Best Portable Water Filter, Survival Water Treatment Systems

Get the best portable backpacking water filters in our portable travel purifier reviews. Enjoy water filter treatment even while camping or hiking with these purifiers.

Our Best Portable Travel Filter Recommendation

Survivor Filter Personal Water Filter Straw - Ultra Water...
805 Reviews
Survivor Filter Personal Water Filter Straw - Ultra Water...
  • World Renown Survivor Filter - Water filtration straw that allows you to drink water directly from any fresh water...
  • Reusable and Cleanable - The only portable water purification with filters that can be cleaned and used again,...
  • Triple Filtration - An ultra membrane filter, carbon filter and mesh cotton pre-filters combine for the highest...

Are you looking for the best portable filter solutions available online?

Do you need to make sure you can filter water safely and reliably on your next excursion or adventure abroad?

Have you been wondering which option is the best at providing clean, filtered drinking water ON-DEMAND?

If any of these questions sound familiar, then you’ll definitely enjoy our top backpacking filters buying guide! Read on…

Clean drinking water is incredibly important for humans in order to survive and when we find ourselves away from the comforts of civilization, the problem of actually finding clean water to drink becomes an issue we can’t ignore. ​Thankfully, there are plenty of fantastic options that are all available online and we’ve reviewed all the best ones for you in our top backpacking filters buying guide below.

What is the best way to filter water while backpacking or hiking?

Thanks to a pinch of engineering, a whole dollop of science, and several scoops of research, we now have the best portable filters for camping, trekking, and just about any other adventure you can think of. And there are a lot of these filter systems to choose from. The best thing about it is that they are within your reach via From a myriad of filters out in the market today, we have chosen 11 of them for their uniqueness, consumer popularity, and sturdiness. We shall provide a filter comparison for you to make an educated solution on the one that will best suit your needs.

Check out these filter reviews and determine which item is the best fit for you and your lifestyle in our top backpacking filters buying guide:

Portable Water Filter #1

Katadyn Vario Filter

Katadyn Vario Water Filter, Dual Technology Microfilter for...

This option has at least two settings to choose from. In the Faster Flow mode, you can collect up to two quarts of water in a minute. In the Longer Life mode, collection is slower at one quart per minute. (We recommend, though, that if not in a dire situation where water is needed ASAP, just use the Longer Life mode.) There is also an Ultra-fast flow mode where you can collect up to two liters in a minute, but then you may be putting too much stress on the filters. This offer has a replaceable carbon core that takes away any icky taste and smell from the collected water. The ceramic element can easily be cleaned, thus extending its life and usage. However, one user noted that this option has a “plastic inlet barb” that unnaturally sticks out of the unit, thus making it a bit cumbersome and prone to accidents. Make sure you don’t get that barb hooked on anything in your bag; otherwise, it’s goodbye, Katadyn Vario Filter  and all the cash you spent for it. Another thing to watch out for is the O-ring near the base of the paper filter that serves as the separator between contaminated water and the filtered water. If this part becomes nicked or disfigured then the dirty and clean water could mix. Once again, that spells goodbye to your hard-earned moolah! Either that or you may have to contact the manufacturer for a parts replacement. Nevertheless, the KatadynVario Filter is one very useful product, camping- or trekking-wise.


Portable Water Filter #2

MSR Miniworks EX Microfilter

MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter Water Filter

This little dude, weighing in at around 1.5 pounds, is around the same size as most ceramic-based filters. Reviews on this, however, note how strong the pumping action is on the MSR Miniworks EX Microfilter , and how light this offer is compared to the Katadyn series. A wider surface area and its AirSpring Accumulator part enable faster pumping of water, enough to collect up to one liter in a minute. This choice will assure the user of safe drinking water in the shortest possible time. This option also has a ceramic filter and a carbon core that will ensure that your filtered water tastes as good as it looks after filtration. Plus, it also fits snugly onto the neck of a Nalgene bottle for better water transfer and collection. Of all the pros discussed, there was only one con mentioned among the reviews – while the ceramic element can easily be cleaned, it is very fragile. Thus, extra care should be given in handling, storing and transporting this choice. Portable and very useful, that’s the MSR Miniworks EX Microfilter.


