Camping water purification systems: Best filters in 2023

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Best overall

MSR Guardian Water Purifier

camping water purification systems: MSR Guardian

An all-around water purifier that removes bacteria and viruses like a champ in a minute.

Best for backpacking

Katadyn BeFree Water Filter

Katadyn BeFree Water Filter

A durable, ultralight water filter that has a fantastic flow rate and fits the tightest spaces.

Best UV light filter

SteriPEN Ultra UV Water Purifier

SteriPEN Ultra UV Water Purifier

A super quick, convenient, and portable UV water purifier with a decent battery life.

Staying hydrated is vital. Water does so many important jobs on our body, like breaking down food, maintaining our body temperature, and keeping our cells alive. Three days without water at most, and a human can no longer survive. So, it’s best not to put yourself in such a scenario. Ever. 

When it comes to camping, carrying fresh water for the whole trip might not be an option. Especially if you’re backpacking. But drinking from natural sources like rivers, lakes, and streams can be risky. 

It’s not always easy to spot invisible contaminants lurking in the water, and drinking contaminated water can lead to serious illness. Sure, there’s a solution.

Camping water purification systems are designed to give you safe, drinkable water, no matter where you end up.

Whether you’re backpacking through the wilderness or car camping with the family, having a water filter on hand will give you peace of mind and allow you to enjoy the great outdoors without worrying about clean water.

Join us on this journey as we explore the different water filters available, give tips on choosing the best one for you, and how to properly use and maintain it to ensure safe drinking water while out in the wild.

Types of camping water purification systems

There are several types available when it comes to gadgets for ensuring safe and clean water during your camping trip. We’re here to break it down for you and explore the ins and outs of each water purification system type.


There are filters to suit every camping style – handheld, attached to a hydration pack, or integrated into a water bottle. These handy systems use a physical barrier like mesh or ceramic to remove all the filthy stuff from your water, like sediment, bacteria, and protozoan cysts. But keep in mind that filters alone won’t remove viruses or chemicals. 

Some examples of this type include gravity, pump, and squeeze filters. Gravity filters rely on gravity to pass water through a filter and into a container. They typically consist of a reservoir bag that holds unfiltered water and a filter unit with a hose that connects the two. 

To use a gravity filter, you simply fill the reservoir with water, hang it from a tree or other support, and let gravity pull the water through the filter and into the container below.

In pump filters, like MSR MiniWorks EX, the water is forced through the filter element, and contaminants are trapped in the material. The purified water then flows out of the pump filter and into a container, ready to be consumed.

Squeeze filters, on the other hand, are typically handheld filters that you squeeze to force water through the filter. They consist of a flexible water bag or bottle with a built-in filter and a straw or spout for drinking. Thanks to their hassle-free, portable design, squeeze filters often make the best backpacking water filters.


A water purifier is a multi-stage filtration system that uses a combination of methods, like filters and chemical treatments or UV light, to remove a wide range of contaminants, including bacteria, protozoan cysts, and viruses. The only area where water purifiers might not be as effective in removing chemicals.

The specific process used by a purifier depends on a particular model. We’ll show you some and elaborate on their specifics in the next section.

UV light

Ultraviolet light is the star of the show with these systems, effectively killing bacteria and viruses in your water. They filter water by exposing it to UV-C light, effectively killing microorganisms by disrupting their DNA and RNA, making it difficult for them to reproduce and survive. The process is fast, no more than a few minutes.

UV light filters are lightweight and compact, making them excellent backpacking water filters. Some come as standalone devices where you need your own bottle; others contain a water container and a UV lamp. 

It’s important to note that they can’t remove sediment or chemicals and often don’t improve the taste of the water. So, it’s best to use UV light as an additional layer of protection with another type of water purification system, such as a filter or chemical treatment.

Chemical treatment

Chemicals like iodine or chlorine are the secret weapon in these systems, effectively killing bacteria and viruses in your water. 

Iodine tablets release iodine into the water, killing bacteria and viruses. The iodine typically takes about 30 minutes to purify the water thoroughly. Chlorine tablets work similarly, releasing chlorine into the water, and often take about 4 hours to purify the water entirely.

Chemical treatment tablets are lightweight and easy to use, making them popular for camping and backpacking. Still, they don’t remove sediment or chemicals, and the taste of the treated water may not be pleasant.

Usually, it’s not recommended to rely on chemical treatment as a standalone water purification method and drink chemically-treated water too often. Still, these tablets are an excellent addition to your emergency kit and pair well with other filtration methods.

