Best Water Treatment Products for Backpackers

The luxury of drinking water directly from the tap or a water bottle isn’t available everywhere and especially when you are backpacking to lesser-developed countries, you should be sure of what you are drinking. Yes, you might be able to buy bottled water or other packaged drinks in those countries but that can be expensive and still might be something your body is ready for depending on the source. To be 100% sure that what you are drinking is good for your health, you can carry water treatment products in your backpack and always drink filtered water.

In this article, we will review the best water treatment products for backpackers that will provide you clean and safe water on demand, without destroying the environment-friendly atmosphere. Here is the list:

Note: It is recommended that you should avoid drinking water tainted with metal and other contaminants that these water filters can’t fully clear out.  Read the manufacturer guidelines and also research the water at your destination location before heading out.

Product
Visual
Where to Buy
SteriPen Ultra
SurviMate Filtered Water Bottle for Camping, Hiking, Backpacking, and Travel
LIFESAVER Systems 4000 Liter Ultra Filtration Water Filter Bottle
GRAYL Ultralight Water Purifier [+ FILTER] BOTTLE
Survivor Filter PRO
Etekcity Water Filter Straw
Katadyn MyBottle Microfilter Bottle Purification System
Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets with PA Plus neutralizing tablets

1. SteriPen Ultra

SteriPen is one of the most well-known water purifiers among backpackers because of its easy purifying process and lightweight construction. This one is the SteriPen Ultra, which features a UV lamp that emits UV-C light rays which safely purify the water by destroying 99.99% of protozoa, bacteria, and many viruses. You can purify about 16oz. of water in less than a minute with it.

All you have to do is dip the pen into the water and it will sterilize the water automatically, the process sounds easy and fun, right? Yes, it does, but it does have some limitations too. Firstly, it can only be used on clear water, not cloudy/dirty water because it just purifies it (kills the bacteria), not remove it. Secondly, it relies on battery power, which means when you are out of battery and you don’t have a power option near you, you can’t purify the water anymore.

Still, if you want to purify water that is free from dirt and other heavy contaminants then using the SteriPen Ultra is a good option to go with.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Lightweight
  • Can be recharged via a USB cable that comes with it
  • Works well on clear water

Cons:

  • Only purifies (does not remove the contaminants)
  • Battery-powered (not always reliable)

2. SurviMate Filtered Water Bottle for Camping, Hiking, Backpacking, and Travel

The SurviMate filtered water bottle is a combination of a water bottle and a filtration system. It has a 4-in-1 filtration system, which means there are 4 high-performance filters installed in this water bottle to provide you clean water that is free from viruses, harmful chemicals, and heavy metals along with protozoa and bacteria.

All you have to do is fill the bottle with water from any source and sip it 5 to 8 times to get clean water, you don’t have to worry about pumping, hoses, batteries and other complex mechanisms. Another great thing for backpackers, it has a built-in compass on the top of the bottle that will help you find directions.

Pros:

  • Designed to remove nearly all common bacteria
  • 4-in-1 filtration system provides enhanced protection against contamination
  • Excellent choice for backpackers
  • Can be used to filter water from a number of sources

Cons:

  • You need to sip for at least 5 to 8 times to get clean water

3. LIFESAVER Systems 4000 Liter Ultra Filtration Water Filter Bottle

The Lifesaver Ultra Filtration water bottle is equipped with a filter cartridge straw that can easily filter cysts, viruses, bacteria, etc. The filtration system can filter 4,000 liters of water before it needs replacing.

The installed filtration system provides you a fast flow rate i.e. 2L per minute. The bottle capacity is 750ml and weighs only 1.3lb. To filter water, all you have to do is pump the filter that is at the bottom of the bottle and then drink the water directly from the spout.

Pros:

  • Filters water from about any water source
  • Excellent flow rate
  • Filtered water tastes good
  • Removes viruses

Cons:

  • Users stated that it leaks
  • Cheap plastic outer
  • Expensive

4. GRAYL Ultralight Water Purifier [+ FILTER] BOTTLE

This ultralight water purifier+filter bottle by Grayl is one of the best water treatment products used by many global travelers, outdoor adventurers, hikers, backpackers, and preppers. It doesn’t just purify the water but also filter out and remove bacteria and other contaminants from it, giving you clean water to drink.

