suggestions for a water filter?

what is the best portable water filter out there and do people use it instead of carrying water with them? Just wondering…

How fast does it filter?

We use a Katadin small filter
We take it on most of our camping trips.

It not only clarifies the water, but removes all bacteria and other nasties.

I call using it "squishing water)., since you have to force the water through the ceramic filter.



Best is a strong word. I use a katadyn hiker when I camp. I wonder about water bottle filters with a nice carbon/ceramic core. It would seem to be real nice just to dip the bottle in the water and drink.

Small steams make a much better source of water than large bodies. I bring iodine as an emergency backup since I would not want to filter from lakes and rivers unless I have to. It still tastes like a lake/river. Small streams taste much better. If you do use a filter, I would suggest finding a small tributary to filter from. Thats why I usualy carry extra water and iodine.


Katadin Pocket filter
I pondered this before buying one. As far as I’m concerned it seems to be the top of the line for a few reasons. Even though it’s fairly expensive it’s filter lasts far longer than most so it winds up being cheaper in the long run. It filters at about a liter a minute if I remember the specs correctly. It also provides better protection against bacteria than iodine.


Technology: 0.2 micron ceramic depth filter

Output: ca. 1 l/min

Cartridge Capacity: up to 50´000 l (depending on water quality)

Weight: ca. 550 g

Size: 24 x Ø 6 cm

Includes: Prefilter, bottle clip and carry bag

With a .2 micron filter and a @50K liter lifetime I was sold even if it was twice the price of others. If you do some more research you might find that this is one of the very few that has this level of filtration.

Love the MSR Miniworks. I’ve used one for years…

easy to pump, easy to clean, easy to field maintain. Bomber.

Second that…
years of use and no complaints.

Screws direct to my bladders and bottles.


I use them as well and cleaning them in the field is a snap…

Can those Katadin filters be serviced if they clog?

Not a filter, but a water disinfectant
If you only need to deactivate all bacteria, viruses, or cryptosporidium, I use and recommend the MSR/Miox unit.

It uses a battery, ordinary salt, and water to produce a “brew” of mixed oxidents that will basically kill anything in the water.

Very small and compact. I use mine when travelling overseas in areas where I don’t trust the bottled water as well as on camping trips.

clay pot and ceramic filter
I like the looks of the MSR units…quick filtering too.

What is interesting about all this is that when I was growing up in Brazil, and even now when I visit the in-laws down there, water is put in a ceramic jug with a large ceramic filter system that leads to a reservoir underneath with a spigot. the water tastes a little earthy from the clay pot but is fresh and clean…


We like Sweetwater Guardian (now MSR)
Relatively inexpensive and pumps FAST.

Lake water in MN tastes just fine after filtering!


Pur Voyageur
I have one that I really like. I used it in Tanzania on water that we were told not to drink (assuming that we would not treat it) or we would get sick, and did not get sick drinking it. The filter is now sold under the Katadyn brand as the Hiker.

An interesting story about it when it was the Pur Voyageur. Mine still has a filter insert from the Pur days. In that time it was sold as a water filter/purifier, because the filter insert was impregnated with iodine. You pumped it through the filter, where it came in contact with the iodine, and then went through the hose to an activated carbon stage which took the iodine taste out of the water. Later Pur issued a product advisory notice that the purification step didn’t work, because taking the iodine out at the end of the filter didn’t allow the iodine enough retention time to work on the viruses. So they suggested not using the post-filter attachment with the filter to get the purifying effect. Since the pore size of the filter is small enough to filter out cysts, bacteria, protozoa, nemotades, etc, all you have to worry about is viruses. Norwalk is not a serious virus, and I am vaccinated against hepatitis and polio, so it’s not a big concern. Now Katadyn sells the Hiker as just a filter, and does not impregnate the insert with iodine.

UV sterilizers
What do people think about those UV sterilizing pens that you just wave around in water? Do you think they work, are rugged enough for in the field, and treat water as economically as a filter?

One last thought
Several years ago I was on a bike trip in the WV & VA mountains. Camping at Lake Moomaw in VA we were subjected to the foulest well water I had ever encountered in terms of iron & sulfur. I had an old Pur filter (with the fabric discs) which got the particulates out but not the taste or odor. A buddy had a First Need, with a charcoal filter that made the water palatible. This was an extreme situation, and might not be applicable to most paddling situations, but take it for what it’s worth.


I’m a gear nut
and consquently have 3 filters.

I have a PUR filter for backpacking, its fast efficient to pump and does a pretty decent job, its also extremely field servicable.

I have a katadin bottle with built in filter for whitewater paddling, I love it for a quick easy drink, but you do have to be cautious of cross contimination (don’t get the top or straw wet!)

I also have a First Need for river trips, overseas, and group backpacking. This was my first filter and was purchased because of how wonderful a job it does. It gets the silt outa the Green River when we paddled that. It gets most of the bad tastes (like when filtering in a cow stream!), it is the only filter that does viruses (not having this in Guatamala would have scared me!). Its down falls are speed (its realy sloe because its so fine a filter), and if it breaks you are hosed, so its not at all field servicable.

I also keep a bottle of Polar Pure in my possibles bag, because I’ve gorked up a filter on a long trip before!

I use Katadyn
it’s pricey but the best. it does about one liter/us quart per minute. you can use it instead of water unless the water has know small bacteria or virus. Where the water is questionable, you can use chlorine pills in addition to filtering. I’ts a bit like suspenders over a belt but it’s your health

MSR Miniworks
mine is ten years old. It gets eight weeks of use a year mostly in Northern Ontario.

Very field maintenance friendly.

OR makes a padded stuff sack that is supposed to be for insulating Nalgene bottles, but it fits the Mini works perfectly.

Excellent tip - thank you. N-M

As a sea kayaker
I could sure use a low priced, compact, hand pumped RO filter.

MSR Waterworks
I have had many filters in my life, and I prefer MSR filters. I find the Katadyn pocket filter too difficult to pump. The Sweetwater has an input and output hose, and it becomes a great hassle to keep the two seperated. If one touches the other, game over, contamanited. Also, field repairs are difficult given that what draws the water through the ceraminic element is a plastic syringe, and if anything happens to that, as it did to me during a weeklong backpacking trip, your drinking iodine. I own a Waterworks and have owned a mini works and think both are great. I used a Waterworks because it moves water a bit better and has a virus catching membrane. I have rebuilt both in the field without problem.

I use the Guide, not their fanciest but not bad. It’s the fastest I’ve seen and works great for Canada/US. Remember folks, filters are terrific but most of 'em aren’t effective with viral contaminants.