Choosing the right camping water purification system depends on your specific needs, the type of camping you’ll be doing, and the water sources you’ll be using. Choosing a system that can handle the contaminants that will likely be found in the water you’ll be drinking is essential.

Best water filters in 2023

Now, we’ll show you which camping water filters made their way through the competition. We selected the best three picks among all types to give as versatile a selection as possible. Here’s what we’ve got:

1. Best overall: MSR Guardian Purifier

MSR Guardian Water Purifier
Best camping water purification system


  • Product dimensions: ‎‎‎5.25 x 5 x 12.25 inches
  • Purification method: ‎Hollow fiber membrane
  • Item weight: 2.19 pounds


  • Military-grade, meets NSF protocol P248 testing standard of the U.S. military
  • Pumps fast – 2.6 quarts per minute
  • Can treat up to 10,500 quarts of water
  • Heavy-duty tool
  • Self-cleaning, no backflushing or filter-scrubbing required
  • Well-built and easy to maintain – can be taken apart and serviced if needed 
  • Convenient carry bag
  • Works quietly
  • The hose is long enough


  • Bulky, unsuitable for backpacking
  • Might add some chemical taste to the water

The MSR Guardian purifier is a lifesaver and the absolute best choice for anyone looking for a heavy-duty water filtration system. This military-grade water pump is built to handle even the harshest conditions, removing viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and particulates from contaminated water sources. 

The MSR Guardian pumps at a rapid 2.6 quarts per minute and can treat up to 10,500 quarts of water, all while withstanding freezing, drops, heavy use, and rough environments.

This medical-grade hollow fiber filter meets NSF protocol P248 testing standards of the U.S. military, so you can trust that you’re getting the best protection from the tiniest waterborne threats. 

The pump self-cleans on every stroke, providing fast flow rates with zero hassle and no backflushing or filter-scrubbing required. The MSR Guardian purifier is built to last and is easy to maintain.

It comes with a nice zip-up carry case, making it easy to transport, and, what’s essential for many campers – it fits the Nalgene bottle perfectly. With its long hose, you won’t have to worry about falling into the pond or river trying to scoop up water, and with its fast, quiet, and efficient performance, you won’t have to wait around for gravity to work or mess with bags.

The feature that can become a downside of the MSR Guardian is its weight and size. Absolutely, it’s too large and heavy for backpacking, so it would only be suitable for those camping with a car or an RV. 

Some other small grips include some chemical taste after filtering water. Plus, the clip between the handle and plunger might break if you’re pumping too fast, so be cautious. 

Other than that, the MSR Guardian is an unbeatable water purifier. It’s a reliable, worth-investment device that’ll give you fresh water for years to come.

2. Best for backpacking: Katadyn BeFree Water Filter

Katadyn BeFree Water Filter
Best backpacking filter


  • Material: Synthetic
  • Product dimensions: ‎‎4.25 x 10 x 3 inches
  • Purification method: ‎Hollow fiber membrane
  • Included components: BeFree filter membrane
  • Item weight: 2.24 ounces


  • Collapsible, fits anywhere
  • Stay-clean drink nozzle keeps the mouthpiece sanitized
  • Amazing flow rate
  • Self-cleaning
  • Can be used as a bottle itself, or you can dump it into any water bottle you own 
  • Withstands rough camping usage
  • Purifies water super fast
  • Wide bottle mouth


  • Flexible plastic sack might be prone to leaking
  • Water might have a slight taste after filtering
  • The bottle is kind of floppy

The Katadyn BeFree Water Filter is a handy tool for all your outdoor adventures and, best of all – super compact to take on a backpacking trip.

With its collapsible 1.0L hydra pack soft bottle flask, you can easily carry it in your backpack, jacket pockets, purse, or fly vest without taking up too much space. The stay-clean drink nozzle ensures a clean and sanitary mouthpiece, which you can replace with standard plastic bottle caps.

One of the best features of this water filter is its fast flow rate. It filters water quickly and effectively and has self-cleaning capabilities. You can easily maintain it in the field with just a tiny amount of water, shaking, and pouring. The bottle’s wide mouth makes it easy to scoop water from almost any source.

It’s a very versatile filter that you can use as a bottle itself, or you can dump water into any water bottle you own. The Katadyn BeFree is durable and can withstand rough camping usage, making it a tremendous backpacking gear for those who want to grab water quickly and go.

