There’s a reason why the military trusts some of the top brands when it comes to portable water filtration. Such products are of fantastic convenience and can be vital to any outdoor adventure. In case you spend a lot of time in the wilderness, you definitely will want to have the best portable water filter available.
Luckily, you have come to the right place as in our guide you will find easy to comprehend portable water filter reviews. There are also handpicked products, information about upsides and downsides, types of filters, and many more.
So dive in and digest all the info our crew has prepared for you. Don’t hesitate to re-read some sections in order to get a better picture.
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Why You Need a Portable Water Filter!
So here you are in an outdoor situation trying to drink some fresh, healthy water. You won’t have any other choice but to go for this filthy, contaminated puddle unless you carry a portable water filter around. It can come in a number of shapes and forms but the upsides are common to all. You simply have to become familiar with the best reasons to buy a portable water filter.
The Most Distinguished Benefits of Using a Backpack Water Purifier
Any portable water filter used during camping might come in handy in the direst of situations. However, this isn’t true only for people who are into survival. No sir, any family having an outing can benefit from a small water filter in their bag. The fact that such a device removes so many contaminants from dirty water is vital. Whenever you need a sip of water, you just reach for your carry-around filter and you are good to go. People out there in the wild truly see this as a magical invention. If you are into camping and hiking, you may want to check our filtered water bottle reviews and water filter pitcher reviews, as well.
No matter which type of portable water filter you choose, you will always have fresh water instantly. These filters are composed in such a way that as water passes through the media, it instantly comes cleansed on the other end. There is, of course, at least some sort of delay and reduction in the water flow but this is all negligible.
While there are certain products that might hit the 3-digit price tag, most filters in this class are fairly cheap. Since such a device is crucial to any survival kit, you can’t expect the price to be very high. In fact, if you go through any list of the most important items to a survival kit, you will notice that most things are inexpensive.
One of the biggest advantages of portable drinking water filters is their size. They are designed to be easy to carry and to be tucked away without any effort. Yes, this is not weaponry we are talking about but concealed carry is exceptionally easy when we talk about portable water filtration. Most products fit in little backpack compartments or in small pouches. Some people even have them in their pockets although we do not recommend that. Even the bulkier filters with tubes and containers can be folded in such a way that will make your life in the wild pretty easy.
You don’t have any big installation to think about here. There’s no huge set of components that require building in or sealing to a wall. Even simpler domestic filtration systems regardless of type, such as supreme shower head filters and water ionizers, require some sort of installation or maintenance. You don’t have that here. Everything is used on the go and when its life expires, you simply replace it.
Even though you will have to toss it when it dies, the portable water filter will give you plenty of clean water. The average lifespan of one of these units is about 200-300 gallons of water. A single person should be able to last almost one whole year if they drink water in the wilderness every single day. After all, the daily dose is about 1 gallon of water per person. Now if you go camping with your family, you will either need to get more filters at the same time or simply replace your existing one more often than expected.
Downsides of Portable Water Filters
This is not to discourage you from buying a pocket water filter. In fact, many people prefer spending extra money in order to get some portable purification systems used by the military. As we all know, this is a sign of quality. In any case, there are still drawbacks and here are some of them:
Not effective against many contaminants
In all fairness, portable water filters typically specialize in removing only certain threats from filthy water. There’s hardly a product out there that will take care of sediment, heavy metals, and viruses at the same time. Such properties are typical for way more complex and advanced devices such as reverse osmosis water systems.
It’s not great if you venture with others
Little filters are more or less designated for single person use. Even though hygiene is not a top priority during an outing, we still cannot neglect the fact that it is not recommended for people to drink from the same mouthpiece.
You almost always need a spare one
It is hard to keep track of how much life the filter has left. During the first days after a purchase, you won’t have such worries but what happens when you’ve been using your little filtration buddy for 8 months? It can stop being effective any second and you might be stuck without any water to drink out there. Carrying 2 portable water filters for travel is perhaps the smartest thing to do in this case.
Hard to clean
Yes, filters are not designed to be cleaned although some users will advise you to go for it. In this case, you can only hope to blow some dirt back through the filter with your mouth. That’s all you can do in order to prevent any buildup and prolong the life of the media.
Best Portable Water Filters Comparison Chart
Waterdrop Water Filter Purifier Straw
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LifeStraw Personal Water Filter for Hiking And Camping
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Etekcity Portable Water Filter Filtration Straw Purifier Survival Gear
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MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter Water Filter
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Sawyer Products PointOne Squeeze Water Filter System
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Survivor Filter PRO Water Filter
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Katadyn Vario Dual Technology MicroFilter
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Best Portable Water Filters On The Market
We kick off our guide by listing the finest products you will locate right now. They are listed in no particular order so go ahead – take a jab at it.
