I think you’ll agree with me when i say:
Finding a source of fresh and clear water during a survival situation is pretty hard….. And even if you find one, but you’re hesitant about it being contagious and contaminated. At that moment you wish you knew some natural methods to purify water.
So In this post I’ll review some of the best Portable survival water filter. That you can use during a survival situation and other outdoor adventure. And i‘ll cover all the good and bad aspect in detail. So that you can finally decide which one to buy.
Best Survival Water Filter
1. LifeStraw Go Portable Survival Water Filter BottleCheck Lowest Price On Amazon
LifeStraw Go is a portable water filter bottle that has been designed for a very specific purpose. The water filter system consists of a hollow fiber membrane straw which is used to filter water on the go.
However, it occupies a considerable amount of space inside the bottle. It is especially a good product for travelers, backpackers and campers, who need a survival water filter in the wild. It is claimed to remove 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria. And 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites but not viruses from stream water.
The straw is integrated with a 2-step activated carbon filter. As a result there is little to no bad smell or taste in water as long as you clean the straw after use. Infact, it makes tap water taste good, which was quite surprising for us. But it is quite difficult to drink water through the filter. We had to really work hard to drink out of the straw. With regard to durability, we found it largely durable.
The hard-sided and BPA-free plastic bottle suffers no real damage or leaking during our testing. However, the filter straw is the weakest but it is easy to replace.
2. Sawyer Products MINI Water Filtration SystemCheck Lowest Price On Amazon
Sawyer MINI water filtration system is a portable water filtering kit for personal use. It is the best survival water filter that is available in the market. The kit includes one sawyer mini water filter, 16-ounce reusable squeeze pouch, 7-inch drinking straw, and a cleaning syringe.
It is lightweight and versatile making it a great option during our ultralight adventure trip across the mountains. The filter consists of a hollow fiber membrane filter with a 0.1-micron pore size. We did not face any problem drinking water from a natural water source while we were out in the wild.
In fact, it claims to remove 99.99999% of all bacteria and 99.9999% of all protozoa from the water. One point to note here is that it does not treat viruses, which is quite common in a large majority of portable water filters.
In Spite of this, filtration works instantly as you drink. It is not very difficult to drink water from the filter but you have to work up a little bit. Moreover, it clog up easily in turbid water or if you will not clean it frequently. But it is very easy to set up and use.
3. MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter Water FilterCheck Lowest Price On Amazon
MSR Miniworks EX is a long lasting portable water filter pump. It consists of a ceramic filter with a carbon core. That is very effective against bacteria and protozoa, as well as some chemicals.
We did not face any problem during our trips with the filtering unit. Except once, when the ceramic filter cracked due to freezing overnight. Otherwise it lasts us around 2000 liters of water, which is a lot more than other filters.
However, it does need a lot of maintenance as well. You need to frequently clean it otherwise it will get clogged easily. But the good thing is that, it is quite easy to take apart and put it together wherever you like. The handle on the pump is considerably thick and requires a good amount of force to pump water.
It needs around 2 mins to pump out a liter of water, which is quite mediocre. But we do not have to wait long like chemical treatment. Furthermore, it is heavy and we had a hard time carrying it on our ultralight backpacking trip across the mountains. We wish it would be lighter as its weight is its biggest downside.
4. MSR Guardian Military-Grade Water Purifier Pump
MSR Guardian is one the best portable water filter pump available in the market. The pump features a hollow fiber filter design and produces clean water from almost any natural source. In fact, it has a pore size of 0.02 microns, which is far superior than 0.1-0.2 micron pore size of other capable options.
And as a result, it not only removes bacteria and protozoa, like any other filter, but viruses as well. However, due to the absence of activated carbon. We sometimes had difficulty drinking water directly, before boiling it. But we are happy to overlook this when it comes to it filtering speed.
It is fast and doesn’t not need a fully grown bodybuilder to pump water for a group of thirsty hikers. Setting it up is also pretty easy. Every part stays together and nothing gets loose. It is very durable, well built and almost maintenance free with its self cleaning technology.
It comes with a carrying pouch, which is quite convenient. However, it is quite heavy and taking it around was a tough job.
5. Katadyn Hiker Pro Transparent Water Filter
Katadyn Hiker Pro is a classic portable hand pump water filter. This filter utilizes a pleated glass-fiber media with activated carbon to filter out clean water from natural sources.
It has 0.2 micron pore size which does an excellent job in removing standard bacterias and protozoans. On top of that, activated carbon helps to reduce nasty smell and taste from the water. The filter is pretty fast as well as easy to setup and use.
On average, it can filter out a litre of water under a minute. But, it’s a bit hard to pump water. Moreover, it needs some maintenance if you are using it in silty water. But despite all this, it is a pretty durable and reliable portable water filter.
It lasts us around 1,100 litres until we refill it with a new cartridge. As pack-ability is concerned, it is quite light and small as compared to other hand pump water filters. It comes with its own carrying pouch, which is very handy while packaging.
6. Katadyn Pocket Water Microfilter
Katadyn Pocket is a super high class potable water filter. The filter consists of a ceramic cartridge with impregnated silver metal. With this configuration, it is very effective against protozoa and bacteria. Taste of the water is also quite fresh, pure and clean.