Katadyn BeFree in use

However, one of the drawbacks of the flexible plastic sack is that it can be prone to leaking, and the water might have a slight taste after filtering. Also, keep in mind the bottle is kind of floppy, making it difficult to keep water in it while in your pack. 

All in all, it’s a perfect backpacking filter that doesn’t bring along any hassle related to clunky, heavy pumps. It filters fast, has a well-thought, convenient design, and, most importantly – doesn’t need any extra backflushing equipment to clean it.

3. Best UV light: SteriPEN Ultra

SteriPEN Ultra UV Water Purifier
Best UV light filter


  • Material: Plastic
  • Included components: Water purifier, USB charging cord, case
  • Product dimensions: 7.3 x 1.3 x 1.6 inches
  • Purification method: ‎Ultraviolet
  • Item weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Power source: Battery-powered


  • Long battery life
  • Simple OLED display that shows treatment, lamp, and battery status
  • USB rechargeable
  • No risks of filter freezing overnight or backflushing
  • Lightweight, small, very easy to pack
  • Filters super fast
  • Has excellent build quality
  • Thoroughly tested to kill non-tuberculous mycobacteria in water


  • Not field repairable and can go dead at any moment
  • Some reviews say the light begins failing after some months of using

The SteriPEN Ultra is a UV water purification device that promises to make your life easier and more convenient, especially if you are an avid traveler or adventure lover.

It stands out with its long battery life – up to 50 treatments per single charge and 300 discharge cycles, equivalent to 15,000 liters. It’s a perfect solution for 3-4 day trips with a companion or 1-2 week long solo camping trips.

This purifier comes with a simple OLED display that shows all the critical information you need about the treatment, lamp, and battery status. You can recharge the device using a USB connection from a computer, a wall outlet, or even a solar panel.

The SteriPEN Ultra eliminates the need for filters that can freeze overnight, get clogged, or need backflushing. It’s lightweight, compact, and easy to pack, making it an excellent option for backpacking trips or travel adventures. 

Purifying a half-liter of water takes just 48 seconds, while purifying a liter takes 1.5 minutes. This little champ is built to last, with excellent quality that is thoroughly tested to kill non-tuberculous mycobacteria in water.

However, a slight grip about this purifier is that it may not be field repairable and can fail without warning. For this reason, we always recommend having a backup option, like a straw filter or chemical purification tablets, that doesn’t rely on batteries and can save you in an emergency.

Despite that, the SteriPEN Ultra remains a highly convenient, quick, and super-packable solution for water purification on the go.


We’ve seen the winners, but the great water purification options don’t end there. There are other reliable, tested picks with unique features to cater to your needs and preferences. From budget options to stylish bottles and chemical tablets, let’s look at the best of the rest.

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
Best budget filter


  • Material: Plastic
  • Capacity: 2 cubic inches
  • Components included: ‎LifeStraw personal water filter, sealed bag, instruction manual
  • Product dimensions: ‎8.66 x 0.98 x 0.98 inches
  • Purification method: Membrane microfilter
  • Power source: No electricity or battery power required
  • Item weight: 1.6 ounces 
  • Lower temperature rating: 33.8°F
  • Upper temperature rating: 140°F
  • Package weight: 1.7 ounces


  • Super lightweight and compact
  • Very easy to use
  • A perfect addition to a survival kit
  • Flexible use – you can drink directly from the water source or attach it to a water bottle
  • Protects from bacteria, including salmonella, parasites, microplastics, dirt, sand, and cloudiness
  • Can filter up to 4000 gallons of water


  • A bit hard to suck through
  • You can’t share it
  • It’s possible to ruin the straw if you try drinking chemically contaminated water
  • Doesn’t remove viruses or chemicals

The LifeStraw personal water filter is a survivalist’s dream come true. This little guy is light as a feather and can easily be hung around your neck or attached to your backpack, making it the perfect addition to your survival kit. Hardcore hikers love the LifeStraw because it’s easy to use in any situation, whatever the challenge is.

Drinking water with LifeStraw is super easy. You can drink directly from it or attach a dirty water bottle for on-the-go filtration. And the best part? You can filter up to 4,000 gallons of water during its lifespan. That’s a lot of clean sips.

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter in use

But here’s the catch. While the LifeStraw is excellent for emergencies, we believe it shouldn’t be a substitute for a good backpacking water filter. It can’t be shared whatsoever, as if one person gets sick, everyone will get sick. 

