You need water to survive. Plain and simple. Three days without drinking clean water and you’ll perish. That’s why you should always have some way to purify water in case the water grid goes down or you don’t have immediate access to a clean source. One of those ways is to pack a portable water filter wherever you go, especially when you go hiking or camping. You should also have one in your bug out bag and other emergency kits. Below are 10 of the top portable water filters to choose from.
What are Portable Water Filters?
Portable water filters are tools that purify water to make it safe to drink. The built-in filtration system is responsible for removing contaminants that you don’t want inside your body such as microorganisms, toxins, and sediment.
These small devices are just one way of purifying water for emergency use. You can filter the contaminated water using a piece of cloth to get rid of debris and then boil it for disinfection. Other methods include using iodine and water purification tablets.
What to Consider in A Portable Water Filter
Portable water filters are necessary when you’re traveling, hiking, backpacking, or camping. One thing you’ll notice about the activities mentioned is that you’re always on the move. You can’t lug around a 5-liter jug of water while on the mountain trail. It’s okay if you’re car camping or on a road trip but it’s impossible if you’re on foot.
When it comes to emergency preparedness, you only have limited space in your bug out bag. You don’t want to waste that precious space on a bulky water filter. Portable water filters should be compact and light enough to pack in your bug out bags.
It doesn’t make sense if your water filter is too heavy and uncomfortable to carry. Choose the lightest water filter you can find. Of course, there are other factors to consider aside from portability.
The effectiveness of a water filter to remove these pathogens depends on their micron level. Protozoa are at least 5 microns in size while bacteria are at 0.2 microns. Viruses like rotavirus and Hepatitis A are 0.004 microns. Most portable water filters have pore sizes of 0.1 or 0.2 micron levels so they can only remove protozoa and bacteria. Look for one with the smallest micron level.
Speed of Filtration
If you have quite a number of dehydrated people in your party, you’ll need your portable filter to purify as much water as fast as possible. This is particularly important if you have to be on the move. Portable water filters produce clean water at different rates. Choose one that can filter the most water in the shortest time.
Portable water filters are not only for outdoor or emergency use. You can invest in one that you can use at home. There’s no assurance that the water coming out of faucets is that safe. Using a water filter at home should take care of that concern.
If that is your intention, you need a water filter that works for a long time. Fortunately, there are portable water filters that last for years. Before purchasing one, do your homework and compare the filtration capacity of your choices.
Ease of Use
During emergencies, you can’t afford to dilly dally. You need to think and act fast, especially if your lives are at stake. It’s also no good if you have to struggle with your gear. Like with other survival tools, you need a portable water filter that is easy to use.
If you have the means, you should purchase the best survival tools even if they’re a bit pricey. Expensive yet high-quality tools should increase your chances of surviving. There are, however, more affordable portable water filters that can do the job almost just as well. So if budget is an issue, you should get the best that your money can buy.
Make sure the portable water filter you’re getting has passed the standards of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). If the tool has the EPA stamp of approval, it means the filter produces water that is safe for consumption.
10 Portable Water Filters to Choose From
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter is perhaps the most popular of its kind. The must-have survival tool removes more than 99.9999% of bacteria and 99.9% of parasites or protozoans. It also gets rid of fine particles to lessen the water’s turbidity and make it more pleasing to the eyes.
It is capable of purifying up to 1000 gallons (4,000 liters) of contaminated water. To put it in a different perspective, one LifeStraw provides one person about two year’s worth of safe water to drink.
The lightweight water filter weighs a mere 2 ounces and measures 8.8 inches long. It doesn’t take up that much space making it a valuable part of any emergency kit or outdoor gear. The LifeStraw water filter does not use any chemicals and batteries. All you have to do is submerge the tip in the water and sip from the other end.
Sagan Life XStream Straw™ Ultralight Water Filter
The XStream Straw Water Purifier takes away the discomfort of having to stoop or crouch to drink from a lake, stream, or other water sources. A 24-inch straw is attached to the mouthpiece so you can simply drop the filter into the water and drink while sitting straight. In case that is still too short, you can get the 24-inch extension straw for a total length of 4 feet.
The lightweight XStream Straw can block up to 99.9999% of E.coli and other bacteria and 99.99% of parasites like giardia and cryptosporidium. Unlike other water filters on this list, the XStream Straw can also remove 99.99% of viruses. This impressive filtering power is courtesy of the Journey Filter.
The XStream Straw purifies up to 250 gallons of contaminated water without using chemicals such as iodine and chlorine. That’s equivalent to 1,890 16oz or 500ml plastic bottles. Mother Earth will definitely be happy if you use such environment-friendly portable water filters.
Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System
The Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System utilizes an absolute inline filter with a 0.1 Micron level to stop 99.99999% of bacteria, 99.9999% of protozoa, and 100% of microplastics right in their tracks. What sets it apart from other portable water filters is that it is capable of purifying up to 100,000 gallons of water without replacing the filter cartridge.
Another one of the Sawyer Mini’s claims to fame is the adapter. You can use it on faucets, water bottles, and water pouches making it one of the most versatile portable water filters around. Aside from the filter, each set includes a reusable 16-oz pouch, 7-inch drinking straw, and a cleaning plunger. It’s amazing how you can get so much from something so little. The Sawyer Mini measures just under 6 inches and weighs only 2 ounces. It’s definitely one survival tool that should be in your camping gear and disaster kits.
