The 8 Best Backpacking Water Filters

The best water filters

Can you imagine yourself, in a forest in the heart of the mountain, the smell of the fir trees around you, in the distance a waterfall is heard and you are already thinking of the idea of drinking fresh, clear and pure water in this boiling July heat? Yes, we too, but before setting off, water bottle in hand and retrieving this supposedly pure water, a few precautions should be taken! Not all water sources are hazardous to your health, yet even the purest water source can make you sick. A dead animal a little higher in altitude touching the water, cattle crossing the river with faecal matter on their feet… the possibilities of water contamination are numerous and often invisible in the mountains. So let chance decide when there are so many options for treating your water on the market? Filtered water bottles, pocket water filters, water filters with pump…, we have selected for you the 8 best water filters and filtered water bottles for your next hikes and outdoor adventures!

  1. The best water bottles filters
  2. The best pocket water filters
  3. The best water filters with pump
  4. The best gravity water filters


MSR Guardian


The best water bottle filters

Let's start with the 2 best water bottle filters in our selection. Practical, flexible and effective, filtered water bottles are an ideal option when you are on a course punctuated by several rather clear water sources, without large residues.


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Katadyn BeFree : pure freedom!

Katadyn - BeFree

Whether you plan to do the Tour du Mont-Blanc or a trek in Colombia, you will not necessarily have access to drinkable water. A water filter is a must! The Katadyn BeFree 1 L is one of the best filtering bottles on the market, a safe option when you go to countries where there is no drinking water. This filtered bottle is effective in removing bacteria, protozoa and sediments. Its featherweight of 63 g is absolutely un felt, and yet this filtered bottle is devilishly effective, being able to treat up to 2 liters of water per minutes. Its EZ-Clean Membrane cartridge cleans easily with a quick rinse in water. The Katadyn BeFree 1 L is ideal to use when you encounter troubled waters (torrents, rivers, springs, etc.) but not dirty. Robust and durable, its design is ensured without BPA or PVC. Pure freedom!

➤ Katadyn - BeFree 1 L

  • Volume: 1 liter
  • Flow rate: 2L / min
  • Technology: 0.1 micron hollow fiber membrane
  • Effective against microorganisms: bacteria, protozoa and sediment
  • Ideal for frequent use and for turbid water
  • No need for accessories or backwashing
  • 42 mm opening for quick filling
  • Protective cap
  • Lifespan : up to 1000 L depending on water quality
  • Dimensions : 27 x 7 x 8 cm
  • Weight: 63 g
  • Price: £49.95


Water to Go Outdoor: built for adventures

Water to Go Outdoor - Gourde filtrante

The Water to Go Outdoor, designed by the Water to Go brand, is a filtering water bottle intended for all outdoor sports lovers, wishing to explore the most beautiful trails around their home, with minimal clutter. If you decide to swallow 75 km during your weekend, without having to load yourself with a heavier water filter, this 140 g filter bottle will do the job perfectly. The Water to Go Outdoor helps eliminates bacterias and protozoa and is suitable for use in clear and cloudy waters, such as those in rivers or water sources that you may encounter on your way. When filling with questionable water, however, be sure to keep the nozzle and cap well away to avoid possible contamination. Big advantage of this filtering bottle, it can treat up to 200 litres of water, or about 3 months of constant use! So you can drink pure and refreshing water, wherever you are. This filter bottle is also designed without adhesives. A must for your trail sessions this summer!

➤ Water to Go Outdoor - Water to Go

  • Volume: 750 mL
  • Removes 99.99% of protozoan, bacterial and viral contaminants from water
  • Ideal for frequent use and cloudy water
  • Adhesive
  • Filter lifespan : 200 liters
  • Dimension: 23 x 8 cm
  • Weight: 140 g
  • Price: £34.99


The best pocket water filters or filtered straws

Les meilleures pailles filtrantes

Another option available for you when you want to treat your water: the pocket water filter. Be careful, however, to find out beforehand about the various water points that will punctuate your hike because if these water points are dried up by the heat, you could quickly become dehydrated. Always have a plan B (water bottle filled in your backpack…) just in case!