And while it’s perfect for filtering out bacteria like salmonella and parasites, dirt, sand, and cloudiness, it doesn’t remove viruses or chemicals. So make sure to only use it on water sources that aren’t contaminated with high levels of this mess. 

Overall, the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter is a great option for anyone looking for a lightweight, budget solution for clean drinking water on the go. Whether you’re on a backpacking trip or just want to be prepared for emergencies, this water filter is sure to come in handy.

Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter
Best squeeze filter


  • Material: Plastic
  • Product dimensions: ‎‎4 x 2.5 x 7.5 inches
  • Included components: ‎One Squeeze screw-on water filter; two 32-ounce collapsible pouches; one replaceable pop-up drinking spout; one syringe filter cleaner; instructions
  • Purification method: ‎Hollow fiber membrane
  • Power source: No electricity or battery power required
  • Item weight: 3.2 ounces


  • Lightweight and easy-to-use squeeze design
  • Two convenient, packable pouches included 
  • Built-in removable sports cap
  • Gives tasteless water when filtered
  • Easy cleanup
  • Durable construction


  • Doesn’t kill viruses
  • The gray cap end of the filter is hard to take off
  • Can be prone to clogging
  • A bit hard to squeeze with thicker containers

The Sawyer squeeze water filter is a lightweight, easy-to-use portable water filter that removes harmful bacteria, protozoa, cysts, sediment, and 100% microplastics. Its squeeze design allows for easy hands-free operation and water flow control. 

You can spray water straight into your mouth or bottle from the included pouch or use the built-in and removable flip-top sports cap. The two reusable 32-oz BPA-free collapsible bags that come with the filter can be easily packed and rolled up tightly.

Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter in use

One of the great things about the Sawyer Squeeze is that it filters clear, tasteless water, making it an excellent choice for those who want to enjoy the natural flavor of their water source. Cleaning the filter is a breeze, and its durable, BPA-free construction ensures it can withstand rough usage in the wilderness.

However, it’s important to note that the filter does not kill viruses, so it may not be suitable for water sources with high levels of viral contamination. It can also be prone to clogging when filtering turbid or murky water. 

Some users may find the squeeze design challenging to use with thicker containers like water bottles. Additionally, the gray cap end of the filter can be difficult to remove, which is necessary for connecting the pouch with dirty water to the filter.

All in all, the Sawyer squeeze filter is a handy tool in your backpack for those outdoor adventures. With its lightweight and portable design, you can easily carry it wherever you go and have access to clean, safe drinking water in a pinch.

Best taste of water: Lifesaver Jerrycan Water Purifier

Lifesaver Jerrycan Water Purifier
Best for delicious water


  • Material: Plastic
  • Product dimensions: ‎‎‎19.5 x 14 x 7 inches
  • Purification method: ‎Ultrafiltration membrane
  • Item weight: 9.3 pounds


  • Handles 5 gallons of water
  • Removes odors; water tastes good 
  • Feels very sturdy, with no cheap plastic feel
  • Very easy to use 
  • Eliminates the need to bring any other water storage as long as a source is available
  • Excellent for emergency water storage
  • Awesome taste of the water


  • The filter can become useless if it dries out
  • The flow rate is a bit low, and you need to pump it as it filters the water
  • The pump can leak if it’s too full

If you’re up to car camping, the Lifesaver Jerrycan has got you covered. With the ability to handle 5 gallons of water, you won’t have to worry about running out or constantly refilling. 

One of the best things about this purifier is how well it removes odors and enhances the taste of the water. You’ll be able to forget the weird tastes and smells completely. 

One of the standout features of the Lifesaver Jerrycan is its sturdy construction. It has zero cheap plastic feeling and won’t get you worried about it falling apart – this purifier is built to last. 

It’s also straightforward to use, which is always a plus. You may feel a little hesitant about the price tag at first, but after you see how well it works and the different ways you can use it – for example, as a camping shower – you’ll be glad you spent the extra money.

This purifier eliminates the need for other water storage containers, saving you a lot of space and weight. It’s also excellent for emergency water storage. The filter is top-notch, and you’ll be amazed at how clean and delicious the water tastes.

Though, there are a few things to keep in mind when using the Lifesaver Jerrycan. First, make sure not to let the filter dry out, as it will become useless if it’s used once and then left to dry. 

The flow rate is a bit low, so you’ll need to pump it as it filters the water. Make sure to tightly seal the openings when traveling, especially if it’s pressurized or will dribble. Don’t fill it up all the way, as the pump can leak if it’s too full.

