2021’s Best Water Filters For Camping

Having clean drinking water is a crucial camping necessity. To that end, a good water filter for camping should be included in every camping checklist.

When looking for water filters designed specifically for camping, we wanted to compare the price, weight, ease of use, and type of filter to help you make the best, affordable decision.

There are several types of water filters for camping, including gravity filters, squeeze filters, and pump filters. Each type of filter will have a different flow rate.

Whether you are replacing an old water filter or buying your first water filter for camping, let’s jump in and look at the best water filters for camping.

How We Tested These Water Filters

We bought the camping filters and gave them to our writers to test over a period of time in the last year. Our writers were familiar with water filters for camping already, having been chosen for this article based on their camping experience level. We also looked at online forums, Amazon user reviews and third-party website reviews.


1. Sawyer Squeeze

The Sawyer Squeeze is a squeeze water filter usable in a variety of ways. You can spray the water directly into your mouth or into a bottle. You can also fit the Sawyer Squeeze in most water bottles. It is lightweight and works in the palm of your hand, weighing only two ounces.

This water filter is great if you have to do big hike to get to your camping location as it is compact, versatile, and durable.

There is no strange taste as the water is not treated with chemicals.

The Sawyer Squeeze removes 100% microplastics and protozoa, cysts, sediment, and harmful bacteria like salmonella, cholera, and E.coli. It takes forty seconds to filter one liter of water, so it is speedy.

When you purchase the Sawyer Squeeze, it comes with three reusable, BPA free pouches, a cleaning plunger, cleaning coupling, gravity tubing, inline hydration pack adapters, and a mesh storage bag. You get one 16 oz pouch and two 32 oz pouches.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Best, quick ultralight filter
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Reusable bags wear down easily
  • Not great for group use

2. Platypus GravityWorks

Unlike the Sawyer Squeeze, the Platypus GravityWorks is excellent for couples or groups. This is because they can filter four liters of water in two and a half minutes! 

GravityWorks water filter is a gravity filter. To use, you fill-up the dirty pouch with water and hang it above the clean pocket with the filter in between, and gravity does all the work. There is no pumping or squeezing needed. It uses a hollow-fiber water filter system that meets EPA/NSF guidelines to remove bacteria and protozoa. The quick disconnect valves and hose clamps make setting up and cleaning up a breeze.

GravityWorks comes with a four-liter dirty pouch, four-liter clean pouch, hollow-fiber microfilter, hoses, shutoff clamp, and a storage sack. Each filter can be used for up to 1500 liters. The carrying weight for this filter is 11.5 ounces and is available in two-liter or four-liter sizes.

Pros

  • Convenient
  • Quick
  • Low maintenance
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Can’t gather from shallow sources
  • Clogs with heavy sediment
Sale
Platypus GravityWorks High-Capacity Water Filter System for Group Camping and Emergency Preparedness, 4.0 Liter
  • High-capacity, gravity-fed, hollow-fiber water filter system is ideal for group and family camping, outdoor adventures, and emergency preparedness
  • Meets all EPA/NSF guidelines for removal of 99.9999% of bacteria and 99.9% of protozoa, including giardia, cryptosporidium, E. coli, salmonella, cholera
  • No pumping required; reservoir fills easily and hangs from a tree to deliver four liters of filtered water for cooking and washing in 2.5 minutes
  • Includes 4-liter dirty water reservoir, 4-liter clean water reservoir, hollow-fiber microfilter, hoses, shutoff clamp, and storage sack
  • Replaceable cartridge filters up to 1,500 gallons; produces flow rate of 1.75 liters/minute; kit weights 11.5 ounces; made in the USA

3. Katadyn BeFree

Great for personal use, the Katadyn BeFree is available for multiple sizes and weighs anywhere from 2.3 oz to 3.5 oz. This filter is usable as a gravity filter or a squeeze filter, depending on your purchase size. What we like best about BeFree is the affordable prices, ultralightweight, and the filtration rate. You can filter up to two liters per minute!

