Best Water Purifier and Filter for Camping – Buyer’s Guide & Review

Camping is a fun and truly satisfying activity. Being one with nature and simply taking in the beauty and serenity it offers is simply astounding to the senses. As beautiful as nature is, it does come with its own dangers. Bacteria and germs, for example, are prevalent and stomachaches have been one of the biggest hurdles of campers. That pristine lake is not as clean as you think. This is where the best water purifier comes in handy.

Having the best water filter and purifier in your gear is a sure way to prevent digestive problems from your drinking water. Every camper needs this equipment in their bag. While you can go about it the old-fashioned way of simply boiling the water to eliminate germs, technology has given us a more convenient solution in the form of purifiers and filters.

Let me help you get started if you are finding it difficult to choose the best purifier available. First, check my list below of the best water purifiers & filters according to my own experience and then I will definitely tell you why I choose it, how can it help you and so on 😀

My Pick for the Best Water Purifier and Filter

*/ Below, you'll see more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices and read customer's reviews on Amazon.

Difference Between Water Purifier and Water Filters

When it comes to camping or any activity that will require you to head on out to the great outdoors water treatment is an essential aspect. Most of the problems other campers encountered during my trails are health oriented, specifically stomachaches.

Best Water Purifier and Filter are difference

The causes can be a number of things but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s because of their drinking water. This is why I always have some form of purifier whenever I go camping or hiking. Even the most crystal-clear water in river or lakes will have some kind of bacteria that can and will make you sick.

Now, let me help inform you as to the difference between water purifiers and water filters. This should help you decide the right tool you will need for your outdoor trip. Afterwards, I’ll give you a quick rundown on the advantages and disadvantages of each.

What is Water Purifiers?

what is Best Water Purifier

Water purifiers are best used if you wish to also eliminate viruses from your drinking water. Viruses are significantly smaller and can easily pass through most water filters. I highly recommend you use a water purifier if you will be traveling outside the country to still developing countries.

What are Water Filters?

Water filters, on the other hand, are best used to remove bacteria and protozoan cysts from your drinking water. If you’re simply traveling around the U.S. or Canada then biological pathogens are the biggest concerns when it comes to drinking water. A water filter should suffice here.

Simply put, the biggest difference between purifiers and filters is the microorganism they can remove from the water.

what is Best Water and Filter

Now that you have a grasp of the difference between purifiers and filters, I would like to go over the different types that you can choose. Yes, there are various types of filters and purifiers. Each with their own strengths and weaknesses. So, let’s get right to it, shall we?

Pump Purifiers and Filters

You use a hose that is connected to a water bottle into a water source. You then simply pump the water into the bottle which is treated as it passes through the hose. Pumps will have varying water flow rates so make sure to check the specifications for each product.

Best pump Water Purifier and Filter


  • Water can be taken from shallow water sources.
  • You will have complete control to the amount of water you will treat.
  • Parts of the mechanism is replaceable.


  • Regular cleaning of the mechanism is required after use.
  • It’s pretty heavy and can be bulky as well.
  • Pumping can be quite difficult, especially if you have an old pump.

Gravity Purifiers and Filters

As the name suggests, you let gravity do the work here. You need to fill the reservoir with water, hang it up and wait until it completely filters the contents into a different container.

best Gravity Purifiers and Filters


  • You won’t need to do anything, except wait.
  • This is a great option if you want to treat large amounts of water at once.
  • The filter/purifier cartridge can be replaced.


  • Finding a place to hang the reservoir can be an issue depending on where you are.
  • Treating the water can be quite slow.
  • Shallow water sources make it a bit difficult to fill the reservoir.
  • You will need to clean it after use, which means field cleaning is mandatory.

Ultraviolet Light Purifiers

This one is a little nifty and feels like from a science fiction movie. UV Light Purifiers are pen-shaped devices that you use to stir water you wish to purify. It usually takes around a minute to treat a glass of water.

best Ultraviolet Light Purifiers


  • Easy and quick treatment process.
  • No need to element clean or replace any part of the device.


  • Device requires battery to operate.
  • If you want to treat water in large quantities then you will need to go through the process of stirring multiple times.
  • If water is a bit cloudy then the effectiveness of the UV Light Purifier is significantly decreased.

Chemical Purifiers

These are great choices for eliminating bacteria and viruses from your drinking water. Just mix them into your water reservoir and wait. They come in drops and tablet form. Waiting period also varies on the product so read instructions carefully.

best Chemical Purifiers


  • Simple and easy to use. Just drop it into your water bottle and wait for the formula to mix.
  • Extremely affordable and light. It can perfectly fit into your pocket.
  • Great alternative if your main water treatment equipment is unavailable.


  • You might need to wait for a considerable amount of time. If water is ice cold then you will need to wait significantly longer.
  • Iodine-based purifiers might leave an aftertaste. You can use taste-neutralizers to counter this problem.
  • Iodine-based purifiers are not recommended for use with pregnant women and those with thyroid problems.

Here is Why I Choose These Products ...

After reading all the information up front, I think that you all get what I really want to talk about. You can now go straight to the supermarket or grocery store to find 1 appropriate strap for yourself 😀 But there is an easier way cause maybe I have the answer ready for you. Let's take a second look at my list and I will explain in detail about every product. 

*/ Below, you'll see more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices and read customer's reviews on Amazon.

One of the most important aspects of a water purifier, in my opinion, is convenience and simplicity. The Platypus Gravity Works definitely aces those two with its easy to use and compact design.

It’s incredibly lightweight and will barely take up any space not to mention weight in your backpack.


Editor's Rating: 9.5/10

Maintenance and cleaning are also extremely simple and quick to do. One of the features that I find helpful here is the extra clean water bag that is included with the product. It’s nice to have your clean water already stored in a container when you need it.

