Gear-obsessed editors choose every product we review. We may earn commission if you buy from a link. How we test gear.

The 8 Best Portable Water Filters for Hiking, Camping, or Daily Use

Whether you’re preparing for wilderness survival or just want to keep your tap water tasting clean, these accessories are a great investment.

portable water filter
Runner's World; Courtesy Katadyn

If you plan on venturing out into the wilderness for a hike or camping trip, it’s a great idea to bring along a portable water filter. These handy contraptions allow you to transform murky river and lake water into fresh drinking water, filtering out bacteria and other contaminants that would otherwise make the supply undrinkable.

Most options are relatively inexpensive and take up minimal room, so even if you plan on bringing your own supply of drinking water, it’s probably worth purchasing one to have on hand just in case. If you’re not a hiker, you can still purchase lighter-duty filters that fit directly into your water bottle, removing potentially harmful particles and contaminants lurking in your tap or drinking fountain water.

The Best Portable Water Filters

What to Consider

First, consider the type of filter that will work best for you. Basic straw models, like the Lifestraw, are simple to use in a pinch—you just suck water through them like a straw—but aren’t practical for filtering large amount of water for transport. Pump filters weigh a bit more than straws and take up more room, but they allow you to easily fill up spare bottles or jugs to drink from later. Electric pumps are convenient and don’t require you to manually pump, but if you run out of batteries or a charge, they’re not much use. Some portable filters are designed to fit right inside of an existing bottle, combining the filter and container in one unit.

Another important factor to think about is the effectiveness of the filter itself. Micron measurements (short for micrometer) indicate the size of particles that are able to fit through the tiny pores of your filter, and how effective it will be at filtering water. For example, a grain of sand is about 250 microns, while the E. coli bacteria is between 1 and 2 microns. According to Scouting Magazine, “a filter with pores 1 micron or less should provide sufficient protection.”

If you want to ensure that your filter is working as well and as efficiently as possible, look for an option that includes a pre-filter. These are the first line of defense against contaminants, and are designed to capture larger items like silt, leaf particles, and algae. This way the primary filter won’t have to deal with these particles, and can better focus on removing the microscopic stuff, like bacteria and other pathogens.

How We Selected

We have significant hands-on experience using portable water filters while hiking and camping, and kept the lessons learned in mind when putting together this list of options. We also used reputable hiking, scouting, and review sites that have done comprehensive testing on the subject for help and direction as well. After selecting a large list of potential options, we narrowed down on our collection to the options here, making sure to include a wide variety of sizes, filter types, and prices. Whether you need an affordable filter to have on hand for a day-hike, or a heavy-duty option for an extended adventure, you should find an option that’s perfect for you.

For more great outdoor gear, check out our picks for the best hammock tents, hiking boots, and water bottles for hiking.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
1
Best Overall
Pro Water Purification System
Survivor Filter
Now 22% off
2
Best Straw
Personal Water Filter
LifeStraw
3
Best Electric Option
Portable Electric Water Filter System
4
Best Splurge Option
Pocket Filter
5
Best Compact Option
Squeeze Water Filtration System
Sawyer Products
Now 14% off
6
Best Light-Duty Option
Nalgene OG Water Bottle with Filter
Epic Water Filters
7
Best Gravity Option
Flex Advanced Water Filter with Gravity Bag
LifeStraw
8
Best Water Bottle Filter
Filtered Water Bottle
Membrane Solutions
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below