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Guide For Best Camping Water Filter

photo by stockstudioX via iStock

In many cases, overlanders or hikers tend to find sources of water out in nature. These sources can be used for drinking water if you have a camping water filter. 

As this is a topic that is often discussed, the internet is filled with questions such as what is the best camping water filter? Advice for water purification systems for camping? Best water purifier for camping? Portable water purifier for camping? And many more.

Just like with all camping equipment there are many choices; therefore, to make your life easier we have created a list of the top five.

Platypus GravityWorks 4L

Platypus GravityWorks 4L

This Platypus water filter is one of the most convenient ones you can buy. Instead of pumping, this system works with gravity and can filter up to four liters of water at once.

To use the Platypus, you simply fill up the dirty tank with the water you want to filter, hang it somewhere higher than the clean tank, wait a few minutes and you have clean water. 

Keep in mind that compared to other options the Platypus does take space. You have two bags and all the tubing to carry; therefore, if something minimalistic is what you are after this is not the best choice.

Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter

Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter

Camping water filters do not get much smaller than the Sawyer. It is one of the best camping water purification systems out there and hikers all around the world love it! 

It has a lifetime warranty, a streamlined 3-ounce build, and a very reasonable price tag. Cleaning water with this system is as simple as filling one of the two included 32-ounce pouches with dirty water and squeezing it into a clean bottle, reservoir, pot for cooking, or even straight into your mouth. 

Some issues users find with this camping water filter is that the pouches have very small openings which make water collection from shallow or non-moving sources a challenge while also not being durable enough to withstand camping use. 

The Sawyer is a great portable water filter for camping if what you are after is small and lightweight packaging. 

Katadyn BeFree Collapsible Bottle 1L

Katadyn BeFree Collapsible Bottle 1L

This option from Katadyn isn’t so much a camping water filter, but more of a camping water bottle with a filter. The benefits of this design are that you just fill up the bottle and water is being filtered as you drink. 

The design is great for trail runs or even for filtering water from a big source inside your overland vehicle.

Some issues with this system are that the bottle doesn’t really serve as a camping water filter, but more as a device to filter water while you are walking on trails. The filters clog easily; therefore, you will face issues if you use this bottle a lot.

Also, the filter is only compatible with bottles that have an opening of 42 millimeters; so, it is not as versatile as something like the Sawyer.

MSR Guardian Purifier system

MSR Guardian Purifier system

This MSR filter is an expensive camping water filter option when compared to the rest of the camping water filters mentioned above. However, the fact that it is both a water filter and purifier means it can provide the highest level of protection against protozoa, bacteria, and viruses. 

Furthermore, the MSR Guardian can self-clean as 10% of the water from each pumping cycle is used to clean the filter.

In fact, this portable water filter for camping is so reliable that it is used by the military as an emergency water purifier after natural disasters.

The drawback with this camping water filter pump is that as a camping water filter many would say it is overkill.

Compared to the others mentioned above it is far more expensive while also being significantly larger. 

However, if your adventures are mostly vehicle-based, it can serve as a great option for a camping water filter.

Katadyn Micropur MP1

Katadyn Micropur MP1

If you do not want to carry equipment to purify water or you barely ever need to treat water, then a chemical solution like the Katadyn Micropur MP1 might be your best option. 

The Katadyn Micropur is a simple, but effective chemical treatment using chlorine dioxide. 

The water is purified by adding the contents of the pouch in one liter of water. In 15 minutes, you will have protection from viruses and bacteria, in 30 minutes from Giardia, and in 4 hours from Cryptosporidium.

The biggest drawback of the pouches is that despite the water being cleaned it is still unfiltered. Therefore, you may drink dirt and other debris along with your water. 

Other camping water filters do not have these issues as they also filter the water.

Conclusion

water jug near a stream

photo by TeleMakro Fotografie (Ina Hensel) via iStock

All camping water filters mentioned above work great in different scenarios. Depending on your budget and application, you will have to choose accordingly.

However, whichever one you go for you will not be disappointed. Safety is paramount when you’re overlanding, camping, off-roading, and otherwise enjoying the outdoors. Part of that is having plenty of clean water to drink no matter the time of year you’re out adventuring.

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