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Lifestraw Personal: your survival straw

Lifestraw Personal

Drinking water directly from the source makes you thirsty just thinking about it! With the Lifestraw Personal, developed by the Lifestraw brand, a pioneer in water filters, you no longer risk dehydration! Easy to use, this filtered straw eliminates bacteria (e.coli…), parasites (giardia, Cryptosporidium…) and microplastics. Wherever you are, this ultra-light water filter quickly finds its place in the pocket of your backpack. The principle of using the Lifestraw Personal is simple: you just need to prepare the water filter by opening the bottom cap and leaving it in the water for at least 20 seconds. Then you open the top cap to take 5 quick sips of water to make the water circulate. And voilà, you can then sip your water from a lake or a beautiful river without worrying about getting sick! One of the best Lifestraw filters!

Lifestraw Personal

  • Technology: 0.2 micron hollow fiber membrane
  • Eliminates 99.9% of bacteria, parasites and microplastics
  • Filter lifespan : 4,000 liters
  • Pores clog when the filter is at the end of its life, the water can no longer pass
  • Without Bisphenol A
  • Recyclable product
  • Dimensions: 22.5 x 2.5 cm
  • Weight: 46 g
  • Price: £24.95


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MSR TrailShot: the pleasure of drinking water straight from the source

MSR - TrailShot

The TrailShot, designed by the MSR brand, is an essential pocket microfilter and among the best water filters on the market. The TrailShot eliminates bacteria, protozoa and particles but remains ineffective against chemical pollutants and viruses. This pocket water filter allows you, like the Lifestraw Personal, to drink your water directly from the source. You can also easily fill your water bottle or bladder with the TrailShot. Indeed, it is a pump system to filter water. So you can either directly pump the water filter with your hand and drink directly, or alternatively pump the water into your water bottle. If you come across a lake, river or other body of water during your hike or travel, within seconds, take out your pocket microfilter and drink straight from the body of water! You will appreciate its light weight of 140 g as well as its ease of cleaning. A real pleasure to drink water directly from the source!

MSR TrailShot

  • Technology: 0.2 micron hollow fiber membrane
  • Flow rate: 1L / min
  • 99.99% of bacteria, protozoa and particles
  • Ideal for frequent use and for cloudy water
  • Filter lifespan : 2,000 liters
  • Easy to clean, just shake the filter to restore the start in the field
  • Dimensions: 16 x 15.25 cm
  • Weight: 140 g
  • Price: £ 54.95


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The best water filters to pump

If you encounter more dubious water, in France or abroad, it may be appropriate to direct you to a pump water filter, certainly more cumbersome, but also much more powerful and efficient. All the models presented earlier in this article are effective in eliminating bacteria, protozoa and particles. On the other hand, they are not effective in filtering viruses, which are the cause of serious illnesses. Pump water filters thus have the advantage of eliminating viruses and therefore of better treating the questionable waters that you will encounter.


MSR Guardian: a compendium of technologies

MSR Guardian

1st of our selection, the MSR Guardian is undoubtedly one of the best water filters on the market. Condensed with advanced technologies and initially designed for the army, the Guardian water filter not only eliminates bacteria, protozoa, particles but also viruses. On the other hand, its use is ineffective against chemicals. This water filter is especially valuable if you are travelling to developing countries or countries that do not have access to safe drinking water such as India, Africa, or some South American countries. Extremely robust, the MSR Guardian can be used intensively, whatever the environment in which you find yourself. This water filter is resistant to drops, freezing and harsh environments. Its simplicity of use makes it a champion of water filters, with automatic cleaning of the filter carried out with each stroke of the pump. Its flow is fast and constant, a real luxury to avoid filtering your water for hours. The MSR Guardian can, in fact, filter 2.5 liters of water per minute. A compendium of technologies!

➤ MSR - Guardian

  • Technology: 0.02 micron hollow fibre membrane
  • Flow rate: 2.5 L/min
  • Eliminates bacteria, protozoa and particles from the most unsanitary waters
  • Eliminates viruses from the most unsanitary waters
  • Ideal for very frequent use and for turbid and muddy water Lifespan : 10,000 liters
  • Automatic cleaning with a filter that cleans itself with each stroke of the pump
  • Extremely robust and resistant to shocks, freezing and intensive use
  • Dimensions : 21 x 11 cm
  • Weight: 490 g
  • Price: £369.95

Katadyn Combi: the champion of versatility

Katadyn - Combi

Another option on the water filter market: the Combi, developed by the Katadyn brand. This versatile water filter is ideal to use when you go on a trip abroad, in an RV or if you are embarking on a long trek or a major expedition. Its original design, combining an activated coal and a ceramic filter, eliminates not only bacteria, protozoa and particles, but also chemicals, while improving the taste of water. Indeed, thanks to the presence of activated carbon, you easily obtain pure water, without odour or bad taste. Reliable, robust, it withstands frequent use and shocks. The champion of versatility!

