As part of my Christmas gift to myself, I wanted to test out a few different water filtration systems to see which I liked the best. Naturally, I’m going to share this list with my readers. Hopefully, this way you won’t have to test out dozens yourself. So here’s (my) Top 5 Survival Water Filtration Systems.
How was this list created?
I created this list by buying a total of 30 products to test out. I tested them based on where I live (Mountain West – USA). Obviously, if you’re in Saudi Arabia you may want to consider a different article. For most people in Western countries, this list should suit you.
My method is simple: What makes sense, is reasonably priced, and will last a long time? If I was wrong about bugging out and had to go to the woods, what would logically make the most sense? What would I actually use? (Hint: There will be some similarities from my “most reliable water filtration systems” here.)
It was hard to narrow it down to only 5. To help with this task, I broke it into 5 categories:
- Best Tablet
- Best Straw
- Best Bottle
- Best Bag
- Best Pump
Now that’s out of the way, here are the winners!
You may be interested in my other similar articles: “The Top 3 Best Survival Books Ever Written For Preppers” or “Prepping and Survivalism for Less Insane People“
Top 5 Survival Water Filtration Systems
Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets With PA Plus
Why’d they win? Well, largely because they were the only tablet I tried. But, the lack of competitors aside: these do what they intend to do and caused no issues.
Plus, they have 3 different tablet options. Within these 3 they have thousands upon thousands of reviews. Many of these being verified reviews.
It’s very simple. You strain the water; then you drop some of these in and wait. After a little while the water becomes safe to drink. These are great for hiking and will probably be all I take with me when hiking because I like to travel light.
So while I didn’t test out other tablets, these are still great. Highly recommend.
Sawyer Products Straw
I like the LifeStraw and the Sawyer for the same reasons. Light, reliable, does the job.
But if they cost the same and the Sawyer can do 0.1 Micron vs 0.2 Micron of the LifeStraw: the Sawyer wins.
To be honest though I am not a big fan of the straws. Has anybody actually used them? It’s not fun having your face in a snow puddle. Learned that the fun way.
Minus the setbacks they are easy to transport, reliable, and last a long time. If it was truly a survival situation I sure wouldn’t complain about having one.
Here is the lay down:
- Ideal for outdoor recreation, hiking, camping, scouting, domestic and International travel, and emergency preparedness.
- High-performance 0.1 Micron absolute inline filter fits in the palm of your hand and weighs just 2 ounces; 100% of MINI units individually tested three times to performance standards by Sawyer.
- Attaches to included drinking pouch, standard disposable water bottles, hydration packs, or use the straw to drink directly from your water source.
- Removes 99.99999% of all bacteria (salmonella, cholera, and E. coli); removes 99.9999% of all protozoa (such as giardia and cryptosporidium); also removes 100% of microplastics.
- Filter rated up to 100,000 gallons; includes one Sawyer MINI filter, 16-ounce reusable squeeze pouch, 7-inch drinking straw, and cleaning plunger.
LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottle
This water filter is pretty much just the straw but instead of drinking out of melting snow on the ground you can scoop up water into the bottle and use the straw that’s already attached.
In short, it’s a lot better than putting your face into snow to get a drink out of the straw.
I tried tons of bottles. They made up the bulk of my test items. But the LifeStraw is one of the originals. It just feels solid. I know it will last for a long time and it’s easy to get replacement filters.
Realistically, if you’re wanting just one thing for water filtration you could just get one of these and a couple replacement filters. That should give you enough on any hike, bug out, or natural emergency.
Here are the details:
- Reusable LifeStraw Go BPA-free water bottle filters water while drinking; great for travel, backpacking, camping, and emergency kits.
- Award-winning LifeStraw hollow fiber membrane water filter removes bacteria and protozoa from lakes, streams to ensure safe, clean drinking water.
- 2-stage activated carbon filter reduces odor, chlorine and leaves zero aftertaste.
- Removes 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria, and 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites without chemicals, iodine or batteries.
- Durable, 23-ounce, leak-proof bottle made of BPA-free Tritan and features a food-grade silicone mouthpiece; replacement filters available separately.
LifeStraw Flex Advanced Water Filter
If you can’t tell yet, I’m a big fan of LifeStraw and Sawyer products. The best bag in my test group resulted in no difference.
Important side note: You wouldn’t need a bag and a bottle. One or the other would be fine.
The benefit of the bag over the bottle is if you want to grab more water in one swoop than the bottle. For this purpose, the bag does great. The LifeStraw bag in particular is made of good materials and feels very sturdy. I’m not too worried about it busting or breaking.
For me personally, this is the one I will be keeping. I like having it just to have something I can fill up and hang somewhere. It acts like a bladder, except one that can filter nasty water as well. Two birds, one stone. YMMV depending on your goals.
- Hollow fiber Membrane: 0.2 micron pore size. Removes 99.999999% of bacteria, 99.999% of protozoa, and 99.999% of Micro plastics.
- Carbon fiber capsule: improves taste while reducing lead, other heavy metals, chlorine and Organic chemical matter (pesticides, herbicides, voc).
- Performance: exceeds US EPA drinking water standards for bacteria and parasites. Exceeds NSF 53 standard for reduction of lead and other heavy metals.
- Longevity/lifetime: 2,000 liters/500 gallons (hollow fiber Membrane) 100 liters/26.4 gallons (replaceable carbon capsule).
- Make an impact: for every Life Straw product purchased, a school child in need receives safe drinking water for an entire school year.
MoKo Portable Water Filter
This is a neat, portable water filter. Instead of a tablet or straw type water filtration, this is a pump. You stick the hose into the water, pump it through the filter, and drain the clean water it into a container (not included).
This one is a big boost over the straws for the same reason as the bottle: You don’t have to put your face in the water source. I like this one over other pumps for two reasons: 1. They do not insanely overcharge for their replacement filters 2. The hose is longer and feels more sturdy.
I’m not going to name call but I tried one of these had a short hose and I wondered what the manufacturer was thinking when they designed that. It practically had to be right next to the water source to do anything which is not realistic or reasonable. Make sure if you’re aiming for a pump you don’t get one with a douche hose length.
I personally really enjoyed the MoKo and if I was not going to stick with the bag, I would have chosen this instead.
Finally, the specifics:
- Lightweight, portable water filter purifier for hiking camping or other outdoor situations, turns rainwater, lake, river water into clean and drinkable water WITHOUT iodine, chlorine, or other chemicals immediately.
- Tested and approved by the TUV SUD Institute, this water purifier meets the highest standard of sterilization raised by WHO.
- With advanced activated coconut shell carbon filter, this carbon filter cleans to 0.01 Microns, eliminating numerous contaminants including chlorine taste and odor, sediment, chemicals and waterborne contaminants. Offering you the pure, healthy, clean water.
- Produces a super-fast flow rate of 600 ml (0.13 Gallons) per minute, replaceable Carbon Filter can be re-used up to 3,000 Liters(660 Gallons) before replacing.
- With back-flushing filter, durable survival straw, robust construction body, this water filter is long lasting. NOTE: For purchase of MoKo official filter cartridge replacement, please search with “MoKo filter cartridge”.