What Is the Best Way to Filter Water Backpacking?

By Robert Palmer

When backpacking, having access to clean water is essential for your health and safety. But with so many different ways to filter water backpacking, it can be hard to know which one is the best.

The best way to filter water backpacking depends on a few factors. First, consider the environment you will be in.

If you are backpacking in an area known for its clean water sources, a basic filter may be sufficient. This type of filter removes sediment and other particulates from the water but doesn’t remove bacteria or viruses.

If you are traveling in an area where there may be contamination in the water, a more advanced filter may be needed. These filters are designed to remove bacteria and viruses from the water. This type of filter usually has a carbon element and uses ultraviolet (UV) light to kill bacteria and viruses.

Another factor to consider when choosing a water filtration system for backpacking is how often you will need to use it. If you are only using it occasionally, then a basic filter may suffice. However, if you plan on using it more often or for extended periods of time, then an advanced model that can handle higher flow rates would be best.

Chemical treatment is another option when filtering water while backpacking. Chemical treatments use iodine or chlorine-based chemicals such as iodine tablets or drops to kill bacteria and viruses in the water. These treatments are relatively inexpensive but they can leave an unpleasant taste in the treated water.


When choosing the best way to filter water backpacking, consider your location, how often you will use it, and whether chemical treatment is necessary for safe drinking water. A basic sediment filter may be sufficient for clean environments but more advanced filters with carbon elements and UV light may be necessary for contaminated areas or longer trips where flow rate is important. Chemical treatments may also be used as a last resort if no other filtration system is available.