One of the shortcomings of the Platypus Gravity Work Filter is that it does not eliminate viruses. If you’re going to a different developing country then I highly recommend you get a water purifier that covers this. Having said that, if you are simply camping around the U.S. then this is definitely something you would want to keep your eye out for when it comes to water purifiers.


  • It purifies water significantly faster compared to other water purifiers.
  • User-friendly and easy to use.
  • Lightweight and compact design are perfect for hiking and camping.
  • Easy maintenance.
  • Can purify and store 8 liters of water.


  • Collecting water is a tad bit difficult depending on the water source.
  • Closing the lid properly is a bit hard.

A slightly more affordable but still quite similar to the Platypus Gravity Works Filter, the MSR Autoflow is a perfect alternative pick. 

Similar to the Platypus, the MSR also utilize the gravity filter which means it can purify large quantities of water as well.


Editor's Rating: 9.2/10

One of the most glaring differences between the two is that MSR does not include an extra water container. It circumvents this shortcoming by simply using a feed that you attach to a different water bottle for storage.

While the MSR is lighter than the Platypus, it sacrificed the sturdy material used in previous models to achieve this goal. That being said, the MSR Autoflow is just as reliable when it comes to treating water and is another great choice for outdoor enthusiasts.


  • Great for purifying large quantities of water in one go.
  • Comes in a 2-liter version which is great for camping solo.


  • While still durable, they changed the bag material from previous models. The new material feels slightly flimsier.

If you’re looking for something at the lowest price bracket but still offer reliable water purification capabilities then you should take a look at Sawyer Mini.

Extremely affordable, you are forgiven to think that this offers subpar performance but the fact of the matter is that this is a fantastic water purifier. It is definitely one of, if not the lightest and most compact water purifier I’ve used.


Editor's Rating: 9.3/10

Of course, don’t expect this to purify a considerable amount of water. It comes attached with a 16-ounce water bottle which gives you a clear idea on how much water it can purify. That being said, for a light and short camping trip or hike this one is a perfect companion if you wish to travel as light as possible.


  • Extremely small, compact, and lightweight.
  • Easy to drink from.
  • Flexible.
  • Extremely affordable.


  • Cannot filter large quantities of water.
  • Needs to be cleaned regularly.

When it comes to water purifiers, none has yet to come close to the MSR Guardian in terms of overall quality and performance. Of course, the price for the MSR Guardian will be a factor as it is one of the most expensive portable water purifiers around. 

But if you want the best quality purifier for your travels then you can’t really go wrong with MSR Guardian.


Editor's Rating: 9.1/10

It is easy to use, easy to maintain, and can also filter out viruses as well. I tested it and learned that it can quickly fill up a one-liter bottle within 50 seconds. Operating the purifier is easy and quick as well.

It also back-flushes automatically so you are guaranteed it can maintain performance for a long time. If you are planning on traveling to a different country and want to ensure your drinking water is safe from bacteria and viruses, the MSR Guardian is a solid choice and a worthwhile investment.


  • It can filter out viruses from your drinking water.
  • Extremely sturdy design.
  • Can produce clean drinking water in a flash.


  • High price tag.
  • Quite heavy.

Aquamira - Chlorine Dioxide Water Treatment Two Part Liquid

If you need something that can fit in your pocket then the Aquamaria Water Treatment Drops is a good choice. I actually have a couple of this in my backpack during backcountry camping trips.

It’s cheap and can purify drinking water impressively well.


Editor's Rating: 9.0/10

You can treat 30 gallons of water with two one ounce drops from the Aquamira. It’s lightweight and reliable, something an outdoor enthusiast should have in their gear. It can also help eliminate viruses but it will take around an hour for that to take effect. However, it does not actually eliminate particulate so it is best used in areas with crystal clear water.


  • Small, pocket-sized bottle is perfect for ultra-light travels.
  • Can also eliminate viruses.
  • Reliable.
  • Easy to use.


  • You will basically be adding chemicals to your drinking water.
  • It takes some time for the chemicals to work.

For the runners out there, who regularly join marathons or simply those who enjoy a good challenge conquering trails. The Katadyn BeFree is a good choice specifically for this activity.

It is compact and can roll up and be put in your pocket in a jiffy. Once you come to a water source, just pull it out and refill.


Editor's Rating: 8.8/10

However, as I’ve stated earlier this one is only recommended for short outdoor trips like fishing and hiking where you’re in an area surrounded by various water sources. It’s not great for long camping trips as it can only purify 20 ounces of water at any given time.


  • Lightweight design and compact.
  • Instant water treatment capability.


  • Can only purify a small amount of water at a time.
  • Durability is a bit dodgy.


Any camper worth their salt knows the importance of having a water purifier or filter in their gear during outdoor trips. I personally recommend the Platypus Gravity Works Purifier as it has a compact design (vital for campers), easy to operate, and can purify large quantities of water in one go. It’s also quite affordable as well.

best camping water purifier or filter

I do hope I’m able to help you figure out what water treatment method you should choose. If you have anything to add feel free to comment down below and don’t forget to share this article.

Kevin Smith

About the Author

Kevin Smith

Ahoy there! The name’s Kevin Smith, the proprietor of this little travel and outdoors blog. The outdoors has always been a passion of mine since I was a kid as my parents were avid campers themselves. They taught me everything I know when it comes to camping, hiking etc. and I would like to do my part by imparting my know-how to like-minded individuals who enjoy the same hobby as me. I started this website in the hopes of helping other people when it comes to answering questions, giving tips and recommendations focusing on the camping niche. Along with some close friends of mine, we are here to help you make the most out of your outdoor experience. Enjoy your stay and enjoy the wild side!

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