Anyone who has ever been backpacking knows all too well how annoying water purification can be. Boiling all your water isn't practical, iodine takes forever and tastes gross, and risking water-borne illness just isn't an option. Luckily for us, backpacking water filters exist to make life easier in the backcountry.

There are so many things that reduce your quality of life in the backcountry. Not having a real bed, the unpredictability of weather, the weight of carrying everything you need on your back, the constraints on what you can eat, and the exhaustion of hiking, to name a few. These filters are an easy way to check something off of that list.

There are three main types of backpacking water filters: pumps/straws, UV light, and gravity filtration systems. The pumps/straws are the most labor-intensive, but are easy to use and very reliable. The UV light filters are the most convenient, but on the pricy side and can run out of battery. The gravity filtration systems are great for big groups, but can be heavier and tend to take the most time.

Here are some tried and tested suggestions for backpacking water filters from each category. 

1. Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System

Price: $25

According to Outdoor Gear Lab, this filter is a must-have for any backpacker. It is light, user-friendly, and reliable, making it a camper's best friend. The Sawyer Mini is also very affordable, so it's great for someone who just wants to test the waters (get it?) with backpacking water filters.

2. Katadyn Hiker Microfilter

Price: $67

Although on the pricier side, this is a staple pump-style filter. It is known for being consistent, easy to use, and requires little maintenance. It has been a favorite in the backpacking community for years, so it definitely deserves a spot on this list. 

3. SteriPEN Ultra

Price: $100

Okay, this is so cool. The SteriPEN is a UV light filter that magically kills all the viruses/bacteria/gross stuff in your water. I've used one of these before, and swirling it in your water bottle makes you feel so powerful. It's really expensive and does rely on rechargeable batteries, so I'd only invest in this if you know you're going to get a lot of use out of it and have a backup purification plan.

4. LifeStraw

Price: $20

This is the most inexpensive filter on the list, but also the most obnoxious to use. You can only use it to drink directly out of a water source, which is fine except for that the water takes a long time to move through the filter. When you're parched after a few hours on trail, this could be really brutal. 

That said, it is a reliable filter, and it was designed to help people in developing countries get access to clean water. Buying a LifeStraw contributes to their projects across the world to help eradicate water-borne illness and improve the quality of life by bringing people clean water. The cause it supports makes it worth dropping $20, if you ask me. 

5. Sawyer PointOne Squeeze

Price: $28

This is a pump filter with a twist. Instead of pumping water through the filter, you fill the bottle with water and squeeze the water through the filter into the bag. To me at least, this seems more user-friendly and even kind of fun to use, which is always a plus. Like the other Sawyer filter on this list, it is reliable, effective, small, and lightweight, making it a solid choice.

6. Platypus GravityWorks Water Filter

Price: $109

This is the most expensive and the most involved option on this list, but also one of the top-ranked backpacking water filters on the market. The gravity system makes it ideal for large groups, but you'll probably want to bring a backup option in case you need to refill during the day. 

Preparing for a backcountry adventure can be intimidating, but in my experience the prep is the most stressful part. Hopefully one of these backpacking water filters gives you one less thing to worry about, but if you need more help getting ready, this article on backpacking for beginners and this article on packing for a backpacking trip are great resources as well.