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10 Best Backpacking Water Filters

What are the best water filter and water purification treatment systems used by backpackers? That really depends on your preferences, the quality of the water you need to filter or purify, and the number of people you need to treat water for. For example, squeeze-style water filters, UV purification, and filter bottles tend to be good for solo users and clear water sources, while chemical purification and pump filters/purifiers are good for larger groups and riskier for murkier water sources. Cost and filter longevity are also worth considering.

Here are the 10 best backpacking water filters and water purification systems we recommend for backpacking, hiking, and camping in 2021.

LAST UPDATED

May 8, 2022

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Section Hiker

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Philip Werner is a full-time outdoor author and backpacker who resides in New England. His website SectionHiker.com is ranked as the #1 Hiking and Backpacking Blog on the internet by AdventureJunkies.com in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021.

The name of this site, Section Hiker, refers to the Long Trail which I section hiked in 2008 and the Applachian Trail that I’m still working through. To date, I’ve completed 1400 miles of the AT and hope to complete all of the sections between Georgia and Maine someday. I’ve also hiked thru-hiked the TGO Challenge (Coast-to-Coast across Scotland) twice and I’m currently section hiking the Cape Wrath Trail, also in Scotland.

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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

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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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