The 5 Best Water Filters for Survival

If you do any kind of survival prepping or even camping, you probably don't need to be coached on the importance having a water filter with you that can remove bacteria from your Agua. 

Now when it comes to decontaminating your drinking water, you have a few options.

  • Create your own DIY Water Filter
  • Use Chemical tablets 
  • Boiling water 
  • Use a portable filter

Creating your own filter is great if you have the time to set it up.

Using chemical tablets or bleach can decontaminate your water buy I do not suggest it for extended periods of time.

Boiling water is effective but very inefficient.

Portable water filters are my recommended purifying solution but they are not perfect. Keep in mind that removing bacteria from water is different than viruses. 

Most species fall within 0.01 – 0.3 microns in size. Microfilters typically don't remove them. To treat them, you must use a purifier (or boil your water). By definition, a purifier removes all three waterborne threats: protozoa, bacteria and viruses.

While you'll probably be fine by just removing bacteria, you can boil or add the tablets should there be a viral threat.

The 5 Best Personal Water Filters for Survival

5. LifeStraw

The LifeStraw has been around for several years and they have not had to change much with their design. Unfortunately, the LifeStraw is limited in functionality and can only be used when dipped in water.

Pore size: .2 Microns

Lifespan: 1000 liters

Price: $19.95

4. MSR MiniWorks

The MSR MiniWorks Ex Water Filter is a pump style filtration unit that will last longer due to being able to replace the ceramic filter. Unlike the straw filters, you pump out large volumes of clean water until you're ready to drink. Unfortunately, the larger pump is heavier and more cumbersome so not ideal if you're trying to backpack lightly.

Pore size. .2 Microns

Lifespan: Replaceable parts

Price: $62.90

3. Katadyn

The Katadyn Vario Water Filter is similar to the MSR Miniworks filter that it's also a pump filter which utilizes the same method of pushing water through it's purification process.  There is also an adapter which allows it to screw on to wide mouth water bottles.

Pore size: .2 Microns

Lifespan: Uses a replaceable Katadyn carbon core and cleanable ceramic disc (included)

Price: 69.51

2. Sawyer

The Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System is the smallest filter on our list but definitely not the weakest. The filter fits in the palm of your hand, weighs just 2 ounces, and has an absolute hollow fiber membrane inline filter. It also attaches to included drinking pouch, standard disposable water bottles, hydration packs, or use the straw to drink directly from your water source.

The only thing I don't like about Sawyer is that they were told by the NAD (national advertising division) to discontinue the claim that their filter could handle 1 million gallons guaranteed. Since then they have changed the wording to read 100,000 gallons. 

Pore size: .1 Microns

Lifespan: 100,000 gallons

Price: $19.97

1. Survival Hax 

The Survival Hax Water Filter Straw is smaller than the Lifestraw but larger than the Sawyer Mini. It also comes with a .1 micron filter which is double than that of the Lifestraw, MSR, and Katadyn. This filter is more geared toward survival and backpacking as it also comes with an emergency, whistle, signal mirror, carabiner, and compass. The perks of the Survival Hax and Sawyer filters are that they can screw directly onto water bottles and they take up very little room.

Pore size: .1 Microns

Lifespan: 400 gallons

Price: 19.99 (free shipping)


Whether you're looking for a base camp filter for the weekend, or need something light for your bug out bag, you came to the right place.

For camping filters that are going to stay put consider the MSR and Katadyn pump action. For survival and prepping the Lifestraw, Sawyer, and Survival Hax straw are best.  

For backpacking and hiking; the Sawyer Mini and Survival Hax Filter straw are your best bet.

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