The 8 Best Portable Water Filters for Hiking, Camping, or Daily Use
Whether you’re preparing for wilderness survival or just want to keep your tap water tasting clean, these accessories are a great investment.
If you plan on venturing out into the wilderness for a hike or camping trip, it’s a great idea to bring along a portable water filter. These handy contraptions allow you to transform murky river and lake water into fresh drinking water, filtering out bacteria and other contaminants that would otherwise make the supply undrinkable.
Most options are relatively inexpensive and take up minimal room, so even if you plan on bringing your own supply of drinking water, it’s probably worth purchasing one to have on hand just in case. If you’re not a hiker, you can still purchase lighter-duty filters that fit directly into your water bottle, removing potentially harmful particles and contaminants lurking in your tap or drinking fountain water.
What to Consider
First, consider the type of filter that will work best for you. Basic straw models, like the Lifestraw, are simple to use in a pinch—you just suck water through them like a straw—but aren’t practical for filtering large amount of water for transport. Pump filters weigh a bit more than straws and take up more room, but they allow you to easily fill up spare bottles or jugs to drink from later. Electric pumps are convenient and don’t require you to manually pump, but if you run out of batteries or a charge, they’re not much use. Some portable filters are designed to fit right inside of an existing bottle, combining the filter and container in one unit.
Another important factor to think about is the effectiveness of the filter itself. Micron measurements (short for micrometer) indicate the size of particles that are able to fit through the tiny pores of your filter, and how effective it will be at filtering water. For example, a grain of sand is about 250 microns, while the E. coli bacteria is between 1 and 2 microns. According to Scouting Magazine, “a filter with pores 1 micron or less should provide sufficient protection.”
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