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The Best Camping Water Filter: Our Top 5 Picks

With so many water filtration systems on the market today, choosing the best one for your camping needs can be a time-consuming feat.

Luckily, we’ve compiled this comprehensive list of the best water filters on the market for campers to help you choose the best filter for you.

Keep reading for our top five best camping water filters, including information about the different types of filtration systems.

Camper using a water filter system in a stream. Best camping water filter.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall
Sawyer Squeeze Camping Water Filter

Budget Option
LifeStraw Personal Camping Water Filter

Best for Filtering and Purifying
MSR Guardian Camping Water Filter

Best Overall

Sawyer Squeeze Camping Water Filter

Sawyer Products SP129 Squeeze Water Filtration System w/ Two 32-Oz Squeeze Pouches, Straw, and Hydration Pack Adapter

The Sawyer Squeeze camping water filter is lightweight, with a weight of only 3 ounces, and convenient.

This water filtration system includes two 32-ounce pouches made from durable Mylar foil and more accessories for gravity and inline use. These pouches can be reused hundreds of times before they need to be replaced.

The hollow-fiber membrane filter effectively rids your water of 99.9% of all bacteria, like E. coli, cholera, and salmonella, and 99.9% of all protozoa, like giardia and cryptosporidium.

This water filter comes with a lifetime warranty and includes a mesh carrying case, inline adapters, gravity tubing, and a syringe for backflushing the filter to maintain a high flow rate. It also has a built-in flip-top cap to make bottle filling easy and quick, filling most bottles within 30 seconds.

The Sawyer Squeeze filter is simple to use. Just fill up the included pouches with water, screw the hollow fiber filter onto the pouch, and squeeze to push the water through the filter.


  • Lightweight design.
  • Fast flow rate.
  • Sturdy material for use for years to come.


  • The squeeze bags wear down over time.
  • You may need extra supplies and gear to optimize this setup.

Best Budget Option

LifeStraw Personal Camping Water Filter

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter for Hiking, Camping, Travel, and Emergency Preparedness, 1 Pack, Blue

The LifeStraw Personal camping water filter uses a hollow fiber membrane to filter out bacteria, protozoa, and microplastics.

The filtration membrane takes care of 99.9% of all bacteria and 99.9% of all protozoa in your water, effectively providing up to 4,000 liters of clean and safe drinking water. It even filters out microplastics down to 1 micron and reduces the turbidity of water down to 0.2 microns.

This water filter is a great choice for a solo camper or hiker going on either a day-long trip or even used as a backup option on longer adventures. To use this filter, you just drink directly from the source using your LifeStraw, and it takes care of the dirty work for you!


  • The lightest water filter on the market.
  • Convenient and easy to use.
  • Great backup for long trips.


  • The filter chamber needs to be emptied regularly to prevent clogging.
  • Doesn’t work for water reserve because you have to drink as it filters.

Best for Filtering and Purifying

MSR Guardian Camping Water Filter

MSR Guardian Water Purifier for Backcountry Use, Global Travel, and Emergency Preparedness

The MSR Guardian camping water filter physically removes bacteria and protozoa, as well as viruses, from water.

This is the best on the market for filtering and purifying drinking water, with advanced medical-grade fibers to block viruses, which most other water filters can’t do.

This water filtration and purification system is so reliable that it’s used in the military and as an emergency option for first responders after natural disasters. It was made for the harshest of conditions, withstand freezing temperatures, and a drop of up to 6 feet.

With other options on this list, you’ll need to backflush to clean and maintain, but not with the MSR Guardian! It uses 10% of the water to flush contaminants from the filter back into the source and purifies 2.5 liters of water per minute.


  • Military-grade equipment.
  • Most advanced technology on the market.
  • Kills waterborne viruses


  • Very expensive
  • Quite bulky for backpackers.

Platypus GravityWorks Camping Water Filter

The Best Camping Water Filter: Our Top 5 Picks 1

You can keep a nice supply of drinking water right beside you at your campsite with the Platypus GravityWorks camping water filter! Delivering 4 liters of clean water in just 2.5 minutes, it’s one of the quickest options on this list.

Included with the filter are two 4-liter reservoirs, one for unfiltered water and one for clean water. The unfiltered reservoir has a quick-disconnect valve that will automatically stop the flow of water when you disconnect the hose. It also has a shutoff hose clamp on the clean water hose to allow for an on-demand water supply.

This camping water filter is easy to use. Just fill the unfiltered water reservoir and hang it above the clean water reservoir, allowing gravity to carry the water through the filter. The hollow-fiber filter technology makes this system one of the most speedy, with a flow rate of 1.75 liters per minute.

This system is easily cleaned by holding the clean water reservoir above the dirty water reservoir to backflush the filter. These reservoirs also have an antimicrobial treatment called Slime Guard to prevent any contaminant build-up.


  • Great for groups.
  • Filters large amounts of water at a time.
  • Convenient.