1. Waterdrop Water Filter Purifier Straw
This filter straw will give you plenty of flexibility wherever you are because it is easily attached to most bottles or bags. What is not optimal about it is the fact that you cannot drink straight from the straw. You may be able to, but its effectiveness won’t be at 100% if you do so.
The long life of the filter is pretty a pretty impressive feature, though. We are talking about 100,000 gallons of purified water before you have to dispose of the product. This is a great bargain when you keep in mind the price of the unit.
When it comes to what it removes, you will be happy to find out that your water will be free of E.coli, several protozoans, salmonella typhi, vitriol cholerae, and many others. The filtration in the straw is a 3-stage one. You get a 0.1-micron hollow fiber membrane inside, which actually does all the magic. Standard return policy applies.
2. LifeStraw Personal Water Filter for Hiking And Camping
The LifeStraw personal water filter is a great device that will serve you very well on your travels. And its price is absolutely affordable. The characteristics of this product are satisfying enough. It removes up to 99.9% of waterborne bacteria and parasites, including such as E.coli, salmonella, giardia, and cryptosporidium. It is also designed to remove microplastics. All this is tested within laboratories, with the standard protocols of US EPA, NSF, ASTM.
The LifeStraw filter uses advanced hollow fiber technology. Basically, it means that the material, used to prevent contamination has holes that are smaller than bacteria and parasites. The size and weight of the unit are convenient. With its 2oz. (54g.) it is suitable for your trail running, hiking, and camping. It is very easy to recognize when the filter needs to be changed. The water simply won’t come through it and you will not be able to drink. The capacity of this one is 1000 gallons or 4000 liters.
3. Etekcity Portable Water Filter Filtration Straw Purifier Survival Gear
The Etekcity Portable Water Filter is a whole kit which price gives you sort of a deal. This filter offers you not 1 but 3 stages of filtration. It has a pre-filter, a carbon filter, and a 0.01-micron hollow fiber UF membrane. It is very unlikely that all those parts will let anything harmful in your water like E. coli or salmonella for example. Even more, the filter will remove rust, silt, worms, and other large contaminants.
Additionally, chlorine, heavy metal ions, THMs, and VOCs will all be out of your water. This little device is safety tested. Now a small disadvantage is that sometimes the water will be hard to draw out of the unit which can get on your nerves. On the other hand, the kit comes with handy features such as a foldable water pouch for collecting water, a longer straw to attach to the filter, and a syringe for cleaning. The capacity of this device is 1500 gallons.
4. MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter Water Filter
The MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter is a high-class filtration system and an expensive one. It is a pump device for filtration with replaceable carbon and ceramic filters. All of this makes its price higher. It is mainly designed for frequent and heavy use. The unit meets the NSF standard for removing bacteria and protozoa. It also removes organic compounds. The performance is good – it pumps at a rate of one liter per minute.
Most of the wide mouth water bottles and hydration bladders can be used with it. The pump weighs one pound only and a storage bag is included in the box. The capacity of the filter cartridge is around 2,000 liters of water. A small downside with this one could be that it could clog and you will need to clean it more often while on your trip. But after all, it is a highly efficient product that will supply you with healthy water. Mind that it doesn’t remove viruses.
5. Sawyer Products PointOne Squeeze Water Filter System
The Sawyer Products PointOne Squeeze Water Filter System is probably one of the best deals you will encounter on the market. It is designed for groups and not only for single-use, but it also is super-efficient in terms of safety and it has great capacity, performance, and additional features. Above all, its price is affordable and fair for the device you get. This filter removes 99.99% of bacteria and protozoa from the water. It uses U-shaped microtubes and 0.1 absolute micron protection.
The kit comes with a 32-ounce collapsible pouch, 2 replaceable pop-up drinking spouts, a bucket adapter kit (bucket not included), a faucet adapter, a syringe filter cleaner, and a filter hanger. Having the adapters means you can connect the filter to a 5-gallon bucket or to a household faucet. The pouch is convenient for backpacking purposes. The unit is very light and easy to use and maintain. Its capacity is 540 gallons per day and 1 million gallons before a change. One small downside – it doesn’t remove chemicals, dissolved solids, or viruses.
6. Survivor Filter PRO Water Filter
Another product that is a best seller for its efficiency, ease of use, and convenience. Light and easy to carry on a backpacking trip, at a good value, you get the Survivor Filter PRO. Tasted is US labs to show Log 5 Removal of 99.999% of protozoa, bacteria, staph, and viruses. This filter removes mercury up to 99.5% and leads up to 92%. It has a triple filtration that uses a 0.1-micron ultra pre-filter, a carbon filter, and a 0.01-micron internal ultrafilter. The ultrafilters use a dual hollow fiber membrane and should be replaced every 25 000 gallons.
