The Best Lightweight Backpacking Water Purifiers

Katadyn Pocket MicrofilterWhen it comes to spending significant time in the backcountry, obtaining clean water is essential for your survival. Long trips demand that you purify water while on the trail rather than carry all the water you will need on your back. Remember that water weighs about 8 pounds per gallon, so you will be severely limited on the amount that you can carry on your back, especially when you have all the other gear packed in your bag. So what are the lightest and best water purifiers out there to pack along for your trip (besides boiling your water)? Below, we will go over some of the best options out there.

Ultralight Water Purification Options – $10

[amazon_link id=”B0009I3T3S” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets with PA Plus[/amazon_link]Iodine tablets and chlorine drops are the ultimate ultralight options available. [amazon_link id=”B0009I3T3S” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Potable Aqua water purification iodine tablets[/amazon_link] are not only lightweight, but they are also very inexpensive. Amazon regularly sells them for under $10 for a bottle of 50 tablets. If you aren’t too fond of the taste that these tablets add to the water, get the combo with PA Plus, which neutralizes the bad iodine flavor.

[amazon_link id=”B000RELM6U” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Aquamira Water Treatment, 2 Oz, Part A and B, Chlorine Dioxide[/amazon_link][amazon_link id=”B000RELM6U” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Aquamira water treatment drops[/amazon_link] are made up of chlorine dioxide. Part B neutralizes the chlorine taste, similar to the iodine tablet PA Plus. These drops are similarly priced and take up about the same amount of space. Super light and affordable! It does take up to 30 minutes to purify your water, so you will have to wait similarly to if you are boiling your water.

Straw-Like Filters – $15-$20

[amazon_link id=”B006QF3TW4″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]LifeStraw Personal Water Filter[/amazon_link]When it comes to filtering out dangerous microorganisms without lugging around a huge filtering apparatus, small trail filters are lightweight, easy to use, and quick to deliver clean water to your body. The first option is the [amazon_link id=”B006QF3TW4″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]LifeStraw personal water filter[/amazon_link] by Vestergaard-Frandsen. The LifeStraw cleans your water, has a filter life up to 1000 Liters, and weighs only 2 ounces! There are no moving parts to wear out, and no batteries to replace. The LifeStraw can be used to suck water right out of a puddle or creek, but the easiest way to use it is to scoop up dirty water with a cup or bottle and suck it out of that instead of getting down on the ground. Costing only $20 on Amazon, this is a great option for any outdoorsman.

[amazon_link id=”B000WG40ZS” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]McNett Aquamira Frontier Pro Ultralight Water Filter[/amazon_link]Another option is the [amazon_link id=”B000WG40ZS” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Aquamira Frontier Pro[/amazon_link]. This straw-like filter can clean up to 50 gallons of water from the trail, and only costs ~$15 on Amazon. The downside of these straw-like trail filters is that they don’t have the capability to fill a reservoir of clean water (you could always fill a reservoir with dirty water to drink out of with the straw filter). That means you will have to stay close to the water source while in the backcountry. But they are lightweight and very affordable!

Trail Filters – $20-$325

[amazon_link id=”B007EG2XHG” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Aquamira Capsule Water Bottle and Filter[/amazon_link]The [amazon_link id=”B007EG2XHG” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Aquamira H20 Capsule water bottle filter[/amazon_link] is a perfect trail filter that fits inside its own water bottle. This allows you to store water and as you drink it, the water is filtered and cleaned. Filtering is instantaneous, has a 100 gallon filter life, and the bottle holds 25 ounces of water. This particular bottle costs around $20, and there are several others from different companies like [amazon_link id=”B004DZMD08″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Seychelle’s 28 ounce flip top filter and bottle[/amazon_link] (~$25), the [amazon_link id=”B00BWIWX9K” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Berkey Sport portable water purifier[/amazon_link](~$20), and [amazon_link id=”B002RRYB4U” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Katadyn’s MyBottle purifier[/amazon_link] (~$45).

[amazon_link id=”B0007U00YE” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Katadyn Pocket Water Microfilter[/amazon_link]If you are looking for a pocket filter that has the capacity to clean several thousand gallons of water and the ability to fill up large reservoirs with clean water, a more conventional filter is needed. If this is the case, the [amazon_link id=”B0007U00YE” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Katadyn Pocket water microfilter[/amazon_link]is what you need. Weighing only 20 ounces and measuring only 10”x2.4”, the Pocket microfilter packs quite a punch in its small package. It also comes with a 20 year warranty, which is outrageously long in the water filter market. The price is pretty high (~$325), but you won’t need any other water filtration device with this bad boy on board.

