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For most people, water treatment is a must-have on backpacking trips. Heck, even a long day of hiking can require a filter, if you don't want to carry liters of water. It can also sometimes be a good idea to treat water while traveling, or even in the course of daily life at home.

Before the comments section implodes, we’d like to include the caveat that this article covers the filters we were sent to test. We reached out to several brands that did not respond to our inquiries, including MSR, LifeStraw, Steripen and Katadyn.

We are aware these filters are out there and have used them, but they are not included here because we didn’t test them. We’d like to note that the Katadyn BeFree is a popular alternative to the ubiquitous Sawyer Squeeze, with a fast flow rate, low weight, and super flexible bag.

Hikers can also use purifying treatments like Aquamira drops, iodine, or even bleach (repackaged into an eye dropper).

Here are the water filters tested for this article, with info on how they work and who they might be best for, written by Maggie Slepian.

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December 3, 2023

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Another option is a physical filter, which takes out any debris and bacteria to make water completely safe to drink. Mejia recommends the Sawyer Squeeze, which comes with a fill bag and is incredibly easy to use.

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Everything from Sawyer is super highly rated and effective. They’re fragrance-free and dry/set nicely, too.

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