The 10 Best Camping Water Purifiers

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Your idea of camping may be a solo backpacking trip for several days, trekking many miles into the wilderness. It could also be a group of friends gathered around the fire pit in a designated campground. Either way, clean, healthy drinking water is a necessity. Even the most inviting mountain lake or stream could be hiding parasites, bacteria, viruses, chemicals, and just plain old dirt, mud, silt and sand. If humans or animals can reach an area, the water there may be contaminated. The right water purifier or filter can make it safe to drink quickly. Boiling the water for one to three minutes will deactivate any parasites, bacteria or viruses but requires time and fuel and doesn’t remove chemicals or natural debris. This article examines the 10 best water purifiers for camping in 2018.

Product FAQs

1. What Is the Difference Between a Water purifier and a Water Filter?

2. What Is the Best Water Source To Use?

3. Why Buy a New Water Purifier for Camping?

4. Where Can You Buy One?

5. How Much Does It Cost?

How the Camping Water Purifiers Were Reviewed

We based our reviews on water purifier features, capacity, type of contaminants removed, weight/bulk and customer testimonials. A 1 to 5-star rating based on these factors is included in each review.

Overall Price Range

All the purifiers reviewed are priced from $12.30 to $959, with most under $100.00. The $959 unit is expensive because it is a military-grade desalinator designed to turn saltwater into drinkable water. The remaining units work with freshwater only.

Top 10 Best Camping Water Purifiers

[amazon box="B019ERWU66"]

This military-grade self-cleaning pump purifies and filters in the same unit. It produces 2.5 liters/minute and the replaceable cartridge should last for more than 10,000 liters. It’s lightweight and can handle six-foot falls and freezing temperatures.

Warranty

It has a three-year limited warranty.

Pros

  • Durable pump
  • Fast
  • Check Circle
    Filters viruses without chemicals or ultraviolet

Cons

  • Expensive

[amazon box="B001EHF99A"]

This bottle has 15-nanometer pores in its filter, small enough to capture any virus that tries to creep through (all viruses are 25 nanometers or larger). You get purification and filtration in the same unit, cleaning the contents of the 750ml bottle in under a minute. The replaceable filter treats up to 4,000 liters of water.

Warranty

This unit has a two-year warranty.

Pros

  • Filters and purifies
  • Filters viruses without chemicals or ultraviolet

Cons

  • Limited capacity

[amazon box="B001EHF99A"]

The versatile Aquamira Frontier Max has fittings and components that allow it to easily connect to a hydration reservoir or water bottle valves. It can also be used like a straw or configured into a gravity filter. Its replaceable filter cleans up to 120 gallons.

Warranty

It has a one-year warranty.

Pros

  • Extremely versatile
  • Filters viruses without chemicals or ultraviolet

Cons

  • Fittings and components can be easily lost

[amazon box="B01C6HAYCS"]

This bottle combines a filter and a purifier with a French press-style pump. It uses electroadhesion and ion exchange to break down viruses as well as the other organisms normally captured by filters.

Warranty

It comes with a 10-year warranty.

Pros

  • Filters and purifies
  • Filters viruses without chemicals or ultraviolet

Cons

  • Filter only lasts for 150 liters before replacement
  • Small capacity (16 ounces)

[amazon box="B076JTT7V3"]

The SteriPEN Ultra uses ultraviolet light to purify a container of water. Batteries are required but can be charged with a solar charger, USB or wall power. The unit is very lightweight.

Warranty

It comes with a three-year limited warranty.

Pros

  • Breaks down viruses without chemicals
  • LED status display

Cons

  • Requires batteries
  • 50 treatments per charge
  • Water needs to be pre-filtered before treatment

[amazon box="B00M3SOJIG"]

This device also uses ultraviolet light to purify water. It comes with two CR123 batteries which should power 100 treatments. This unit weighs even less than the SteriPEN Ultra.

Warranty

Like the SteriPEN Ultra, it comes with a three-year limited warranty.

Pros

  • Breaks down viruses without chemicals

Cons

  • Requires batteries
  • Water needs to be pre-filtered before treatment

[amazon box="B01IT3VAA8"]

This chlorine dioxide-based chemical water treatment is a great option for backpackers that need an extremely lightweight solution. Two 1-ounce bottles purify up to 30 gallons of water, killing waterborne bacteria and viruses. They work faster and treat more water than other products in pill form.

Warranty

No warranty is offered, but it has a four-year shelf life.