Sagan Life Journey™ Water Purifier Bottle
If you rather drink from a bottle than direct from the source using a straw, the Journey Water Purifier Bottle by Sagan Life is a viable option. You can simply scoop water into the bottle and drink the contents through the mouthpiece.
Like the XStream Straw, the Journey can filter 99.9999% of bacteria, 99.99% of parasites, and 99.99% of viruses. The water bottle can carry 24 ounces at a time. It’s also capable of filtering up to 250 gallons of contaminated non-salt water. The BPA-free Journey Water Purifier Bottle is perfect for everyday use, outdoor adventures, and emergency preparedness.
LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottle
The LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottle is as portable as its name suggests. You can go anywhere and drink purified water. You just need to find a source such as a river, lake, falls, or even flood water.
The filtration process is achieved via a microfiltration membrane with microscopic pores. These pores are too small for bacteria, viruses, parasites, toxins, and tiny particles to pass through. Because the bad stuff is trapped inside the filter, the water that passes through the mouthpiece is now safe for consumption. The LifeStraw is available in 22 ounce and 1-liter bottles. There are also blue and pink versions that you can choose from.
Sagan Life Inline Water Purifier
The Sagan Life Inline Purifier System is an ideal portable water filter for hiking and backpacking. This is mainly because the Inline water purifier works with any hydration bladder and other hydration systems that utilize a tube.
Its versatility is also an attractive trait. It can be used as a straw water filter and as a gravity filter system. The latter can produce up to 3 cups of purified water in just a minute. The Inline Water Purifier cones with the 250 gallon Journey filter and 2 quick connect pieces.
Sagan Life UltraFlo™ Portable Water Filtration System
The UltraFlo Portable Water Filtration System from Sagan Life is more suitable for outdoor gatherings with a large group such as family picnics and camping. It’s also a good thing to have at home for regular use or emergency preparedness.
The UltraFlo can filter up to 2000 gallons of water per filter. Like other portable water filters in this list, it can remove 99.9999% of bacteria and 99.99% of protozoans. It’s a better option since it can also block 99.99% of viruses.
Katadyn Hiker Pro Transparent Water Filter
The Hiker Pro Transparent Water Filter from Katadyn utilizes a 0.2 micron pleated glass-fiber filter to block bacteria, parasites, and other water-borne pathogens. It is capable of cleaning up to 200 gallons of contaminated water. It does so at an impressive speed being able to filter 1 quart of water in just a minute.
The activated carbon in the core lessens the chemicals to make the water more palatable. The heavy-duty plastic housing with its transparent design lets you in on how the filtration process actually happens. The field cleanable filter protector screen, meanwhile, improves the cartridge’s life span.
The Hiker Pro is lightweight at only 11 ounces while its 3″ x 6″ x 2″ size is compact enough to fit inside your bug out bags or backpacks without any problems. It is easy to assemble and connect to hydration packs with 1/4” drink tubes like Camelbak and Platypus.
Katadyn Pocket Portable Water Filter
The Katadyn Pocket Microfilter is one of the top portable water filters due mainly to its capability to filter up to 13,000 gallons of water. It’s a pretty durable survival tool, too. The housing is made of heavy-duty plastic that can withstand abuse. If you take good care of it, you should have clean water for years.
Another good thing about the Katadyn Pocket is its versatility. It can be used for any standard water source like those at home and in RVs. Plus, it’s pretty easy to handle. You just have to dip the end of the hose into the water source, hook the other end to the bottle, and start pumping. The hose has a floater so the tip won’t touch the bottom of the water source and take in more dirt.
Some may find the weight (20 oz) a little disconcerting but the good definitely outweighs the bad with this one. Also, the Katadyn Pocket comes with a 20-year warranty so that’s another selling point.
Sagan Life AquaBrick Water Purification System
The AquaBrick® Water Purification System is not as portable as the others on this list. It does, however, give you the option of collecting more water to purify. The set includes the BPA-Free Aquabrick container, which holds up to 3 gallons of water. It also comes with the DuraFlo™ Filter, a spigot, tube, and the AquaBrick Cap.
The AquaBrick Water Purification System can filter up to 700 gallons of contaminated non-salt water. The air pressurized filtration system just takes a minute to filter half a gallon of water. So a full AquaBrick container will just need 6 minutes to be purified. Use it at home or keep one in your vehicle so you can always have safe drinking water.
You can never do enough when it comes to preparing for emergencies and other events that may jeopardize your loved ones. Even the most prepared person will need to learn to adapt quickly if things still don’t go their way.
Since clean water is necessary to survive, it’s a good idea to have lots of options. Cover all bases by digging a well, building a rainwater harvesting system, and stocking up on clean water at home and at your bug out location or emergency shelter. Don’t forget to pack some in your bug out bags, get home bags, bug out vehicles, and everyday carry kits.
You can’t carry that much water in your bug out bags or backpacking gear. Bottled water and hydration packs will eventually be consumed to the last drop. When you have nothing more to drink, you need to find ways to procure clean water. That’s where water purification tablets, iodine, portable water filters, and other water purifying methods come in. Check out other survival tips and lists of top survival tools at Gentleman Pirate Club.