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Reliable portable water filters for traveling or hiking

Popular Science logo Popular Science 7/7/2020 PopSci Commerce Team
a large waterfall over some water: Fresh H2O on the go. © Provided by Popular Science Fresh H2O on the go.

Lakes, streams, and even the run-down water fountain on the playground can seem like a tantalizing oasis when you’re thirsty. At least until you think about all the bacteria in freshwater, or see someone use the fountain to give their dog a bath. In your daily life, a portable water filter can save you from buying expensive re-branded tap water enclosed in plastic. On a hiking trip, top-grade filters can allow you to drink from a stream after all. Here are our top thirst-quenching choices.

a close up of a bottle: Avoid the taste of chlorine. © Provided by Popular Science Avoid the taste of chlorine.

If you are fairly confident in your water source but want to reduce the taste of chlorine and class VI particulates like rust or sediment, this filter does the trick on the go. Reduce plastic waste by replacing single-use bottles with one of these BPA-free, clear designs in an array of bright colors from orchid to sea glass. It’s a great choice if you’re refilling your bottle while running errands around town, or working from an office that doesn’t have a filtration system built into the break room sink. You can even take them on a plane as long as you don’t fill the bottle until you’ve gone through security. You’ll need to replace the filter every couple of months with regular use.

a close up of a bottle: Explore the globe. © Provided by Popular Science Explore the globe.

Water safety is a concern for many travelers. This water bottle may look ordinary, but it holds both a powerful microfiltration membrane and an activated carbon filter to deliver safer and better-tasting water. Troublesome life-forms like giardia, salmonella, and e-coli are filtered out as well as microplastics. Choose from a 22-ounce or 1-liter size, and reduce vacation worries so you can enjoy your trip. You can also pack these for a hiking or camping excursion to use with natural water sources according to the guidelines in your area.

Drink a lake, responsibly. © Provided by Popular Science Drink a lake, responsibly.

Sawyer makes a variety of water filtration products, but the two-pouch personal model of their Sawyer Squeeze is a lightweight and compact choice for backpackers. To filter harmful bacteria and protozoa from a freshwater stream, river, or lake you’ll need to fill one of the 32 ounce pouches with water, and then attach the mini-filter. Squeeze the pouch to push water through the filter directly into your mouth, or into a bottle for later use. You can roll up the pouches to save space in your pack, but be aware that this advantage can also be a disadvantage in terms of overall durability.

Hydrate in the wilderness. © Provided by Popular Science Hydrate in the wilderness.

Treat backcountry freshwater sources easily with this filtration system especially for hikers. The .2 micron glass-fiber filter cartridge is paired with a hose and pump to deliver high water flow as you convert freshwater to clean water. You can use it to fill up water bottles or hydration bladders, and it’s designed to minimize the need for back-flushing while in use. Babbling brooks may look like they have a deliciously refreshing taste free of chemicals, but the filter contains activated carbon to give you that taste regardless of appearances.

Hydrate in the wilderness.

Hydrate in the wilderness.
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