Water Filtration Gear Options

On long hikes it may be difficult to carry all of the water you need. Water weighs 2.2 lbs (1 kg) per liter which is about equal to a quart of water. Under normal conditions the recommendation is to drink about 2 liters of water a day. When hiking the this could only increase based on energy exertion and weather to at least 3 liters per day. This is 6.6 lbs (3kg) of water a day. On multiple day hikes carrying 13 or 20 pounds of water on top of everything else could be a bit much. Any longer hikes will definitely require planning on getting water on the way.

Some backpackers might decide to drink water direct from its source, but we feel it would be much safer and better to always purify your drinking water.  For example, organisms such as the parasite, Giardia, can reside undetected in mountain and backcountry streams and lakes, and if you become infected with Giardia it will lead to some seriously uncomfortable gastrointestinal distress!  Prevention of infection with proper water filtration is key, in addition to filtering out other potentially harmful sediments.

Clean and safe water becomes highly indispensable for your survival. It is wise to know how to best obtain the right filtered water for your health’s sake, and this article is intended to help you choose the best product.

Several suppliers offer various efficient, lightweight water filtration gear options. As you read on, you will find some of the preferred choices. The 3 most common water filtration techniques are the following:

  • Sterilization
  • Hand Filtration
  • Gravity Filtration

Water Filters for your convenience

With the right water filter, you can easily and swiftly purify water on the trail, which you can then consume straight away without worry. In recent times, there have been some impressive improvements in water filtration gear that help serve as inexpensive, lightweight, highly handy tools. With water filters, you will often need to apply a little work such as pumping or squeezing, but the process can be quick, effective, and guaranteed to offer you a clean drink. 

There are several factors to consider when choosing a water filter. Filters are made of porous material which blocks larger particles but has small enough particles to allow water through. These pore sizes vary from product to product. Filters also have a limited lifespan related to the amount of water which can be filtered. These are also specified by the manufacturer.

So let’s get the list started! We have chosen to review the 2 that we feel top the list.

Boiling Water Over a Camp Fire

The Sawyer Mini Water Filtration Gear

This water filtration gear option, Sawyer Mini, with its complementary product Sawyer Squeeze is a great option for you as a backpacker. This product is lightweight which is always an advantage when backpacking. With this gear, you can filter water easily by squeezing into a bottle, or by utilizing its straw to drink direct from the water source.  The squeeze bag is great for ease of use when you need a quick refill and the filter can be washed which gives this product a very long lifespan of 100,000 gallons!

In our judgment, we believe every backpacker should have one of the Squeeze or Mini water filtration gear.  Should you opt for the Mini option, be sure to get the 64 oz squeeze bags  along with it, since the mini comes with only one 16 ounce bag.

While these filters are fantastic, freezing can damage the filter. If you are planning on hiking or camping in freezing conditions you might consider choosing another method for water treatment such as purification or boiling.


GravityWorks Water Filtration Gear

Gravity filtration works by using gravity to draw the water down through a filter and spout which can be opened or closed. For larger groups this is a great advantage because many of these filters have larger holding capacity allowing water filtration of larger quantities or water at a time.

With the Platypus gear i.e. the 2L GravityWorks Filter, you will find a perfect filtration setup for larger groups.  It is very a convenient option, particularly when you are camping. It doesn’t require you squeezing or pumping and thus makes for an easy purification process. This system also comes in a 4L option option. Another good feature is this weighs less than a pound (0.5 kgs)!

Larger gravity water filtration systems exist for larger groups such as the LifeStraw Mission High-Volume Gravity-Fed Water Purifier which can filter up to 12 L of water at a time!



When dealing with freezing conditions which many people in the outdoors do, you may need to resort to sterilization as your method of drinking safe water. Water filters tend to freeze and crack during cold weather becoming ineffective. When this is the case, one of the best ways to sterilize water is eather through boiling, or an additive like iodine.

Do you want to learn more about other hiking or camping products? Visit our Outdoor Gear Guide to learn how to select the correct backpack, what gear you need for camping, or many other topics to help you prepare for your trip.



When boiling water, you should bring the water to boil and keep it rolling for one minute to purify it. At altitudes above one mile, 2,000 meters, you should increase the rolling time to three minutes. This adds complications with bringing potentially heavy pots for boiling and what not.