(Feature photo ©2021 CNOC Outdoors)
In 2019, Best Reviews performed an extensive survey of Best Backpacking Water Filters. Not much has changed as far as great filter choices or the need to use them.
One of the most important pieces of advice I can give you is to NEVER drink water straight from backcountry sources. As someone who suffered mightily from Giardia (a waterborne parasite), trust me—you don’t want to needlessly suffer when you can carry protection with you.
The good news is that there have never been more water filter choices. I’ve been carrying my trusty Katadyn Hiker filter for so long that it was made by PUR when I first bought it. But I could still buy cartridges for it, so I soldiered on. I will probably still take it on certain trips, but I recently switched to the much lighter VECTO and BeFree Kit sold by CNOC Outdoors (which also sells some sweet carbon fiber trekking poles). If you’re in the market for a filter for yourself or for group trips, you may want to check the survey out, too.
You may also be interested in my blog post about tips for staying hydrated on the trail.