Portable Water Filter Review &
Buying Guide

Portable water filter buying guide. Find the top small or pocket drinking water filtration systems for point-of-use service, so you can safely drink it when traveling, hiking, camping or during emergency, and where the safe drinking water is hard to find.

Here is the situation... You plan to travel abroad, but you are not sure about the quality of the drinking water. Or, you are a camper, hiker or outdoor lover (survival is popular today), planning to spend a day or two in wilderness, but it is heavy to carry lots of water - there are only lakes, rivers or streams available.

Also, tap water is mainly safe to drink in Europe and North America, but it can still contain dangerous contaminants such as lead, arsenic, chloroform, nitrite, viruses and bacteria. Tap water found in some regions of South America, Africa and Asia is most often questionable. What to do? Any easy solution?

One of the solutions is to buy a portable water filter and carry it wherever you go. Small water filter systems are designed to remove bacteria, viruses, chemicals, hard metal and other bad guys from polluted water and make it drinkable. For outdoor use, you will find compact water filter systems that are using active charcoal filters that work together with porous membranes or filter systems with UV or ultraviolet light. Read this interesting article in pdf: what you need to know about the tap water....

Portable water filter systems for home use

For home use, portable water filtration systems are found as water filter pitchers, such as the most popular Brita system. This system won't significantly purify the water, but it will reduce some contaminants and remove bad odor and taste.

Brita's pitcher system doesn't require installation but do require periodic filter replacement and maintenance. The only thing you have to do is to fill the pitcher with water frequently or when you empty the container. The pitcher contains enough water for several glasses, and it can be stored in the fridge.

Recommended brands for camping, hiking, traveling

Keep in mind that there is no perfect portable water filter system. The most used filtering method in portable systems is the activated charcoal adsorption method which is usually combined with other elements for even better filtration. Such systems can neutralize many pollutants such as bacteria, chlorine, but cannot remove pathogens like viruses.

Katadyn water filter system


Katadyn is the Switzerland-based manufacturer of the high-quality and long lasting portable water filter systems. Since 1928 Katadyn has been involved in providing better water quality, and its products are used by many health organizations, outdoor adventurers, hikers, campers, even military.

Katadyn products are made of the heavy-duty materials that are not only long lasting but effective in cleaning the water even in the extreme conditions. Some of Katadyn products, such as Katadyn Pocket model have an amazing 20-year warranty. When you look at the user review, you will see that the products are highly rated with many positive and almost no negative reviews.

Katadyn offers three types of portable water filter systems:

  • Endurance series offer products that can produce up to 100 times more water than standard type. The quality and innovative design make this series an ideal tool for professionals and adventurers. It is built to clean extremely turbid water and provide sufficient water supply from one to four people. Great examples are the Katadyn Pocket model that comes with the capacity of 10,000-15,000 gallons and indestructible Katadyn Expedition that comes with the capacity of 25,000 gallons - ideal for larger groups.
  • Backcountry series are built for 1-2 persons who are camping and hiking. It filters out clear and slightly muddy water and makes it drinkable. There are several products available. Vario series, for example, contains the pump and three filter levels; glass fiber, ceramic and charcoal filter for better filtering.
  • Ultralight series is of the lightest and most compact portable water filter systems that are designed for solo use (one person). These products can be used for day trips, hiking, biking, where the water source is clear, for removing bacteria and protozoa. This Ultralight series offers small 700 ml Katadyn MyBottle and Katadyn Mini filter system that can filter up to 2000 gallons of water.

LifeSaver water filtration system

Lifesaver bottle is another great example of portable water filter systems that is designed to turn the dirty water into drinkable. This is a revolutionary product as it is built for people affected by the natural disasters such as flooding or hurricane. The Lifesaver is a 750 ml bottle with the pump that uses cartridges for physical filtration with no chemicals and for removing particles larger than 15nm such as bacteria, viruses and heavy metals. Lifesaver bottle can purify between 1,050 and 1,585 gallons of water, which is enough for one person for one year.

Lifesaver bottle also comes with an activated carbon filter which complements the membrane filtration and is used to remove chemical residues such as pesticides, bad odor and taste (including chlorine and sulfur).

For those who require larger water supply there is a Lifesaver Jerrycan which is using the same technology and filters out between 2,650 and 5,300 of water which is enough for four people during the three years.

MSR MiniWorks EX Water Filter

MSR MiniWorksMSR MiniWorks

A similar product that is using a pump and ceramic filter with a carbon core as the above Katadyn, is MSR MiniWorks EX Water Filter. This portable water filter has a capacity of 500 gallons and is effective against many bacteria 0.2 microns or larger, protozoa but not viruses.

It also reduces odor and taste and some chemicals, including pesticides, iodine and chlorine. MSR MiniWorks EX Water Filter is recommended for popular outdoor activities such as camping and hiking.


Portable water filtration systems are very helpful and convenient when traveling or for home use. They are also life-savers during the emergency, during flooding, earthquakes or hurricanes. By using a good quality filters you can literally use filthy water and make the water clean. Mobile water filters or pocket filters provide clear water on demand; eliminate the need to carry heavy water containers while protecting you and your family from the waterborne diseases.

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