We’ve all been there, headed into the backcountry for a day or two, maybe more, unsure of how pure the water will actually be in the streams labeled on the map. And when we get there, and see a cow standing ankle deep in the water, we know now is not the time to test the strength of our gut bacteria. That’s where any of these light, handheld water purification systems come in. From a water bottle system to gravity feed to a UV pen, these will have you covered.
Made in the U.S.A. Epic Water Filters
The least amount of hassle for the biggest reward is one of the main selling points for the OG Ultimate travel bottle. Simply fill up the bottle in whatever dirty source of water you’re facing, put in the filter and straw and screw on the cap. Then go. You suck clean water out of the mouthpiece as you walk or ride. The filters make about 100 gallons of clean water before needing replaced, and the multi-stage filter removes everything from bacteria and viruses to lead, mercury, and microplastics.
Lightweight and packs small when not being used. Katadyn
If you’re camping in a big group of people, or even a smaller group, and don’t want to assign someone to sit by a stream and pump clean water all evening, this is your answer. Fill the bladder up with 3 liters of water, hang it on a tree and let gravity make clean water for you. The filter removes 99.9999 percent of contaminants and filters up to 2 liters of water per minute.
Sip from this straw. LifeStraw
The marketing images for the LifeStraw show someone drinking from a stream full of green algae. And it’s genuine. At 2 ounces, the LifeStraw is perfect for anyone traveling ultralight. It’s also great for shallow sources of questionable water. One straw will filter up to 1,000 gallons of water and surpasses EPA standards. The best part? It’s hard to break. It has no moving parts, doesn’t require batteries and water won’t taste like iodine or chlorine when you drink.
Remember to keep spare batteries on hand. SteriPen
Fill a bottle with clear but dirty water, then plunge in a strange contraption that fills it with light. It might seem futuristic, but the UV light kills more than 99.9 percent of microorganisms like Giardia, viruses, and protozoa. The light won’t change your water’s taste or properties and is chemical free. It’s also light—just a couple ounces—and reusable for up to 8,000 liters.