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Water Treatment

Need help getting started? Read our four-part guide to backcountry water treatment:
Part 1: Proper Hydration
Part 2: Keeping Your Water Supply Safe
Part 3: What’s in Backcountry Water?
Part 4: Methods for Making Water Safe

The best water treatment, reviewed and curated by the Trailspace community. The latest review was added on September 10, 2021. Stores' prices and availability are updated daily.

user rating: 5 of 5 (6)
Platypus GravityWorks Filter System 2L Pump/Gravity Filter
$90 - $109
user rating: 5 of 5 (5)
MSR Guardian Purifier Purifier
$350
user rating: 5 of 5 (4)
Katadyn Combi Pump/Gravity Filter
$200
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Grayl GeoPress Bottle/Inline Filter / Purifier
$90
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (29)
Sawyer MINI Bottle/Inline Filter
$22 - $48
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (20)
Platypus GravityWorks Filter System 4L Pump/Gravity Filter
$110 - $119
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (16)
Katadyn Pocket Pump/Gravity Filter
$370
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (9)
Aquamira Water Treatment Drops Chemical Treatment
$15
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
LifeStraw Original Bottle/Inline Filter
$20
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
HydroBlu Versa Flow Bottle/Inline Filter
$22
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (6)
Katadyn Micropur MP1 Purification Tablets Chemical Treatment
$10 - $14
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (6)
Katadyn BeFree 0.6L Bottle/Inline Filter
$40 - $44
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3)
Grayl Ultralight Bottle/Inline Filter / Purifier
$59 - $69
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (2)
Aqua Research H2gO Prime Purifier
$99
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Katadyn Gravity Camp 6L Pump/Gravity Filter
$90
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Katadyn Exstream/MyBottle Virustat Kit Accessory
$35
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Katadyn BeFree Gravity 3.0L Pump/Gravity Filter
$60 - $109
user rating: 4 of 5 (51)
Katadyn Hiker PRO Pump/Gravity Filter
$85
user rating: 4 of 5 (32)
Sawyer Squeeze Bottle/Inline Filter
$29 - $49
user rating: 4 of 5 (31)
Katadyn Hiker Pump/Gravity Filter
$70 - $74
user rating: 4 of 5 (9)
SteriPEN Adventurer Opti Purifier
$100 - $109
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Platypus QuickDraw MicroFilter Pump/Gravity Filter
$30 - $39
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Sawyer Micro Squeeze Bottle/Inline Filter
$29
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Katadyn Carbon Cartridge Accessory
$25
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
MSR Guardian Gravity Purifier Purifier
$250
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
LifeSaver Liberty Bottle/Inline Filter
$83
user rating: 4 of 5 (2)
Sawyer Select S1 Bottle/Inline Filter
$60
user rating: 4 of 5 (1)
MSR Thru-Link Bottle/Inline Filter
$40
user rating: 4 of 5 (1)
Potable Aqua Pure Purifier
$100
user rating: 4 of 5 (1)
Katadyn Hiker/Hiker PRO/Base Camp Replacement Element Accessory
$40 - $49
user rating: 3.5 of 5 (42)
MSR MiniWorks EX Pump/Gravity Filter
$90 - $109
user rating: 3.5 of 5 (30)
Katadyn Vario Microfilter Pump/Gravity Filter
$90 - $99
user rating: 3.5 of 5 (23)
Katadyn Base Camp Pump/Gravity Filter
$70
user rating: 3.5 of 5 (17)
MSR HyperFlow Microfilter Pump/Gravity Filter
$100 - $119
user rating: 3.5 of 5 (3)
Katadyn Drip Gravidyn Pump/Gravity Filter
$295
user rating: 3.5 of 5 (1)
MSR Trail Base Water Filter Kit Pump/Gravity Filter
$140 - $149
user rating: 3.5 of 5 (1)
SteriPEN Ultra UV Water Purifier Purifier
$110 - $119
user rating: 3 of 5 (3)
LifeSaver Jerrycan Pump/Gravity Filter
$290
HydroBlu Go Flow Water Gravity Bag with Versa Flow Water Filter Pump/Gravity Filter
$50
user rating: 3 of 5 (1)
Sawyer Select S2 Bottle/Inline Filter
$80
Platypus Meta Bottle + Microfilter Purifier
$29 - $49
user rating: 2.5 of 5 (2)
LifeStraw Mission Gravity Water Purifier Pump/Gravity Filter
$130
user rating: 2 of 5 (2)
SteriPEN Ultralight UV Purifier Purifier
$90
user rating: 2 of 5 (5)
Katadyn Mini Pump/Gravity Filter
$110
Aqua Research H2gO Global Purifier
$99
MSR Home Emergency Water Filter Bottle/Inline Filter
$40
user rating: 5 of 5 (13)
First Need Deluxe Water Purifier Purifier
user rating: 5 of 5 (4)
First Need Deluxe Water Purifier XL Purifier

