If you are looking to find what is the best portable water filter for going to the mountains, camping, or traveling, you’ve come to the right place. Finding drinking water is not always easy, depending on the country or the type of activity that we do.
During many mountain routes, I have found streams with relatively clean water.
However, how can you know that water is completely safe? Sometimes there are droppings from animals or even dead animals in the streams, and we don’t even know it.
Personally, I prefer to go safely and take some extra precautions. If you plan to go hiking or camping, I recommend filtering or purifying the water even if it seems safe.
If you travel as a backpacker, you cannot rely on the flowing water of many countries. It is possible to get parasites, bacteria, and other organisms by drinking tap water.
In addition, dirty water can contain heavy metals, excess minerals, and chemicals that can best be avoided.
Many options are available: portable filtered water bottles, UV purifiers, special filters, water purification tablets, etc. Some models are larger, more compact, more expensive, more versatile, safer, etc.
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What is the best portable water filter
Don’t worry, you don’t have to spend hours comparing models. In this article, I will explain the main differences between water treatments and you can find the best filters and water purifiers.
1. LifeStraw Go 2
LifeStrw Go 2 is a purifying and filtering water bottle, which is an improvement on the first version, the LifeStraw Go.
This bottle of water has a total capacity of 0.65 liters and is capable of purifying up to 1000 liters without needing replacement. (100 activated carbon). Thanks to its two-step filtration, it removes 99.99 & of the protozoa from the water and filters down to 0.2 microns. Eliminates E. Coli, Giardia, Cryptosporidium oocytes, among others.
Thanks to its design with a built-in bottle, you can fill the water and filter it in the place you need it. It is also a very good gift option, thanks to its good design
Recommended for: Giving away or for those seeking the comfort of carrying a bottle and being able to filter whenever they want.
2. MoKo Water Filter
This water filter, unlike the previous one, which is totally personal, is designed to be used by all an excursion or camping.
The characteristics are similar (99.99% cleaning of bacteria and protozoa) with the same triple activated carbon filter and membranes, but instead of filtering through the suction, it has a built-in manual pump, which will collect the water from the source of raw water, and will filter it to the container or bottle that we want.
With a weight of 225 grams, it is ideal for filtering the water of an entire excursion. Once 3000 liters have been filtered, the internal filter must be changed.
Recommended for Camping or excursions of several days and for several people.
3. Sawyer Products Mini Portable Water Filter
The Sawyer Mini Filtration System is a compact water filtration solution. Although small, this water filter is extremely efficient and will remove up to 99.99% of parasites, bacteria, and viruses in the water. The filter is also very durable. A single filter cartridge can clean up to 100,000 gallons of water without the need for a replacement.
One of the things I like most about this model is that it comes with a great adapter. The adapter is small and versatile, and you can attach it to water bottles, water bags, or even taps.
4. LifeStraw Personal Water Filter for Hiking
Unique personal water filter with the capacity to thoroughly clean up to 1000 liters of water, eliminating 99.9% of bacteria and protozoa.
You can take it anywhere because it only weighs 56 grams. This model has been awarded worldwide as one of the most innovative inventions.
Reduces turbidity by filtering particles of approximately 0.2 microns, and has a high flow rate.
It is highly recommended for extreme conditions, where other hydration alternatives are lacking.
5. Katadyn Vario water filter
With the combination of three filters, fiberglass, ceramic and activated carbon, the Katadyn Vario water filter offers excellent efficacy against bacteria and protozoan cysts, as well as reducing flavors and chemicals in the water.
The fiberglass filter has a porosity of 0.2 microns, which will eliminate 99.9999% of bacteria and 99.9% of protozoa, and its exclusive silver impregnation increases its bactericidal capacity. Its estimated duration is 2000 liters.
The activated carbon filter absorbs odors, flavors, and chemicals from the filtered water, its approximate duration is about 400 liters.
The ceramic pre-filter allows us to increase the duration of the fiberglass filter.
The pumping system is dual, that is, the pumping occurs in both movements and with a robust construction that ensures excellent durability of the mechanical components. It also has a mode of use selector: FASTER FLOW that deactivates the ceramic pre-filter and offers a flow rate of up to 2 liters per minute and the LONGER LIFE, which combines the ceramic and fiberglass pre-filter giving a flow rate of 1 liter per minute. It is recommended to use the FASTER FLOW only in waters without turbidity.
Guide to buy the best portable water filter
Water is a vital resource that everyone needs to survive, water is also very heavy, although that means that carrying too much is not a viable option. If you’re going to be hiking for a long time, then getting one of the best portable water filters would be the perfect solution.
This would allow you to drink healthy water wherever you are, without having to worry about carrying too much at once. Choosing the best backpacker water purifier can be difficult, as there are many different types, as well as sizes, filters, containers, and chemicals.
