Water is an essential element in our daily lives, especially when traveling. Staying hydrated is critical for our health, but finding clean drinking water can be challenging in some destinations. That’s where travel water purifiers come into play. These handy devices offer a convenient way to ensure you consume safe, potable water wherever your adventures take you.
Travel water purifiers come in various shapes and sizes, suitable for different needs and preferences. They employ a combination of filtration, purification, and sterilization methods to remove harmful contaminants, pesticides, viruses, bacteria, and protozoa from untreated water sources such as lakes, rivers, or even bottled water or tap water in foreign countries. Having a reliable water purifier can make a difference in ensuring your health and comfort while exploring new places.
When selecting a travel water purifier, it’s essential to consider the specific filtration technology, flow rate, weight, size, and ease of use. These factors can significantly influence the water purifier’s overall performance, convenience, and effectiveness.
Choosing a portable water purifier that suits your travel style, location, and availability is crucial to guarantee a reliable source of safe drinking water.
Even if you’re buying original purified water from a known brand, it can still get expensive. Why not make a one-time investment instead? In this guide, I’ll discuss the best water filters for traveling to help you select a travel water purifier for your next vacation.
Show Table of Contents
- TL;DR: Our Top Picks
- Best Portable Water Purifiers for Travel
- Best Travel Water Purifier: LifeStraw Personal Water Filter for Hiking, Camping, Travel, and Emergency Preparedness
- SteriPen Ultra UV Water Purifier
- LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottles
- Katadyn BeFree Water Filter
- GRAYL Ultralight Water Purifier
- Seychelle Rad Water Filter Bottle
- Purewell Water Purifier Pump
- Epic Nalgene Ultimate Outdoor Travel
- GRAYL Geopress 24 oz Water Purifier
- SteriPen Adventurer Opti UV Personal Water Purifier
- Sawyer Products Water Filtration System
- LifeStraw Flex Advanced Water Filter with Gravity Bag
- Hydros 40oz Water Filter Slim Pitcher
- LAVONE Smart Water Bottle
- P&G Purifier of Water Portable Water Purifier Packets
- Types of Water Purifiers for Travel
- What to Look For in a Portable Water Purifier for Travel
- Filtration Technology
- Pore Size
- Filter Life
- Weight and Portability
- Ease of Use
- What is the best portable water filter for travel?
- What is the best way to purify water while backpacking?
TL;DR: Our Top Picks
|Best Travel Water Purifier||LifeStraw Personal Water Filter|
|Best Filtered Water Bottle||LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottles|
|Best UV Water Purifier||SteriPen Ultra UV Water Purifier|
|Best Gravity Water Filter System||LifeStraw Flex Advanced Water Filter with Gravity Bag|
Best Portable Water Purifiers for Travel
Every product in this list meets the quality and durability standards a traveler aims for in a portable water filter or purifier. Plus, they’re all from trusted brands and boast positive customer feedback.
Best Travel Water Purifier: LifeStraw Personal Water Filter for Hiking, Camping, Travel, and Emergency Preparedness
LifeStraw’s Personal Water Filter is a reliable and convenient choice for travelers and adventurers seeking safe drinking water in various situations. The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter is a versatile and efficient device perfect for hikers, campers, and those needing emergency water purification. Its impressive membrane microfilter technology helps eliminate 99.999999% of waterborne bacteria, parasites, and even the smallest microplastics down to 1 micron, thus ensuring safe and clean drinking water.
One of the key advantages of this water purifier is its ease of use and portability. Without requiring electricity or batteries, the LifeStraw can be used anytime, anywhere, making it ideal for outdoor enthusiasts and those in areas without reliable access to clean water. Moreover, the filter’s long lifetime of 4,000 liters (1,000 gallons) with proper care and maintenance adds value to the investment.
While the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter effectively removes various contaminants, it is essential to note that it does not tackle chemicals, heavy metals, or viruses. Nevertheless, for individual use in most outdoor and emergency scenarios, LifeStraw is a reliable and convenient option.
- Highly effective at removing bacteria, parasites, and microplastics
- No electricity or batteries are needed to operate
- Not designed to remove chemicals, heavy metals, or viruses
- Cannot be used to purify large amounts of water at once
Equipped with UV light, the SteriPen Ultra UV Water Purifier can destroy pathogenic germs in tap water, saving you from potential diseases in contaminated water. The UV light’s intensity can kill up to 99.9% of the microbes. Once you charge this travel water purifier, it lasts up to 50 treatments.