Katadyn - Combi

  • Technology: 0.2 micron hollow fiber membrane
  • Flow rate: 1 L/min
  • Eliminates bacteria, protozoa, cysts, algae, spores and sediment
  • Eliminates viruses associated with particles from 0.2 micron
  • Effective against chemical substances
  • Ideal for frequent use and for turbid water Lifespan : Ceramic up to 50,000 litres depending on water quality / Activated carbon up to 400 liters
  • Effective against bad taste
  • Dimensions: 27 x 6 cm
  • Weight: 580 g
  • Price: £229.95


Katadyn Vario: small and fast

Katadyn Vario

Ideal for hiking and trekking, the Vario, designed by the Katadyn brand, is one of the smallest and fastest in the world. It eliminates bacteria, protozoa and other pathogenic particles. The Vario has a ceramic filter that filters impurities, coupled with fibreglass as a microbiological filter. Two modes can be used depending on the water quality you will encounter on your course. Indeed, if the water is cloudy, switch your Vario to "Longer Life" mode, which reduces the start of filtration to 1 liter per minute. The ceramic washer then makes it possible to filter the impurities upstream. Conversely, the "Faster Flow" mode increases the filtration rate to 2 liters of water per minute if the water is clear and passes directly through the fiberglass filter. Sometimes the water can have an unpleasant chemical smell and a peculiar taste. The Katadyn Vario then reduces the chemical content and improves the taste of the water thanks to the presence of the activated coal granules present in the water filter. A devilishly effective water filter, wherever you are, and rewarded many times over! Small and fast!

Katadyn Vario

  • Technology: ceramic filter cartridge and 0.2 micron fibreglass membrane and replaceable activated carbon granules
  • Flow rate: 2 L / min (Faster Flow) or 1 L / min (Longer life)
  • Eliminates bacteria , protozoa, cysts, algae, spores and sediment
  • Eliminates viruses associated with particles from 0.2 micron
  • Effective against chemical substances
  • Ideal for frequent use and for turbid water Lifespan : up to 2,000 liters depending on water quality
  • Effective against bad taste
  • Dimensions: 10 x 19 cm
  • Weight: 425 g
  • Price: £119.95

The best gravity water filters

Les meilleurs filtres à eau par gravité

In another style, there are also gravity water filters, that is to say, like the models presented above for which the water must be pumped, gravity water filters makes it possible to filter a greater quantity of water. They are particularly useful if you are travelling with several people in countries where access to drinking water is restricted or non-existent


Lifestraw Mission : A safe bet for your health!

Lifestraw Mission

One of the most efficient on the gravity water filter market that we have chosen to present to you today: the Mission, developed by the Lifestraw brand. Ideal to use if you are embarking on a remote trek in a country where access to drinking water is restricted or non-existent, the Lifestraw Mission allows you to filter in a large pocket of 5 or 12 liters of water. Its quick connection hose to a purification cartridge eliminates bacteria, parasites, microplastics and viruses (Rota virus, hepatitis A). If you take a lunch break in the middle of your hike, take the opportunity to fill all your water bottles with filtered water by hanging the large pouch from a tree branch, for example. The Mission can, in fact, filter up to 12 liters of water in 1 hour, and is often used by groups of hikers. A safe bet for your health!

➤ Lifestraw - Mission

  • Technology: 0.02 micron hollow fiber membrane ultrafiltration cartridge
  • Flow rate: 12 l / hour
  • bacteria, protozoa, microplastics
  • Removes viruses associated with particles from 0.2 micron
  • The kit includes a bag of 5 or 12 liters of water to be filtered
  • Ideal for frequent use and for cloudy water Lifespan : up to 18,000 liters depending on the water quality
  • Without Bisphenol A
  • Dimensions : 10 x 19 cm
  • Weight: 425 g
  • Price: £119.95


As you will have understood, there is no shortage of choice between the different water purification systems! Do you have a question or need support in choosing your equipment? Do not hesitate to contact our team of experts on the +33 (0) 1 84 67 14 24 (free call) or by sending a message from our Help Center. We will be happy to help you and answer your questions! 


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Photo credits : Hardloop - ©MSR - ©Katadyn - ©Lifestraw - ©Salomon

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