This filter is different from the Sawyer Squeeze and Platypus GravityWorks because it is a wide-mouth soft bottle for personal use instead of group use. It can be used in streams, rivers, lakes, and even from a faucet. Katadyn BeFree is perfect for hiking while camping as it is collapsible and will fold up concisely when not being used.

Another reason we like this filter is that it is easy to clean. Simply shake or swish water in the end to remove debris. It is not as durable as other water filters on the list, and it has a lower life expectancy of only 1000 liters.

Pros

  • Best collapsible
  • Fast flow rate
  • Easy to clean
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Lacks durability and reliability
  • Small filtration system
Katadyn BeFree 0.6L Water Filter, Fast Flow, 0.1 Micron EZ Clean Membrane for Endurance Sports, Camping and Backpacking (8019639)
  • 0. 1 micron water filter removes harmful organisms like bacteria 99. 9999% and protozoa like giardia & Cryptosporidium 99. 9%, surpassing EPA standards
  • Collapsible 0. 6L hydrapak soft bottle flask packs down small to fit in tight spaces (pant or jacket pockets, purses, cycling jerseys, fly vests
  • EZ-clean Membrane is simple and easy to clean by simply shaking or swishing the filter to clean debris, no backflushing or extra tools required
  • Filters up to 1, 000 liters of contaminated water without using chemicals or other devices and hydrate quickly and easily with the free flow channels fast flow rate
  • Stay clean drink nozzle keeps the mouthpiece clean and sanitary (replaceable with standard plastic water bottle Caps)

4. LifeStraw

LifeStraw is perfect for emergencies. You can get water from virtually any water sources such as puddles, rivers, streams, and lakes. This filter is a straw filter, so when sucking with your mouth, the water is filtered.

LifeStraw filters out particulates and pathogens like bacteria and protozoa; however, it does not filter out viruses. It can remove chemicals as well.

Similar to the Platypus GravityWorks, LifeStraw uses a hollow fiber cartridge. Working best in clear water, there is no pumping needed or chemical treatment required.

It is durable with few parts and a simple design filtering up to 1,000 gallons (4,000 liters).

Another reason we like LifeStraw is the carrying capability. It can be worn around the neck.

LifeStraw has several products available using the same technology, including a GoWater filter bottle, Flex Multi-Function water filter system, and Family 1.0 portable gravity-powered water purifier.

A couple of downfalls of the LifeStraw is that there are no storage capabilities, and you have to lay down to use it or fill a bottle with dirty water.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Simple
  • Perfect for on-the-go

Cons

  • Not ideal for treating multiple liters
  • Hard to clean

5. Grayl Geopress

The Grayle Geopress is one of our favorite water systems on the list. It is a water purifier instead of a water filter. A purifier filters out viruses where a filter does not. Viruses are not the only things the Geopress removes from the water. It will remove bacteria, protozoa, microorganisms, heavy metals, and microplastics. We love this water purifier because it is excellent for international camping, traveling, and families.

It will purify 24 oz in 8 sec. It is the only cleaner on this list that allows you to know the purifiers limit’s status. You will know you need a new purifier filter when the press time reaches 25 seconds, or you have used the bottle for three years since the first use. Suitable for 350 cycles, the press action filter will get you through several camping trips, and replacement purifier filters can be purchased separately.

The Geopress meets EPA guidelines filters using electroabsorption/activated carbon. The system is armored with a dirty bottle and a clean bottle. You fill the dirty bottle with unclean water and press the clean bottle into the dirty bottle to filter it. There is no need to pump, squeeze, or wait for clean water.