It works much like a French press, all you have to do is fill water from any source in the bottle container (bottom part), and press the filter-integrated container (top part) against the bottom part the output will be pure drinking water. The only thing that we didn’t like about it is its low capacity (less than half a liter). It won’t be a problem if you are backpacking to cold countries but in hot countries, you will get through it before even knowing.

So, in short, Grayl is a suitable choice for short trips.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Removes viruses
  • Good flow rate
  • Filters can be changed easily

Cons:

  • The filter has a short lifespan
  • No drinking spout
  • Low capacity

5. Survivor Filter PRO

If you are traveling, hiking, or backpacking along with a team of friends and want a water treatment product that can be used to filter an unlimited amount of water, then getting the Survivor Filter Pro is an excellent choice. It just weighs 8oz. that makes it a lightweight and manageable option.

Its filtration system consists of 3-stage filtration that is capable of filtering an extensive quantity of water before needing replacement. It has an easy mechanism for filtering water, all you have to do is put one end of the pipe in the water source and the other one in the container you want to collect the water in and then pump the handle on it. It can filter 500ml of water per minute. It has 0.1-micron filters that can remove heavy metals and contaminants that most other products can’t even touch.

Pros:

  • Excellent build quality
  • Removes about every contaminant
  • Lightweight and compact

Cons:

  • Pumps slow
  • Users stated that it has a cheap plastic construction

6. Etekcity Water Filter Straw

If you have a low budget and want a water filtration product that can filter water of bacteria, parasites, and protozoa then the Etekcity Water Filter Straw is a perfect choice for you. It is kind of a disposable product because once the filter has filtered about 1500 liters of water, it can’t be replaced.

It includes three filters to provide you with clean water. Its working is just like a regular straw, all you have to do is put the filter straw into the water and suck clean water from the other side. It also comes with a foldable water pouch to collect the water and filter it later. It is a good choice for low-budget backpackers.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Has a 3-stage advanced filtration system
  • Comes with a foldable water pouch
  • Sufficient lifespan for the price

Cons:

  • Hard to draw water from the straw
  • No virus filtration

7. Katadyn MyBottle Microfilter Bottle Purification System

The Katadyn MyBottle is equipped with a Microfilter that can remove viruses, dirt, cysts, and bacteria easily. It is an extremely lightweight and portable option for backpacking. Just like most other water filtration bottles, the Katdayn MyBottle is also equipped with a 3-stage filtration system. To filter and drink clean water, all you have to do is fill water and squeeze the bottle while sipping.

If you want to take the bottle to the gym or just want to use it on an everyday basis, you can remove the filtration straw. It has an ergonomic design for good grip and is made of BPA-free plastic to ensure health safety.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Removes viruses
  • Cost-effective
  • Uses a combination of filtration and iodine purification

Cons:

  • The filter has a short lifespan (only 150 liters)
  • Some might not like the taste of iodine in their water

8. Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets with PA Plus neutralizing tablets

We have mentioned many best filtration water bottles and straws above, now let’s discuss another water treatment product, Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets. It might not be the first thing that will come in mind when buying the best water treatment product for backpacking but it will certainly help in removing iodine taste and odor within a few minutes.

If you are extra sensitive when it comes to safety and health, you should get these tablets along with a water purification bottle. Filter out about 1 liter of water using any of the above-mentioned purification bottles and put 2 Potable Aqua tablets into it. These tablets will further remove the bad odor and kill residual contaminants, providing you the purest water to drink. It can also neutralize extremely cloudy water.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • A great addition to the purification process
  • Includes PA+ tablets to improve the taste of water

Cons:

  • Kills the contaminants but doesn’t remove them

Final Verdict

There is no universal water treatment product that perfectly suits to every backpacker. A lot of things come into play when you are making a decision, for instance, the trip duration, the country you are traveling to, how long you are going to stay there, etc. In this article, we have recommended 8 best water purification and filtration products for backpacking to eliminate your confusion.

However, if you are going on a short or medium trip then we would suggest that you opt for the GRAYL Ultralight Water Purifier [+ FILTER] BOTTLE because it is affordable and easy to use for even beginners. If you are planning for a long trip, where you will be spending months and think that the water condition is dubious there, then you can get your hands on the LIFESAVER Systems 4000 Liter Ultra Filtration Water Filter Bottle because it is worth the investment and you don’t have to find replacements for the filter so often.