In simple words, it equals up to purifying 15,000 liters of water. Even if you’re on a more extended trip, a single charge will last you throughout the duration. At the front of the portable water filter is an OLED display. It shows you all you need to know, including the battery status and the treatment results.
More importantly, the purifier is conveniently charged via a solar panel or wall socket. If you’re taking your laptop along on the trip, you can also charge the SteriPen Ultra UV Water Purifier.
- UV light cleansing
- OLED display
- Multiple charging methods
- Long battery life for 50 treatments
You can get the LifeStraw Go Filter Bottle with a built-in purifier if you don’t want a separate travel water purifier. The reusable water bottle has a BPA-free build that makes it safe for travelers.
Moreover, this award-winning bottle can remove any impurities. That includes parasites, bacteria, microplastics, and chemicals in drinking water. The expert-engineered portable water filter membrane removes even the smallest particles with ultimate efficiency.
It has a two-stage activated carbon filter that leaves no aftertaste. Even better, it reduces the odor from tap water. The resulting water will be fresh, clean, and odorless. Since there’s two-layer protection, the cleaner removes 99.9% of the protozoa, bacteria, and chemical waste. With a 23-ounce capacity, the bottle is suitable for a solo traveler.
Also, it’s leak-proof. Thus, you can easily keep it in your travel tote. Plus, the replacement filters are readily available online, so you can buy a new filter whenever you head out for an adventure.
- Food-grade silicone mouthpiece
- 23-ounce capacity
- Two-stage carbon filter
- Removes odor and chemical waste
- Leak-proof design
With a 0.1 micron cutoff, this water filter can remove even the tiniest microorganism in your drinking water. As per the EPA standards, it has been designed to remove bacteria and protozoa from water.
Possibly the best feature of this water filter is the collapsibility. It can contract to a smaller size to easily fit in your backpack. It can filter water in tight spaces, such as jacket pockets.
When expanded, it’s a one-liter bottle flask that should be enough for a single traveler. Moreover, it features Ez-clean membranes that can be cleaned with a simple shake or sway. Doing so removes the debris from the filters.
So you don’t need to carry any cleaning tools. Owing to the Stay Clean drink nozzle, the mouthpiece stays clean even after filtering a thousand liters of dirty water. After several uses, you can replace it with a standard water bottle cap.
- 0.1-micron water filter cartridge
- Stay Clean drink nozzle
- Filters up to 1,000 liters
Every traveler looks for simplicity, whether in the luggage or the itinerary. The GARYL sublime water purifier provides just that, making it quick and simple to filter drinking water.
All you have to do is fill the water bottle and press a button on the lid. Then, wait for 15 seconds. Viola, you now have bacteria and chemical-free water ready for consumption.
While most other purifiers utilize a single technology, this filtered water bottle has three water-purifying technologies. First, the ceramic fiber removes larger particles. Second, there’s a network of positively-charged ions that removes chemical impurities.
Lastly, the activated carbon filter takes care of microbial waste. Overall, the filter removes 99.99% of bacterial and protozoal waste. Furthermore, the water bottle is compact. It fits in the side pockets of most backpacks. You can also keep it in the cup holder of your vehicle.
- 15-second filtering
- Three purifying technologies
- 16-ounce capacity
- 99.99% pathogen removal
The Seychelle Rad is one of the best water purifiers for international travel since it’s highly portable. The Ionic Adsorption Micro Filtration technology removes foul odors and contaminants. Featuring some of the best travel water bottles with filters, this filtered water bottle can also remove cloudiness, silt, and chlorine from drinking water. Even better, it frees water of up to 99.99% bacteria, cysts, protozoa, and viruses.
Compared to the GRAYL purifying water bottle, this one is much larger, with a capacity of 28 ounces. Therefore, you can share it with your spouse or travel buddy.
Most other water bottles are only efficient against common impurities. But the Seychelle water filter bottle can also remove trihalomethanes, glyphosate, and PFOS.
