No items found.

Best Water Treatment for Backpacking

Water is one of the essentials. Bad water makes for a bad day, bad week, or even the end of a thru-hike. The major concern on the Pacific Crest Trail is giardia. But, diligently treating water can easily mitigate this risk and ease any anxiety from water-borne parasites. Much like resupplying food, continually replenishing water is a natural part of a thru-hike, so we compiled some of the most popular water treatment methods for PCT hikers.

There are many different methods of water purification – boiling, filtration, ultraviolet light, and chemical treatment with iodine and chlorine. All these methods are effective and proven to work for many successful backpackers. The key is finding the method and product you are most comfortable with. I have seen people hike the entire trail using iodine or other chemicals for purification despite filters being the most popular method. I have used a steripen for entire thru-hikes and never had issues. The trick is finding what method you will diligently use throughout the trip.

Besides simply boiling water — which uses too much fuel for backpacking — here are our recommended products and the most commonly seen on the Pacific Crest Trail.

LAST UPDATED

October 5, 2023

Written by
Photo thumbnail Blog Author

PCT Thru Hiking

Explore More Content

Media Mentions

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.

Matt Haines, Kai Burkhardt and Maxwell Shukuya

Media Mentions

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

Lucie's List
Media Mentions from Lucie's List

Media Mentions

Picaridin, sometimes known as icaridin, is a synthetic compound that was first developed in the 1980s to repel biting insects, including mosquitoes, ticks, and chiggers.

Apartment Therapy