  • Clogs with silty or murky water.
  • Won’t work in freezing temperatures.
  • Bulky

Katadyn Steripen Ultra UV Camping Water Filter

The Best Camping Water Filter: Our Top 5 Picks 2

The Katadyn Steripen Ultra UV camping water filter was designed to fit perfectly into bottles of water for a complete and total filtration system that even kills waterborne viruses. This Steripen can safely be used to purify your drinking water up to 8,000 times!

UV purification is the best protection against illnesses like botulism, cholera, dysentery, and typhoid. This water filter destroys 99.9% of all protozoa, bacteria, and viruses.

The lithium-ion battery can be charged using a USB power cable, and it has a low-power indicator to notify you of a dying battery. It can successfully filter up to 50 liters of water on a full charge.

This small water filter fits most containers and works fast, purifying a liter of water within 90 seconds! To use, just insert the Steripen’s lamp into the bottle and flip the bottle upside down. It will begin to treat your water with a watertight seal keeping water from the vital electronics inside the device.

Once treatment is complete, this handy little water filter turns itself off! Just remember to only use this device on clear water because cloudy or sediment-laden water interferes with the effectiveness of the filter.


  • Lightweight design.
  • Kills viruses.
  • Works very quickly.


  • A bit pricey.
  • Doesn’t work for murky water.
  • Battery-powered.

Camping Water Filter Buyer’s Guide

With so many camping water filters on the market, choosing the best one for your needs can be challenging. In the next section, we will talk about what you should consider when you’re on the market for a camping water filter.

A camping water bottle with clear water in it.

Water Filtration VS Water Purification

Often the words ‘filtration’ and ‘purification’ are used interchangeably, but the two are a bit different, and knowing the difference is the first step in choosing the best filter for your needs.

Camping water filters usually use microscopic porous material to remove bacteria and protozoa from your water.

A water purifier removes protozoa and bacteria from your water as well, but they also eliminate viruses from your water. Since viruses are not often found in freshwater sources, most campers consider water filters sufficient for their drinking water.

Types of Camping Water Filters

Gravity/Inline Filters

Gravity systems use an inline filter, and they are usually the best options to use for large groups of campers or just if you need to filter large quantities of water with minimal effort.

Some gravity systems with inline filters have a separate reservoir to collect the clean water, while some other choices may disperse it directly into your mouth or a container you have on hand.

To use these camping water filters, just fill the water bag, hook up the filter to the hose, and let gravity do the hard work.

These may not be the best choices for quick filtration, though, because they do take some time to set up.

Pump Filters

Pump filtration systems are a great option for a small group of campers.

These water filters use simple mechanics with a pump siphoning water from the source through a hose and the filter, out another hose, and into a clean container.

Pump filters can take more time and effort than other types of camping water filters, and they can be difficult to clean.

These filters tend to be among the heaviest of filtration systems, so they may not be the best option for someone who has to hike a long distance to their campsite.

Bottle Filters

Bottle water filters also referred to as squeeze filters, attach to the spout of a bottle and filter your water as you drink. You can also squeeze water into a separate container for storage. These designs are a bit slower at filtering water than other choices.

These water filters are fantastic for campers who enjoy hiking and backpacking because they are lightweight and easy to carry and store.

Straw Filters

With a straw water filter, you can drink directly from the source while your straw does the work for you. These are best for emergency backup for a larger water filtration system or for a short hiking trip.

Chemical/UV Filters

Chemical water purifiers use iodine or chlorine dioxide to kill protozoa, bacteria, and viruses in water. A UV filter uses ultraviolet rays to kill these diseases. The downside to chemical purifiers is the undesirable taste they can leave behind in the water. A UV water filter won’t affect the taste of the water, but it will need batteries to work.

A large water jug for camping.

What to Consider


The weight and bulk of your water filtration system are important factors to consider. These systems can range from weightless tablets to a more complicated system that weighs around a pound.

Chemical filters are the most lightweight option, with squeeze filters coming in at a close second, but they need to be replaced often. Pump and gravity systems are the heaviest and most difficult to lug around, but they are the most durable.

Pore Size

The smaller the pore size, the more particles a filter can block from your drinking water.

The pore size is measured in terms of microns, with a pore size of 1 micron or less filtering out protozoa. On the other hand, you’ll need a minimum pore size of 0.3 microns to filter out bacteria, and viruses can be even smaller at 0.2 microns.

Flow Rate

Generally, gravity filtration systems have the fastest flow rates, at about 1.75 liters per minute. A pump filter works at about 1 liter per minute, while squeeze and straw filters can only work as fast as you can drink or squeeze.

Filter Life

It’s important to read the manual on how to maintain your filter before you head out on your trip since they are responsible for removing contaminants from your drinking water. Most gravity and straw filters can be cleaned by backflushing clean water or air through the filter.


The price of water filtration systems can vary. Chemical purifiers are the cheapest, and UV filters are the most expensive, with pump filters and squeeze filters falling somewhere in the middle.

Wrapping Up The 5 Best Camping Water Filters

A camper filling a water bottle from a stream.

From gravity and pump filters to chemical and UV purifiers, there is a camping water filter to meet all of your needs!

When choosing between water filtration systems, it’s important to consider your specific needs, including group size, flow rate, price, and size.If you’re still curious about water filters, check out the best water filters for RV camping.