Here is my selection of the best backpacking water filters for 2021 which I would take with me on my next hiking or backpacking trip.

There are several solutions on the market e.g. water filters where you have to pump water through the filter or filters which do not require any pump at all (and which are also my personal preference filters).

I am using the Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System on my trips since it is very lightweight and does the job.

In the past, I have used the Katadyn Hiker Pro filter. On the picture below where I am filtering water on a trip in Northern Sweden.

Also, keep in mind that none of the water filters which we have selected can filter out viruses, and filters with a carbon element gives the water a neutral taste.

The water filters which I have selected should not be used with salt water or with water contaminated with chemicals.

To remove viruses you can combine a filter with e.g. the Steripen Freedom (I have not tested if it removes viruses).

The Steripen uses UV light against Viruses and can be recharged through the USB port. Also, have a look at our interview at the end of this article.

Weight comparison table

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System Katadyn Hiker Pro Microfilter MSR TrailShot
filter size (micron) 0.2 0.1 0.2 0.2
weight (grams) 57 57 310 142
height (cm) 22.5 20.3 16.35 15.25
lifetime (liters) 1000 350000 1150 2000
viruses no no no no
carbon filter no no yes no

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

The Lifestraw Personal Water Filter is together with the Sawyer Mini Water Filter one of the lightest water filters available which you can take on your backcountry adventure. Personally, I found the Sawyer Filter more versatile than the LifeStraw filter. One advantage I could see with the LifeStraw is that it does not have several pieces and you may not lose parts easily. One disadvantage of this filter is to get the water into a bottle.

Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System

The Sawyer Mini Water Filter is currently my go-to water filter when I go for a hike. It packs small and is not that expensive. You can also filter the water into a bottle. However, I might replace it with the MSR TrailShot because it might be more convenient to use.

Katadyn Hiker Pro Microfilter

If you prefer a filter where you need to pump then the Katadyn Hiker Pro filter might be a good solution. I had this filter as well but prefer the Sawyer filter because it’s lighter and I get similar results.

MSR TrailShot

The MSR TrailShot is the latest development compared to the other water filters. The filter is probably more convenient to use than the Sawyer Mini since it offers an Inlet Hose and the pump might be quite useful as well to get clean water out of a river. This is probably going to be my new water filter to replace my Sawyer Mini even so it weights a bit more.