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Top 14 Best Survival Water Filters – Portable Water Purification Systems

Water is the source of life, and in developed nations such as ours we seldom pause to consider just how dire our circumstances would be without it.

And yet, there may come a time when you find yourself in a situation where water, or the quality of it, cannot be guaranteed and then what?

Developments in recent years have brought extraordinary advancements in water filtering devices, and now they’re better than ever: they’re portable. Perfect for hikers, campers, or those wishing to safeguard themselves against a possible water quality compromise, portable survival water filters are truly a godsend.

Water filtering devices are designed to remove nearly all waterborne bacteria and parasites from drinking water. Available in an endless assortment of models, survival water filters are most popularly carried either in the MSR Guardian make or LifeStraw component, depending on one’s needs and space capacity. While the MSR Guardian is slightly bulkier, it offers optimal water filtering by volume, making it ideal for extended treks and multiple traveling companions. The LifeStraw is much simpler, and designed for the individual in a less perilous environment, with the ability to filter up to 1000 litres of water for one person over the course of a year.

Regardless of the make you choose, survival water filters are a must-have in every man’s kit. Outdoorsmen or metropolitan dweller, a reliable water filtering device is insurance against the unexpected, as well as a welcome convenience when the situation calls for it. Portable water filters are also a perfect gift for the frequent traveler, and a worthy investment when going abroad.

We can’t always be certain that the modern conveniences we enjoy today will be readily available tomorrow, but we can prepare for the worst in the most ingenious way possible. Explore Brian Cornwell's list of best survival water filters here.


May 5, 2022

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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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