When you escape bustling cities to explore the great outdoors, sometimes you will come across rivers, springs, and lakes that are a sight to see! Chances are, you will be tempted to stoop down and drink just like what people do when they are thirsty in the movies.
Unfortunately, the water is not actually as pure as you would wish it to be. Perhaps, you can take a dip in the cool waters but you should never drink it unless you have an outdoor water purifier with you.
No matter how crystal clear it looks, there are millions of bacteria waddling in the water that the naked eye could never see! Surely, you wouldn’t want them inside your system. So, if you love hiking with friends, camping with family or just trying to escape a crowded city, then it is intuitive that you get yourself the best outdoor water purifier. Even if you aren’t that outdoorsy, there are many reasons why you should get one.
Best Outdoor Water Purifier Reviews 2018
02 micron pore size purification element
Filters up to 13, 000 gallons of untreated water
Compact, portable, and feather light
Provides one of the fastest water filtrations
Lightweight, compact, and portable
Passed US Military testing, NSF Protocol P248
Suitable for a fill-and-run situation
7 Best Outdoor Water Purifiers
The LifeStraw Mission can purify up to 18, 000 liters of contaminated water from rivers, ponds, and other natural sources. The LifeStraw Mission was originally created to bring relief in underdeveloped countries. So what makes it one of the best outdoor water purifiers on the market today? Apart from its impressive treatment capacity, LifeStraw Mission can kill wide variety harmful microorganisms including E.coli, Salmonella, Giardia, Cryptosporidium, etc. According to LifeStraw Mission’s test results, it can remove up to 99.9% of bacteria, protozoa, and viruses.This gravity-fed modular system consists of a pre-filter, a purification element, a hose, and a 5L/12L BPA-free polyurethane water bag that you can hang. The water bag can get very heavy when full, particularly the 12L size so it would be best to empty it out when it is half full and bring along extra containers.
- Includes pre-filter
- .02 micron pore size purification element
- BPA-free polyurethane water bag in 2 available sizes
- Eliminates 99.9% bacteria, protozoa, and viruses
- Treatment capacity of 18, 000 liters
- Gravity-fed filter | requires less effort
- Water bag can be hanged
- Suitable for single use or for a multi-person base camp
- Requires minimal upkeep
- Difficult configuration
- Slow operation | takes around 5 min. to fill 1L
The Swiss brand, Katadyn is actually a supplier to the Army Operations’ Force, US Armed Forces, Navy SEALS, International Red Cross, and many other government and relief organizations across the globe. Among their premium-quality products is the Katadyn Pocket Water Filter that has garnered countless reviews online. Like any other purchase, it is good to own a product that you can trust.
Though not indestructible, the Katadyn Pocket can surely withstand years of serious wear and tear. In fact, its manufacturer is confident enough to back the product with a 20-year warranty. This rugged water filter is made of rock solid metal and features a silver integrated ceramic filter. Attention to detail and materials is definitely evident in this water purifier.Moreover, the Katadyn Pocket can purify up to 13, 000 gallons of filthy water. This product is perfect for summer camps, river trips, weekend getaways, etc. It can filter a wide variety of contaminants and microorganisms that are as minute as .20 microns. Hence, you can rest assured that your drinking water has no trace of disease-causing bacteria and protozoa.
The Katadyn Pocket weighs 23.95 oz. and hence it is quite heavy. Regardless, it is very compact and easily fits into any backpack. If weight is not much of a concern and you are prone to some abuse during your adventures, the Katadyn Pocket should be your choice!