Portable Water Filter #3

Katadyn Pocket Water Microfilter

Katadyn Pocket Water Filter, Long Lasting for Personal or Small...

With something so lightweight at 7.4 ounces, no one would expect that the Katadyn Pocket Water Microfilter could possess so much filtering power. This offer’s highlight is its silver-impregnated ceramic element that could filter microbes up to 0.2 microns. The presence of silver in the ceramic element is crucial to killing off undesirable microbes and pathogens due to silver’s antibacterial properties. Its relatively small size also makes this option a wonderful companion not only during camping, international travel and even during humanitarian missions where safe drinking water is scarce. The Katadyn Pocket Water Microfilter  is quite compact, thanks to its stainless steel body. Even its ceramic filter is built to process up to 13,000 gallons of filtered water. It’s also easy to clean. The only downsides to this offer are: (a) it doesn’t do well in freezing conditions; and (b) assembly and disassembly of the product could be a bit more tedious compared to other filters in its class. Nevertheless, its durability makes up for much of its shortcomings. The Katadyn Pocket Water Microfilter becomes the best filter around for the size, price and filter longevity.


Portable Water Filter #4

KatadynCombi Water Microfilter

Katadyn Combi Water Microfilter

This choice from the Katadyn lineup of products is similar to its sister, the Katadyn Pocket Water Microfilter ; only a fraction bigger and heavier, weighing a little more than half a kilo. This option also has the impregnated ceramic filter that is sturdy and is easy to clean. With an activated carbon core, it could also produce up to 13,000 gallons of filtered water. Moreover, this choice has a measuring gauge that tells when the filter element should be replaced. This offer comes in resistant plastic and silicone to weather the toughest terrain, making it suitable for jostling in a camping pack. Microorganisms also have no chance against the ceramic filter’s micro-pores which can filter up to 0.2 microns.With the add-on kit, this option can be attached to a faucet so filtering tap water will not be a problem and could be used even at home. This choice is also your best bet during emergency situations when there is a shortage of safe drinking water. Just be ready to shell out a respectable sum for this offer… it’s possibly more than most expect it is!


Portable Water Filter #5

Katadyn KFT Expedition Filter

Katadyn KFT Expedition Water Filter , Silver

Here is the mother of all recommended portable filter systems with a ceramic filter – the Katadyn KFT Expedition Filter . For relatively large and mobile groups, this choice can be your bet for the best filter. Survival, especially during disasters or emergencies, is very crucial. This is where this option comes in. Imagine saving not just one life or two, but a community of lives with this durable offer. This option is the ideal product for use by relief organizations and extreme trekkers. Just like its fellow variants under the Katadyn series, this offer comes with a silver impregnated ceramic plate that will filter up to 26,000 gallons of water before requiring replacement. Water output is a whopping one gallon per minute, thus making it the filter with the highest flow rate among all the products in this category. For all its heavy-duty work, it only weighs 183.4 ounces. Leave it to the Swiss to create options like this that will withstand all kinds of wear and tear while saving and improving lives. All these grand features don’t come for free…


Water Bottles With Built-in Filters

These particular types of filters are just so handy it’s almost criminal.Why? These babies filter AND collect water. By the time the water hits your mouth, all you’ll take in is safe and potable drinking water with none of that icky taste. There is no fuss in bringing them around with you in your camping trips – they are so lightweight and don’t require tedious assembly/disassembly. Let us examine them more closely:

Portable Water Filter #6

LifeStraw Go Water Bottle with Integrated 1,000-Liter LifeStraw Filter

LifeStraw Go Water Bottle 1-Stage with Integrated 1000-Liter...

How can you not love this wonderful filter bottle  that only requires you to scoop water from a water source, screw the cap with the filter back on, and sip? You get a sports bottle and a hard working filter in one with this choice. The bottle’s design is leak-proof, is BPA and phthalate-free, and can hold up to 670 mL of water. The portable water bottle filter, meanwhile, can filter up to 1,000 liters of water before requiring replacement. This offer could also filter almost all known bacteria, viruses, and other microbes up to 0.2 microns – even the deadly Ebola virus stands no chance against this little bottle. The technology behind this option lies in its hollow fiber membrane which allows water to seep through and keep contaminants and other water-borne yucky stuff out. Plus, the bottle has a carabiner that allows you to hook the product onto your backpack, or even on your clothing for uber-portability.