- Ionic Adsorption Micro Filtration technology
- Removes chemical contaminants too
- 28-ounce capacity
- Suitable for RVs and emergency kits
I understand that some travelers are not satisfied with purifying water bottles. I’ve put this Purewell Water Purifier Pump on the list as it has a flow rate of up to 1400ml per minute and a compact size that makes it quite portable, making it an excellent option for camping and hiking.
The anti-skid design ensures that the pump won’t topple off no matter where you’re using it. Since it has a rubber bottom, the filter stays firmly on any surface. It boasts a high water filter capacity of up to three thousand liters. Thus, you’ll only need to remove the water filters after several uses.
The 0.01-micron water filter restricts the passage of bacteria and physical contaminants into your drinking water. This travel water purifier has a four-stage filtration system for maximum efficiency. The manufacturers seem confident about this product, offering a 24-month free replacement warranty.
- Four-stage filtration
- 0.01-micron pore size
- Replaceable carbon filters
- Anti-skid rubber design
If there’s one family travel hack you need to know, it’s that kids get thirsty and need to go to the bathroom in the weirdest places. That’s why having the Epic Nalgene outdoor travel bottle in your backpack is good.
Being a 32-oz water bottle, this option suits more than one person. Also, it can remove 2,000% more impurities than an average filtered water bottle. The water filters remove everything you can expect to find in drinking water, including chemicals and heavy metals such as PFOA, fluorides, chlorine, lead, viruses, cysts, silt, and even bacteria.
Since it has an activated carbon filter, the travel bottle can effectively remove heavy metals too. Additionally, it has been tested independently against NSF and ANSI standards. So, you can rest easy knowing that the water purifier is up to the hygiene and safety standards in the US.
For every purchase of the Epic Nalgene bottle, the company gives 1% of the sales to environmental organizations.
- Activated carbon filters
- Passed NSF testing
- 32-oz capacity
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The GRAYL Geopress water bottle purifier for international travel makes your outdoor adventures safe and enjoyable. Whether you’re out hiking, backpacking, traveling, fishing, or RVing, the water bottle goes with you. Thanks to the compact design, you can fit it in your backpack or cupholders.
As for purification, the water purifier bottle has the best filters that remove impurities from freshwater sources. Moreover, they restrict the entry of heavy metals, chemicals, pesticides, and microplastics into drinking water. Once all this trash is out, the water smells and tastes better.
Besides efficiency, the GRAYL water bottle purifier also impresses in speed. It can purify up to 24 ounces of water in just eight seconds. Plus, there’s no setup time for it to filter water. All you have to do is fill the bottle, press a button, wait for a few seconds, and then gulp.
Most importantly, the performance of the water purification system is consistent across all sources. Whether filling water from a taco stand or a murky river, the output will always be 99.99% pure drinking water.
- Purifies 24 ounces of water in eight seconds
- Consistent purification
- Pathogen-removing filters
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Claiming to be the best UV light travel water purifier, this device is a must-have for avid travelers. Unlike purifying water bottles or pumps, it does not take up a lot of space in your luggage. Instead, it fits easily in your pocket or handbag.
You can use it to cleanse up to 8000 liters of water. Thus, a single portable water filter will go a long way. Owing to the carbon filters, the water purifier can remove 99.99% of germs from the water. Hence, it makes even the dirtiest water clean and healthy for consumption.
In doing so, the water purification leaves the water’s pH and taste unchanged. When hiking or camping, the water sensor on this portable water filter can also be used as an LED flashlight.
On average, it can kill even the most harmful bacteria, such as cryptosporidia, in just 90 seconds. Besides, the package includes two CR123 batteries, so your first trip is sorted. You also get a neoprene case to store the water purifier. It also keeps the device safe from physical and mechanical damage. Since it comes with a belt loop, you can always keep the purifier at your arm’s length.
- 99.9% pathogen removal efficiency
- Filters up to 80000 liters
- LED flashlight
- Comes with a neoprene case and belt loop
The Sawyer mini-water filter is one of the best water purifiers for travelers on a budget. It’s suitable for people who love hiking, scouting, camping, and outdoor activities. It acts as a straw, which makes it an excellent option if you aren’t comfortable drinking bottled water in a foreign country.
It features an efficient 0.1-micron inline filter that is compact enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Weighing just 2 ounces, the purifier won’t increase your luggage’s weight, and you won’t even feel its presence in your backpack.