SteriPen Battery Operated UV Germ Destroyers – $50-$150

[amazon_link id=”B003A1MURC” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]SteriPEN Adventurer Opti Handheld UV Water Purifier[/amazon_link]There are several different SteriPen options on the market, ranging from the most affordable [amazon_link id=”B000PH013E” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Classic[/amazon_link] and Traveler to the crank operated Sidewinder or the solar panel charging Adventurer Opti. What sets the SteriPen apart from the other options is the fact that you are not filtering out any of the organic or inorganic components of the water, which takes away some of the ‘flavor’ or ‘taste.’ Instead, you zap the water with a blast of UV rays to kill any harmful microorganisms, and then drink away. Depending on the model you purchase, the UV element will be able to treat several thousand half Liter portions of water. They are very lightweight (the Adventurer Opti, for example, weighs only 3.6 ounces), compact, and easy to use (cleans water in seconds). The only downside is they are reliant on batteries, unless you opt for the Sidewinder or solar charging models, which are heavier.

Backpacking Samurai Thoughts

When considering lightweight options for water purification on a backpacking trip, this list sums up the best options on the market today. Obviously your budget will dictate which option is most appealing to fit your needs. All of these options are lightweight and take up little room. The different SteriPens available are my favorite water purification methods while on the trail, but I also like to take a backup water purifier, such as the water tablets or one of the emergency straws (since they aren’t really adding any extra weight and might end up keeping me from getting dysentery in the backcountry). Remember that it is always a good idea to plan backpacking trips close to water sources, and unless you plan on boiling your drinking and cooking water you will need to bring along a water purification device. Use this list to get started on discovering your preferred method.

What is your preferred water purification method while backpacking? Did we leave your favorite water purification method or device off our list? Let us know in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!


New To Backpacking? Get Started For Under $300

Are you interested in backpacking, but not willing to commit a large amount of money upfront until you know you are going to like it? Are you on strict budget? If you answered yes to either of these questions, this article will hopefully help you to see that you don’t need to spend a small fortune to get into this great hobby. Below, I will go over some of my favorite low cost (but still high quality) gear to consider.

For the sake of this article, we will assume you have no backpacking gear. That means you will need to buy a backpack, tent, sleeping bag, and other items to keep you going, less the consumables (food, fuel, etc). Let’s say you have a strict budget of $300 to get all the gear you need to go on a summer weekend (3 day, 2 night) backpacking trip that is more or less on a flat trail.

Here is a breakdown of the items, and below will be more details of the gear choices:

  • Backpack$115 [amazon_link id=”B009R4CV3E” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Kelty Coyote 80 Backpack[/amazon_link]
  • Tent$110 [amazon_link id=”B0043HH5CW” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Eureka! Apex 2XT 2 Person Backpacking Tent[/amazon_link]
  • Sleeping Bag$40 [amazon_link id=”B006WPZBBA” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Ledge Sports Scorpion 45 Degree Ultralight Sleeping Bag[/amazon_link]
  • Water Prep – $25 [amazon_link id=”B004DZMD08″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Seychelle 28 Ounce Flip Top Water Filter Bottle[/amazon_link]
  • Food Prep$10 – [amazon_link id=”B000P9IR8I” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Stainless Steel Mess Kit[/amazon_link]
  • Total Cost = $300

Backpack – $115

[amazon_link id=”B009R4CV3E” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Kelty Coyote 80 Internal frame Backpack, Forest Night, Medium/Large[/amazon_link]For the backpack, the Kelty Coyote 80 [amazon_link id=”B009R4CV3E” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]can be picked up off of Amazon currently for $115[/amazon_link]. That is a great deal for a backpack that boasts 78 Liters (4750 cubic inches) of interior space. This is more than large enough for a 3 day excursion. It is more suited for a longer trip, but at that price point, it’s hard to pass this deal up. Additional features in this pack include:

Bag Features:

  • Top loading
  • 420-denier polyester Ball Shadow body fabric
  • 420-denier polyester Oxford reinforcement fabric
  • Hydration compatible
  • Reservoir sleeve
  • Front-panel access
  • Zippered side pockets
  • Mesh water bottle pockets
  • Side compression straps
  • Load stabilizer straps
  • Spindrift collar
  • Ice-axe loops
  • Daisy chain
  • Key fob
  • Zippered waist belt pockets
  • Lid converts into lumbar pack
  • Carry handle

