Categories: Gear GuideHiking

8 Best Backpacking Pump and Straw Water Filter Systems (Review)

What are the favorite water filter and purification systems most hikers use? This is what you will find in this complementary guide (see first "How to Choose your Backpacking Water Filter") of the best backpacking water filter devices.

​​One of the first vital needs of ​backpackers is of course water and besides carrying ​it (​maybe possible on a day hike), ​they ​will have to use the different springs and watercourses on his ​trail.  ​

​The ​safest solution t​o drink water found along your hike is the use of portable water filtration devices. 

Although heavier and more bulky than a small box of tablets, they can still be just as effective and bring some extra benefit to the quality of treated water.

The materials ​used for the filters are glass fiber, hollow fiber, ceramic and activated carbon.

Here are the most popular and safest water filter systems for hiking.

  • 0.2 μm glass fiber
  • ​Weight: 11 oz (310g)
  • ​Flow rate: 1L / min

According to its manufacturer, Katadyn, it is "the best-selling microfilter on the American outdoor products market".

It weighs 11 oz (310g) and is made of plastic and silicone, which makes it well suited for hiking.

It is a microfilter with a manual pump.

The filter cartridge is made of 0.2μm pleated glass fiber and contains granular activated carbon.

It eliminates bacteria, protozoa, cysts, algae, spores, sediments, and activated carbon reduces the odor and taste of water, but it is ineffective on viruses!

It has a flow rate of 1L / min.

Its filtering surface is ​217cm2 which gives it a high flow rate and facilitates pumping. It is supplied with accessories: a pre-filter, 2 hoses, a bottle adapter and a storage bag.

Its lifetime is about 1,150​ litres depending on water quality. 

Katadyn Hiker Pro Water Microfilter
Best choice for safe hydration and great-tasting refreshment on the trail

Last update on 2020-12-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Katadyn Vario - The Fastest Microfilter​

  • 0.2 μm glass fiber
  • ​Weight: 15 oz (425 g)
  • ​Flow rate: 2L / min

According to Katadyn, it is "the fastest microfilter in the world".

It weighs 15 oz (425 g). It is still a hand pump filter that has a ceramic prefilter that retains impurities in addition to the previous model, and still has a 0.2μm glass fibre filter membrane and activated carbon granules (replaceable this time).

It also eliminates bacteria, protozoa, cysts, algae, spores, sediments, reduces the odor and taste of the water, but it also reduces the chemical content of the water.

It is ineffective on viruses.

It can have a flow rate of 2L / min (in "FasterFlow" mode, i.e. when the water is clear) or a flow rate of 1L / min (in "LongerLife" mode, i.e. when the water is cloudy).

It is supplied with accessories: a pre-filter, a bottle clip and a transport bag.

Its lifetime can reach 2,000 litres.

Sale
Katadyn Vario Multi Flow Water Microfilter
A member of Katadyn's Backcountry Series of water filters, the Vario Multi Flow Water Microfilter is the first water filter that is adjustable for different conditions. It combines two leading technologies into one high-performance pump: ceramic for a longer life and pleated glass fiber for easy operation. The Vario offers a high output and also contains a replaceable carbon core to keep the water tasting fresh.

Last update on 2020-12-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Katadyn Water Filter Mini ​- The ​Mighty Mini

  • 0.2 μm ​ceramic ​filter
  • ​Weight: 7.5 oz (210 g)
  • ​Flow rate: 0.5L / min

​With a flow rate of only 0.5L / min and simply a ceramic filter of 0.2μm, it deserves to be mentioned here because of the constant dilemma of weight and space that is important to hikers.

It weighs only 7.4 oz (210g) and is smaller than the previous ones.

It still has a fertility of 7000 litres.

Katadyn Water Filter Mini Filter
Easily stashed in pockets or waist packs, this ultralight package delivers up to 0.5 liters/minute of safe water you can count on.

Last update on 2020-12-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter - The Reliable Filter​

  • 0.2 μm ​ceramic ​filter
  • ​Weight: 16 oz (456 g)
  • ​Flow rate: 1L / min

​According to its manufacturer, it is also the "best selling microfilter on the market".

With a weight of 16 oz (456g), it is one of the heaviest of the filtration devices shown here.

It is equipped with a manual pump, a ceramic filter of 0.2 μm and activated carbon. It eliminates bacteria, protozoa, cysts, sediments and chemicals.

It reduces the taste and smell of water.

It is ineffective on viruses.

Its flow rate is 1L / min.

Its ​cartridge life is 2000 litres and is washable.

MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter Water Filter
The MiniWorks EX microfilter is the worldwide best-selling microfilter, delivering long-lasting, field-maintainable water filtration in demanding environments.