This is where we are to help as we will explain all the important features to make sure you feel confident in knowing exactly what you are buying. Once you have finished reading this guide, you will know exactly what type of filter you need.
How to choose between portable water filters
The size of portable water filters is going to be important, as is each piece of equipment you carry with you when you go backpacking. You need to look at what items you plan to take with you and how your filter is going to fit with that.
If you are going out of a more permanent camping solution that you will return to, chances are you can leave the filter on the campsite, but most of the time you can take it with you, and most of these portable water filters are very compact.
If you have very little space available in your backpack, then it might be the best idea to use liquid or purification pills. If you have a little more space available then you could carry a slightly larger model like a pump.
It all depends on the way you normally travel. If you are traveling in a group, it is likely that only one of you will need to carry a filter. It is important to plan ahead and make sure that you are not going to take something that is too big to carry.
Just as the size is important, weight is, too, and you want to make sure you’re not getting anything that’s too heavy. If you are going to be an ultralight backpacker then this becomes an issue as you will want to keep everything to a minimum.
You not only have to worry about the weight of the product but also about the weight of the water that you are going to carry. You may prefer to store it to have it with you or just drink at the source of the water and then walk without carrying it, or as little as possible.
You need to choose well among the different types of portable water filters and know which one will best suit what you plan to do, carrying a few liters of water will be very difficult.
Some of these products are not instant, so you may have to carry water while they work. Therefore, if you want to carry a light backpack, you should check the weight of the product but also the water that you will carry, so you know that you will not have any problem or try too hard to carry extra weight.
If your filter is mechanical, which is most types of portable water filters, then you will need to change the filter in a given period of water use. This will be a replacement product, as it is with larger devices or something you’ll have to throw away once it wears out.
You should consider this when you think about the total cost of the product and how much it will be throughout its life. You also have to think about convenience, since ideally you don’t want to bring spare portable water filters and you’ll want to make sure one lasts a whole trip.
With portable ultraviolet light water filters, the battery will also be depleted, but it is normally an internal rechargeable battery, so it would simply have to be recharged. You have to take into account the future costs when it comes to your filter, as they could be significant.
Pore Size of Portable Water Filters
The size of the filter pores refers to the size of the holes that the water will have to go through to get to the side of the drink. This is naturally an important consideration as it affects what is capable of passing through the device and how much it is going to be able to block from the bits it does not want to pass.
In the case of non-mechanical filters, this does not matter, since the water will not pass through a filter since it will only kill the bacteria that are inside it. Your mechanical filter still needs to let the water through, and it can be a delicate balance to get the right size.
This is measured in microns and you want this figure to be as small as possible.
When it comes to what you get rid of, you just want to make sure that the filter is going to be able to get rid of everything that will be harmful to you, so just check this before you buy one.
If you have a mechanical filter, you will not have to worry too much about pre-filter water because the filter is in the product can do for you. Once you clean the slime and debris in the water, you can get down to business in sterilizing the water.
If you have a UV or chemical purifier, then you will have to deal with the water that comes your way. If this is to be taken from a clear stream, then it is not going to be a big problem, but from other sources, it would be a problem.
It could be that you want to carry a pre-filter on your trip to remove these contaminants. This is a major drawback to having such a product, but it can be easily overcome with a pre-filter.
Elimination of bacteria, protozoa and viruses
When it comes to cleaning water, the most important task is for the device to be able to eliminate bacteria and protozoa as they are commonly found in water in North America, and in any other developed country, Bacteria are the most likely to get sick.
Bacteria are well known for causing disease, but protozoa are also dangerous as they are single-celled parasites. Some chemical treatments are not capable of removing all protozoa, which is important to check, but all of the types that we have covered here are capable of getting rid of bacteria.
Viruses, on the other hand, are more difficult to remove and most mechanical bombs will not be able to do so. In developed countries, this is not a problem since viruses in water are extremely rare. In poorer countries, however, it is better to be safe and UV light and chemical treatments can get rid of all of them. UV lights (and high-tech filters) are the only product that can effectively kill all three.
In dangerous areas, it might be a good idea to have a regular filter and a UV light as well, as that would give you protection against anything that has the capacity and pre-filter that a regular filter would have.
It is also important to consider what type of container or container you will be carrying on your trip. Some of these solutions work as their own container, while other solutions will require filtering the water in their own container.
While it may seem like the easiest solution to have your own container, this limits the amount of water you can carry. The reason for this is that you will only be able to fill it when you are near a water source, whereas with larger containers you will be able to carry much more water.
The importance of this depends on your own personal preference and also on the type of trail you are traveling. If you’re always going to be near water, then you can have a smaller container and just fill it up when needed.
Some of these solutions are very small, such as ultraviolet light, pills, and water treatment, and they are very low weight. However, some people do not want to use them as primary water treatment, as they cannot filter out any sediment that may be in the water.
