ContentsQUICK ANSWER – THE BEST BACKPACKING WATER PURIFIERS COMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST BACKPACKING WATER PURIFIERSBACKPACKING WATER PURIFIERS REVIEWSLIFESTRAW FAMILY 1.0 WATER PURIFIERSTERIPEN CLASSIC 3 WATER PURIFIER WITH PREFILTERMSR GUARDIANGRAYL ULTRALIGHT PURIFIER BOTTLEAQUAMIRA WATER TREATMENT DROPSMSR SWEETWATER WATER PURIFIERKATADYN MICROPUR TABLETSMSR AQUATABSPOTABLE AQUA TABLETSHOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST BACKPACKING WATER PURIFIERSPRE-FILTER OR NOT?GIARDIA, CRYPTOSPORIDIUM & VIRUS REMOVALBATTERY REPLACEMENTRECHARGEABLE OR REPLACEABLE BATTERY?CONTAINERCHEMICALSBACKUPSSALTWATER Finding the best backpacking water purifier is an important yet confusing, experience. A few too many protozoan cysts in your water on a backpacking trip and you’ll be doubled over in your tent wishing for home. But do you need to filter or purify that water to make it safe to drink? Should you get something that removes viruses or protozoa like Giardia and Cryptosporidium? Or both? Does a UV purifier do what you need? How can you tell? That’s where we come in. There are many gear decisions to make. One of our goals here at The Adventure Junkies is to simplify shopping for outdoor gear. In this article, we’ll cover things to keep in mind when choosing backpacking water purifiers. We’ll also show you how to find one that works best for you and keeps your water clean and you feeling great on your trip. For more of our top hiking gear recommendations, check out these popular articles: Tents | Hammocks | Bivy Sacks | Tarps Sleeping Bags | Sleeping Pads | Stoves Backpacks | GPS | Headlamps | Poles| Watches Boots | Shoes | Sandals | Pants | Shorts Base Layers | Fleeces | Down Jackets | Rain Jackets QUICK ANSWER – THE BEST BACKPACKING WATER PURIFIERS 1. LIFESTRAW FAMILY 1.0 PURIFIER VIEW AT AMAZON 2. STERIPEN CLASSIC 3 WITH PREFILTER VIEW AT REI 3. MSR GUARDIAN VIEW AT REI 4. GRAYL ULTRALIGHT PURIFIER BOTTLE VIEW AT REI 5. AQUAMIRA DROPS VIEW AT REI 6. MSR SWEETWATER WATER PURIFIER VIEW AT AMAZON 7. KATADYN MICROPUR TABLETS VIEW AT REI 8. MSR AQUATABS VIEW AT AMAZON 9. POTABLE AQUA TABLETS VIEW AT AMAZON COMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST BACKPACKING WATER PURIFIERS PICTUREPURIFIERTYPEWEIGHTSPEEDPRICERATING PICTUREPURIFIERTYPEWEIGHTSPEEDPRICERATING LifeStraw Family 1.0 Water PurifierGravity filter24 oz 9-12 liters/hour$$4.6 Steripen Classic 3UV Purifier4.8 oz 0.67 liter/minute$$4.5 MSR GuardianPump filter25 oz 2.5 liters/minute$$$4.8 Grayl Ultralight PurifierWater bottle filter10.9 oz 2 liters/minute$$4.7 Aquamira DropsChlorine Dioxide drops3.2 oz 20/35 minutes to treat$4.7 MSR SweetWater Water PurifierPump filter16 oz 1 liter/minute$$4.6 Katadyn Micropur TabletsChlorine Dioxide tablets0.9 oz 15-30 minutes to treat$4.6 MSR AquatabsTablets0.35 oz 30 minutes to treat$4.7 Potable Aqua TabletsIodine Tablets2.27 oz 30 minutes to treat$4.6 MULTI-DAYHIKING PACKING LISTDon't forget important gear at home!Print out this free hiking packing list to prepare for your next adventure.Plus, you'll get exclusive content in our newsletter to help you make the most of your time on the trail!UNLOCK THIS LIST* You will get weekly emails with practical hiking advice that complement the information contained in the packing list. 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BACKPACKING WATER PURIFIERS REVIEWS LIFESTRAW FAMILY 1.0 WATER PURIFIER Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Setting up base camp TYPE: Gravity filter/purifier WEIGHT: 24 oz SPEED: 0.15 – 0.2 liters/minute LIFESPAN: 18,000 liters PROS: No chemicals, long lifespan, easy to use, good for groups CONS: Slow, heavy STERIPEN CLASSIC 3 WATER PURIFIER WITH PREFILTER Check out the latest price on: Amazon |REI BEST FOR: Places with clear water, traveling TYPE: UV stick WEIGHT: 4.8 oz SPEED: 1.5 minutes/liter LIFESPAN: Up to 150 liters on 4 AA batteries, 8000 uses per bulb PROS: Faster than chemicals, lighter than pumps, used with any kind of bottle CONS: Pre-filter is separate, uses batteries, have to be careful with the glass bulb, doesn’t work well with turbid water MSR GUARDIAN Check out the latest price on: Amazon |REI BEST FOR: Hikers who don’t want to wait for chemicals or are in extreme conditions TYPE: Pump filter/purifier WEIGHT: 25 oz SPEED: 2.5 liters per minute LIFESPAN: 10,000 liters per replaceable cartridge PROS: Fast, durable, 10,000 liter cartridge, no waiting for chemicals, self-cleaning as you pump CONS: Heavy, expensive, have to pump GRAYL ULTRALIGHT PURIFIER BOTTLE Check out the latest price on: Amazon |REI BEST FOR: Filtering and purifying everything in one bottle TYPE: Filter/purifier bottle WEIGHT: 10.9 oz SPEED: 2 liters/minute LIFESPAN: 150 liters per cartridge PROS: Filter and purifier in one, removes some heavy metals and chemicals, lightweight for filter/purifier