Last update on 2020-12-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


MSR Sweetwater Microfilter - The Hiker Model

  • 0.2 μm ​silica ​filter
  • ​Weight: 11 oz (312 g)
  • ​Flow rate: 1.25L / min

​It weighs 11 oz (312g), a weight close to the Katadyn Hiker Pro​, it is the "backpacking" model from MSR. 

The pump is manual, its filter is made of silica at 0.2 μm and activated carbon.

It eliminates bacteria, protozoa, cysts, sediments, chemicals, taste and odor but still not viruses.

It produces 1.25L / min and has a life span of only 750L.

The accessories provided are an 80 μm stainless steel prefilter, hoses, a foam float, a water bottle adapter, a cleaning brush and a storage bag.

MSR Sweetwater Microfilter
Simple, effective water filtration for backpacking and camping.

Last update on 2020-12-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


MSR HyperFlow Microfilter - The Lightest MSR

  • 0.2 μm ​hollow fiber ​filter
  • ​Weight: 7.8 oz (​221 g)
  • ​Flow rate: 3L / min

​The lightest and smallest from MSR: only 7.8 oz (221g) and it is ergonomic.

It ​is equipped with a hollow fiber filter of 0.2μm.

It is also characterized by a very fast flow rate of 3L / min.

It eliminates bacteria, protozoa, cysts and sediments well but has no effect on chemicals, taste, odor and viruses.

It can be cleaned without tools and adapted to bottles.

MSR HyperFlow Microfilter Compact Backpacking Water Filter
MSR's lightest, smallest, and fastest pumping filter. The best choice for Fast & Light backcountry use.

Last update on 2020-12-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Katadyn MyBottle Purifier - The Virus Filter Bottle

  • 0.2 μm ​glass fiber ​filter
  • ​Weight: 9.1 oz (​260 g)
  • ​Flow rate: 0.2L / min

This is a very special ​drinking bottle because it contains a virus filter​.

The filter of this ​canteen ​has first of all a 0.2μm glass fiber pre-filter, then the 3-layer ViruPur filter made of glass fibre and aluminium particles that retains viruses by adsorption, and finally activated carbon granules.

This ​filter bottle eliminates bacteria, protozoa, cysts, viruses, odors, tastes and neutralizes chlorine.

Its flow rate is 0.2L / min.

It has a capacity of 800mL.

It works only with clear water and the filter lifespan is 100L.

Katadyn - Mybottle Purifier - 24 - Blue Splash
MyBottle Purifier is the only EPA registered bottle purification system available.

Last update on 2020-12-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


LifeStraw Flex Water Filter System​ - The ​Multi-Function ​Filter

  • 0.2 μm ​​hollow fiber ​filter
  • ​Weight: 3.35 oz (95 g)
  • ​Flow rate: 0.2L / min

​Complete and multi-functional system ​consisting of a filter straw with carbon cartridge and a flexible flask.

The activated carbon cartridge ensures the elimination of a large majority of pesticides, heavy metals and bad tastes.

The screw thread integrated into the straw allows it to be ​attached onto any common plastic water bottle.

The filter straw can also be connected in series to the pipes of your hydration bag.

The Flex Lifestraw filtration kit consists of ​two accessories:

​- Two-stage filter straw (hollow fibres and activated carbon capsule)

- Soft water ​flask

With the Vestergaard (LifeStraw) filter, you will be able to filter up to 4000 litres of water

The activated carbon capsule will allow a treatment capacity of 100 Liters.

The hollow filtration membrane ensures the elimination of 99.999999% of bacteria and other parasites, ​Escherichia coli, Cryptosporidium, Giardia lamblia... on a porosity of 0.2 microns.

The porosity of 0.2 microns does not stop the viruses, so if you have strong doubts about the water to be treated, ensure an initial chlorinated treatment, ​and after that the activated carbon capsule will remove the bad tastes

Filtration capacity: 0.2 Litre / minute

Sale
LifeStraw Flex Multi-Function Water Filter System
The Ultralight, versatile and long lasting water filter with collapsible squeeze bottle.

Last update on 2020-12-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


In summary, we can see that each type of filter has advantages and disadvantages:

Ceramic filters:

Advantages:

  • ​long service life
  • ​large volume of filtered water
  • ​can clean cloudy water
  • are washable

Disadvantages:

  • ​high cost
  • ​heavier
  • ​more intense pumping effort

Fiberglass filters:

Advantages:

  • ​lower cost
  • ​lightweight
  • ​reduced pumping effort


Disadvantages:

  • ​limited lifespan
  • ​impossible to clean
  • ​cannot clean very cloudy water

In this diagram I have classified by size the different microorganisms and particles potentially present in the water as well as the efficiency ​range of the filters presented above.

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