The most important reason we love the Geopress is that it prevents cross-contamination with a screw top that covers the drinking spot.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Fast filtration
  • Durable
  • Excellent water quality

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Limited Filter uses
  • Can’t purify large quantities
GRAYL Geopress 24 oz Water Purifier for Global Travel, Backpacking, Hiking, and Survival (Coyote Amber)
  • ONEPRESS GLOBAL PROTECTION: Empowers international travelers and outdoor adventurers to make the world’s sketchiest water sources safe and clean to drink. Ideal for global travel and outdoor adventures (hiking, camping, backpacking, fishing, hunting) and survival scenarios
  • REMOVES ALL PATHOGENS: Viruses, bacteria and protozoa - from any freshwater source on Earth. Filters pesticides, chemicals, heavy metals, and microplastics; improves taste
  • UNRIVALED EASE & SPEED: Effortlessly purifies 24 oz (710ml) of water in as quick as eight seconds. Requires no setup time, pumps, hoses, sucking, batteries, chemicals, or prolonged waiting. Simply – Fill. Press. Drink.
  • MAKES WATER TREATMENT EASY: Use your body weight on the SoftPress Comfort Pads to power purification. Drink and share safe, clean water through the SimpleVent Cap
  • AWARD WINNING ONEPRESS VERSATILITY: No straw, pump or gravity bag can match. Effortlessly fill from any spigot, hotel sink, murky river, taco stand, lake, or well.

6. MSR Guardian

Made of military-grade quality, the MSR Guardian is a pump filter that is actually a purifier. It eliminates viruses in addition to bacteria and protozoa. The Guardian has an attached pre-filter that has minimal maintenance. Ideal for terribly dreadful water sources both locally and internationally. The Guardian is also great for emergency preparedness.

We like the Guardian for many reasons, but our top reason is that it is self-cleaning. It back purges with every pump to help clean.

We also like it because it has a high flow-rate, 2.5 L per minute, with little pumping fatigue. Coming in at 17.3 oz, this water filter is ideal for individuals or small groups. It is reliable and is an excellent investment for long-term value. It can be frozen and has incredible water quality.

The filter has a lifetime of 10,000 filters, but replacement filters can be purchased separately. The Guardian is reliable and great when paired with a wide mouth bottle, like a Nalgene. There are not a lot of loose parts and includes a carrying case.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Fast filtration
  • Durable
  • Excellent water quality

Cons

  • Does not remove heavy metals or chemicals
  • Heavy
  • No adapter for narrow bottles or reservoirs
MSR Guardian Military-Grade Water Purifier Pump for Backcountry, Global Travel, and Emergency Preparedness
  • Military-grade water purifier pump removes viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and particulate from contaminated water sources virtually anywhere on earth
  • Meets NSF protocol P248 testing standard of the U.S. military, using medical-grade fibers to provide protection from the tiniest waterborne threats
  • Pumps at a rapid 2.5 liters per minute, treats up to 10,000 liters of water, and withstands freezing, drops, heavy use, and harsh environments
  • Pump self-cleans on every stroke, providing consistently fast flow rates with zero hassle—no backflushing or filter-scrubbing ever required
  • Ideal for backcountry, expeditions, global travel, and survival; purifier pump measures 8.2 x 4.7 inches and weighs 17.3 ounces; made in the USA

7. Katadyn Gravity Camp 6L

Similar to the Platypus GravityWorks, the Katadyn Gravity Camp is a gravity filter that is convenient and easy to use. Other positive aspects of the Katadyn Gravity Camp include a high volume filtration system that can filter 6 L of water in six minutes. It is usable in cold weather and is suitable for small parties and bigger groups.

To use the filter, simply dip, hang, and wait. Dip the pouch into the dirty water source and hang it up to allow gravity to filter it. Wait a short time to get your clean water. As the water gets filter, the activated-carbon removes the nasty water smell. When the filter gets dirty, you can clean the filter with some disassembly. The Gravity Camp has a robust construction and is easy to maintain.

It weighs 11.65 oz and can be folded or rolled. It comes with a zip-up case to prevent losing pieces.

