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GearJunkie: The Best Backpacking Water Filters of 2020

We tested the best backpacking water filters and purifiers for your next trip into the great outdoors.

You don’t need much to have a successful backpacking trip. Yes, you’ll need some gear (like a tent, a sleeping bag, and a pack), but most of all, you’ll need a way to get clean and safe water while on the trail.

While we explain more in-depth about how water filters work and how to choose below, here are a few things that will help you through this guide. There are many different methods of filtering (or treating) water. The most common methods are through a cartridge or tube, with either activated carbon, UV light, or chemicals.

Filters also come in different styles: straw-style, pump filters, gravity filters, and UV or tablet treatments. Know that they all make water safe to drink but differ slightly in size, durability, and price.

We’ve spoken to thru-hikers, put many of these to the test, and read hundreds of customer reviews to find out which water filters on the market are truly the best.

Read the full article from Mary Murphy on GearJunkie's website here.

LAST UPDATED

May 7, 2022

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Gear Junkie

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GearJunkie is the top source for news, adventure stories, and product reviews in the outdoors world. GearJunkie.com, launched in 2006, contains thousands of pages of content -- gear reviews, news, travel and adventure stories, a video section, photo galleries, and giveaway contests. Gear Junkie is owned and operated by Monopoint Media LLC, a company founded in 2006 by journalist Stephen Regenold and two business partners.

GearJunkie leads the outdoor industry in breaking news and product reviews in the active-lifestyle world. From offices in Denver and Minneapolis, GearJunkie’s journalists, writers, and video producers advance the conversation online and beyond. Millions of monthly readers follow GearJunkie and engage through our active social and newsletter channels. We also produce events and publish a weekly syndicated column distributed in print newspapers around the U.S.

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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

MEDIA MENTIONS

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
Media Mentions from Halfway Anywhere