The purifier has a drinking pouch, but you can attach it to your water bottle. It can remove 99.99% of bacterial contaminants, including E.coli. It rids the water of 100% microplastics, making it safe for drinking. With a 16-ounce drinking pouch, the water filtration system is suitable for family travels too. Moreover, there’s a seven-inch drinking straw and a cleaning plunger.
- 99.99% pathogen removal
- Removes 100% microplastics
- 100,000 gallons filter rating
Gravitational water filtration systems are the best travel water purifiers for longer trips. The LifeStraw Flex Advanced Water Filter with Gravity Bag removes up to 99.99% of impurities from water, regardless of the source.
It has a carbon-fiber capsule that improves the taste of drinking water. Besides, it also reduces the presence of heavy metals and chlorine. Exceeding the EPA drinking standards, the LifeStraw Flex cleanses every living impurity from water.
Moreover, it has a lifetime of up to 500 gallons. Replacement carbon-activated water filter cartridges are readily available too. For every purchase you make at LifeStraw, the company gives safe drinking water to a school child in need.
- NSF 53 standards
- 0.2-micron filter
- 500 gallons per carbon capsule
If you’re seeking a compact, efficient, and eco-friendly travel water purifier, the Hydros Slim Pitcher is worth considering. The Hydros Slim Pitcher stands out for its Fast Flo filter technology, which filters water up to five times faster than many competitors.
This is particularly useful when traveling and needing clean drinking water. The independent testing of the Multi-filter assures you that it meets the highest particle filtration standards, reducing over 90% of chlorine and 99% of sediment.
One of the benefits of this travel water purifier is its compact design. It has been thoughtfully crafted to fit most refrigerator shelves, making it an excellent choice for those with limited space. The colorful rubber base and sturdy construction add both style and durability. Remember that the 5-cup capacity may not be sufficient for larger groups or extended stays, but it suits individual travelers or couples.
Environmentally conscious travelers will appreciate that the Hydros filters are made from 100% coconut shell carbon within a BPA-free casing. This means that not only is the pitcher safe for you, but it’s also gentle on the environment.
- Fast Flo filter technology for quick filtration
- Highly effective Multi-filter reducing chlorine and sediment
- Compact and sturdy design, fridge-friendly
- 5 cup capacity
- Plastic material, although BPA-free
For a clean and safe drinking experience during your travels, LAVONE Smart Water Bottle is an excellent choice with its self-cleaning and UV purification features. This smart water bottle goes beyond the traditional insulated stainless-steel design by incorporating a UV-C LED chip that purifies water in just 60 seconds. This innovative feature eliminates foul odors and prevents bacterial buildup, ensuring access to fresh, clean water wherever you travel.
But it’s not just about the purification; the double-wall insulation keeps your favorite beverages hot for up to 12 hours or cold for up to 24 hours, making it perfect for all seasons. Its magnetic charging and IPX6 waterproof design make the bottle easy to use and maintain. A full charge lasts up to 30 days, so that you won’t worry about battery life on long trips.
- 18 oz water bottle capacity
- Self-cleaning with build-in UV-C LED Chip
- Keeps drinks hot or cold with double-wall insulation
- Easy to use with magnetic charging and IPX6 waterproof design
- No replacement filters
These P&G Purifier of Water Packets are an excellent choice for travelers and outdoor enthusiasts looking for a portable and efficient water purification solution. P&G Purifier of Water Packets provides a quick and easy solution for clean, drinkable water while on the go. Their lightweight design makes them a practical choice for camping trips, hiking excursions, or traveling to remote locations with uncertain water quality.
These water purification packets effectively eliminate 99.9999% of commonly found bacteria and 99.99% of viruses, providing security when accessing unfamiliar water sources. Despite their small size, each packet can treat up to 2.5 gallons of water, making them ideal for individual or small-group use.
The purification process works through flocculation and disinfection, ensuring the removal of harmful contaminants and a good-tasting water experience. In just 30 minutes, you can have clean, drinkable water to hydrate and maintain your health during your travels.
