The Best Water Treatment For Backpacking In 2023

Hailey Abbott By, Hailey Abbott
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter for Hiking, Camping, Travel
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Our Top Picks

1. Best Overall: LifeStraw Personal Water Filter for Hiking, Camping, Travel

This amazing water filtration device is capable of filtering up to 1000 gallons of water in a single filter and removing 99.9999% of all bacteria, protozoa and viruses in contaminated water including that found in natural disasters such as hurricanes or the aftermath of a nuclear disaster. LifeStraw is ideal for camping, traveling, hiking and emergency preparedness. Read Review

2. Best Bang For The Buck: Sawyer Products SP105 MINI Water Filtration System, Single, Black

The Sawyer Products SP105 MINI Water Filtration System is perfect for use with various water sources, including standard disposable water bottles, hydration packs, or straws. The filter removes 99.99999% of all bacteria (salmonella, cholera, and E. coli), 99.9999% of all protozoa (such as giardia and cryptosporidium), and 100% of microplastics from your drinking water. Read Review

3. Best Economical: Katadyn BeFree 1.0L Water Filter, Fast Flow, 0.1 Micron EZ Clean Membrane

With the new Katadyn BeFree filter, you can drink safe, clean water anywhere in the world. With its 0.1 micron filtration, this water filter removes harmful organisms like bacteria and protozoa. You'll get 99.9999% of chemicals and pollutants out of your drinking water and surpass EPA standards. The filter is collapsible so it doesn't take up a lot of space to fit in your pack or pockets, while the soft flask packs down small to fit in. Read Review

4. Best Choice: Sawyer Products SP129 Squeeze Water Filtration System

The Sawyer Products SP129 Squeeze Filtration System is perfect for backpackers, campers, and emergency kits. It can be used on the go with the included collapsible pouch or attached directly to your water bottle with the included adapters. The filter features a built-in sports cap that makes it easy to fill your water bottle up at any time and the inline hydration pack adapters make it easy to drink filtered water while you're on the go. Read Review

Do you know what can happen if you drink unclean water while backpacking? Unless you are an experienced hiker, drinking from streams or lakes can be quite unsettling. Even the most well-trained hikers can be surprised by the sight of an adorable little stream or a bubbling brook. If you are hiking in areas where there is no access to safe drinking water, then it becomes extremely important for you to take precautions.

Even though there are many ways to treat water at home before you go on your next camping trip, it is extremely important that your backcountry water treatment kit includes all the necessary ingredients. You could bring several gallons of bottled water with you and fill up your filter as many times as possible throughout the day. However if the tap water in your area doesn’t taste very nice, then it isn’t advisable to drink untreated water from streams or lakes during your hike. Keep reading to learn more about the best water treatment for backpacking and why it’s important for anyone who does so regularly.

Our team had to focus on researching and sifting through 20 hours to get such results for readers. These studies are based on customer star reviews and interviews about their feelings when using the product. When it comes to finding the best water treatment for backpacking, we believe LifeStraw Personal Water Filter for Hiking, Camping, Travel is a worth product to buy. If you're looking for additional options and more in-depth advice, you may check out the following.

