mini Filtration System
High-performance 0.1 micron absolute inline filter

Removes 99. 99999% of all bacteria (salmonella, cholera, and E. Coli) and all protozoa (such as giardia and cryptosporidium)
$24.95
MOST PORTABLE
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter for Hiking, Camping, Travel, and Emergency Preparedness
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
Removes minimum 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria, 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites

Filters to 0.2 microns and surpasses EPA filter standards
$17.47

Embrace Your Wanderlust

The outdoors is not as hospitable as we all like think. Admit it, nobody looks forward to carrying a bulky backpack or heavy gear. And space-consuming water bottles only make your packs heavier. Imagine hiking a steep path, and instead of gracefully reaching the summit, you end up gasping for breath because your heavy bags are weighing you down.

When you think ‘water filter,’ what comes to mind? Most people immediately think a water filter is something equipped to your kitchen faucet, or a filtered water pitcher that you keep in your fridge. But a portable water filter is a handy addition to your outdoor kit. However, filtering your own water on your trek is more efficient than carrying multiple drinking containers, and is a lot more eco-friendly. Today, portable filters are lighter, and more compact than ever, and can turn almost any freshwater source potable.

Why Bring a Portable Water Filter?

SteriPen Adventurer Opti UV Personal Water Purifier for Camping, Backpacking, Emergency Preparedness and TravelIt doesn’t matter if you’re a survival junkie or not, you know your body needs water. This is especially important when you are being physically active. Drinking water helps regulate your temperature, aids in breathing, and helps your muscles postpone fatigue.

When you’re out adventuring, if you run out of drinkable water, it could put you in a vulnerable position. If you’re not familiar with the water sources in the area, filtering your water through a makeshift filter is possible. However, the process of building an improvised water filter takes time, and the water will still need to be sterilized by boiling, iodine tablets, or a personal UV water treatment unit.

What Makes the Best Portable Water Filter?

Not all portable water filters are created equal. Some are naturally better than the others. Before making your decision, it’s essential to get acquainted with all the features you want your portable water filter to have. Read on and create your own feature checklist.

Can I Bring The Filter Anywhere?

Ample pack-space is not a luxury all outdoor enthusiasts have – packing light is always in your best interest. One of the reasons you’ll want a portable water filter is to lighten your load. It doesn’t make sense to bring a larger water filter that’ll take up prime real estate in your backpack.

How Efficient is the Filter?

Settling for lower-quality water filter should never be an option. Go for a filter that can remove as much bacteria, contaminants, heavy metals, protozoa, and parasites as possible. They can make water unsafe for human consumption, and can also make you deathly ill if you consume them.

Knowing your filter’s purifying capacity is a must.

  • What type of filtration is the filer capable of?
  • Does the filter do multi-step filtering?
  • Has the filter been tested by a third party? If so, what did the report say about the viral, bacterial, and parasite results?

Asking these questions will help you separate the merely adequate filters from the superior ones. After all, the higher the purifying capabilities, the safer your drinking water will be. You can’t put a price on safety — especially when you’re in the middle of nowhere and medical help is out of reach.

How Fast is the Filtering Process?

When you run out of drinking water, you’ll have to find another water source and make sure it’s safe to drink. Some adventurers boil water and wait for it to cool down before drinking. This process is slow and may not remove all contaminants.

A well-equipped portable water filter has a faster flow-rate, letting you immediately drink purified water right after processing. When hiking for extended periods, quickly hydrating to replenish lost liquids becomes the top priority.

Is the Filter Made for Outdoor Use?

The wilderness can be pretty inhospitable at time. If you are prepared to take on the elements, make sure your filter is up to the task. A well-equipped water filter won’t do much good if it can’t endure the rigors required for outdoor use. Impacts, bumps, and harsh weather can be detrimental to any equipment if it’s not sturdy.

Best Portable Water Filter – Reviews

Now that we’ve covered the main features a water filter should have let’s examine our contenders. After rigorous in-house testing, and consulting with other users, here are our top picks for the best portable water filter:

Katadyn Pocket Water Filter

For those willing to spend more, and get one of the bests, Katadyn Water Filter is definitely the standout for higher price points. Katadyn did not shy away from equipping their filters with state-of-the-art filtering technology to eliminate micro-organisms as small as 0.2 microns.

Clean and potable water will always be within your reach, thanks to the smart and travel-friendly design, and bigger cartridge capacity. The filtering system can purify up to 13,000 gallons of water. The cartridge allows you to have 1 litre of clear, odour-free, and tasteless drinking water in a matter of 48 pumps (approx. 1 minute of pumping time).

The sleek and robust build of this water filter makes up for its cost. And filters can endure your daily use and abuse—I especially recommend this portable filter if you’re expecting harsh or rocky terrain.

Pros

  • The only portable water filter with a 20-year warranty
  • List The filters’ silver impregnated ceramic element provides added protection and filtering power against bacteria and protozoa
  • Tried and tested among outdoor enthusiasts, U.S. military, international travellers, and field researchers

Cons

  • More expensive than some other options
  • The filters need extra care when used in freezing conditions
  • Due to its sturdy metal construction, this filter is slightly heavier than the others we reviewed

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Survivor Filter PRO

For a reliable water-filter in the mid-price range, the Survivor Filter PRO is one of my favorites. I’m a fan of its cutting-edge triple filtration technology and heavy-duty ABS construction.

