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The Best Backpacking Water Filters of 2022

We pumped hundreds of liters of dirty water to find the fastest and most reliable filter

Imagine this: you’re in the backcountry, nearly out of liquids on a scorcher of a day, when you hit the first water source you’ve seen for hours. You sit down, pull out your bladder and your pump, and drop the intake tube into the water. But when you go to pump, the pressure goes slack. Or the nozzle jams, barely a drop coming out no matter how much you squeeze. Chances are, if you’ve spent enough time in the backcountry, you don’t have to imagine this scenario: It’s happened to you. Maybe more than once.

It’s certainly happened to me. So for Outdoor Life’s test of the best backpacking water filters, we decided to see which models from the top brands—including MSR, Lifestraw, Katadyn, Grayl, Platypus, and RapidPure—could handle the gnarliest water conditions backpackers can expect to find: stagnant water with high levels of bacterial contamination, the dark-tea tannin-filled water of a wetland, and silt-filled glacial runoff.

  • Best Lightweight: Katadyn BeFree and Katadyn Gravity BeFree
  • Best Budget: Sawyer Squeeze Mini
  • Best for Groups: Platypus GravityWorks
  • Best Virus Protection: MSR Guardian

Continue learning more about the best backpacking water filters, written by Laura Lancaster here.

LAST UPDATED

July 7, 2022

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Laura Lancaster

Outdoor Life

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Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System -- You want to fill up your tub and sinks before a hurricane to help ensure you have water for cleaning dishes and flushing the toilet. This water purifying system can filter out 99.99% of bacteria in up to 100,000 gallons of water so you have clean drinking water as well.

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