Our Top Picks

  • Removes microplastics: Removes the smallest microplastics found in the environment (down to 1 micron), and reduces turbidity down to 0.2 microns
  • Rigorous Testing: All claims are verified with laboratories using standard testing protocols set by the US EPA, NSF, ASTM for water purifiers
  • Long Lifetime: The microbiological filter will provide 4,000 liters (1,000 gallons) of clean and safe drinking water with proper use and maintenance
TOP Choice #2 Sawyer Products SP105 MINI Water Filtration System, Single, Black
Our Score:
Sawyer Products
  • 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
  • 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 microplastics
  • 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
  • Collapsible 1.0L hydrapak soft bottle flask packs down small to fit in tight spaces (jacket pockets, purses, backpack, fly vests)
  • High-Performance 0.1 Micron Absolute Inline Filter Fits In The Palm Of Your Hand And Weighs Just 2 Ounces; 100% Of Micro Squeeze Units Individually Tested Three Times To Performance Standards By Sawyer
  • Built-In And Removable Flip Top Sports Cap; Spray Water Straight Into Mouth Or Bottle From Included Pouch; Also Fits Standard Water Bottles With 28 Mm Threads
  • Lightweight, Easy To Use Portable Water Filter Removes Harmful Bacteria, Protozoa, Cysts, Sediment, And 100% Of Microplastics; Perfect For Outdoor Adventures, Travel, Or Emergency Preparedness
  • 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
  • MAKES WATER TREATMENT EASY. Simply – Fill. Press. Drink! 'Fill' water filter bottle from any river, faucet or fountain, 'press' on a low surface (e.g. ground), then 'drink' clean water anywhere in the world
  • REMOVES ALL PATHOGENS. 99.9% of viruses (e.g. rotavirus, norovirus, hepatitis A), 99.9999% of bacteria (e.g. E. Coli, salmonella, dysentery), and 99.9% of protozoan cysts (e.g. giardia, cryptosporidium, amoebae)
  • ONEPRESS GLOBAL PROTECTION. Empowers international travelers and outdoor adventurers to make the world’s sketchiest water sources clean to drink. Ideal for global travel and outdoor adventures (hiking, camping, backpacking, fishing, hunting) and survival
  • Ideal for backcountry, expeditions, global travel, and survival; purifier pump measures 8.2 x 4.7 inches and weighs 17.3 ounces; made in the USA
  • Military-grade water purifier pump removes viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and particulate from contaminated water sources virtually anywhere on earth
  • 0.1-micron Ultrafiltration: Our water filter camping made up of 0.1-micron hollow fiber ultrafiltration membrane, 5-micron coconut shell GAC filter, and 0.2-micron PP fiber filter, removes over 99.99999% bact, heavy metal, chlorine, odors, micro-plastics, etc.
  • Food-grade and BPA-free: All materials used in our camping water filter are BPA-free, food-grade, FDA certificated, and no chemicals are used to filter water. With 3L TPU gravity-fed bag can provide you enough reliable pure water. Ideal for backpacking, camping, or just keeping on hand for emergencies.
  • Long Lifespan and Speedy Treatment Time: Our water purifier camping has a lifespan of 5,000 liters (1320gallons), for a family of four uses up to 3.5 years. With a flow rate of 27 liters per hour, it won’t slow you down when you’re trying to make miles.
  • Collapsible 3.0L hydrapak soft bottle flask packs down small
  • 0.1 micron water filter removes harmful organisms like bacteria 99.9999% and protozoa like Giardia & Cryptosporidium 99.9%, surpassing EPA standards
  • Includes MINI Water Filter, 1-gallon bladder, cleaning plunger, cleaning coupling, and gravity hose with adapters
  • 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

What to Look For in a best water treatment for backpacking?

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Filtration Or Purification Speed

Are you patient? While some filters can be done quickly, others require a lot of patience. You should also consider the number of people for whom you are filtering water. More people mean more water, and therefore more work.
Purifying water with chemicals like chlorine and iodine can take as long as 4 hours, while some filters are quick and easy. You should be on a backpacking trip of any length, no matter how short or long.

Purification Vs. Filtration

It's important to understand the differences. What is the difference between a water filter or a purifier? It's the amount of microorganisms each removes.
While purification kills viruses, filtration eliminates bacteria, protozoa and sediment.
In the USA, bacteria in drinking water is an issue. International travel is safer because of waterborne viruses.
The water is also more enjoyable to drink if it's filtered.


It is important to weigh your gear, including backpacking equipment. Water filters should also be considered when planning a long-distance journey.
Although this is not the norm, it tends to make a compromise between speed and weight. Filtration times are generally longer if the filters are smaller or lighter.

Durability And Longevity

A filter's life expectancy greatly depends upon its method of filtering (cartridges, hollow membranes, chemical or ultraviolet light). Water filters for backpacking can be used up to 250 L.
The cartridges used by one-piece filters can last between 200 and 500 L without the need for replacement. You may have to replace your entire unit if you use filters that last longer.
They will last forever if you continue charging them or replacing the batteries as needed.