- Solid construction
- Sleek and compact
- 20 years warranty
- Long-lasting ceramic filter
- Filters up to 13, 000 gallons of untreated water
- Filters contaminants not larger than .20 microns
- Suitable for all water types
- No plastic | leaves water tasting sweet and fresh
- Ceramic filter requires regular cleaning
- May freeze | Not suitable during very cold conditions
- Dirtier water requires more pump
- Heaviness is inconvenient for trekkers
Unlike the previous model, the Katadyn BeFree is much more suitable for people who are always on the go. The Katadyn BeFree is lightweight and compact, which makes it ideal for active trips such as trail runs, mountain bike rides, kayaking, long walks, etc. As long as you are near a water source, you will always have a clean, fresh thirst-quencher anytime. Simply tuck the Katadyn BeFree inside your pocket and pull it out whenever you come across a stream, river, or a creek. This product is user-friendly in many ways. Since it has a wide mouthpiece, scooping up some water is a breeze!As its name suggests, the Katadyn BeFree gives any solo adventurer more freedom of movement since it eliminates the need for carrying a backpack loaded with bottled water. When it comes to performance, this pocket-sized water filter is capable of eliminating contaminants and disease-causing microorganisms. The Katadyn BeFree also exhibits a filter life of 1,000 liters. Since this product is not solidly built, make sure you handle it with care. Otherwise, it will break apart especially around the filter’s neck, which is the most sensitive part.
- Great choice for solo use
- Compact, portable, and feather light
- Provides instant clean, fresh water anytime
- Does not eliminate salt and viruses
- Inlet port needs improvement
The Platypus GravityWorks is one of the fastest high-capacity filtration systems, making it perfect for hiking missions, family camps, or for personal use. Its unique water filtration system can produce a gallon of purified water in just five minutes. Likewise, the Platypus GravityWorks is capable of providing a consistent water supply. It carries up to eight liters of water: four liters in the first bag and another four in the second bag, which is the purified water. Such feature is truly a godsend especially at times when waiting for several minutes is somewhat impractical.Moreover, the Platypus GravityWorks is also one of the lightest filtration systems you can ever find on the market. Including the two storage bags, the Platypus GravityWorks only weighs 12 ounces. Hence, it is an excellent choice for hikers and backpackers. Configuration is quick and easy too, which is a bonus. In addition, the Platypus GravityWorks requires little to no maintenance. Its hollow fiber filter does not require a regular replacement. Overall, the product can last for 1,500 liters.
- Provides one of the fastest water filtrations
- Continuous water supply
- High-capacity treatment: 1 gallon/5 min.
- Low maintenance
- Portable and lightweight
- Hollow fiber filter does not eliminate viruses
- Zipping the bags shut get more difficult the longer you use them
- Gets even more difficult in the cold
- Cold temperatures could affect the filter as well
- Punctured holes in the bags can ruin the entire system
Another product so popular among hikers is the Sawyer PointOne Water Filtration System, which is a much more convenient option compared to heavy and labor-intensive pump filters. Just scoop some water and let its hollow fiber membrane eliminate debris, contaminants, and microorganisms as minute as 0.1 microns. The speed of filtration depends on the water’s quality. For instance, you only need to wait 30-40 seconds for a liter of tap water to be filtered. Likewise, it would be best if you were taking water from a flowing source.As for durability and construction, the bags have a short lifespan but are good enough to last for several uses. As its name suggests, you just need to squeeze using moderate pressure for you to chugalug your fresh purified water. Just be careful not to drop the bag especially when it is full. You may fold the bag but never wring it. Nonetheless, the Sawyer PointOne Squeeze is a good choice especially for long-distance hikers or any type of adventurer who wants to minimize his pack weight.
- Lightweight, compact, and portable
- Not labor intensive
- Fast operation
- Filters contaminants up to 0.1 microns in size
- Disposable bags
- Bags are subject to leaking
- Needs running water source
The MSR Guardian Military-Grade Water Purifier Pump is simply one of the most advanced filtration systems you can avail today. This product meets the rigid standards of NSF Protocol P248, which is US Military’s testing standard for the removal of bacteria, protozoa, viruses, as well as debris from the murkiest of waters. Equipped with military-grade engineering, the MSR Guardian can purify even the filthiest water! It uses highly advanced medical-grade hollow fiber to eliminate disease-causing microorganisms such as E.coli, Salmonella, and E. hystolitica among others.
