As more of us are becoming interested in the environment and our own health, the popularity of walking, hiking and camping is growing fast. One of the biggest considerations for any hiker or camper is making sure you have enough water available to you. Choosing a portable water filter means no longer worrying about carrying lots of heavy water bottles at all times and saving money at those shops nearby that charge a fortune for a small bottle of mineral water. A portable water filter means you can take advantage of natural sources safely, whilst getting the hydration you need to continue your journey. Our Top Picks Best Portable Water Filters of 2020 Portable Water Filters that are worth mentioning: Our Top 8 Portable Water Filters We\u2019ve put together a list of great products on the market right now so that you can make a choice with confidence and start having fresh, clean and safe water wherever you are. 1. Waterdrop Water Filter Straw The true definition of portable, this fantastic device is only 8 inches long and can be attached to a variety of water bottles or bags, making it a handy piece of kit to have in your backpack. This filter will effectively remove the threat of dangerous bacteria and viruses including salmonella and E.coli, as well as countless others. The filter is reported to last for approximately 100,000 gallons of water, an incredible amount that makes this one of the longest-lasting portable water filters on the market! One important point to note here is that you cannot drink straight from this unit, so if you wanted that kind of option then look elsewhere. 2. Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System You will not be disappointed with this filtration system from Sawyer, as it is a compact solution perfect to carry in a rucksack on any long walk, camping trip or long-distance journey. Its powerful filter removes up to 99.99% of bacteria in water sources and once more, lasts for up to 100,000 gallons, so you can travel safely, knowing it will do the job for a long time to come. This water filter comes with a versatile adapter that allows you to attach it to water bottles, bags and faucets, so even if you\u2019re staying somewhere on your trip, you can ensure you have safe and clean water to drink. A really nice touch from this manufacturer! Just be wary of the water bag that comes with it, as we\u2019ve had reports it can sometimes burst, so keep a water bottle with you. 3. LifeStraw LSPHF017 Water Filter for Hiking, Camping One of the most popular portable water filters on the market and that is because it is cheap, effective and small. The three things you want from a water filter that you take with you on a hiking trip. The filtration system doesn\u2019t use any kind of chemicals, meaning it doesn\u2019t have a shelf life and can be stored safely for your next trip. The filter offers effective protection for up to 792 gallons of water and will remove up to 99.99% of bacteria in the water source. We really struggled to find a downside of this product and ultimately the only issue is that it requires a fair amount of suction to get water through the filter system, so for those short of breath or at high altitudes, you may struggle. 4. Katadyn Vario Water Filter The first pump type of portable water filter on our list comes from Katadyn and it is a great choice because they have put a lot of thought into its design and functionality. It still fits into a backpack, weights relatively little and it\u2019s too expensive, so it ticks the initial boxes. Where this stands out is that it has a good size hose, a clip system so that you can attach it to whatever water bottle you're using and a fast-acting water pump to filter up to 2 quarts of water per minute. It uses charcoal filters to protect you from bacteria, as well as removing bad tastes and smells, making it nicer to drink from than certain other options. We have had reports that the pump can get air-locked at times, but this doesn\u2019t seem too frequent and can be resolved relatively easily. 5. Sawyer Products PointOne Squeeze Water Filter Another portable water filter from Sawyer and the PointOne is an all-around water filter for anyone wanting to go for a hike or simply prepare for an emergency situation. Its powerful filter will protect you from 99.9% of harmful bacteria and protozoa in the water supply, making water sources safe, wherever you may be going. What stands out on this model is its adapter, which allows you to safely connect to a 32 punch water pouch provided, allowing you to transfer the safely filtered water to a bottle, or simply connect it to a faucet or container in an emergency. What amazed us here is the longevity of the water filter, claiming to last up to 1 million gallons, an astonishing return on investment. 6. LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottle This bottle filter from LifeStraw uses a two-stage activated carbon filter to improve the taste of the water and then a fibre membrane to protect you from 99.99% of the harmful bacteria in a water supply. Its water bottle design means it will fit perfectly into a water bottle holder, backpack or even your hand as you hike or go camping, something we really appreciated about this portable water filter. In terms of lifespan, it uses BPA-free plastic and soft silicone for the mouthpiece, so you know it's a quality item. The straw filter will last up to 264 gallons of water and has a helpful system that simply stops taking water when the filter no longer works, so you can rest assured that it will always protect you. 7. Survivor Filter PRO Another pump type of portable water filter makes it onto our list and this is a superb little system that like its competitors, removes 99.9% of bacteria in the water supply, as well as 99.5% of metals found. Its all-around filtration of water is very impressive indeed. Similar to other models, the filter cartridge lasts an impressive 100,000 litres of water, offering the longevity that is important for such products, but where it stands out is the speed at which it filters water. You will be able to produce up to 17 ounces of water a minute with this machine, with everything you need arriving in the box and it will be ready to go in a matter of moments. 