Portable Water Filter #7

Mountop UV Purification Water Bottle, Portable 750 ML Bottle

This bottle with a filter has a light! That light is there for a reason. First, it provides illumination for an LED display that indicates when the water placed inside this offer is already safe to drink. Second, it can serve as a flashlight, and chances of it getting lost in the dark are minimized. This option even has an SOS flashing mode for emergencies. However, more than the nice light, this choice boasts of ultraviolet technology in purifying water. In only 90 seconds, you will already have 750 mL of purified drinking water that is ready to drink. The light and the UV sorcery are all found on the BPA-free bottle’s cap. For even more water sorcery, note that the cap has a rechargeable lithium ion battery that can be recharged from any USB source. AWESOME…

The only shortcomings of this offer are as follows:

  • it cannot work with murky water; and
  • the newfangled technology on the cap makes it a bit bulkier than the standard water bottles with filters.

…Nevertheless, it has a light! You’ll be even more thrilled to know that you’ve got all this sorcery packed into this choice.

Filter Straws

Even more lightweight than the mobile filters-cum-water bottles are the filter straws. They are so handy; you can just place them in your pocket and whip them out when the need to drink potable drinking water arises. If you want to take your drink from a bottle or drink straight from a water source, these filter straws are just the products for you. We have two known brands of filter straws that rank high among users in terms of dependability, smart usage, and value for money:

Portable Water Filter #8

Survivor Filter

Survivor Filter Personal Water Filter Straw - Ultra Water...

The Survivor Filter  only weighs 3.5 ounces but is a heavyweight in terms of water filtration. Small enough to fit in a pocket, this option has an awesome flow rate of 200 ml per minute. That means that your face won’t turn blue from sipping through this offer. This option also has an amazing filtering level of up to 0.05 microns which almost totally eliminates all known microscopic contaminants, compared to the standard filters that could filter up to 0.2 microns. You can take your water straight from its source or through any water vessel – even a soda bottle – because this choice can screw on most bottles! It has a carbon filter that takes out any nasty taste in the water. This offer is a life-saving device. Grab one today! CHECK PRICE

Portable Water Filter #9

H2O Survival Filter Travel Straw

Among the featured filters here, the smallest of them all is the H2O Survival Filter Travel Straw. Weighing less than an ounce and with dimensions estimated at approximately the size of a pen, this option can filter up to 70 liters or 18 gallons of water. However, it may take some using this offer as suction is quite difficult. The water that comes out of this straw is notably clean-tasting with no icky taste or odor. You can literally bring this choice anywhere with you – just make sure you remember where you placed it. The manufacturers of this option claim to filter up to 0.01 microns of water, essentially blocking out whatever dirty, icky stuff comes with the water you may encounter in your travels. Its poly-iodine element also helps in sterilizing the water in as short as 0.5 seconds as it passes through the product. Rest assured that by the time the water gets to your mouth, the water will be the safest and cleanest ever to come out of a filter.

Activated Carbon Filters

Portable Water Filter #10

Katadyn Hiker Water Microfilter​

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Under this category is one product that gets the nod of backpackers and travelers – the No products found.. This option is a portable filter system that won’t break the bank. This choice relies heavily on its active carbon core to sift all contaminants from water and to eliminate the muddy taste and odor. What takes this filter system a notch above its ceramic plate-based counterparts is the fact that it can provide the most water per one pumping action (one liter per minute). This makes it among the faster choices in this list to collect water. This offer also helps that it has a very wide filter surface that allows for fast water output. As for the weight, it is quite negligible at 310 grams; it could fit snugly in the side pocket of a backpack. The Katadyn Hiker Water Microfilter is convenient to use for one to two people. Its AntiClog pleated cartridge also does not need too much maintenance or cleaning, unlike filters whose ceramic plates require cleaning on a regular basis to keep them at an optimum functioning capacity. This choice would take years for you to need a replacement for this offer.