Suspension Features:

  • CloudLock II adjustable suspension
  • LightBeam II dual aluminum stays
  • HDPE frame sheet
  • Removable HDPE reinforced dual density waist belt
  • Padded shoulder straps
  • Ventilating back panel
  • Load-lifter/stabilizer straps
  • Sternum strap
  • Patented Scherer Cinch


  • Capacity: 4,750 cubic inches (78-liters)
  • Weight: 5 lb. 9 oz.
  • Measures 16 x 34 x 16.5 inches (W x H x D)

Highlights of the Kelty Coyote 80 backpack are the price point, the capacity, removable waist belt and lid (converts into hip pack), and construction. The pack is on the heavy side at 5 pounds 9 ounces empty, but as long as it isn’t over packed for a 3 day trip, it shouldn’t be a problem.

Tent – $110

[amazon_link id=”B0043HH5CW” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Eureka! Apex 2 - Tent (sleeps 2)[/amazon_link]The tent of choice is the Eureka! Apex 2XT tent. This is a lightweight 2 person backpacking tent that is also a very palatable price right around a hundred bucks. We chose the Apex 2XT tent because of the price, as well as a few features, such as: the 2 door design with 2 vestibules totaling 27 additional square feet, solid construction, and light weight (6 pounds 5 ounces). Here are some additional features and specifications:

  • Seasons: 3
  • Sleeps: 2
  • Floor dimensions: 7′ 6″ by 4′ 11″
  • Center height: 3′ 10″
  • Minimum weight: 6 pounds, 5 ounces
  • Frame: Freestanding, shock-corded fiberglass
  • Vestibule: 2, with 13.8 square feet of storage each
  • Storage pockets: 2 mesh
  • Clothes line loops: 4
  • Flashlight loop: Yes
  • Warranty: Lifetime

This is great tent, and for the price, you won’t be disappointed. [amazon_link id=”B0043HH5CW” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Pick yours up today[/amazon_link].

Sleeping Bag – $40

[amazon_link id=”B006WPZBA6″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Ledge Sports FeatherLite +20 F Degree Ultra Light Design, Ultra Compact Sleeping Bag (84 X 32 X 20, Red)[/amazon_link]Since this is a summer trip, we can get away with suggesting a summer sleeping bag. And that is completely fair, because if you are new to backpacking, you probably don’t want to get into a cold weather trip right off the bat because you might ruin your outlook on the hobby. Start with a mild, warm weather trip to see if you like it first, then as you get more experience and become more adventurous, expand. Back to the sleeping bag of choice – [amazon_link id=”B006WPZBBA” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Ledge Sports Featherlite 20 degree ultra light sleeping bag[/amazon_link].

The price is right at $40, and the weight is also a bonus coming in at 3.4 pounds. This sleeping bag is nice because is compresses well and takes up minimal room. It is a synthetic fill sleeping bag, so even if it gets wet, it should keep you warm down to 30 degrees or so. It also comes with a stuff sack. Pick up one of these affordable 3 season sleeping bags today!

Food and Water Prep – $35

For cooking your food, this [amazon_link id=”B000P9IR8I” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]stainless steel mess kit[/amazon_link] is just right. It offers a frying pan, pot, two lids (plates) and a plastic 8 ounce cup. At just over $10, all you need to have is a bed of hot coals and you can cook food or heat water.

[amazon_link id=”B004DZMD08″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Seychelle 28oz Flip Top Advanced Filter Water Purification / Filtration Bottle[/amazon_link]As for purifying your water, the [amazon_link id=”B004DZMD08″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Seychelle 28 ounce flip top water filter bottle[/amazon_link] is a high quality option that is affordable ($25). It removes 99.99% of bacteria, virus, contaminants, and pollutants from water. It can filter up to 100 gallons of water, depending on the quality of the water (dirtier water = less filtering capacity). It weighs just 11 ounces and you can fill it up from any body of water along the trail.

The Bottom Line

If you are just getting into backpacking, and you are worried that you won’t like it, it doesn’t make sense to spend a ton of money on gear. I can tell you that if you like nature, exercise, the outdoors, and camping in general, you are going to absolutely love backpacking. But keeping your start-up costs low just in case you don’t is a good idea. The nice thing about all of these items is that they could all be sold used to recoup most of your money if you decide you don’t like backpacking. Another nice thing about all of these items is that if you do like backpacking, they are high quality products that you will be able to enjoy for a long time.