The carbon filter can be reused at about 500 gallons. This pump filter is built from a high-quality ABS material that doesn’t leave any aftertaste. The water flow is sufficient – 500ml. (17 oz) per minute. The filter can be used directly from a freshwater source, pumped into an attached cup, or pumped into any portable hydration pack. The kit comes with a detachable drinking cup and a travel bag.
7. Katadyn Vario Dual Technology MicroFilter
The Katadyn Vario Dual Technology MicroFilter is a high-class solution for bigger groups and families that love outdoor experiences. It has two modes of work – a fast one that produces 2L/minute and a slow one for 1L/minute. The technology is very efficient. It uses three stages of filtration. A high-performance glass fiber filter, a ceramic pre-filter that can be tailored individually according to the cloudiness of the water, and active charcoal for eliminating odor. The ceramic filter can be switched on easily and will help against heavily contaminated water. The carbon core is replaceable and a cleanable ceramic disc is included.
The system reduces chemicals, odors, and toxins. The measurements are convenient – the weight of 15 oz. and 6.5″ height. It is very easy to operate. An adapter base easily attaches the filter to water bottles. An output hose can be used to fill hydration systems or larger containers. The lifespan is about 2000 gallons per filter.
8. Sawyer Products MINI Water Filtration System
Fitting in the palm of your hand, the Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System is a highly efficient one. It has outstanding performance and can be taken practically everywhere. It removes 99.99% of all bacteria and parasites found in outdoor water. The filter can be used in more than one way – from the included drinking pouch up to drinking straight from the water source.
The filter is certified for absolute microns, which means no particle that is 0.1 or larger can get through it. This includes harmful bacteria. It’s actually what absolute micron technology means. Because of it, this product has one of the fastest flow rates. Another thing that makes it a great choice is its capacity. It is rated to 100,000 gallons. And for its price, the box includes a 16-ounce reusable squeeze pouch, 7-inch drinking straw, and a cleaning plunger.
9. Survivor Filter – Portable Water Filter for Camping
Another great product from Survival Filter. As with other products of the same manufacturer, it is tested by third-party labs to remove bacteria, protozoa, and viruses up to 99.999%. It is also tested to remove lead, mercury, and other heavy metals. The triple filtration system won’t let almost any dangerous contaminant to enter your water. In the first stage, there is a cotton pre-filter for the large particles. Extra five of those are included in the package.
The second stage is a 0.05-micron reusable ultrafilter with a lifespan of 500 gallons. The carbon filter on the last stage is designed to remove the heavy metals and chemicals and lasts for about 300 gallons. The device includes a protective mouthpiece. It is also super light with its 100g. The box comes with two heavy heavy-duty canteens. Some squeezing might be needed for faster water flow. It is not compatible with all types of bottles.
10. Katadyn Hiker Microfilter Water Filter
The Katadyn Hiker Microfilter Water Filter has an easy-to-use design, high efficiency, and low maintenance. Though it weighs 11 oz., it is very compact in its deluxe carry bag will provide you with healthy and tasty water directly from the nearest source. It operates with 0.2-micron glass-fiber filter media. The cartridge can clean up to 750 gallons before a change is needed. It filters sediment, particles, and microorganisms typical of natural water sources.
The production rate of this product is 1L/minute or around 48 strokes. The pumping is smooth and you don’t have to be the strongest to use it. The core is made of activated carbon and reduces bad taste and odor. Some chemicals in drinking water will also be cleansed. The kit comes with an adapter that fits most bottles. The hydration connector attaches to 1/4-inch hydration pack connections such as Camelbak and Platypus.
11. Survival Hax Water Filter Straw – Camping & Hiking
The Survival Hax water filter straw is what the name of the brand says – a survival filter straw. Convenient mostly for single trips, it has some cool features that have nothing to do with water. Like the compass and the whistle. It also has carabiners, a signaling mirror, and a tourniquet/extension tube. All of these additions look like they are there to distract you from the fact that the unit looks a bit cheap.
The filter does a fair job and can be used with water of all kinds. For instance, rivers, lakes, ponds, creeks, mud puddles, and third world tap water. Most contaminants will be removed. The straw has a 0.1-micron purifier and can eliminate up to 99.999% of bacteria and parasites. The straw can connect to any 28mm water bottle. The lifespan of the filter is about 400 gallons. Considering its price and its weight, it is a good product.
Features to Look for When Buying a Portable Water Filter
There’s no secret that people want to be conscious of their finances and when you upgrade your survival kit you always want to be mindful. It would be awful if you bought a product that doesn’t meet your needs and this is why we want to open your eyes. Here we will mention all the more important specs and characteristics that you might want from your portable water filter.
Isn’t that the most important characteristic of these things? While some might argue that effectiveness matter more, we can tell you that if you can’t carry the filter with you it doesn’t matter how good it is. In that sense, check the proportions and the flexibility of your filter.
