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What Kind of Water Filtration System Do You Need for Camping?

From hand pumps to UV filters, there are a dizzying number of ways to make water safe to drink. Here's how to sort out what you need.

When you’re far from civilization, a reliable water filtration system can be a lifesaver.

That sparkling high mountain stream might look clear and refreshing, but there could be nasty things lurking in it. Microorganisms can cause weeks-long diarrhea and other infections, certainly ruining your trip. Fortunately, camping tech-heads have spent decades perfecting portable water filters to prevent such problems.

Portable water filters are also helpful if a natural disaster strikes, when city water can be temporarily contaminated. We rely on them when traveling to countries where water potability is in question. Closer to home, we also use our jerrycan purifier with campground spigots, just to be sure.

Here’s what to know and how to choose the best water filtration system for your camping adventures, written by Karuna Eberl

LAST UPDATED

October 20, 2023

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Karuna Eberl

A freelance writer and indie film producer, Karuna Eberl covers the outdoors and nature side of DIY, exploring wildlife, green living, travel and gardening for Family Handyman. She also writes FH’s Eleven Percent column, about dynamic women in the construction workforce. Some of her other credits include the March cover of Readers Digest, National Parks, National Geographic Channel and Atlas Obscura. Karuna and her husband are also on the final stretch of renovating an abandoned house in a near-ghost town in rural Colorado. When they’re not working, you can find them hiking and traveling the backroads, camping in their self-converted van.

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