Use this list to find the right gear for your needs. This is just a list of the most essential gear items. I didn’t include hiking boots because they require such a specialized fit and vary greatly in price. For a flat 3 day hiking trip, sturdy tennis shoes should be alright. Other items might include a good flashlight, first aid kit, survival kit, GPS, fitted hiking boots, multi-tool or pocket knife, and a sleeping pad. They will greatly increase your comfort and safety in the backcountry. As always, happy trails!

Do you agree with this list? What would be your $300 starting setup? Leave a comment below. Thanks!


What Food To Bring On An Extended Backpacking Trip

Any time you spend more than a weekend in the backcountry, carrying enough food is an important consideration. You can always supplement your packed meals by catching native fish or picking wild berries, but you definitely shouldn’t count on these sources of food to survive. What should you pack for a week-long or longer trek? Below, we will go over the basics of planning your backcountry meals for an extended stay backpacking trip.

The Building Blocks Of Life

Food and water are essential for human survival. Most humans can’t live longer than three days without water. Hiking rough terrain with a heavy backpack requires constant water consumption. Depending on activity and body mass, humans can live as long as two weeks without food. But surviving more than a day or two without food limits your ability to find more or get to safety. Since you won’t be able to carry a weeks worth of water on your back, you will need to purify water along the way. This is easy enough to do with a filter (MSR Sweetwater, Katadyn Vario) or by boiling the water, as long as you are hiking near a water source.

Food is a different story. Unless you are Bear Grylls, foraging for food on the trail won’t be an option. You will need to plan on bringing all the food you will need along, and that means packing it all in your bag.

What You Need

The typical caloric intake for an average adult per day is 2000. This will more or less result in no net gain or loss of weight, under regular day to day activity. Backpacking on even flat terrain can be a strenuous physical exercise, let alone on rugged mountain terrain. You should plan on consuming somewhere between 2500 and 3000 calories per day or more, including at least 30-50 grams of protein. This will sustain your frame during the trip and will keep you fueled for the oncoming miles.

Portability Vs Palatability

The argument of portability versus palatability has raged on for decades among the backpacking community. A hot meal after a long hike can seem very refreshing for many hikers, yet a hot meal means you will probably need to pack a camp stove, pot, and hot meal ingredients, which will add extra ounces to your pack. Ultralight minimalist backpackers go to the other extreme of eating trail mix for three meals a day. A healthy balance is necessary here, because some hikers lose their appetite during hot days or at higher altitudes. A hot meal might not seem appealing on those days, and a more light meal might suffice. On the other hand, a hot meal on a cold or wet day might be the morale boost that you need, where cheese and crackers might come up short.

A food item might also be super portable and palatable, yet it just doesn’t work on the trail. For example, peanut butter is a high protein, high energy food that is light and easy to transport. But try to find a good way to get the peanut butter out of whatever you have transported it in. It just makes a mess. If you’re a peanut butter lover, it might be worth the hassle. If not, the dispensability is a nightmare.

Hot Meal Options


[amazon_link id=”B007HOB4FC” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]MRE (Meals, Ready to Eat) Premium case of 12 Fresh MRE with Heaters. 5 Year Shelf Life.[/amazon_link]Most of us are familiar with MREs. These military rations are packed with calories, and can be supplemented with small snacks throughout the day. Most MREs can be coupled with a one-time-use MRE heater, so you won’t need a stove or other cooking supplies. There are many different entre options available, and plenty of sides to go along. A full MRE meal can have as much as 1500 calories by itself. These are easy to prepare, and loaded with nutrients to keep you going.

MREs are bulky and heavy. You don’t need any water to cook them, which is a plus. However, that means you are carrying extra water weight within these packs. If you have tried an MRE, you might not have been impressed with the flavor. A lot of hikers are particular about what they eat, and MREs usually don’t make the cut based on flavor alone. But if you are looking for an easy hot meal, these are great options.

Freeze-Dried Meals

[amazon_link id=”B000G2TOMM” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Mountain House 72-Hour Emergency Meal Kit[/amazon_link]Mountain House used to own the freeze dried meal market. Now there are a lot of companies offering these type of backpacking rations. Freeze dried meals come in sealed mylar pouches (for a decent shelf life), and there is probably a wider variety of meal options than MREs. The nice thing about these hot meals is that they are dried – meaning there is no extra water weight inside the pouch. They are easy to prepare, and taste much better than MREs.

You will need to boil water to add to the pouch (so what you gain in not having to carry the water weight, you lose in the extra weight of a stove, fuel, and a pot), and the food takes time to reconstitute. These are also great options for hot meals on the trail.