Overall, the Lifesaver Jerrycan Water Purifier is an excellent investment for anyone who needs clean, fresh water on car camping trips. With its sturdy construction, easy-to-use design, and top-notch filtration capabilities, it’s a must-have tool for those with extra vehicle space.

GRAYL GeoPress 24 oz Water Purifier Bottle
A purifier and bottle in one


  • Material: Polypropylene
  • Capacity: 24 fluid ounces
  • Included components: GeoPress cap, inner press, outer refill, purifier cartridge, quickstart guide
  • Product dimensions: ‎‎‎3.4 x 3.4 x 10.4 inches
  • Purification method: ‎Electroadsorption, activated carbon
  • Item weight: 15.9 ounces


  • Removes all pathogens
  • Purifies 24 oz of water at a time 
  • Very easy to use, with no hassle while setting up
  • Comes equipped with replaceable purifier cartridges good for 65 gallons 
  • Very sturdy
  • Water tastes pretty good 
  • Super simple design, no small plastic delicate parts that could easily break on the trail


  • Requires a flat surface and strength to push the filter through
  • Quite heavy
  • The bottle does have some unnatural smell to it

Do you want a purifier bottle that doesn’t require any setup, pumps, hoses, or batteries? If so, you might want to consider the GRAYL GeoPress 24 oz Water Purifier Bottle. It’s an effortless solution to purifying water from any source – spigot, hotel sink, river, lake, or well.

This purifier bottle removes all the nasties, like viruses, bacteria, and protozoa, giving you safe and clean water to drink. The replaceable purifier cartridge is good for up to 65 gallons, so you can keep using it for a long time. The purification process is done by simply pressing the bottle.

In terms of taste, the multiple layers of ultra-powdered activated carbon filter remove any particulates, chemicals, pesticides, and heavy metals.

The bottle is made of sturdy materials and feels solid to the touch. It’s also super simple in design and has no small parts that could break easily.

GRAYL GeoPress in use

When filling GRAYL Geopress, ensure to fill the bottle to the fill line, or the water might shoot out and make a mess. Do note that you need to be on a flat surface and have the strength to press the bottle to filter the water. And keep the cap off before pressing, as you need air to push the water through.

Another grip is that the bottle might have a strange smell to it. If that bothers you, be aware. 

Overall, GRAYL GeoPress 24 oz Water Purifier Bottle is an excellent option for people who want an effortless and convenient solution to purifying water on the go.

Electric purification system: CaredWater Electric Portable Water Purifier

CaredWater Electric Portable Water Purifier
Electric purification system


  • Material: Plastic
  • Capacity: 4000 liters
  • Included components: Electric water filter, pre & post filter, squeeze water bag, type C cable
  • Product dimensions: ‎‎‎3 x 1.5 x 6 inches
  • Purification method: ‎Pre-ultrafiltration membrane, PP sediment, KDF, activated carbon, post-ultrafiltration membrane
  • Item weight: 10 ounces
  • Power source: Battery-powered


  • Fully automatic
  • Gives up to 200 liters of drinking water with one full built-in battery charge
  • Versatile – doubles as a power bank
  • Has a manual backup option, so you don’t have to worry about running out of battery
  • Very compact and portable
  • Simplifies the filtration process a lot
  • Built-in battery charges rapidly can be charged with a solar charger
  • Nice carry case
  • Good taste of water


  • The hoses are pretty thin and flimsy
  • Might be problematic if the water source is shallow – the pre-filter has holes on both ends that have to be submerged in water for smooth flow
  • The filter has a strong plastic smell after opening

The CaredWater electric portable water purifier is an innovative and versatile solution for clean drinking water on the go. The fully automatic design with a simple press ON/OFF button allows for hands-free operation and the ability to multitask. The high-speed pump can purify up to 200 liters of water with a single battery charge and even doubles as a power bank in an emergency.

The CaredWater also has a manual backup option, acting as a life-straw water filter. This allows you to drink directly from any fresh water source or transform a water bottle or bag into a powerful squeeze water filter system. Its compact and portable design makes it a convenient outdoor adventure or travel option.

The CaredWater filtration system is designed to deliver clean and refreshing water, removing any unpleasant tastes or odors. The built-in battery charges quickly, and everything packs neatly into a compact case for easy storage and transportation. You can even charge it with a solar charger if you’re camping in a remote location.

However, the hoses are thin and flimsy, making it easy to bend and block the water flow. The pre-filter, which needs to be submerged in water for proper flow, may also present some challenges if the water source is shallow. Some users have also noted a strong plastic smell after opening the filter. 