Pros

  • Not iodine-based
  • Short purification time
  • Kills waterborne bacteria and viruses
  • Extremely lightweight

Cons

  • Chemical treatment
  • Water should be pre-filtered before treatment

[amazon box="B07CQYZVVN"]

This product is a single-tablet solution for treating water with chlorine dioxide to remove waterborne viruses and bacteria. It takes less space than the Aquamira bottles but treats far less water with a single tablet.

Warranty

No warranty is offered, but it has a three-year shelf life.

Pros

  • Not iodine-based
  • Short purification time
  • Kills waterborne bacteria and viruses
  • Extremely lightweight

Cons

  • Single tablet only treats 1 liter
  • Takes up to four hours if water is cold and dirty
  • Chemical treatment
  • Water should be pre-filtered before treatment

[amazon box="B00LOGHPUM"]

This product is a chemical-based purifier but uses salt water and an electric charge to remove contaminants instead of chlorine dioxide or iodine. It can be charged via USB or a solar panel.

Warranty

It comes with a one-year limited warranty.

Pros

  • Not based on chlorine or iodine
  • Treats up to 20 liters at once
  • Purifies up to 60,000 liters over its lifetime

Cons

  • Water should be pre-filtered before treatment

[amazon box="B000F3CH0I"]

This is a military-approved compact, lightweight and hand-operated desalinator for turning saltwater into drinkable water. Designed for marine use, it’s critical if you run out of safe drinking water while camping near the ocean. It uses reverse osmosis to remove viruses, bacteria and other contaminants while transforming seawater into safe drinking water.

Warranty

It comes with a one-year warranty.

Pros

  • Not based on chlorine or iodine
  • Treats up to 20 liters at once
  • Purifies up to 60,000 liters over its lifetime

Cons

  • Water should be pre-filtered before treatment

Product

Image

Details

Rating

Price

MSR Guardian Purifier Pump

MSR Guardian Purifier Pump

Method: Medical-grade fibers

Capacity:

2.5 liters/minute through pump

Time required: One minute for 2.5 liters

Weight:

17 ounces

Lifesaver Systems 4000 Ultra Filtration Water Bottle

Lifesaver Systems 4000 Ultra Filtration Water Bottle

Method: 15nm filter pores

Capacity: 750ml

Time required: Under one minute

Weight:

 22 ounces

Aquamira Frontier Max

Aquamira Frontier Max

Method:

Very small filter pores

Capacity: 500ml/minute through unit

Time required: One minute for 500ml

Weight:

 5.9 ounces

Grayl Ultralight Water Purifier Bottle

4. Grayl Ultralight Water Purifier Bottle

Method: Electroadhesion and ion exchange

Capacity:

16 ounces

Time required:

15 seconds for 16 ounces

Weight:

 10.9 ounces

SteriPEN Ultra USB Rechargeable UV Personal Water Purifier

SteriPEN Ultra USB Rechargeable UV Personal Water Purifier

Method: Ultraviolet light

Capacity:

Depends on container

Time required:

60 seconds for 1 liter

Weight:

 9.6 ounces

SteriPEN  Adventurer Opti

SteriPEN Adventurer Opti

Method: Ultraviolet light

Capacity:

Depends on container

Time required:

60 seconds for 1 liter

Weight:

 3.8 ounces

Aquamira  Water Treatment Drops

Aquamira Water Treatment Drops

Method: Chemical (chlorine dioxide)

Capacity:

Treats up to 30 gallons

Time required:

35-50 minutes

Weight:

 Two 1-ounce bottles

Katadyn 

Micropur MP1 Tablets

Katadyn Micropur MP1 Tablet

Method: Chemical (chlorine dioxide)

Capacity:

Treats 1 liter per tablet

Time required:

30 minutes for 1 liter

Weight:

 0.9 ounces

Potable Aqua Pure Electrolytic

Potable Aqua Pure Electrolytic

Method: Chemical (salt water + electric charge)

Capacity:

Up to 20 liters at a time

Time required:

Up to four hours

Weight:

 3.8 ounces

Katadyn 

Survivor 06 Desalinator

Katadyn Survivor 06 Desalinator

Method: Reverse osmosis

Capacity:

890ml/hour through unit

Time required:

Less than two minutes/ounce

Weight:

 2.5 pounds

Recommendation

Which type of camping water purifier is best for you really depends on your personal preference for the type of purification (filters, chemical or ultraviolet), whether you want to pre-filter the water before it’s treated, how much water you need and how soon you need it. If you are dealing with saltwater instead of freshwater, you must use a specific type of device to remove the salt. All the filters and purifiers reviewed offer safe drinking water when you need it most.

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