How to Choose the Best Backpacking Water Filter

Backpacking Water Filter

Whether you are a runner, cross trainer, hiker, backpacker, or simply a nature enthusiast, you know that water is the most difficult challenge on the trail. When it comes to water, you only have two choices. You can either carry it with you or find a source wherever you are. Filtration is a lightweight and convenient choice, but there are many different considerations when choosing the right backpacking water filter system for your needs.

Why You Need to Have Purified Water While Backpacking

Water is the most important resource and the most difficult to manage when taking a trip to the backcountry. In the past, you only had two choices when you needed to purify water outdoors. You had to carry it with you or take your chances drinking from a natural source. Both of these options are problematic, but now there are much better ones available.

Weight and Convenience

First off, weight is an issue. Water weighs 8.34 pounds per gallon. At a minimum, you will need one or two gallons, depending on the length of your trip. When you combine this with the additional weight of your pack, you can see that this can become unwieldy quickly. If you are a runner, it may not be possible to carry enough water for your needs. In addition, if you use water from your tap, there is no guarantee that it will stay fresh if you plan on a long expedition.

Drinking From a Stream

If you decide to go the natural route and drink from a stream or other natural water source, you are taking your chances. Backcountry water may look clear, but it can still harbor dangerous viruses, bacteria, and parasites, including nasties such as Cryptosporidium, Giardia, Shigella, norovirus, E-coli, and Listeria. Contracting one of these is the best way to ruin a relaxing trip.

Boiling May Not Be an Option

You could always boil your water, but this means that you have to carry the equipment to do it and take the time to build a fire. This is not always feasible or desirable. In addition, there is no guarantee that the water is properly sanitized. This is especially true if there are animals near the water source. Boiling will not remove substances such as chemicals that are dumped upstream or urine.

Now, let’s examine some of the different types of filtration systems that are available to purify water outdoors.

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I have been a lifelong fitness student and enthusiast ever since winning the gold at conference in the 100 butterfly and 200 IM back in my “glory days.” I am also a writer and the marketing wizard here at My Top Fitness. I have an ever-growing list of interests, including swimming, running, golf, bowling, speedcubing, speed running (old Nintendo games), locksport, cooking, chess, tournament poker, fishing, hiking, camping, and sleight of hand, just to name a few. On some platforms, you can find me as the self-appointed “Jack of all Hobbies” I am a proud husband and father of 2 children, a.k.a. gremlins, and I am super excited to help as many people as possible on their individual fitness journeys.