CONS: Don’t know when to change cartridge, water source needs to be deep enough for bottle, only holds ½ liter AQUAMIRA WATER TREATMENT DROPS Check out the latest price on: Amazon |REI BEST FOR: A lightweight option to treat all protozoa and viruses or backup treatment TYPE: Chlorine Dioxide drops WEIGHT: 3.2 oz SPEED: 20-35 minutes depending on turbidity LIFESPAN: 1 package treats 113 liters PROS: Lightweight, inexpensive, reliable, effective against Cryptosporidium, adjustable amount for your container CONS: Slow, can make bad water taste better, doesn’t filter silt, need to mix chemicals and wait MSR SWEETWATER WATER PURIFIER Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Good value for silty water TYPE: Pump filter + chemical solution WEIGHT: 16 oz SPEED: 1 liter/minute + 5 minutes for virus solution LIFESPAN: 750 liters per filter cartridge, virus solution bottle treats 300 liters PROS: Can just carry filter, handle is easy to pump, good price for pump, easy to tell when to replace cartridge CONS: Have to filter then add solution, heavier than tablets, handle feels delicate KATADYN MICROPUR TABLETS Check out the latest price on: Amazon |REI BEST FOR: Lightweight option effective against Cryptosporidium, backup treatment TYPE: Chlorine Dioxide tablets WEIGHT: 0.9 oz SPEED: 15 – 30 minutes/liter LIFESPAN: 1 liter per tablet, packs of 20 or 30 PROS: Lightweight, individually wrapped, only 15 minutes if not waiting for Cryptosporidium CONS: Slow for Cryptosporidium, slight taste, doesn’t filter silt MSR AQUATABS Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: A lightweight option for viruses TYPE: Tablets WEIGHT: 0.32 oz SPEED: 30 minutes to treat LIFESPAN: 2 liters per tablet, 30 tablets in pack PROS: Lightweight, inexpensive, easy to use, long expiration date CONS: Not effective against Cryptosporidium, adds some taste POTABLE AQUA TABLETS Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Lightweight option just for Giardia and viruses TYPE: Iodine Tablets WEIGHT: 2.27 oz SPEED: 30 minutes/liter LIFESPAN: 2 tablets per liter, 50 tablets per bottle PROS: Small, light, inexpensive CONS: Doesn’t treat Cryptosporidium, can’t use for extended periods of time, chemical taste LEARN HOW TO CHOOSE HIKING GEAR FOR YOUR NEXT ADVENTUREJOIN THE FREE HIKING GEAR COURSEJOIN THE FREE HIKING GEAR COURSE HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST BACKPACKING WATER PURIFIERS PRE-FILTER OR NOT? If the water has a lot of particulates like silt or leaves in it then you’ll need a filter or pre-filter. Some purifiers are also filters. Some purifiers require 2 steps, pre-filter the silt, sand and leaves, then purify. GIARDIA, CRYPTOSPORIDIUM & VIRUS REMOVAL Protozoa and bacteria are common in the backcountry around North America. They cause issues like Beaver Fever that’ll have you running to the bathroom constantly. You’ll want to eliminate viruses when traveling abroad. Most filters don’t cover viruses. Some chemicals don’t kill all the protozoa. UV (ultraviolet light bulb) purifiers do both. BATTERY REPLACEMENT It can be hard to tell when it’s time for new replacement filter cartridges or batteries. Some filters and UV filters show you clearly when it’s time to replace them. Half way through a backcountry trip is not a good place to find out your purifier isn’t working anymore. RECHARGEABLE OR REPLACEABLE BATTERY? The UV filters require batteries or recharging a battery pack. This can be tough to do in the backcountry. A spare set of batteries or a way to recharge is always a good idea. CONTAINER Some purifiers come attached to a particular bottle like the Grayl Ultralight or CamelBak All Clear. On the other hand, a SteriPEN Classic or MSR Guardian can use any container. CHEMICALS The lightest options for purification are chemicals, either drops or tablets. Some people don’t like the flavors they give the water or the idea of ingesting chemicals too often. Other options like UV purifiers are a bit heavier and still purify your water. BACKUPS Will you have a backup water treatment for your trip? Some people just chance it or boil all the water if their purifier fails. While the chemicals might not be your first choice, they can be a small and lightweight backup. SALTWATER None of these filters are able to filter salty or brackish water. So you’ll need to find a salt-free water source to start with. HIKING RESOURCESTABLE OF CONTENTSHIKINGTABLE OF CONTENTS 1. FUNDAMENTALS 5. HIKING TRAILS 2. HIKING GEAR 6. HIKING WITH KIDS 3. HIKING CLOTHING 7. HIKING WITH DOGS 4. CAMPING 8. WOMEN'S HIKING 1. FUNDAMENTALS 2. HIKING GEAR 3. HIKING CLOTHING 4. CAMPING 5. HIKING TRAILS 6. HIKING WITH KIDS 7. HIKING WITH DOGS 8. WOMEN'S HIKING Disclosure: The Adventure Junkies is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost for you. We also use other affiliate programs like REI, LeisurePro, Diviac and Liveaboard.com.