Other Hot Meal Options

MREs and freeze dried meals might be the most convenient hot meals available, but can be a little pricey. If you get creative, you can easily create your own trail meals out of ingredients from your pantry. Here are a couple of ideas:

  • Cup of Noodles
  • Pasta And meat Sauce
  • Instant Oatmeal
  • Instant Soups
  • Instant mashed potatoes
  • Tuna Helper
  • Spam, Tuna, Salami, Salmon

These meal ideas are easy to prepare, and you can create your own portions with ziplock bags.

Cold Meal Options

A lot of backpackers will plan at least one hot meal per day, and this is usually dinner (extra prep time). Breakfast could also easily incorporate a small hot meal (oatmeal with hot chocolate or coffee/tea), but is a good time to go with a quick and easy cold meal. This is where some creativity comes in.

  • Cliff bars
  • Granola bars
  • Trail mix (home made or store bought)
  • Cheese and Crackers
  • Chocolate
  • Nuts
  • Dried Fruit
  • Crackers (animal crackers, Ritz, Triscuit, etc)

The key here is to have a variety of snacks to eat. If you only plan on having one hot meal per day, the rest of the day will be cold foods. The better the variety, the more likely you will keep up with your caloric needs. Taste fatigue can occur if all you eat throughout the day is trail mix. Candy bars are a nice break, but melt easily.


Many backpackers get tired of the taste of water on long trips. Having some flavoring powder to liven up your water will do wonders for your morale. GatorAide and PowerAid both make electrolyte replenishing, water flavoring powders. Crystal Light pouches are a sugar free option. The small single serving packets are very light, and easy to add to bottles and hydration bladders.

Pack some instant hot chocolate, cider, tea or coffee for morning/evening sipping pleasure. These packets weigh next to nothing as well, and will help warm you up when it’s cold outside.

Packing It All Up

Backpacking Ziploc MealsBecause your food will take up a good portion of your backpack’s internal space on an extended backpacking trip, it is important to save as much space as possible. Remove unnecessary packaging from foods. For example, take crackers out of their boxes and pack them in single serving Ziploc bags. Remove MREs from their bulky packaging.

Organize your large meals together inside their own Ziploc bag. Label them accordingly. If you are planning group meals, besides organizing your pack, this will also make it easy to pull all the necessary ingredients together for the meal.

Remember to keep snacks within reaching distance. You don’t want to have to take your pack off to dig out some trail mix. Most backpacks have waste belt pockets, which work out perfectly for holding hiking snacks. Another reminder: if you are hiking in bear country, follow all the essential bear country food packing and hanging tips. This will prevent a potentially dangerous encounter. Below, you can click on the image to purchase the Backpacker’s Cache.[amazon_link id=”B0002ZB5Y8″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Backpackers' Cache - Bear Proof Container[/amazon_link]

Just In Case

Preparing backpacking meals can be one of the most time-consuming planning steps of trip planning. Make sure that you go over the daily menu to see that you are getting enough calories and nutrients to keep you going. It is also a good idea to pack a few days extra meals or food, just in case you get stuck in the backcountry longer than expected. Here are some menu ideas, calorie counts, and pictures to help you get started. Happy camping!


MSR Sweetwater Purifier System

[amazon_link id=”B000BBF2UG” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]MSR SweetWater Purifier System[/amazon_link]The MSR Sweetwater purifier system is one of the most complete water filtration systems on the market today. The Sweetwater purification system couples the ability to filter particulates from the water as well as bacteria and most common protozoa, such as crypto and giarda, with the ability to inactivate 99.99% of all viruses, all while leaving your water tasting great in the process. The MSR Sweetwater is an award winning water purification system (winner of a “best of the best” 2009 Editors’ Choice Award from Women’s Adventure Magazine for ease-of-use and offering “extra protection and peace of mind.”) that would make a great complement to your backpacking ensemble. Let’s delve into the features below.


The MSR Sweetwater offers comprehensive protection from waterborne microorganisms and sediment by:

  • removing 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria
  • removing 99.9% of common waterborne protozoan parasites, such as crypto and giardia
  • inactivating 99.99% of waterborne viruses
  • filters particulates

Because the MSR Sweetwater utilizes an activated carbon (charcoal) core rather than iodine, the water is left tasting fresh and chemical free. Another highlight of the filter is that it folds up to a very compact package, which makes it easy to pack into the backcountry. But the MSR Sweetwater is more than just a traveler’s water filter. With an output of 1.25 Liters per minute and a 4:1 mechanical advantage dual-action pump, this filter can serve the needs of several backpackers at your base camp. The filter can easily be cleaned in the field as well.


