Water Filters for Backpacking Here: Comprehensive Guide & Advices!

Written by Steven Masters

If you’re trying to keep things minimal while you’re backpacking you may be looking for a water filter. The water filter will allow you to drink whatever water you may find along the way and will also help you get rid of bacteria while you’re at it. Any of these water filters will be small and lightweight, which is important while backpacking, but it will also allow you to clean a larger amount of water while you’re out.

List of Top-Rated Water Filters for Backpacking

Product ImageProduct NameRemovesGallonsFilter IncludedMore Information
1. Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System1. Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration SystemBacteria, protozoa100,000YesMore Information
2. MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter Water Filter2. MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter Water FilterBacteria, protozoa528YesMore Information
3. Katadyn Hiker Pro Microfilter3. Katadyn Hiker Pro MicrofilterBacteria, protozoa300YesMore Information
4. MSR AutoFlow Gravity Water Filter4. MSR AutoFlow Gravity Water FilterBacteria, protozoa396YesMore Information
5. Katadyn BeFree Water Filtration System5. Katadyn BeFree Water Filtration SystemBacteria, protozoa264YesMore Information

The Best Water Filters for Backpacking Reviews

1. Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System

This water filter can be fun at the same time because it’s available in a range of different colors. What’s really great is that it’s small and it’s still able to filter out a large number of bacteria, protozoa and a whole lot more.

Color and Size

With this water filter, you’re going to have the option to get it in one of several different sizes, which means you can show off your personal style and your preferences with yet another piece of your gear. All you need to do is decide which one you want.

You can also choose between single packs or double packs or even quadruple packs. That means you’ll be able to get more of the filters and make sure that you’re even better prepared or even pick some up for friends and family.

Protection Levels

You’ll be able to remove up to 0.1-micron particles from your water all with a small tool that actually weighs less than 2 ounces. On top of that, you’re going to be removing things like bacteria and protozoa. This filter can’t get rid of chemicals but it can get rid of a lot else.

What’s really great is that you’re going to get rid of up bacteria and more from as much as 100,000 gallons of water with just a single filter. That means you’re going to have no problem getting out there and enjoying your next backpacking trip.

Will This System Get Rid of Chemicals?

This water filter is mostly designed to trap substances that are in the water and not to trap or filter out things that dissolve into the water.

How Much Does This Filter and System Weigh?

Everything included this system weighs less than 4 ounces, which means that you’ll have plenty of weight still for the other things you need.

This water filter is going to be easy to use and very convenient for anyone who wants to travel but doesn’t want to transport their own water.

2. MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter Water Filter

This water filter is actually a type of pump that allows you to get rid of organic compounds, bacteria, and protozoa. On top of that, it gives you water that tastes great and doesn’t have the odor you get with most outdoor sources.

Size and Features

You’re going to get a pump with this system that weighs about 1 pound. That means it’s going to take up a little more space in your pack and you’ll need to move things for it. Still, that’s less than you would need if you tried to bring all of your water with you.

This system can pump a full liter of water in a minute and can be used to pump the water directly into your favorite water bottle or even in a hydration bladder. That way you’re going to have the water ready when you want it and you can fill it up when you have it available.

Protection Levels

This filter is designed to remove things like bacteria and protozoa. It’s also able to treat up to 2,000 liters with a single filter. That means you’re going to have the protection you need and you’ll only need to have a couple of extra filters to make sure you’re protected.

This system removes particles all the way down to 0.2 microns, so you can feel comfortable using it against the ones mentioned and more. It actually helps to remove particulate and even things like chemicals, though it’s not necessarily as good at these.

Does This Get Rid of Toxins?

It’s actually designed to get rid of particles in the water rather than getting rid of anything that can be dissolved into the water.

How Do You Clean the Filter?

The filter should be cleaned by boiling it in a pot of water. This can be done after a few days if you are on a hike and need to use it.

This filter requires a little more work while you’re trying to use it but that doesn’t mean you can’t get the job done. It’s also great for larger amounts of water in a shorter amount of time.

3. Katadyn Hiker Pro Microfilter

Designed to filter out just about anything with the glass-fiber filter, this system also uses activated carbon, which helps to make the flavor even better. This can also help to remove some of the chemicals that you might find otherwise.

Size and Features

With this system, you’re getting activated carbon as well as a standard filter screen. This system is lightweight at less than a pound and it’s small as well, which is great for taking it with you wherever you want to go or making sure you have the right space for it.