8. LifeStraw Family 1.0 Water Purifier We end our top 8 list of portable water filters with another product from the filter powerhouse that is LifeStraw. It is also a different type of filter because it uses the gravity system of filtration, so you simply pour water into the top and the clean, safe water comes out of the bottom of the device. This model offers protection from up to 99.99% of bacteria, viruses etc in the water supply you are drinking from and will purify up to 12 litres per hour, offering a regular supply for larger groups such as family camping trips or friends travelling together. This means you don\u2019t need to have everyone carrying a portable water filter and so saves space in backpacks. Summary There are some absolutely fantastic portable water filters out there to choose from and no matter the type you go for, they will generally offer unbeatable protection from the harmful bacteria and contaminants found in water supplies. Having this kit with you on your hike or camping trip will be one of the best investments you will ever make and give you the peace of mind that you can have access to safe, clean water wherever you are. Why do you need one? The simple answer is we can never guarantee how safe a water source is in the wild, whether in remote areas or highly developed locations. Contaminated water can be highly dangerous and cause serious health problems. There are five common contaminants that are found in untreated water, as well as poorly managed water supplies and these include: Salmonella This type of infection can cause fever, diarrhoea, nausea, muscle cramps and more. E.coli This type of infection can cause fever, stomach pain, diarrhoea and vomiting, appearing very quickly or days after the initial contamination. Giardia Lamblia This can lead to giardiasis which causes stomach pains, diarrhoea and nausea. Legionella Pneumonia This causes the infection Legionnaires disease, a potentially fatal infection which causes fever, muscle pain and more. Hepatitis A This infection can appear within 28 days of initial contamination and symptoms include nausea, stomach pain, jaundice and fever. What types are there? Choosing the right kind of portable water filter can seem quite daunting and confusing because there is so much choice out there, both in terms of branding and types available. We understand how important it is to understand the basic differences and so we\u2019ve created a list below of the five main types of portable water filters and what you need to know about them. Straw Filters The first on the list is the most portable solution because they are simply straws that you put straight into the water supply and drink from. Obviously, there is a little more to them than a standard straw and this is why they will be quite a bit bigger than a normal straw. The filter is in the straw itself and contains a membrane that filters the bacteria, viruses etc, trapping them and stopping them from reaching you. It is a fantastic solution to keep in your belongings on long hikes through uncertain locations and there are only two real downsides that we can see. Firstly, it requires a stronger draw to get water through the filter but if you\u2019re out hiking then you are likely to have the ability to deal with this. The second is that it isn\u2019t the best at removing contaminants like chlorine or metals, plus the filters get a bit clogged up and will need replacing. Pump Filters These filters are still small enough to carry around in your backpack and are relatively simple to use, with one line fed into the water and another up to the person wanting the water. You would then use a hand pump to draw the water through the filter and up to the recipient. Pump filters utilise different types of filter, depending on the manufacturer and so it\u2019s important to check the type they use and the relative strengths and weaknesses. For example, this type of portable water filter can come with a ceramic or fibre filter, as well as use activated carbon filters. In general, they will perform well and offer you the protection you need from contaminated water supplies, but it is important to note for some types of filter, they won\u2019t remove all types of bacteria and some are prone to needing to be changed more than others. Bottle Filters This is a popular choice for those wanting a portable water filter because it operates as both a filter and a standard water bottle. If you\u2019re using a safe supply, simply take out the filter and drink normally, and if you\u2019re concerned about the water supply, insert the filter cartridge and have the peace of mind you need. Most bottle filters use either a fibre filter, similar to the straw filters or an activated carbon filter, both of which are incredibly effective at filtering out harmful bacterial, minerals and other contaminants. The only real issue we find with these is they don\u2019t get rid of fluoride but that isn\u2019t a huge problem in the scheme of things. Gravity Filters An interesting option to go for is gravity-based portable water filters, which are perfect for those camping out or hiking in unknown locations. These filters utilise two containers placed above each other, with water being poured into the first before gravity is used to pass the water through filters made of ceramic and activated carbon, to the second container. These are very effective at cleaning water and making it safe from harmful minerals and contaminants. Where problems can occur is if the first container is not used correctly, or stored in the right way, it can contaminate the second one, effectively ruining the system. Furthermore, it is bigger than other types of filter, requiring more space in your backpack and so may not be the most convenient solution. UV Filters This is perhaps the most rarely used type of portable water filter because they use batteries and cost more, but that doesn\u2019t mean they aren\u2019t a good solution. A UV filter device is highly effective against the types of bacteria found in water supplies, as well as improving the taste of water you will be drinking. The only real downside of this choice is as mentioned above, that it uses batteries so that is an extra consideration to make sure you have an adequate supply. Aside from that, the UV filters have been found to lose their effectiveness if the water is dirtier, as the debris in the water can reduce the ability of the filter to do its job.