5 Best Backpacking Water Filters 2020 – Reviews & Top Rated

Best Backpacking Water Filters

Clean water is essential when you explore rural and mountainous areas where the filtering system is nowhere to be found. You may suffer from a stomach parasite if you drink unfiltered liquid from natural water resources.

There is an ideal solution to this issue: backpacking water filters. They are the mini version of the filtration system that you can bring along on your trip to purify water. If you are having a hard time selecting the best backpacking water filters 2020 on the market, take a look at our list right below.

Top 5 Best Backpacking Water Filters 2020



​#1 Katadyn Water Filter – Best For Extreme Conditions

​​#2 Platypus GravityWorks 4.0 – ​Best For Group Use

#3 Katadyn Hiker Microfilter Water Filter – Best Budget Product

​#4 Sawyer Gravity Water Filtration System – Best Filtering Technology

​#5 Katadyn Hiker Pro Water Filter - Best For Normal Use

​#1 Katadyn Water Filter – Best For Extreme Conditions

This water filter from Katadyn is optimal for long-term use in any conditions, even under harsh circumstances, thanks to the high-quality material of aluminum.

There is activated carbon in the core of the system, which aids in improving the taste and reducing the chemicals in the water. Meanwhile, the ceramic elements guarantee to remove any bacteria, protozoa, cysts found. In the end, what you get is a clean water supply without harmful components.

The price is slightly high, but the massive capacity justifies it well. This product is designed to filter up to 13,000 gallons (50,000 liters) with proper maintenance. Consider the filter replacements you need to purchase when using a different system, and the Katadyn unit would be worth your investment.

This unit delivers a high output of filtering, about 1 quart per minute. On top of that, it is ultra-light, user-friendly, and compact. Such a fantastic companion along your adventure!

Unfortunately, this Katadyn product does not treat viruses in water, which can make you seriously ill. It is recommended to boil the water or add chlorines for safety.


  • ​Excellent durability as advertised
  • ​Microfiltration method
  • ​Taste improvement
  • ​High output and large capacity


  • ​Slightly heavy
  • ​Pricey compared to other competitors
  • ​Viruses untreated

​On the whole, the unit is awesome to bring along to any regions under any weather conditions. However, frequent travelers may think twice before purchasing as this Katadyn filter is a little heavy.

​#2 Platypus GravityWorks 4.0 – ​Best For Group Use

Few products can compare to the convenience of this product, which requires no pumps, batteries, moving parts, or chemicals. Simply fill the “dirty” bag with unfiltered water, hang it on a tree, and let the gravity do the rest. Is it too good to be true?

The manufacturer claims that the product can remove 99.9999% of bacteria and 99.9% of protozoa, including giardia, cryptosporidium, E. coli, salmonella, cholera at a rate of 1.75 liters per minute. Roughly speaking, you will have a 4-liter bottle of clean water in just 2.5 minutes. Thus, this product is ideal for couples or family gatherings when you need a large amount of water quickly.

The unit comes with two reservoirs, a hollow-fiber microfilter, and a storage sack. The complete kit weighs about 11.5 ounces, so it is better if you have someone to share the weight with.

One thing the Platypus can improve on is undoubtedly the durability, as this unit is vulnerable to damage in the event of external impacts. Also, it is not recommended for using in freezing areas.


  • ​Maximum convenience
  • ​No bumping required
  • ​Massive capacity
  • ​Speedy treatment


  • ​Slightly heavy
  • ​Not recommended for sub-zero temperatures

​Overall, this advanced filtration system is brilliant for a group of people in the backcountry. It got plenty to offer, including convenience, speed, as well as versatility.

​#3 Katadyn Hiker Microfilter Water Filter – Best Budget Product

Another product that comes from the well-known manufacturer Katadyn, this unit is suitable for travelers of all levels, from the newbie camper to the serious backpacker.

It features user-friendly design and high-quality filtration method, which guarantees to remove nearly all bacteria and giardia in the water.

The item has a 0.2-micron glass fiber filter, which delivers high water output at 1 quart every minute. You can get safe water for drinking purposes after about 48 pump strokes. A quick stop at the river or stream allows you to continue on your journey with a bottle full of clean water. How incredible is that!

Note that it may become difficult to pump over time. This can lead to unexpected consequences when you run low of clean water in mountainous regions.


  • ​Affordable price
  • ​Lightweight and user-friendly
  • ​Excellent bacteria removal
  • ​High filtering output


  • ​Difficult pump strokes

​This Katadyn Hiker Microfilter is undoubtedly the best product for the price. It has everything you expect in a decent water filtering system.


Similar to the Platypus Gravityworks unit above, this Sawyer product comes with two filtering bags using gravity technology to purify the water. However, the reservoir of Sawyer is a bit smaller, which contains about 1 gallon of liquid.

This unit features 0.1-micron MINI filtration, meaning it will remove any pores larger than the size. Therefore, no harmful bacteria, protozoa, or cysts can survive after filtering. This purification method meets the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommended removal rates.

There are convenient handles on each bag, which allows you to carry the water along your trek at ease. Each reservoir weighs about 4.5 ounces, quite lightweight compared to other gravity filtration systems.

The item claims to filter up to 100,000 gallons at maximum lifespan. To maintain the quality of the filter, you should backwash and sanitize it after every outing.

It is a little challenging to fill the reservoir with water from shallow areas, which is a common issue without pumping. However, concerning the price and weight, gravity filtration stands in good stead by far.


  • ​Convenience
  • ​Excellent ease-of-use
  • ​Long-term use
  • ​Portable


  • ​Difficult to fill water

​Few gravity filters can compare to this Sawyer unit in terms of convenience, capacity, as well as durability. The MINI filtration is what sets it apart from multiple items in the same range.


This unit is a pump-based water filter that eliminates dirty pores down to 0.2-micron size.

There is a pre-filter hose to remove large contaminants before the liquid reaches the main filter. This is great for cloudy or sediment-filled water.

The quick-connect fittings make connecting and disconnecting a breeze, and packing up hoses is much effortless as well. The compact size fits the purposes of seasoned backpackers well. The whole product is covered under a 1-year warranty.

Be warned that the inlet port is prone to breaking, which is terrible if you are in the wilderness with no clean water for drinking.


  • ​Almost all bacteria, protozoa, cysts, algae removed
  • ​Easy-filling bottle
  • ​Quick-connect fittings
  • ​Reasonable price


  • ​Easy-to-break inlet port

​This is a decent water filter that any backpacker expects to have in a journey to the backcountry. It is ultra-light, compact, and easy to use.

The Bottom Line

As you can see, portable water filters are essential for campers or backpackers who explore mountainous areas frequently. There is a wide array of products on the market, and we have presented you with the top 5 best units.

Supposing you want to know the best of the best, our vote goes to the Sawyer gravity filtration system. It applies advanced filtering technology in a compact design, which is suitable for travelers of any levels.

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