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The Best Backpacking Water Filters of 2020

For 10 years, we've bought and rigorously tested 65+ of the best backpacking water filters. Our 2020 review compares 24 of the top products available. Our team of parched backcountry testers put these devices and treatments through a battery of side by side tests and comparisons across in the field and in our "lab." To push them to their limits, we used them on the worst waters we could find, including contaminated waterways and stagnant pools. We filtered hundreds of gallons of water to bring you our best recommendations for the right filtration or purification system to keep you happy and healthy on your adventures.

See the full review by Amber King and Jessica Haist on Gear Lab's website here.


May 7, 2022

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Have you ever wanted to buy an outdoor product and been stumped about which product is best? Or, worse, bought a product only to learn later that you didn’t buy the right one for your needs? I have, and that is why I started OutdoorGearLab.

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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


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

Pete Ortiz


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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