  • Weighs 14 ounces
  • .2 micron filter pore size
  • 1.25 Liters per minute
  • 75 strokes (pumps) per Liter
  • Cartridge life of 750 Liters
  • Cartridge life indicator
  • Water bottle adapter
  • Meets the US EPA water purification standards

Backpacking Samurai Thoughts

The MSR Sweetwater purifier system offers the complete package when it comes to water filtration. With the ability to basically remove all harmful microorganisms from your water, as well as the ability to filter out sediment, this water filtration system will handle all of your backcountry water needs. Click on the following link to buy yours today.

[amazon_link id=”B000BBF2UG” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]MSR Sweetwater Purifier System[/amazon_link]


Platypus Gravityworks Water Filter System

[amazon_link id=”B00453R308″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Platypus GravityWorks Filter[/amazon_link]The Platypus Gravityworks water filter system is one of the best water filtration devices on the market today. It is lightweight, easy to use, and provides you with fast, clean water no matter where you might be. The design is a seamless construction of materials and innovation, coupled with a long lasting filter element to provide you with many fresh Liters of water. As one reviewer writes, “the Gravityworks filter rules because you don’t have to actively filter the water.” Let’s look at the features and highlights of this water filtration system below.


The Platypus Gravityworks water filter uses gravity to filter dirty water. Basically what happens is that you fill up the dirty reservoir and hang it from a tree. You connect the hose system (with integrated filter) to the clean reservoir and hang the clean one lower on the tree. In less than 3 minutes, you will have 4 Liters of clean water without pumping. The filter is just as easily cleaned at home, as you just reverse the process to flush the filter of particulates.

The system can be used to transport and store up to 8 Liters of clean water (4 in each reservoir), which is a massive amount of water and very useful for larger groups or base camps. The containers can also be used as backup bladder systems in case you spring a leak in your hydration system.

The entire filter system rolls into a very compact travel system, and weighs only 10.75 ounces, which is much lighter than most pump filter systems on the market today. Here are some additional specifications: (click here for use and instructions – Platypus GravityWorks Instructions)


  • Weighs 10.75 ounces
  • Filters at a rate of 1.75 Liters per minute
  • .2 micron filter pore size
  • 1500 Liter cartridge life
  • Effective against bacteria, protozoan parasites, and particulates

Backpacking Samurai Thoughts

The Platypus Gravityworks water filtration system is hands down the best water filter on the market today. It is very light and compact, so packing one in an ultralight setting is easily done. It produces clean and fresh water. And best of all, no pumping is required! You might think that a filter that uses gravity would take forever and a day. But the Gravityworks filter is as fast or faster than a lot of pump models out there at 1.75 Liters per minute. Add all of these things up and you have what we recommend as the best water filter out there. Click the following link to buy yours today!

[amazon_link id=”B00453R308″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Platypus GravityWorks Filter[/amazon_link]


SteriPen Sidewinder Water Purification System

[amazon_link id=”B0046RES06″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]SteriPEN SidewinderHand POWERED UV Water Purifier[/amazon_link]When it comes to purifying the water you drink while in the backcountry, there are many different options available to you on the market. SteriPen is leading the way in water purification technology, apparent by the different models available from SteriPen. The SteriPen Sidewinder is a fascinating and exciting water purification system. One of the drawbacks of the SteriPen concept is the reliance on AA or CR123 batteries. With the Sidewinder model, however, there are no batteries required for operation. Let’s look at how the SteriPen Sidewinder purifies your water, as well as features and specifications of the specific model.


The SteriPen Sidewinder utilizes a hand crank to generate the energy required to power the UV light bulb, which in turn kills waterborne bacteria, viruses, and protozoa, such as crypto and giardia. The water purification system includes a SteriPen pre-filter, to remove sediment and particulate materials from the water (so you aren’t drinking sand and dirt). Also included is a 1 Liter BPA free water bottle that mates with the rest of the apparatus. Basically, all you have to do is fill the water bottle up (can be any 1 Liter Nalgene style wide-mouthed bottle) with pre-filtered water, attach the bottle to the purifier, turn the whole thing upside down, and swirl the water while you crank the handle approximately 2 revolutions per second for 90 seconds, or until the LED flashes green. Click this link for How To Use A SteriPen Sidewinder.