You can use it even with hydration bladders to make sure that the water you’re drinking is clean and clear. With this filter, you’ll also be able to see it working because the entire thing is transparent and you can look right at what it’s doing. This makes it easier to see and to monitor that it’s actually getting rid of bacteria and different types of debris as well.

Protection Level

This system provides you with a high level of protection because it’s able to remove particles that are as small as 0.2 microns. It does this using a glass fiber filter and activated carbon. Altogether, these products are able to remove more than just bacteria and protozoa.

The carbon is actually able to remove a number of different chemicals that are otherwise present in your water and it can help to make the water taste a lot better as well. That means you’re going to be more likely to drink water while you’re out and you can feel safe doing so. There’s a whole lot of good that water can and will do for you on your trek and if you’re not drinking enough because it’s not clean, you’re not doing your body any good.

Do You Get Filters Included With the Pump Itself?

There are filters included with the pump so you can start using it right away without having to purchase additional materials.

How Many Gallons of Water Will This Filter?

You can filter approximately 300 gallons of water through a single filter and still get rid of everything that the system says.

Where Can You Filter From?

You can filter water from any source with this system so you’re prepared for backpacking as well as for emergencies.

This is a high-quality filter that’s designed to keep you healthier and safer when you’re heading out into the wilderness.

4. MSR AutoFlow Gravity Water Filter

This bag lets you get all the clean water that you want without having to pump anything. That’s because it actually uses gravity to get you the water that you want. You’ll be able to do other things while you’re waiting for your water to be ready.

Size and Features

This system actually comes in 2 different sizes so you can choose which one works best for you. You get to choose between 2 liters and 4 liters so you can always have enough water for the people who are traveling with you as well as for yourself. It’s even able to clean water quickly and without you having to do anything but fill it and then hang it somewhere to let gravity do the rest.

This system can filter water quickly so you can get a drink when you want it or you can hang it up with the water in it and just wait until you’re ready to use it. At 10 ounces in total size, it’s not too big and yet it’s still going to give you the right amount of water.

Protection Levels

You’ll be able to get rid of a number of different bacteria and protozoa when you use this system. That’s the most important part because you’re going to have cleaner water that you can feel confident about giving to your family.
This system also filters approximately 1500 liters of water before you need to change out the filter, which means you’re going to have better protection for your family overall.

How Much Water Can You Clean With a Single Filter?

One filter is good for approximately 1500 liters of water, which will be enough for a multi-day trip for a single person if you’re not using it for cooking.

Does This Bag Leak?

If you have it hanging the gravity and pressure will make sure that it doesn’t leak. This makes it great for storing water while you’re stopped at camp.

What Comes in This Set?

In this set, you’re going to have the bag itself as well as the hose and filter you need to get started. You’ll also have a small bag to store everything in.

This water filter is convenient and makes sure you don’t have to spend your time or energy attempting to pump your water clean.

5. Katadyn BeFree Water Filtration System

If you’re looking for a way to easily and conveniently clean your water without having to worry about pumps and hoses this is a great way to do it. This system actually has a water bottle and it filters the water through as you’re drinking.

Size and Features

This system is super simple because it’s actually a water bottle with a filter in it. You just fill up the bottle and shake it a bit and it will force the water through the filter, getting rid of the bacteria and the protozoa and a whole lot more that are present within that water.

You’ll also be able to drink directly from the water bottle, which makes it a whole lot more convenient for you and cuts down on the number of items you need to bring with you in order to get a quality bottle of water.

Protection Levels

You want something that can protect you well from the bad things in water and this bottle is going to do it. It’s actually able to remove bacteria and protozoa as well as other particles that are 0.6 microns. That way you can be more confident about what you’re drinking.

With this filter, you’re also going to get up to 1000 liters of water through a single filter before you need to switch it out. So you can feel confident that you’re getting something good each time that you take a drink.

Can I Use This to Fill Another Bottle?

If you put water into this bottle whatever comes out of it is going to be clean and safer for you to drink, which means you can put it anywhere to use or drink.

Does This Filter Out Chemicals?

This is designed to filter out particles and is not intended to filter out chemicals as well. You’ll be able to get rid of bacteria and other small items though.

This is a convenient bottle because it actually filters the water as you drink it. You can fill it up and easily just drink from the bottle when you want.


Any of these water filtration systems are going to make it easier for you to stay safe and to be comfortable drinking the water that’s all around you, no matter where you are. You can feel use that water for regular drinking, for bathing or even for cooking if you prefer. Each one is going to give you a different method of getting the water you’re looking for as well, so make sure you pay attention to what is easiest and most convenient for you while you’re traveling. It’s also going to depend on where you can get the water from.

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Steven Masters

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