During the pre-filter stage, this device removes algae, traces of E. Coli, protozoa, and Cryptosporidium. And it can filter up to 2,000 liters of water before needing to be replaced.

After the initial phase, the carbon filters stage is designed to sift and reduce the presence of heavy metals, chemicals, and pollutants.

Finally, the Micron internal ultra filter purifies your drinking water, removing 99% of viruses and Staphylococcus bacteria.

This filter meets EPA drinking water standards, and test reports show how the device can purify and remove a broad range of contaminants effectively.

Unlike the LifeStraw, this filter is suitable for filtering larger amounts of potable water at one time. The pump to engages the filtering system, and the water outlet hose allows for effortless water transferal.

Pros

  • Includes a detachable drinking cup and carrying case for maximum convenience and portability
  • Effortless use at all altitudes
  • The replaceable carbon filter can filter up to 2,000 litres of water
  • Convenient water filter to bring on fishing and camping trips

Cons

  • The set consists of multiple parts which could get misplaced
  • Some users describe the pump handle as flimsy

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Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System

For camping and outdoor use, it’s essential to have a portable water filter that’s easy to fill, filter, and use. If you don’t trust the campground tap water, or the water sources you encounter during your excursion, paying extra caution won’t hurt, right?

Sawyer Products created a dependable, cost-efficient, versatile water filter that works in conjunction with your existing water bottles. The high-performance, inline filter only weighs 2 ounces and offers a comfortable and ergonomic grip.

This portable filtration system removes up to 99.99% of salmonella, cholera, E. coli, and most types of bacteria, protozoa, and even micro-plastics.

The filter’s travel-friendly size makes it perfect for all scouting, hiking, outdoor activities, and emergency preparedness.

Pros

  • Includes a 7-inch drinking straw, a 16-ounce reusable squeeze pouch, and a cleaning plunger
  • All-purpose adapter allows this filter to work with bottles, tumblers, water jugs, and even faucets

Cons

  • Some users reported leaks and loose seals
  • The squeeze pouches are vulnerable to punctures and tears

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LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

If you’re looking for a water filter that’s ultra-portable and in the lower price-range, LifeStraw’s innovative and compact filter might be the best water filter for you.

Don’t let the straw’s small size fool you, this water filter is equipped with an advanced membrane technology with fine pores smaller than bacteria. Parasites, micro-organisms, and micro-plastics won’t have a chance to pass through the straw’s drinking tube.

What makes LifeStraw unique? Just look at how travel-friendly the filter is! Rivers, streams, ponds, lakes, glaciers, will instantly be your new oasis. You’ll have the power of drinking crystal-clear and contaminant-free water right inside your pocket.

Pros

  • Weighs only 2 oz.
  • Can filter up to 1,000 gallons of water into potable water
  • Good for quick drink breaks
  • Takes a small amount of space in your survival kit
  • Less expensive than most other portable water filters

Cons

  • Might require you to lie down when drinking from your water source
  • Needs ample sipping power.
  • The straw needs to be adequately submerged while drinking
  • Using in high-altitudes could leave you out of breath

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Our Choice

After rounding up the products, my number one choice is definitely Katadyn’s Water Filter. Of all the products reviewed, Katadyn is the only filter made from heavy-duty steel.

If you’re into trekking, hiking, and exploring long and harsh trails, you’ll find Katadyn’s sturdy body will come in handy. Plus, if anything goes wrong, you can rely on its outstanding 20-year warranty. Now that’s a worry-free purchase you’ll rarely encounter.

Among all pump filters out there, Katadyn requires the least amount of assembly and preparation. Its filtration speed is not to be taken lightly. Compared to filter tubes and straws, water breaks and refills won’t take forever.In terms of portability, Katadyn takes home the gold medal.

Not only is the filter durable, but it’s also sleek and space-saving. Any survival kit will be lucky to have Katadyn’s portable water filter. Yes, the price is higher than its competitors, but if you’re serious about buying one of the best portable water filters, there’s no need to shy away from investing in this quality piece of equipment.

And for the budget conscious, the Survivor Filter Pro is a great mid-ground choice, without compromising water filtration safety.

Katadyn Pocket Water Filter
Survivor Filter Pro
Katadyn Pocket Water Filter, Long Lasting for Personal or Small Group Camping, Backpacking or Emergency Preparedness
Survivor Filter PRO - Virus and Heavy Metal Tested 0.01 Micron Water Filter for Camping, Hiking, and Emergency. 3 Stages - 2 Cleanable 100,000L Membranes and a Carbon Filter for Family Preparedness
Katadyn Pocket Water Filter
Katadyn Pocket Water Filter, Long Lasting for Personal or Small Group Camping, Backpacking or Emergency Preparedness
Survivor Filter Pro
Survivor Filter PRO - Virus and Heavy Metal Tested 0.01 Micron Water Filter for Camping, Hiking, and Emergency. 3 Stages - 2 Cleanable 100,000L Membranes and a Carbon Filter for Family Preparedness

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