Overall, the CaredWater electric portable water purifier is an excellent option for anyone in need of a quick and easy solution for clean drinking water. The manual backup option acts as a massive plus in case the battery fails.

SteriPEN Adventurer Opti UV Personal Water Purifier
UV light runner-up


  • Material: Plastic
  • Capacity: 8000 liters
  • Included components: Water purifier, storage bag
  • Product dimensions: 6.1  x 0.9 x 1.3 inches
  • Purification method: ‎Ultraviolet
  • Item weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Power source: Lithium-ion battery powered


  • Very simple to use
  • Lithium-ion batteries are a big deal if you’re a gram counter
  • The whole unit feels like it weighs almost nothing
  • Comes in a little nylon pouch with a Velcro fastener loop 
  • Filters fast, one liter at a time, and works great for two people
  • Durable, lasts for a long time 
  • The optical sensor senses all types of water, including water that has already been filtered through


  • The material it’s made from seems fragile
  • Pretty hard to remove the lid
  • Only works on clear water

The SteriPEN Adventurer Opti UV Personal Water Purifier is a compact and lightweight unit that keeps you hydrated without adding extra weight to your backpack. With its simple one-button operation and light lithium-ion battery, you won’t have to worry about running out of power or carrying extra batteries.

The optical sensor can sense all types of water, including water that has already been filtered through, making it a versatile option for different trips. Simply turn it on, hold the wand in a liter of water for 48 seconds, stirring it, and you’re good to go. 

The SteriPEN comes in a great nylon pouch with a Velcro fastener loop, making it easy to attach to your backpack or belt. It’s durable, long-lasting, and functions perfectly, ensuring clean drinking water wherever you go.

However, it’s worth noting that the SteriPEN only works on clear water, so you’ll need to use a water purification and filtration system first. Plus, the material it’s made from seems fragile, so be careful not to break it. The lid can also be hard to remove, so be cautious when doing so.

Overall, the SteriPEN Adventurer Opti UV Personal Water Purifier is a great choice for those looking for a simple, lightweight, and effective water purification solution for their outdoor adventures.

LARQ Water Bottle with UV Water Sanitizer
Stylish UV light bottle


  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Capacity: 950 milliliters
  • Included components: ‎LARQ bottle, PureVis MicroUSB charging cable, quick start guide
  • Product dimensions: ‎2.13 x 9.84 inches
  • Purification method: PureVis UVC LED
  • Item weight: 17 ounces
  • Power source: Battery-powered


  • Works at the touch of a button
  • Self-cleaning
  • Long battery life: up to a month on a full charge with USB rechargeable Li-polymer battery and a waterproof IPX7-rate MicroUSB 
  • Convenient and safe
  • Classy-looking bottle with plenty of color variations
  • Great water taste
  • An awesome bottle for everyday use, too


  • Not very wear-resistant 
  • Bottle sweats when too cold 
  • Might develop smells over time

The LARQ water bottle is a super stylish UV water purifier that comes in a range of colors and can be a fantastic, versatile camping gift for your outdoorsy (or not so!) friend. 

With just the touch of a button, this innovative bottle uses UV-C light technology to sanitize your water and eliminate germs or bacteria. It’s self-cleaning and will activate every 2 hours to keep your bottle stink-free.

This bottle is an excellent option for travel, hikes, or keeping in your car. It has a USB rechargeable Li-polymer battery that will last up to a month on a full charge, and it’s even waterproof with an IPX7-rated MicroUSB. The top cap of the bottle, which houses the electronics, isn’t waterproof, so you must be careful when washing it.

Not only does the LARQ UV bottle look great, but it will ensure you’re drinking fresh, clean water with a great taste. However, it’s important to note that the bottle is not very wear-resistant and might develop smells over time. Plus, it may sweat when it’s too cold. But that can quickly be resolved with an insulated alternative if the weight isn’t a concern for you and you wish to enjoy hot or cold beverages throughout the day. 

Overall, the LARQ water bottle with UV water sanitizer is an excellent solution for anyone looking for a stylish and convenient way to stay hydrated while ensuring their water is safe and fresh. 

With a long-lasting battery and easy-to-use design, it’s perfect for everyday use, travel, or outdoor adventures. Just remember to be mindful of the bottle’s limitations and take good care of it for the best experience.