Moreover, the MSR Guardian is capable of producing 2.5 liters of fresh drinking water per minute and its hollow fiber cartridge has a lifespan of 10,000 liters. Configuration is easy. All you need to do is unroll the MSR Guardian’s dual hose, position the pre-filter in the water source, hitch a container to the bottom of the purifier, and start pumping. Strong pressure pushes pure water through the walls of the fibers while contaminants are pumped out through the outlet hose.Since the MSR Guardian is a pump, a little effort is required but then again it provides the most reliable purification so it is all worth the sweat. What is more, the MSR Guardian can withstand freezing temperatures and hence you can make most of this powerful pump all-year round.
- Passed US Military testing, NSF Protocol P248
- Perfect for worst-case water conditions
- Innovative and long-lasting filter
- Produces 2.5L of purified/60 seconds
- Withstands extreme weather conditions
- Very heavy
In addition to having a modular system for water purification, keeping a pack of purifying tablets such as the Aquatabs AQT 200 would also be ideal. It should be part of your prepping essentials. For instance, you may find your portable water filter broken while you are still in the middle of the woods. When standard filtration methods are inapplicable, these tablets will ensure that you’ll have safe drinkable water to quench your thirst and keep you hydrated.The Aquatabs AQT 200 may not give you the best water but you can rest assured it is safe and free from bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. Also, it won’t produce any trace of chlorine smell or iodine taste. Aquatabs AQT 200 is effective and cheap, which makes it one of the best-selling water purification tablets on the market.
- Suitable for a fill-and-run situation
- Easy to use
- No chemical smell
- Does not eliminate debris such as dirt and sand particles
- Takes time to purify
Benefits of Using an Outdoor Water Purifier
Water is Life
If you find yourself in a hostile environment where water sources are heavily polluted, an outdoor water purifier could save your life. Know that humans can only survive up to two-three days of dehydration.
An outdoor water purifier helps ease up your load. It eliminates the need for bringing gallons of drinking water during camping.
The hazards found in water are innumerable. Viruses, bacteria, and protozoa are most difficult to eliminate since these are organisms with a size in the range of microns. Each time you drink unsafe water, you risk yourself getting Typhoid, Cholera, and Hepatitis among others.
We probably won’t be expecting zombies to take over the world anytime soon, but it is a known reality that a natural disaster, a war, or any catastrophe that could bring an end-of-the-world scenario could possibly happen. Such an event will arrive unannounced and hence it would be best to prepare.
What to Look For
In choosing an outdoor water purifier, the most important factor to consider is its ability to filter bacteria, protozoa, and viruses that are responsible for a number of diseases. Opt for a purifier that can eliminate not just debris and other visible particles, but also pathogens that are as small as 0.2 microns in size.
A second can feel like a minute when you are thirsty. So, the next factor to consider is the purifier’s speed. Some brands can easily deliver 2.5 liters of purified water per minute, while some may ask you to wait a little bit more just for a liter. Regardless, the quality of the water used may affect the speed of treatment.
Is it for personal or family use? Are you planning on storing drinking water for later use? These are questions you need to ask yourself so you can narrow down your choices. Outdoor water purifiers also vary in shapes and sizes. If you are thinking of bringing friends or family members during your trips, choose one that could deliver a continuous supply of drinking water. A purifier with a larger filtering medium provides a faster flow and hence more water.
It isn’t wise to carry a bulky water purifier if you are on the go. There are outdoor water purifiers that allow solo trekkers to travel as light as they can. Such types can be folded and kept in the backpack.
Ease of Use
An outdoor water purifier with a gravity filter would be the best option for convenience. Apart from its initial setup, all you have to do is wait for your water to be filtered. Most importantly, it allows you to utilize any type of water source, be it a stagnant pond or a flowing stream.
Don’t let the weariness of carrying a backpack full of bottled water hinder you from exploring the great outdoors. The next time you escape the bustling city, make sure you already have an outdoor water purifier with you!
The LifeStraw Mission is our favorite of the bunch because of its efficiency in eliminating pathogens and its versatility for being a gravity-type purifier. Like any product, it has its share of disadvantages but its pros surely outweigh its cons.Nonetheless, we aim to help you choose the best outdoor water purifier and we made sure you can have a great choice for each activity be it family camps, trail running with friends, solo trekking, etc. Now that we’ve shown you the best outdoor water purifiers, you no longer have to do the guesswork!