They can work perfectly as a backup when the initial system has failed and you still need to make the water safe. It can be a very good idea to take both options to always be covered if a failure occurs.
You might as well go for what you expect to be a simple trail and think that all you need is the water bottle you carry and you don’t need portable water filters. These products can be perfect if you ever run into problems since they are so small that you can carry them all the time.
Types of portable water filters
There are many different types of portable water filters out there, so here we will go over the main types to explain the merits and disadvantages of each.
These portable water filters function exactly like water intake, drawing water directly from a source. Because of that, they are very fast and efficient, and they are also at the lower end of the price range.
However, this means that water is only available when you are at the source and is only really useful for one person. It also involves going down to the ground and putting your face very close to the water, which can discourage some people.
With portable pump water filters, you can get the exact amount of water you need, so you don’t have to worry about getting too much or too little. Water can also be drawn from any available water source with the small tube and the cartridge is replaceable.
It requires some manual pumping action which, while not exhausting, is quite laborious at times. It is also very likely that the item needs to be cleaned in the field and although they can be quite compact, they take up more space than other options.
Gravity works by simply letting water drip through a filter, which means very little effort is required. This is a great option for groups, as it is capable of processing a high quality of water. The cartridge will be replaceable, making it easy to use.
However, you need a place to hang it, which can be laborious and also not the fastest way to get water. You would also need a large amount of water to fill it and it would also need to be cleaned.
UV light works by shining destructive light waves to kill bacteria. This is very easy to use and makes the water very drinkable and you would never have to clean or replace the product making it very convenient. There is no pre-filter, which can be a nuisance when you have silky or cloudy water and are only able to filter a small amount of water at any given time. It also requires a recharge, but most are capable of lasting a long time on a single charge.
Filters Portable bottle water filters are another good solution where you simply put the bottle filled with water, and a filter on the top makes it drinkable. This is very easy and fast since you will have instant drinking water and they are also a fairly cheap option. However, one problem is that you are limited to the size of your bottle, so you cannot get a large amount of filtered water. It also requires cleaning and the item or cartridge will need to be replaced quite often, depending on usage.
These portable water filters work by attaching to a bottle or bag and by working allow you to squeeze the water through the filter. This is another quick and easy method and some can also be used by gravity or as a straw. It is a very light and simple solution.
Again, however, you are limited by the size of the container you have, so it would not be suitable for anyone who needs a large amount of water. Cleaning is also necessary, as with many products.
These are simply added to the water and then waited to take effect. That makes them very easy to use and they are probably the lightest option and can be easily stored anywhere. They are also a great emergency option. However, they can take a long time to take effect, which would be a minimum of 30 minutes.
You also have to check what kind of chemicals they are, as iodine can leave a bad taste, it does not kill all protozoa and it is not suitable for anyone who is pregnant. It may also require that the water be pre-filtered.
Q. What is a water purifier?
A. A water purifier is something that will make the water pure (or close) but it does it without a filter. Its objective is to kill the harmful elements that can be found in the water, but it will not be able to eliminate the sediments or residues that can be found in it. This makes it very low cost due to the fact that you will not have to replace any filters, but it means that you will have to find a relatively clean water source or a pre-filter to have a pleasant drinking experience.
Q. What is a water filter?
A. On the other hand, water does not treat water but tries to eliminate everything that may be harmful. This sometimes does not have the same level of protection as a water purifier but will be able to remove silk and sediment.
This makes it more pleasant to drink than purifiers, but it will not remove viruses that can be important if you are in a poor country. A filter will simply filter the water but they are generally much larger products than purifiers and need more maintenance.
Q. Which is more convenient to choose a water purifier or water filter?
A. The answer to this depends on your own specific needs. Water purifiers tend to be much smaller than water filters, making them easy to carry, but they also don’t remove any sediment, which could be a major drawback for many.
Water filters, on the other hand, are capable of producing clear water immediately, as anything else is going to be filtered. However, they do need to have their filters replaced and are generally much bulkier, so the most convenient option is for you to decide for yourself.
You may be wondering what kind of water to buy, but one thing is for sure and it is the fact that if you are drinking water from a natural source, you have to make sure that it is going to be treated to prevent you from getting sick. Getting rid of bacteria and protozoa is essential, as well as viruses if you are in a developing country.
There are many different types that have their advantages and disadvantages. The way you are going to be a backpacker, for how long and the place, everything plays a role in what would be the best solution for you. Because of this, you need to analyze your own situation and think about which features are most important and how much water you need.
There are also other important aspects to consider like the weight, the spare parts, and the container that you will have to carry. All of them must be taken into account before you can find the perfect water filtration system for you.
Once you do, then you will be able to go out on your backpacking trip knowing that you will never be without water that is safe to drink. You always want to make sure you are safe, and there is nothing more important than clean water. Hopefully this guide has given you all the information you need to buy the best backpacker water filtration system.