The Best Water Filters and Purifiers for Outdoor Activities
Having essential items like solid footwear, a comfortable hiking backpack, a first aid kit, and a few days’ worth of food is essential when you’re on the trail, but nothing is more important than having a safe water source. You could be dehydrated in three days without water (more like one or two if you’re outdoors), but water alone is not enough: It needs to be clean – not just of particulate matter like dirt and sand but of bacteria, protozoa, and viruses as well.
Moreover, it’s almost impossible to bring enough water with you for an extended hike if you’re not moving by vehicle. And if you’re in the wilderness far away from sources of clean drink, then the water you encounter outdoors may not be safe. Streams, ponds, and other freshwater bodies may look and even taste clean while in fact being host to a myriad of bacteria, parasites, and other pathogens that can be a serious – sometimes, even fatal – problem when you’re hundreds of miles away from civilization.
That’s why a durable, reliable, simple, and efficient water filter is an indispensable tool in any survival kit. There are plenty of great ones on the market today, and we’ve rounded up the best ones below (most of which are surprisingly inexpensive). Given how important a clean source of hydration is, there’s no excuse not to have one in your pack, so read on.
Best Overall: Sawyer PointOne Water Filter
Portable filters move water through a filtration medium in several different ways: via pumps, squeezing, sucking, or even gravity. Typically, a filter system is designed to be used in only one way, but the Sawyer PointOne water filter is our favorite due to the fact that it can be used both as a personal filter (which you drink directly through) or as a pump that allows you to dispense filtered water directly into a separate container.
This two-in-one versatility, paired with excellent filtration that removes more than 99.99% of bacteria and protozoa (and 100% of microplastic contaminants), makes the Sawyer PointOne our top recommendation for most people.
Explore more of the best water filters and purifiers for outdoor activities written by Lucas Coll here.
A 20% DEET Premium Controlled-Release Lotion will work well against mosquitoes, but Dr. Zimring says he prefers the 20% Picaridin lotion since it also protects against ticks, gnats, chiggers, and flies. (In both instances, he recommends Sawyer brand.)
Part of spending time outside means battling ticks, mosquitoes, and other biting insects. For this, Nelson swears by permethrin.
And out of the products we tested, Dr. Zeichner highly recommends Sawyer Products 20% Picaridin Insect Repellent.