However according to the World Health Organization (WHO), the concentration of silver in water should be 0.1 mg/l (0.1 ppm) or less. Therefore, it’s hard to say, if there will be any health issues in a long term use or not. But when it comes to its longevity and durability, it is bound to outclass all the other portable water filters. It is made of solid metal that is built to last forever.
The ceramic filter can last up to 13,000 gallons before it needs a replacement. And comes with a 20 year warranty. Moreover, it is very easy to use and set up, but a little hard to pump. Due to its metallic construction, it also has some weight to it, about 23.95 ounces. Which isn’t very good for backpackers. It might be ideal for those people who do a lot of river trips or car camping. Where weight is not much an issue.
7. LifeStraw Mission
LifeStraw Mission is a portable gravity water filter. It makes use of a hollow membrane to purify water. It has a pore size of 0.02 microns that is very capable to remove not only bacteria and protozoa but viruses as well. And with a lifespan of around 18000 liters, it is quite reliable also.
It is an extremely high capacity gravity water filter that is available in the market. It can filter about 18,000 liters of water in one go, which is quite impressive. But, it is also one of the slowest gravity water filters.
It took 5 minutes to filter a liter of clean water. This is a major drawback of the filter. Furthermore, it is a bit complex to use, despite having the instructions printed on the bag. There are simply a lot of parts and we felt quite overwhelmed as well as frustrated at some point of the time to make it work. Weight wise, it is also one of the heaviest gravity filters at 16 ounces.
8. GRAYL Geopress
GRAYL Geopress is a unique portable water filter in a bottle. It utilizes a combination activated carbon and ion exchange technology to filter water. The ion exchange method uses the charged protein in the microorganism to get rid of them from the filthy water.
It’s a very unique way to purify water. We were able to drink water from some of the disgusting water source and it tasted just fine. But because it requires ions to filter water, the filter lasts for only about 150 liters. In comparison to others it is very less.
When it comes to usability, it is very easy to use and setup. It has a working similar to a french coffee press, you just have to press it down. It requires a little bit of effort but not too much. You also want to put it on a flat solid surface. Otherwise it will be difficult to push it down.
In regards to durability, it is made up of polypropylene material which is fairly durable. It can easily survive basic ground drops. Also, it is very low profile and somewhat lightweight.
9. Survivor Filter PROCheck Lowest Price On Amazon
Survivor filter PRO is a portable hand pump water filter. It is made of ABS plastic which is quite sturdy and durable. It is fairly lightweight but not very compact. It uses a 3-stage water filtration technique, which not only removes bacteria and protozoa.
But viruses, chemicals and heavy metal as well. The first stage has a pre-filter of 0.1 micron that removes bacteria, protozoa and algae. Second stage consists of a carbon filter that is responsible for removing heavy metals and chemicals. And at the end there is a 0.01 micron filter that removes viruses from water.
Because of all this, the rate of filtration does not suffer. We were able to fill 1 liter of bottle in 2 minutes, which is quite fast for 0.01 micron filter. Talking about maintenance, it does not require heavy maintenance. Just an occasional back cleaning is enough. But you do need to change the carbon filter according to your use and quality of water you are filtering.
10. Journey Water Purification BottleCheck Lowest Price On Amazon
It is designed to provide purified water on the go. The bottle consists of a water filter that is quite large and takes up a lot of space inside the bottle. But it is there for a good reason. Company claims that it can remove 99.9999% bacteria, 99.99% protozoan, 99.5% lead and 99.99% viruses.
We were not able to test the claimed numbers. But we do not face any issue during or after using it for drinking water on our camping trip. You can use it with only unsalted water sources like lakes, streams and rivers. But it is no deal breaker considering most of us will use it on camping or hiking trips.
Regarding the build and design of the bottle, it is quite durable and natural to use. With the flip top and a handle it is quite easy and safe to carry it around.
Things to consider before buying a Portable Survival Water filter
1. Type of water treatment system
There are two types of water treatment system namely ‘filters’ and ‘purifiers’. Technically filters are very different from purifiers in their effectiveness. Filters are generally effective against bacteria and protozoa. Whereas, purifiers are capable of removing viruses as well as bacteria and protozoa. Read water treatment system in Detail
2. Working of water treatment systems
There are many different types of filters available based on working. These include pump filter, gravity filters, on-the-go systems, bottle filters, chemical treatment, and UV light. And working on filters can affect various factors such as time taken to filter, reliability, maintenance, water source, ease of use, weight and size of filters. Choose a filter that suited your need and preferences.
3. Your activity and place head to
Consider if you are going on hiking, camping, trail running or car camping. As well as if you are solo or in a group. Different activities need different kinds of filters. Also consider the location you are heading to and compatibility of your filter. Because different locations have different kinds of water sources.
4. Filtration medium and presence of activated carbon
There are many filtration options available in the market. These include fiberglass, hollow fiber and silica depth. Each has a different range of effectiveness and effect on the working of filter. Also consider the presence of activated carbon. As it is very helpful in eliminating not only bad smell and taste but also chemicals and heavy metals