Type Of Backpacking Water Filter

Some filters are simple to set up and allow you relax as your water is being filtered. Gravity filters, for example, use gravity to filter water.
Other filters require active participation-meaning you have to physically filter the water usually by either squeezing or pumping it through the filter.
You should also remember that backpacking water filters can crack if they are exposed to extreme cold temperatures.

Cleanliness Of Water Source

Water can be murked up in different ways by various elements, such as leaf debris and glacial sediment. You will need something to serve as a filter if you intend to purify water with tablets.
A simple bandana, depending on the condition of your water, can be used as a prefilter.


How To Maintain Your Water Filter?

It is important to maintain your filter on the trail and at home. Backflushing is a common cleaning method for hollow fiber filters. This involves running filtered water in reverse through a filter that pushes larger particles out of the cartridge back to its source. When filtering water that is sediment-filled, backflushing can be especially useful. Backflushing ceramic filters is also beneficial. However, they can still be used to clean any blockages manually without risk. Avoid freezing your filter by not flushing it regularly. Remove the cartridge from the tank and store in your sleeping bag or chest pocket to prevent water from freezing, causing damage.
To kill any bacteria, wash any other tubes and reservoirs with soap. Then, flush the cartridge with one capful of bleach and one quart of water. Rinse the cartridge with warm water, and dry it completely.

Can Viruses Be Filtered Out Of Water?

Yes! Yes! Purifiers were designed to protect and filter everything that you might encounter in the backcountry, or in developing countries.
You can protect your filter and purifier against any microorganisms or bacteria as long as you follow the directions.

What's The Difference Between Filtration And Purification?

Most filters use either a pump or a tube to filter the water. To combat viruses, purifiers combine a chamber or tube with activated carbon and another chemical component.

Each of these options protects against bacteria or protozoa. Many also provide protection against toxins, chemicals and viruses. Based on your budget and preferences, we recommend that you choose the best one.

How Long Does A Backpacking Water Filter Last?

The filter type determines the filter's life expectancy. Hollow fiber and activated charcoal cartridges need to be changed every few hundred times or after filtering has been completed. While some filters may last years, others will need to be replaced once they are worn out.
Some filters and purifiers only require new batteries, or they can be recharged.

Do I Need To Boil My Water If I’m Using A Backpacking Water Filter?

It is a common practice to boil water in backcountry areas. This is because backpacking water filters don't remove viruses and chemical treatments aren't effective in neutralizing protozoa such as giardia or cryptosporidium. Boiling water does the trick. Boiling water can be time-consuming and may require extra fuel, or even a backpacking stove, if you don't have any options. A lightweight filter can be useful in case your fuel supplies run dry.

What Is The Best Way To Purify Water When Backpacking?

It is best to find clean water sources when backpacking to purify your water. Clear, flowing water is what you want -- anywhere between a running stream and a babbling creek.
Avoid areas with stagnant ponds and runoff from livestock or urban areas. or debris. Also, you will need to locate a secure place where gravity filters can be refilled, pumped, and hung.
Some filtering options, such as chemical filters or tablets, require you to wait longer for water to be clean.


Its features, not its name, are what define best water treatment for backpacking in 2023. This may seem self-evident, but it's easy to become fixated on a specific company or brand due to its reputation. We strongly advise you to consider your needs and determine which products will assist you in meeting them. With our options above, if you can't choose any suitable one, let's check Portable Hand Pump Water Filter,100000Gallons Camping Water Filter Survival. Wish you a nice shopping day!

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About Hailey Abbott

Hailey Abbott
Hailey Abbott is an outdoor enthusiast and freelance writer for CampfireHQ. She has a passion for hunting and fishing, which she often enjoys with her family and friends. Hailey also enjoys staying active through sports such as golf, basketball, and softball. Hailey has worked as an editor for several years, providing content that is both accurate and engaging. She has also had the opportunity to interview numerous experts in various fields. This wealth of experience gives her a unique perspective when writing about the outdoors and other topics.

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