For instance, straw filters are typically foldable and they are as big as a small pipe. These products are easy to tuck away and can be whipped out at any given time. Some bottle filters are very inconvenient to carry in a small bag because they are essentially…bottles. On the other hand, there are those bottle filters that combine a straw filter and a bag. They are easily folded and you can carry them around seamlessly.
The size of the pump filters is not the biggest problem as much as all the parts that you have to also have. These filters come with a hose and a tube, the body of the unit is bulkier because water is stored there. So in case, your bag is tight, you might want to look for other portable water filters for camping.
This is the other spec related to the physical characteristics of portable filters. Weight is somewhat linked to size but not necessarily. Even if a unit is light, it might still require a little bit more space. Your best bet here again is the straw filters and the bottle filters that come with a clean bag.
Who says that convenience doesn’t matter in a survival situation? Of course, it does, because you want to go through your routine quickly. This means that you have to be able to quickly whip out your portable water filter and use it.
In that sense, the ones that have a number of parts needing to be assembled will require more time. In some situations, this can be quite the hassle especially when you have to act quickly. Filters with hoses and screws are harder to unfold and they also have plenty of parts that you might end up losing.
This goes to show us that most portable filtration systems for any type of disaster relief are best if they are constructed simply.
Speed and Capacity
Performance matters and in the case of carry-around water filters, speed has to be impeccable. Other systems such as household reverse osmosis filters will take a lot of time to produce moderate amounts of water. In our case here, though, we want something that handles relatively little volumes of filthy water and converts it to a drinkable one instantly.
This is why opting for a straw portable filter is among the top choices. It is true that some little filters work faster than others so make sure to check the specs before you make your purchase. Of course, for family camping, you might not need a very quick filter.
Capacity is the other aspect as it will determine the filter’s life. It goes without saying that the longer you can use a certain product the better. But you want to see the ratio between long life and effectiveness. This means that if your filter barely filters out any filth from your water the long lifespan won’t do you any good.
The initial price of the unit is not the only argument for or against buying it. At the end of the day, you might end up overpaying for a certain filter but it might be incredibly useful to you. In that sense, the price is justified.
Furthermore, you want to check the eventual expenses for replacement filters as well. Calculate the total amount you will spend on maintaining your portable filter over 2 years for example. If you don’t like the number, then look for other options.
The Most Popular Types of Portable Filters
While all portable water filters essentially do the same thing, there are some key differences between the various types. You need to be familiar with them in order to make the right choice. Here are some highlighted properties of these filters.
Size is not optimal here. Pump filters are among the more complex purification products for your outing. You basically have a hose and a tank for clean water. Once you connect the whole thing together, that’s when you can start obtaining fresh water.
On the downside, you will need to vigorously pump the water from the puddle or the stream in hopes to fill a relatively small tank. The filtration method may vary as these products are large enough to accommodate filters with different properties.
For instance, you might have an activated carbon filter in there, a ceramic one, or even a fiber filter. This is an advantage because it allows you to select the most appropriate filter for the water you want to cleanse.
These are the ultimate and most popular portable water filters out there. They are basically plastic pipes that you either dip in the filthy water source itself or in some sort of a jug. Whatever the case, the filtration happens right away and that’s the biggest advantage.
You cannot expect a very thorough cleansing of your water, though. While there will be an improvement in taste and odor, some particles might still make it through. These filters are also easy to clog. Some buildup will occur over time but that’s to be expected. The life of straw filters might be shorter than the others’.
The mechanism here is a rather simple one. The product features a container and then the filter is situated below it. Thanks to gravity, the water passes down through the filter. Some quick drawbacks to mention here are the slow speed of filtration and the likely contamination of your freshwater.
The latter occurs when the filter is not sealed tightly and the water bypasses the filter. There are also a number of parts to be assembled here and that’s sometimes a turnoff to many people.
These are like small water filter pitchers. You essentially have a bottle that has a filter right at the neck. The functionality here is good because these filters will rid you of both heavy metals and viruses.
A slight knock on bottle filters is the fact that they are bulkier and often require more space in your backpack. Be careful not to break your bottle because the filter will be useless. Some bottle filters are also made of foldable plastic rendering them unbreakable.
In the case of an emergency, if you do not have a portable water filter with you remember that you can make a portable water filter on your own, too!
Understanding the importance of the best portable water filters is vital for any outdoor adventurer. Our job is to steer you in the right direction when it comes to selecting the most appropriate product for your needs. In that sense, we hope you have enjoyed our guide and that you have arrived at your decision.
Leave us a comment and provide us with your feedback regarding the article. Check out the portable water filter reviews once again if needed and tell us if we’ve missed anything. Thanks for reading and as always – stay put!