Our final thought is that the Katadyn Gravity Camp 6 L is the best value gravity filter.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Great price
  • Durable
  • Fast flow

Cons

  • Does not filter out viruses
  • No additional storage reservoir
  • Struggles with heavy amounts of sediment
Katadyn Gravity Camp 6L Water Filter
  • New ultra flow filter technology
  • 4 Times faster flow and longer life
  • Hydration bladder quick connects
  • Sediment trap elongates life and inhibits clogging
  • No back-flushing hassles

8. Katadyn Hiker Pro

The Katadyn Hiker Pro is our favorite hand pump water filter for camping on the list. It is transparent, lightweight, and has a compact design. It is smaller than the MSR Guardian but is perfect for shallow water. The extra-long tube and smaller intake make it easy to reach almost any water source from small to large sources.

This classic design is reliable and ideal for personal use or small group use, and it is suitable for backcountry North America.

Our favorite aspect of the Hiker Pro is the many adapters included. These adapters will allow the filter to connect to bottles and hydration packs. It is very versatile.

The Hiker Pro has a little trouble when the water is not clear. It can clog with sediment despite the anticlog pleated cartridge. Regular cleaning is required to keep the 1100 L life expectancy.

Pros

  • Versatile
  • Classic
  • Reliable
  • Can get into virtually any water source

Cons

  • Heavy like a gravity filter
  • Requires energy to pump
  • Not self-cleaning
Sale
Katadyn Hiker Pro Transparent Water Filter, Lightweight, Compact Design for Personal or Small Group Camping, Backpacking or Emergency Preparedness
  • Proven protection against bacteria and protozoan cysts down to 0.2 micron with pleated glass-fiber filter media
  • Activated carbon in the core of the filter improves the taste and reduces chemicals in your drinking water
  • The field cleanable filter protector screen extends the life of the cartridge in challenging conditions
  • Long-time trusted option for backpackers with it's ultra-light 11oz, compact size and compatibility with hydration bladders
  • Transparent design allows you to see the filtration working

9. MSR Trailshot

To tie up our list, the MSR Trailshot is a compact, ultralight hand pump water filter. If you are going for a short weekend camping trip, the Trailshot is perfect. It is affordable and works well in shallow water, such as streams and puddles.

A pre-filter is attached, making it easy to drink straight from the Trailshot or to fill bottles. It is pocket-sized, which makes carrying easy, especially if you plan to go for hikes while camping.

Another convenience is that it is a one-hand operation, and you can filter water while doing something else. It has a fast flow rate with one liter in 60 seconds.

Like other filters on this list, it uses a hollow fiber technology to filter up to 2,000 L without using iodine, chlorine, or other chemicals. MSR suggests you backflush to keep the filter clean.

The Trailshot is perfect for a solo camper or a couple but not recommended for a group or family.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Affordable
  • Works well in shallow water
  • Compact

Cons

  • Pumping can get tiring
  • Short intake tube
MSR TrailShot Pocket-Sized Water Filter for Hiking, Camping, Travel, and Emergency Preparedness
  • Pocket-sized lightweight water filter cleans water on-the-go for hiking, camping, traveling, and emergency preparedness
  • Drink directly from the source or fill a water bottle or hydration pack; easy one-handed operation filters one liter in 60 seconds
  • Ultralight (5 ounces) and compact (6x2.4 inches), it fits in a stash pocket for trail runners, hikers, and mountain bikers
  • Hollow fiber technology allows water to pass through but traps harmful protozoa, like giardia and cryptosporidium, and bacteria, like salmonella
  • Effective against bacteria (99.9999%), protozoa (99.9%) and particulate; filters up to 2,000 liters without iodine, chlorine or other chemicals

Conclusion

There are many factors to consider when shopping for the best water filter for camping. Price, type of filter, type of water you will be filtering, and the number of people using the water filter. Location is something else to consider. Will you be traveling internationally to camp or staying local? You should also think about how you will be getting to your camping location. If you plan to hike in, you want something lightweight. There are many filters/purifiers on this list that will get the job done. We hope you’ve found a favorite, just like we have!

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