  • Battery free
  • Weighs 16.6 ounces
  • 8,000 use UV bulb (purifies 8,000 Liters before needing a replacement bulb)
  • Disinfects 1 Liter of water in 90 seconds
  • Includes SteriPen pre-filter
  • Includes 1 Liter BPA free water bottle
SteriPen Sidewinder Diagram

Backpacking Samurai Thoughts

SteriPen is truly one of the most innovative outdoor product companies out there today, as is evident by the products that they are putting on the market. While the 16.6 ounces weighs quite a bit more than the smaller SteriPen Traveler or Adventurer Opti, the reassurance that you won’t be without water if your batteries run out or die on you is worth the extra few ounces. It will basically last you forever (8,000 Liters of water is a lot of water), so you won’t have to worry about batteries or replacement filters. I never leave home without my SteriPen Sidewinder, whether I am going on a road trip or a 12 day backpacking trip in the Rockies. Every backpacker should have a SteriPen Sidewinder water purifier. It is as simple as that. Click the following link to get yours today.

[amazon_link id=”B0046RES06″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]SteriPen Sidewinder Water Purifier[/amazon_link]


SteriPen Traveler Water Purifier – Great Value On Water Purification

[amazon_link id=”B0041EB6EU” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]SteriPEN Traveler 3-in-1 Water Purifier, Blue[/amazon_link]When it comes to value, the SteriPen Traveler water purifier is one of the best values on the market today in the arena of water purification. And this is something that every backpacker should be ready with while on the trail. Fresh, clean water is vital and essential for survival, and essential for an enjoyable backpacking trip. SteriPen’s technologies are ground-breaking with respects to water purification techniques, and the ease with which the SteriPen Traveler purifies a Liter of water is incredible. Let’s look at some of the features and highlights of this water purifier below.


The SteriPen Traveler water purifier system consists of a small ‘pen’ sized apparatus 7.6 inches in longest dimension weighing 5.7 ounces (including 4 AA sized lithium batteries). The idea behind the SteriPen is to zap your unclean water with UV light for a certain amount of time. This kills all the microorganisms inside your drinking water, rendering it safe to drink. The life of the batteries depends on their quality. Lithium or Nickel Metal Hydride AA batteries are recommended, and will generally give approximately 200 uses. The UV light bulb is rated for 3,000 treatments, which is an incredible lifetime compared to the life of a water filter.

The most amazing feature of the SteriPen is the taste of the water you get. It is completely unfiltered or untreated with chemicals. We all know what iodine pills or chlorine does to the taste of water. Filter removes not only microorganisms, but also the material in water that adds natural flavor. So chemicals add bad taste to water, and filtering removes the particles that give water a good flavor. The SteriPen Traveler just kills the harmful microbes in your water, leaving alone the taste. Note – You will still want to pre-filter your water with a handkerchief or coffee filter to remove sand and sediment.

Backpacking Samurai Thoughts

The SteriPen Traveler water purifier is one of the best values of water purification on the market today. It is so easy to use, and all it takes is 90 seconds for 1 Liter to be completely safe to drink. There are no messy hoses to attach, and no water to pump through a filter. Just fill your bottle, dip in the UV bulb, gently stir for 90 seconds until the light goes off, and viol la! You have fresh, clean water to re-hydrate with. Click the following link to purchase your SteriPen Traveler water purifier today!

[amazon_link id=”B0041EB6EU” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]SteriPen Traveler Water Purifier[/amazon_link]


SteriPen Adventurer Opti – Water Purification At Its Best

[amazon_link id=”B0044DDQEG” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]SteriPen AdventurerOpti Water Purifier (Black with Green Accents)[/amazon_link]Water purification is a very important consideration when planning a backpacking trip, especially when the trip is more than a few days. You won’t last long on the trail without fresh, clean water, so it is vital to have a method for purifying water while on the trail. When it comes to water purification, there are many different methods for obtaining clean water. Iodine tablets, boiling water, and water filters have been the most popular methods in the past. But with improved technology and innovation, SteriPen has developed a ground-breaking new method for purifying water – utilizing UV light to kill harmful microorganisms. All of this is done with a small, handheld device called the SteriPen. One of their best selling models, the SteriPen Adventurer Opti, is an award winning water purifier that every backpacker should take with them. Let’s look at some of the features below.