- Highly effective in removing bacteria and viruses from water
- Portable and lightweight for easy transport
- Fast-acting purification process in just 30 minutes
- They feature an expiration date, which may be an issue for long-term storage
- Each packet treats 2.5 gallons of water
- Not suitable for highly contaminated water sources
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Types of Water Purifiers for Travel
There are various types of travel water purifiers with different levels of purification. Some common types include:
- UV-C pens: These portable water purifiers use ultraviolet light to neutralize bacteria, viruses, and protozoa.
- Gravity filters: These filters push water through a filter cartridge, which physically removes pathogens and other impurities.
- Pump filters: This type uses hand-operated pumps to push water through the filtration system.
- Bottle filters: These are similar to a typical water bottle but contain built-in filters within the water bottle, allowing for easy drinking and purification.
You can choose the right type depending on your preference and your luggage’s space. Water pumps usually take up more room than the other two types. Some filtered water bottles are collapsible to fit in your travel bag if you need to optimize your space for a long-haul trip.
Meanwhile, others are already compact enough to fit most backpacks’ side pockets. Gravity bags are the most portable water purifiers since they can filter water in tight spaces while offering more capacity.
What to Look For in a Portable Water Purifier for Travel
Portable water filters for travel are lifesavers, especially in countries with poor water quality. With a rise in international travel, the availability of portable water purifiers in the market has also increased. Therefore, choosing the best portable water purifier can often be challenging, so here are some things to consider when buying a water purifier to find the one that fits your needs the most.
First, you must check the filtration technology a travel water purifier uses. Most models have carbon filters, which best remove heavy metals and bacterial contaminants. Additionally, activated carbon helps improve the taste and smell of water.
Another technology that you’ll find in travel water purifiers is electro-adsorption. This method separates the impurities from the water based on charge. Some water purification systems have dual technologies. As a result, they’re often more expensive but have better performance.
The pore size indicates the smallest particle that can pass through the water filtration system. Only smaller particles can pass through a filter with a pore size of 0.1 microns. The filter will trap every organism or substance larger than 0.1 microns.
A travel water purifier must at least have a 0.1-micron filter. Experts regard this size as effective in removing microorganisms, microplastics, and silt.
Are you traveling alone, or is it a family trip? Depending on the number of people in the group, you should buy the travel water purifier accordingly. Travel bottles usually have a capacity of 16 to 32 ounces.
When investing in a water purifier, it’s crucial to consider its filter life. Water purifiers should have a long-lasting filter and clearly state the number of gallons or liters they can purify before needing replacement.
The most important feature of a water purifier is its effectiveness in removing harmful contaminants. Look for a portable water purifier that can eliminate at least 99.9999% of bacteria, 99.99% of viruses, and 99.9% of protozoa. Also, opt for a water purifier certified by reputable agencies or organizations, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or NSF International.
Weight and Portability
Since this will be traveling with you, select a portable water purifier that is lightweight and easy to pack. Compact designs, fast purifying times, and little to no setup are essential for seamless integration into your travel gear.
Ease of Use
Finally, consider the ease of use of the water purifier. Some water purification systems may require pumping, chemicals, or waiting for gravity to work. Gauge your comfort level with operation and maintenance and factor that into your decision.
What is the best portable water filter for travel?
Many options are available when selecting the top portable water filter for traveling. Nevertheless, the ultimate choice depends on convenience, filtration efficiency, and durability. Considering these factors, the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter is a favorite among globetrotters.
Not only is the LifeStraw filter compact and lightweight, but it also boasts a unique filtration system. This nifty device is designed to remove 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria and 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites, ensuring safe drinking water during your adventures. Furthermore, the filter can tackle up to 1,000 gallons of water, making it a reliable companion for extended trips.
Another noteworthy aspect of LifeStraw is its user-friendly design. Simply place one end of the straw into the water source and drink through the mouthpiece. This filter is straightforward to use and maintain with no batteries or moving parts.
What is the best way to purify water while backpacking?
Backpacking adventures require access to clean, safe drinking water. Among the top choices for water purification, portable water filters are a favorite due to their convenience, while ultraviolet (UV) purifiers offer quick treatment times with minimal maintenance. Chemical treatments and boiling water are cost-effective alternatives but have drawbacks such as unpleasant taste and additional waiting time.
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- About the Author
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Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a seasoned traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers find their next adventure, whether it’s exploring new places or revisiting old favorites.
He’s a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wonderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). He loves listening to people’s stories from around the world as well as sharing his own experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time.