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If you spend a lot of time in the Great Outdoors, having an effective water filter that’s portable is a must. It could even save your life. The best hiking water filter will be able to purify the water around you, making it safe for consumption and remove any questions as to whether or not it’s purified and ready to drink.
While the outdoors are beautiful, they can also be dangerous if you’re not properly prepared. Having access to clean water will get you a long way in many situations. This is why having a portable water filter is so important for outdoor enthusiasts. The good news is that after scouring several sources, we’ve found some of the best hiking water filters on the market! You can choose from something basic that’s inexpensive or look to the more expensive, luxury models.
There is something available for every budget and skill level. In order to find the best options for our readers, we went through extensive product testing and research, which revealed three of our favorite water filters for hiking. Each of these filters offer ease of use, affordability, and protection from as much as 99% of bacteria and other harmful contaminants! Keep reading to discover more about our picks for the best hiker water filter.
Quick Picks for the Best Hiking Water Filter of 2020
- Top Pick — GRAYL Ultralight
- Budget Pick — LifeStraw
- Luxury Pick — Katadyn Hiker Pro
- The best hiking water filters of 2020
- The importance of water filtration in the outdoors
- How we chose the best hiking water filter
Our Picks for the Best Hiking Water Filter
In order to find the best water filters for hiking on the market, we applied hands-on testing and looked at many verified third-party reviews, so we knew what actual users thought of these products. We also took into account manufacturer data and product information. You can learn more about our process in the How We Chose section.
Top Overall: Grayl Ultralight
Key Features: Purifier and filter; removes protozoa, virus, bacteria and more; great reviews; very easy to use
Price Range: $$
The GRAYL Ultralight Water Purifier is one of the best water filters for hiking. GRAYL is a name many hikers are familiar with, and the company has developed a trusted reputation in the industry. The Ultralight Water Purifier offers a one press design that has won awards for its ability to make purified water in just 15 seconds. Not only that, but it can be done from the majority of fresh water sources worldwide. The GRAYL hiking water filters remove over 99.99% of viruses and bacteria including Giardia, Hepatitis A, and SARS.
As an added bonus, the GRAYL hiking water filter particulates a variety of chemicals and metals so that your water tastes and smells better. So, after just a few seconds of purifying your water will look, taste, and smell better.
While this is perfect for hiking, it’s also recommended for other outdoor activities like backpacking, camping, or even emergency preparedness and survival situations. Just fill the freshwater in the bottle, press, and drink.
Key Features: Very small & lightweight; drink directly from any water source; meets EPA standards; affordable
Price Range: $
LifeStraw is one of the most trusted names in the portable water filter industry. There are several different models of LifeStraw water filters. The LifeStraw Personal water filter is a great choice for an inexpensive hiking water filter, but also works for any outdoor adventure. Weighing in at just two ounces, this straw can be taken with you wherever you go and will allow you to get clean drinking water from any fresh water source you encounter. All claims made by LifeStraw are completely verifiable. In addition, they pass a variety of testing protocols set by the EPA, NSF, and ASTM.
Despite being budget friendly, your LifeStraw should have a decent lifespan. With the right care, it will filter up to 1,000 gallons of contaminated water, making it fresh and clean enough to safely drink. The LifeStraw Cross Personal Water Filter removes up to 99.99% of bacteria and parasites, as well as micro plastics.
At less than $20, LifeStraw water filters are a great deal. More importantly, every purchase that is made does additional good in the world. Every time someone purchases a LifeStraw, one child will receive clean drinking water for a full school year.
Click here to learn more about the LifeStraw!
Luxury: Katadyn Hiker Pro
Key Features: Lightweight and packable; effective multistage filter; removable prefilter to extend filter life
Price Range: $$$
The Katadyn Hiker Pro Transparent Water Microfilter has just about everything you could need or want in a water filter for hiking or other outdoor activities. For starters, the water filter will protect you from bacteria and cysts down to 0.2 micron, using a pleated glass-fiber filter. The core of the filter includes activated carbon, which improves the taste of the water while also reducing the amount of chemicals that you might consume.
If you’re using your Katadyn water filter in some of the more challenging conditions worldwide, you’ll appreciate the filter protector screen, which you can clean in order to extend the life of the cartridge. At 11 ounces in total, it is lightweight, and should fit easily amongst other hiking supplies. You can even see the filtration process as it happens, thanks to the transparent design.
Your Katadyn Hiker Pro Transparent Water Microfilter comes with a prefilter and carrying bag. You can connect it directly to either a hydration pack or water bottle, which makes the process quick and simple, no matter your situation. Click here to learn more.
Importance of Water Filters for Hiking
Clean drinking water is important in any situation, but if you’re going to be taking a trip into the wilderness, you never know what situations are going to arise. Anyone that has had the displeasure of ending up with a stomach virus knows how important having safe water is. If you haven’t experienced that, a good water filter will ensure that you don’t have to.
Here are some additional ways that the best hiking water filters will benefit you:
Taste – Safe water is the most important thing, but as an added benefit, many of the best water filters ensure that the taste of the water also improves. If you’re a regular hiker, you will encounter a variety of water sources. Your water filter will help to improve the taste of the water once it’s purified. The results are often crisp, clean water that is free of dangerous contaminants.
Peace of Mind – First, you don’t have to deal with carrying gallons of water anymore. Add to that, the security that comes with knowing that you can get water from any fresh source and clear it of contaminants so that you can drink it, no matter where you’re traveling. Water filters for hiking are simple to use. Many of them allow you to hook up to your own water bottle or hydration bag. The process is simple, and it ensures you get the water you need to enjoy your excursion safely.
Safety – Contaminated water is no joke. Even water that might look okay to drink without purifying could give you a stomach parasite or something even worse. Taking a few seconds and cleaning your water with a hiking water filter will ensure the water is safe. Filtering the water should remove up to 99% of bacteria and parasites. This will help to keep you safe and avoid any unnecessary illnesses or worse.
How We Chose
There are a wide variety of quality water filters for hikers on the market. With that in mind, we wanted to find you the top-quality products that we would use ourselves. This is how we determined the best hiking water filters available in 2020.
Filtration Technology – What and how your water is filtered is one of the first things we look at when it comes to choosing the best water filters for hiking. We looked at how many contaminants would be filtered out of the water, where the water filters could be used, and what they used to filter the water. This allowed us to not only to consider how clean the water was, but how it tasted, as well.
Brand Recognition – Even though there are dozens of water filters for hiking on the market, there are a certain amount of companies that you’ll see time and again making them. While every company will claim their product is the best, we considered things like third-party reviews and other factors to determine who has the best reputation for putting superior products on the market.
Quality – If you’re depending on a water filter for protection in a survival situation, you want something you can trust. We looked for filters with longer lifespans. We also took into account the cost to replace any parts, when it comes time to do so.
Price – The best hiking water filter, doesn’t always have to be the most expensive. While price was a consideration, it was more about value of the product. We didn’t shy away from more expensive water filters during our research. That said, we tried to make sure that they were worth what you might pay for them.
That about covers it! You should know all you need to know about hiking water filters. Of course, if you have more questions you can either check out our guide with the best water filters or leave us a comment!
Ph.D. graduate working as a water quality consultant for many government agencies helping them find solutions to the ever-growing problem of polluted water. Loves a good coffee!