The SteriPen Adventurer Opti is the lightest SteriPen on the market, weighing in at only 3.6 ounces with batteries. Compare that to the weight of a small backpacking water filter, and you will see why this water purification system was named a Backpacker Magazine Editors’ Choice award winner in 2011. The SteriPen Adventurer Opti utilizes a UV light bulb to kill all microorganisms that could be in the stream, river, or lake that you are pulling your water from. For half of a Liter, it takes 45 seconds, and a full Liter takes only 90 seconds.

The UV light emitted from the SteriPen Adventurer Opti kills:

  • giardia
  • cryptosporidium
  • bacteria
  • viruses

It is important to remember that this is NOT a water filter. Use a coffee filter or bandanna to remove sediment from the water before zapping the microorganisms with the UV light.

The Adventurer Opti can be coupled with an optional solar charging panel, which can fully charge the provided rechargeable CR123 batteries in 4-6 hours. These rechargeable batteries are capable of purifying 40-50 treatments before needing to be recharged.

Other SteriPen Adventurer Opti highlights:

  • 3.6 ounces of total weight (including batteries)
  • 6.1 inches of maximum dimension
  • 100 treatments from disposable CR123 Lithium Batteries
  • Up to 8,000 treatments from UV bulb
  • optical sensor doubles as a flashlight (3 minute bursts)
  • fits most wide mouth water bottles

Backpacking Samurai Thoughts

It is easy to see why the SteriPen Adventurer Opti was chosen by Backpacker Magazine as an Editors’ Choice award winner in 2011. This water purifier is simply one of the best options on the market today. There are tons of accessories for the Adventurer Opti available as well, like the solar charging panel, 12V car charger, and the SteriPen pre filter. I also noticed that the taste of the water was phenomenal when purified with the SteriPen. Sometimes water filters remove everything from the water, leaving it with the taste of bottled water. The SteriPen just zaps the water with UV light for 90 seconds, and doesn’t remove anything. It allows you to enjoy the sometimes wonderful taste of nature. If you are an avid outdoorsman, this is the water purifier for you. Click the link below to buy this award winning ultralight backpacking water purifier now.

[amazon_link id=”B0044DDQEG” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]SteriPen Adventurer Opti Water Purifier[/amazon_link]


Katadyn Vario Water Filter

[amazon_link id=”B000KUVVY4″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Katadyn Vario Multi Flow Water Microfilter[/amazon_link]When out on the trail, it is important to be able to re-fill your hydration system – whether it be Nalgene bottles or a CamelBak hydration bladder system – with fresh, clean water. This becomes even more important when spending extended periods of time in the backcountry. Fortunately, we live in a time when water filtration systems are becoming more advanced. As technology improves, the water filtration products on the market are becoming more capable of filtering out dangerous microorganisms, all the way down to the size of bacteria. That is where the Katadyn Vario water filter comes in. The Vario is a handheld water filter capable of removing all the harmful organisms in streams, rivers, and lakes in the backcountry. Let’s look at the features of this water filter below.


The Katadyn Vario water filter is capable of removing:

  • bacteria
  • protozoa
  • cysts
  • algae
  • spores
  • sediments
  • chemicals

The filter utilizes a 3 step filtration process that involves passing the dirty water through the following:

  1. adjustable ceramic pre-filter – this element removes sediment and cloudiness from the water and prevents clogging of the glass fiber filter
  2. high performance glass fiber filter – this element removes the microorganisms in the list above
  3. activated carbon (charcoal) filter – this element removes chemicals that cause bad taste and odors

The adjustable ceramic pre-filter can be adjusted to the cloudiness of the water you are filtering. This will speed up the filtration process on clear water. As with most backpacking filter options on the market, the Katadyn Vario offers filter replacements. These will allow you to continue to use your filter well into the future.

Some other highlights of the Katadyn Vario include:

  • 15 ounces total weight
  • anti-clog technology
  • up to 2 Liters per min capacity
  • 400 L of filtration life for the carbon filter
  • 2000 L of filtration life for the high performance glass fiber filter

Backpacking Samurai Thoughts

The nice thing about the Katadyn Vario is its packability. It only weighs 15 ounces (or just under 1 pound) and its sleek profile is easy to stow in your pack anywhere that it is convenient for you. The Vario mounts easily on the top of a Nalgene bottle, and fits with most hydration bladders as well for seamless filtration and fill up. The Katadyn Vario is a very highly recommended water filter from the crew at Backpacking Samurai, and is an incredible value at just under $100. Click the link below to buy one for your next backpacking trip.

[amazon_link id=”B000KUVVY4″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Katadyn Vario Water Filter[/amazon_link]