Best chemical treatment tablets: Katadyn Micropur MP1 Water Purification Tablets

Katadyn Micropur MP1 Water Purification Tablets
Best chemical treatment tablets


  • Included components: 30 tablets
  • Item weight: 0.35 ounces
  • Product dimensions: 1 x 1 x 1 inches
  • Size: 30 tablets
  • Capacity: 30 quarts


  • EPA-certified tablets used in military 
  • Very portable and lightweight
  • Convenient individual packaging
  • Easy-to-understand instructions
  • Long shelf life


  • Long purification time

When it comes to water purification in the great outdoors, you want to make sure you’re making a safe choice for yourself and your loved ones. The Katadyn Micropur MP1 water purification tablets are a product that not only meets those safety standards but also has the backing of being EPA-certified and used in the military.

These water purification tablets are lightweight and compact, making them easy to pack in your bag for a weekend camping trip or an emergency preparedness kit. They also come in convenient packaging, with each tablet wrapped individually to keep the unused ones protected from the environment.

Using the Micropur MP1 tablets is a breeze, as the instructions are easy to follow. Just drop a tablet in your water, wait four hours, and voila. You’ll have safe and purified water to drink. However, one crucial thing to remember is that the tablets are toxic until they have had time to decontaminate the water, so be sure not to touch them directly.

With a long shelf life, these purification tablets are a great option to have on hand for any outdoor excursion or emergency. The peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re making a safe choice for your water is priceless.

Best iodine-based purification tablets: Potable Aqua Water Treatment Tablets

Potable Aqua Water Treatment Tablets
Best iodine-based purification tablets


  • Included components: 2 x 50 count Potable Aqua bottles
  • Item weight: 3.79 ounces
  • Material: Glass, metal cap 
  • Size: 100 tablets – twin cap
  • Capacity: 50 quarts per two caps


  • A great addition to your water purification kit
  • Great for emergency preparedness
  • Lightweight bottles
  • Very affordable
  • Takes half an hour to use
  • Easy to use 


  • Not very convenient packaging
  • Iodine-based tablets have dark brown coloration 
  • Has some chemical taste
  • Not suitable for standalone use like any other chemical treatment tablets

Potable Aqua water treatment tablets are your go-to solution when you’re in a pinch and need to purify water. These lightweight tablets are perfect for emergency preparedness and make a great backup to your primary filtration and purification system. Simply add two tablets to a quart of water, wait half an hour, and voila! Clean, safe water.

The affordable and easy-to-use tablets come in small, lightweight bottles that are perfect for packing on outdoor adventures or keeping in your emergency kit. The iodine-based tablets have a slightly dark brown coloration, but they effectively neutralize bacteria, viruses, and other harmful contaminants in water.

While tablets are an excellent option for emergencies, it’s important to note that the chemical taste may be noticeable, and the packaging is not the most convenient. The insulated Uline bags can easily spill dust and insulation bits when torn open, so handle them with care.

Overall, Potable Aqua Water Treatment Tablets are a smart choice to have on hand in case of a water filtration system failure or for peace of mind during your travels.

Potable Aqua Water Chlorine Dioxide Water Purification Tablets
Chlorine-dioxide alternative


  • Included components: 30 tablets
  • Item weight: 0.81 ounces
  • Product dimensions: 6 x 4.5 x 1 inches
  • Material: Synthetic
  • Size: 30 tablets
  • Capacity: 30 quarts


  • Highly portable, great for an emergency kit 
  • Pairs great with boiling water
  • Very affordable
  • Drinkable taste, with only a tiny chemical hint
  • Very simple to use
  • Convenient packaging


  • Long purification time

These little wonders are small enough to fit your pocket, making them perfect for a camping trip or an emergency kit. The Potable Aqua purification tablets are super affordable, so you won’t have to break the bank to keep yourself hydrated and healthy.

These tablets are so straightforward to use, and unlike other water purification methods, these tablets don’t leave a weird taste in your mouth. In fact, you’ll only taste a tiny hint of chemicals, which is a small price to pay for a clean drink.

They use chlorine dioxide to purify your water, which means they’re effective against cryptosporidium and viruses. This makes them a great choice if you’re heading to a place with questionable water quality and want to be fully prepared for emergencies.

So, whether you’re planning a trip or just want to be ready for the worst, Potable Aqua water chlorine dioxide water purification tablets are a must to have in hand.

How to choose the right water purification system

The options can be overwhelming when it comes to keeping your water clean and safe on a camping trip, but don’t let that stress you out. Considering a few key factors, you can quickly narrow down your choices and select a system that will make your trip completely stress-free.