Recent Water Treatment Product Reviews

rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Platypus QuickDraw MicroFilter

Without a doubt Platypus has a very clear understanding of what its customers are looking for in a water filter, resulting in the Platypus Quickdraw Microfilter. From my perspective, it is the number one hollow-fiber membrane water filter design available today for solo through hikers or anyone looking to buy their very first water filter. The well designed Quickdraw Microfilter is a hollow-fiber membrane water filter that takes a few evolutionary steps from an integration and maintenance perspective… Full review

rated 4 of 5 stars
SteriPEN Adventurer

Lightweight and easy to use water filtration system. I have had my Adventurer for more than 10 years. It works using a UV light. I was skeptical about this, but my dad used to design sewage treatment plants and said "oh yeah, that will do it." The Steripen itself is very compact—about 2 inches wide and about 8 inches long. I have even stuffed it in a purse when flying across the country. This was a huge benefit over the  Katadyn Hiker pump I had been using previously in both weight (SteriPen… Full review

rated 0.5 of 5 stars
SteriPEN Ultralight UV Purifier

I bought this product years ago, when it was newly on the market. There are too many "Caution Statements" not fully covered in the instructions. All of this may have been addressed since then... Perhaps not. (From ORIGINAL Instruction Booklet)Notice in the instruction book's photo, there are NO DROPLETS on the glass, above the water line… Because they will NOT be cleaned. Cautions—not fully explained! These are not listed or explained in the instruction booklet! When you dip your Nalgene bottle… Full review

rated 4 of 5 stars
SteriPEN Ultralight UV Purifier

2.6 ounces, no pumping, nothing to clog, 90 seconds treated water I have a Steripen Adventurer that I've used off and on for several years.  It's never given me any trouble, but utilizes CR123 batteries, while my headlamps use AAA. It's pretty light, but not crazy light. The Steripen Ultralight weighs under 3 oz (2.6 oz) and is very compact. It utilizes a rechargeable battery (via a USB Micro). I purchased one a couple of months ago and took it on a short (3 days/2 nights) backpacking trip. It… Full review

rated 2.5 of 5 stars
Katadyn Mini

This filter is an overpriced dog. As it is small I give it the 2.5 stars, but the 2.5 minus is based on practical use and volume of water per pumping labor time. It is slow and ridiculously slow... Thumb size replacement filter cartridges are expensive!! For the amount of work you have to do I would just filter the water through a coffee filter and drop some tabs in it. I took this on a motorcycle trip in the backcountry cycle trails and used it to fill my drinking system from creeks and lakes to… Full review

rated 4.5 of 5 stars
MSR Guardian Gravity Purifier

The MSR Guardian Gravity Purifier is an all-in-one water treatment system that is ideal for groups, or people needing potable water in larger volumes. Not only removing bacteria, protozoa, sediment and particulate, MSR’s new flagship purifier also removes the tiniest viruses, while also using activated charcoal to improve flavor and reduce chemicals. The Guardian’s new purge valve quickly and easily cleans the filter to maximize flow rate, removing debris. Mountain Safety Research (MSR) is no… Full review

rated 4 of 5 stars
Grayl Ultralight

The Grayl UL is heavier and more expensive than in-line filters like the Sawyer Mini or Squeeze. But when we consider that it doesn’t require a container and also filters out viruses and chemicals/odors, it shows some advantages. It’s an all-in-one solution, good for outdoor use, but perhaps even more for emergencies: for those qualities I keep one new in my bug-out-bag. I see the Grayl UL as more of an all-in-one solution to water treatment and storage than a simple filtration system. I can… Full review

rated 5 of 5 stars
Grayl GeoPress

For day hikers and overnight adventurers, fill this beauty up with water at the start of your hike and when you find a water source, drink what you have and refill the Grayl. Original reviews talked about how difficult it is to press (filter) the water, think of a french press coffee maker, not hard at all and I am quite small. I love this simple, perfect system This is an easy to use, effective, fast source of filtered water. The capacity of fresh water that is also stored directly in the french-press… Full review

rated 5 of 5 stars
Grayl GeoPress

The easiest and likely fastest filter of its caliber on the market. Takes absolutely disgusting water and turns it into purified clean, tasty water. Wife and I use this on camping trips. So super simple and fast, very tough as far as the hardware pieces go. We like to backcountry hike and camp. The $80-$90 cost for this filter, with regard to the ease and safeness of the water you get, is worth each and every penny.  Full review