Best Backpacking Water Filter: How To Choose?

There are several options in the market in nowadays for water filters and treatments. Consumers are slowly deciding which product is better over another. In this comparison and review, around 50 backpacking water filters were tested to know which has the edge on each feature.
1.Water Filter
In this category, the following items were examined to determine which product has the best performance in water filtration – treatment time, user friendliness, weight, maintenance, storage, ergonomics, cost and water collection.

The Platypus GravityWorks gained the most votes as it is easy to use, lightweight and compact. Furthermore, it requires little maintenance. It also has the ability to store a huge amount of water. The great thing about it is that you shall have a clean water on-hand whenever you need it. Nonetheless, it does not treat virus. With this, you are recommended to get a water treatment system to do this job.

MSR AutoFlow Gravity Filter comes in next, having the same filter unit with that of Platypus GravityWorks. However, it stores less water. On the other hand, Katadyn Gravity Camp is one of the fastest gravity filters.

2.Value for money
The following items were observed to determine which product provides the best value for your money – size, weight and compactness, ease of drinking, adaptability, cost, treatment in quantities and user friendliness.

In this category, the Sawyer Mini edges over the other competitors. It offers the best performance-to-cost ratio. It only costs 25 US dollars but lasts for up to 100,000 gallons of water treatment. It is one of the lightest and compact treatment methods in the market whose filter only weighs 1.2 ounces. It is light like the LifeStraw but it performs better.

3.Weight and Compactness
When it comes to weight and compactness, the following items are observed – weight, effectiveness, design simplicity, reliability, incubation time and number of chemicals added to water.

The Aquamira Water Treatment Drops are relatively light and compact. Nonetheless, it performs well in water filtration. It can treat small or large quantities of water. Moreover, it eliminates viruses and kills Cryptosporidium within an hour unlike regular iodine water treatment. This product is great for backpacking and long-distance hiking.

To measure portability, the following items were observed – virus filtration, durability, fast filtration and treatment, weight and cost.

Though new in the market, MSR Guardian places on top of the list. It is easy to use and maintain. It effectively filters out viruses in a fast pace. It is also very durable, providing you value for your money. Furthermore, it is also lightweight at only 22 ounces.

5.Rough Terrain and Trail Running
In this category, the following items were used to measure the durability of the filter and treatment system – weight, compactness, effectiveness, treatment capacity and durability.

For people who love outdoor adventure, the best option is Katadyn BeFree. It was design for rough terrain and trail running purposes. Weighing at 2.3 ounces, you can easily roll this up and store in your pocket or vest.

On the other hand, BeFree is not recommended for rough terrain and trail running. It can only treat around 20 ounces of water at a time.

Results and Analysis
The most essential things to consider in water treatment systems are its reliability and effectiveness. You must be able to utilize the product whenever and wherever you need it. The next factors for consideration are weight, treatment capacity and user friendliness.
1.Effectiveness and reliability
Effectiveness how well the treatment system eliminates the impurities of the water. If you are planning to go outdoors, here are five systems which can help you treat viruses
UL light systems
Iodine treatments
MSR Guardian Filter
New gravity filters
Chlorine dioxide tablets or drops

On the other hand, reliability measures how you can easily reach into the product for water treatment needs. Durability is also tested as it allows the user to utilize the product for a long time. Here are some systems that are deemed reliable to users:
Katadyn Hiker Pro
MSR Sweetwater
Platypus Gravityworks
Aquamira Water Treatment Drops
Sawyer Mini
MSR Guardian

2.User Friendliness
User friendliness is measured by how intuitive water treatment systems are. Maintenance is also factored in this category. We found that the gravity filter models are the most user friendly. Nevertheless, the other filter systems work great too like backpacking water systems and straw filters. They are easy to whip out whenever you need them.

Here are some of the filters that are user friendly.
Platypus GravityWorks
MSR AutoFlow
Sawyer Mini
MSR Trailshot

3.Treatment Capacity
Treatment capacity depends on your travel frequency and the number of people you shall be travelling with. You must consider the amount of water that needs to be treated and how it compares with what can the treatment or filter system can provide.

Pump filters are great for this purpose. The can pump as little or as much water your need. A good model under this type is MSR TrailShot. On the other hand, chemical treatments are lagging in this area. They are light but is only great for personal use. These include MSR AquaTabs and SteriPen Ultra.

Maximizing the water source is an essential factor when it comes to speed. For outdoor activities, water sources can tend to be separated at a distance. With this, fast treating systems are great.

You must be able to fill up all your reservoirs in a short amount of time. Some of the well performing systems in this area are the following:
Aquamira drops
Sawyer Mini
MSR TrailShot
Katadyn BeFree

5.Weight and Compactness
If you prioritize long travels and outdoor adventures, you are recommended to bring along lightweight filter and water systems. Some of the lightest water filter systems are the following:
Katadyn BeFree
Sawyer Mini
Aquamira Water Treatment Drops
MSR AquaTabs

6.Filtered Water Taste and Odor
Though this is not a huge consideration to look into, many consumers put additional points to systems that provide treatment of taste and odor of the water. However, there are some chemical treatments that change the scent and flavor of water. If you are sensitive on this field, make sure to read the reviews of customers who have already tried the product.

Water treatment has been a great necessity for the past years. There are number of options in the market for any purpose you may think of. With this, make sure to weigh your options first by inspecting several features of the filter and treatment systems. These include evaluating their performance on reliability, user friendliness, compactness, speed and treatment capacity.