Camping style: Backpacking or car camping?

First and foremost, think about the type of camping adventure you’re planning. Are you hitting the trails for a backpacking trip or going car camping? Your choice of purification system should match the type of trip you’re taking. 

If you’re backpacking, you’ll want to choose a lightweight and compact system that won’t weigh you down. If you’re car camping, you’ll have more room to bring a larger system.

Type of water sources: Streams or rivers?

Next, consider the type of water sources you’ll be using. Not all systems are created equal, and different systems are better suited to handle various contaminants. 

Will you primarily use lakes and streams, or will you get water from rivers and creeks? A filter may be your best bet if you’re planning to use water from lakes and streams. But, if you’re planning to use water from rivers and creeks, a purifier that can handle more mess is a better option.

Budget: Don’t break the bank

Set a budget for yourself and stick to it. Camping water filters can range in price from a few dollars to several hundred dollars, but just because a system is expensive doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for you.

And, just because a system is cheaper doesn’t mean it won’t do the job. Make sure you’re getting the best option for your needs and budget. We’ll show you the best picks in a flash.

Using and maintaining your camping water purification system

You’ve made the wise choice of investing in a camping water purification system; now it’s time to put it to use. To ensure that your system is working at its optimal level and providing you with safe and clean drinking water, it’s essential to know how to use and maintain it properly.

Using your water purification system: Each system is unique, so don’t just wing it, read the manufacturer’s instructions before using it for the first time. Pay attention to the water flow rate, how to clean and replace filters, and how to store them properly.

Keeping your system in shape: Regular maintenance is crucial to keeping your system in tip-top shape. Clean and replace filters according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Store it in a dry and protected place, and avoid freezing temperatures. UV light systems may require the replacement of the bulb.

Scrub-a-dub-dub: Always clean your system before and after use, and sanitize it with a mild cleaning solution if needed. Rinse it thoroughly with clean water and let it dry completely before storing it. 

As you’ve seen, some water purification systems are self-cleaning and include parts that don’t need (or can’t be) washed. Again, pay attention and stick to the instructions.

Camping water filters FAQ

Can you remove all contaminants, including viruses, from water?

It depends on the type of purifier you choose. Some, like purifiers that use a combination of filters and chemicals or UV light, can remove a lot of things like bacteria and viruses. 

However, they may not be able to remove heavy metals and chemicals. To make sure you have clean, safe water while camping, it’s crucial to choose a purifier that’s right for the water you’ll be drinking and to use it correctly.

What’s the difference between filtration and purification?

Filters use a physical barrier to remove contaminants like sediment and bacteria.

Purifiers go a step further, using a combination of methods, like filters and chemicals or UV light, to get rid of a broader range of contaminants, including bacteria, viruses, and other harmful substances.

How long will my camping water purifying system last?

It depends on the type of the system and how often you use it. For example, handheld filters usually last for about 2-3 months if you use them frequently but can live up to a year or a few with occasional use.

Some high-end filters have replaceable cartridges, so you can extend the filter life by swapping out the cartridges as needed.

Purifiers last longer than filters, up to 2 years on average. Again, some come with replaceable cartridges. UV light systems typically last for about one year with frequent use. The same goes for chemical treatments.

It’s crucial to regularly check your camping water purification system and replace it if you notice any signs of wear and tear or if the system is no longer working effectively. To keep it in top condition, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and maintenance.

What’s the best way to purify water when backpacking?

When backpacking, finding a clean and safe source of water is key. The best way to purify water while backpacking depends on the type of water source you find.

Look for clear and moving water sources, such as streams or rivers. This water is more likely to be free of contaminants and safer to drink. Avoid water sources near human activity, such as roads or campsites, as these may contain chemicals or other pollutants.

If you can’t find a clear and moving water source, consider using a water filter or purifier that uses UV light or chemicals to kill bacteria and viruses.

You’ll also want to find a safe spot to refill, pump, or hang your gravity filter.

What are some alternatives to water purification systems?

The first thing you can do without a water purification system is boiling your water. That can easily be done with a camping tea kettle or a camping pot for boiling water. If you don’t have a dedicated kettle or pot, use any pot from your campfire cooking equipment. Boiling water for at least 1 minute can kill harmful bacteria or viruses.

Another way is to use chemical treatment tablets. They just need a bit more time to work, usually around 30 minutes.

If you’re lucky enough to find a natural spring or clear stream, the water is likely safe to drink. Just make sure to avoid any contaminated sources near urban areas.

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