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Choosing a water filter for your backpacking adventures can be daunting, and here are multiple factors to take into consideration before making your choice.

You’ll need to decide, for instance, whether to buy a plain water filter or a water purifier (there is a difference). You’ll also need to understand how the different water filter types work, in order to be able to pick the one that suits your specific needs.

Last but not least, you’ll need to ensure the water filter you choose for traveling and backpacking is the right fit for your situation (most people want them compact, durable and lightweight).

There are many different types of water filters you can buy for backpacking and traveling, so this is an overview of what they are, when you would use them, and in which situations they’re best suited.

Types Of Water Filters For Backpacking and Traveling

Water Bottle Purifiers

Drink bottle woman hiker hiking RF

Ultralight compact purifier bottles are among the most popular types of water filters among backpackers and heavy travelers. These devices are compact and they fit in virtually any backpack pocket.

The fact that they filter and also purify the water makes them the best choice for adventurers who love wildlife trips and rough environments where drinking water is rather scarce.

These filters protect against chemicals, pesticides, heavy metals, and waterborne pathogens. Some of the water purifying bottles can make 10-29 ounces of safe drinking water in as little as 15 to 20 seconds.

They use electro-adsorption, ion exchange and activated carbon to turn dirty water into safe, clean water.

Collapsible Flasks

Collapsible flasks and bottles are suitable for the occasional use. They’re less powerful than purifier bottles, but still have decent filtering and purifying power.

Such devices are best for a wide range of backpacking trips, as well as for jogging, hiking, and water sports. Suitable for cloudy water, these filtration systems are effective against microorganisms.

Weighing only 63g, they are as portable as can be. When not in use, they collapse and take very little space in a backpack or travel bag.

Squeeze Filters

Squeeze water filters are also great for backpackers. Using them is as easy as filling a pouch and squeezing clean water straight into your mouth.

There are no pumps or batteries, so you don’t need to carry any spare batteries or parts with you. Also, the filtration is instant. If you prefer to use a squeeze water filter to fill a regular bottle, you may need to work for about 30 seconds to do it.

Gravity Water Filters

Backpackers and travelers who need to remove protozoa and bacteria to make their water safe for drinking (such as streams, rivers and lakes) may want to check out some more complex water filtration systems called gravity water filters.

One such brand, GravityWorks, is a filter system that suits backpacking trips and backcountry travels. The small variant of the GravityWorks system in a 2-liyer kit that consists from a Platy bottle, a dirt collection reservoir, a powerful filter cartridge and all adapters and hoses required to use it.

The system makes use of gravity to filter the water. It can provide a high flow filtration rate, being able to supply you with about 2 liters of water in one and a half minutes.

The system is compact, as the bladders are plastic and collapsible, and is suitable to filtering larger amount of water.

There are several types of water filters for traveling and backpacking. Depending on your specific output and filtration needs, you may be better off with one type or another. Always take into account your personal needs when you make your final decision.

Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 100+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.


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