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Gravity Filters

This option has Sir Isaac Newton to thank for its ingenuity and effectiveness in doing its job. All you have to do is hang the reservoir with its hose dangling. After water is poured down the reservoir, gravity will help the water go down through a pre-filter in the reservoir then to a hollow fiber membranes inside the hose. By the time the water gets to the other end of the hose, it will be devoid of coarse particles and microscopic pathogens. Plus, it will have no bad odor or taste.

Portable Water Filter #11

LifeStraw Family 1.0 Water Purifier

LifeStraw Family 1.0 Portable Gravity Powered Water Purifier for...

One such offer that uses this technology is the LifeStraw Family 1.0 Water Purifier . This option is so versatile, it can be used at home, while on travel, or during emergencies. In fact, this choice has already seen action in some areas of Kenya, Bangladesh, and Pakistan where access to safe drinking water is a problem. This offer has a flow rate of 9 to 12 liters in an hour, and is capable of hydrating a small community. Possessing the capability of filtering out up to 99.99 percent of viruses, bacteria, and protozoa, this option is a gem among many filters. Portable and great in any situation that requires potable drinking water, the LifeStraw Family 1.0 Water Purifier can provide up to 4,750 gallons of water–that’s around three years’ worth of drinking water for a family of four.


Water is an essential element to life. Almost every living thing in our world is dependent on water. In fact, the average human body is made up of 55-65 percent water. This is the reason why our ancestors built their settlements near bodies of water. However, with the passage of time, we are now seeing the deterioration in quality of our water sources. Crystal-clear lakes and rivers are now hard to come by with the advent of pollution, neglect, and abuse. That is why these water sources can no longer be trusted to be safe and potable.

How dire is the situation now? Take a look at what TheWaterProject (learn more at has to say:

  • One in nine people worldwide do not have access to safe and clean drinking water.
  • Half of the world’s hospital beds are filled with people suffering from a water-related disease.
  • Globally, we use 70 percent of our water sources for agriculture and irrigation, and only 10 percent for domestic use.
  • On a worldwide scale, nearly one out of every five deaths under the age of 5 is due to a water-related disease.

According to the same source, simply investing in clean water alone can let young children around the world gain more than 413 million days of health. This is why there is a growing need for filters at home, while on the move, during disasters and for other emergencies. You can’t always expect to have tap water in every possible situation or even be able to buy a bottle of distilled water.

Even The Best Portable Travel Water Filters Can’t Do It All

It must be noted, though, that most if not all of these portable filters have their limitations:

  1. These are filters, not purifiers. They do, however, have the ability to filter from 0.5 to 0.2 microns. They could also block some of the more common bacteria present in water sources like E. coli, protozoans, and even the deadly Ebola virus. Nevertheless, it would still be best to boil your filtered water or use purification tablets if you want pure and safe drinking water.
  2. Some of them are not capable of handling dissolved chemicals in water. This means trying them out in chemically-contaminated water, water exposed to radiation, or even urine is out of the question.
  3. These filters cannot make salt water potable, unless (for some of the filters mentioned here) you purchase an add-on desalination filter.

***The Verdict*** Which is the Best Backpacking Water Filter?

The filters stated in our top backpacking filters buying guide have their own strengths and weaknesses and it will be difficult to choose the best among them. However, we can probably make a selection of notable filters based on several criteria: effectiveness in eliminating all water contaminants, capability to provide potable drinking water to the most number of people, and portability.

IT’S A TIE BETWEEN TWO PRODUCTS: The LifeStraw Family 1.0 Water Purifier  and the Katadyn KFT Expedition Filter 

​One is a gravity filter while the other is a ceramic-based filter. Price-wise, the LifeStraw Family is cheaper, but durability-wise, the stainless steel body of the Katadyn KFT Expedition has the edge.

Try The Best Portable Water Filtration Today

So take your pick among these wonderful water filtration devices the next time you decide to take on the wilderness or go island-hopping. They are your best bests to keep you refreshed with safe and potable drinking water anytime, anywhere. We hope you’ve found the perfect portable filter for you in our top backpacking filters buying guide!

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