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THE BEST BACKPACKING WATER FILTERS OF 2020

Written By: Kristen Bor

A backpacking water filter is a key essential for any multi-day outdoor adventure. Why is a water filter so important? Parasites and viruses live in the lakes and rivers that you rely on to stay hydrated in the backcountry. Giardia is the most common and can cause abdominal cramping, nausea, diarrhea,  and vomiting – not exactly what you had planned for your next adventure, right?

Some argue that you don’t always need to filter water where streams are fed by fresh snow-melt, but keep in mind that if livestock, wildlife, or humans can reach an area, so can contaminants that are transferred via fecal matter.

In this roundup of the best backpacking water filters, we’ll walk you through the key factors to consider when choosing one and share our favorite recommendations for your next adventure, whether it’s a quick weekend backpacking trip, a car camping expedition or a long-distance thru-hike!

Click here to read about the best backpacking water filters and tips for how to choose the right purification system for your adventures.

LAST UPDATED

May 5, 2022

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Bearfoot Theory

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An outdoor travel blog on a mission to inspire and empower you to get outside with a strong skill set

Hi! I’m Kristen. Thanks for stopping by! If you love to travel and spend time outside, you’ve come to the right place. I am here to inspire you to get out there and to help you plan your next adventure.

I started Bearfoot Theory because I wanted to dispel the myths that prevent many people from getting outside. As a late outdoor bloomer myself, I’ve found it easy to be intimidated by adventure websites and magazines that feature people skiing off cliffs and kayaking class 5 rapids. You might think, “if that’s what being outdoorsy is, then that’s not me!”

But I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to be a risk-taking, adrenaline junkie to have an awesome outdoor vacation. You also don’t need the most expensive gear, to plan for weeks on end, or do things that are beyond your comfort level.

My mission with Bearfoot Theory is to be a source of inspiration and information for everyday people looking to have an authentic outdoor experience. I’ll show you that an outdoor lifestyle is easy, inexpensive, accessible, and fun. I’ll share with you my favorite outdoor off-the-beaten-path destinations in the West (and occasionally elsewhere), tell you what gear you do and don’t need, and help you build more confidence in your outdoor abilities.

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My only complaint is that eventually, backflushing won’t be enough. These can clog up after some time and no amount of back flushing will fix its low flow. I went through 2 on the AT. However, it will attach to Smart Water Bottles and most bladders!

Anna Hamrick

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Built for backcountry reliability and portability, the Sawyer Squeeze filter is our pick for the best portable water purifier.

Pete Ortiz
Writer

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The Sawyer Squeeze was (by far) the most common Pacific Crest Trail water filter this year – for the fifth year in a row. It’s a $39, 3 oz / 85 g hollow fiber filter that rids your drinking water of protozoa and bacteria (and floaties). It can be used with Sawyer bags (included with the filter) or with compatible water bottles (Smartwater is the bottle of choice for many hikers).

Halfway Anywhere
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