Perhaps the most well-known adage about survival is the rule of threes — a person can survive three minutes without air, three hours without shelter in extreme weather, three days without water and three weeks without food. There are plenty of people who have exceeded these guidelines, of course, but these rules are a useful shorthand for surviving in extreme conditions. That’s why every serious outdoor adventurist carries a bug-out bag, which consists of essentials for staying alive. A small piece of equipment that can go a long way in a survival situation is a personal water filter.
Personal water filters are pocket-sized tools that typically have a built-in straw, allowing you to directly drink from them or filter them into a water bottle. Their chief application is as an emergency source for outdoorsmen. If you run out of water, a pocket water filter allows you to drink from an untreated source like a river. These filters can remove nearly all bacteria and waterborne parasites without the use of chemicals like chlorine. They also don’t rely on battery power.
Even if you’re not one for the outdoors, a personal water filter can be a good option for travelers who aren’t sure about the water supply in the place that they’re visiting, or just any time you want to make sure the water you’re drinking is as clean and pure as it can be. Best of all, many of these water filters are highly affordable. These are the ones to get.
1. LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
LifeStraw’s filter is affordable, compact and effective. It removes over 99% of waterborne bacteria and over 99% of waterborne protozoan parasites. It weighs 2 ounces and is 1″ in diameter, making it easy to pack and take on the go. It uses a simple filtration system that effectively traps pollutants without the need for batteries or chemicals.
Pros: Affordable, compact, effective for filtering out a variety of pollutants. Can filter 4,000 liters of contaminated water.
Cons: Requires a lot of suction force to get water flowing.
2. Sawyer Products MINI Water Filtration System
Sawyer’s Mini filter fits in the palm of your hand and weighs 2 ounces, making it easy to take on the go when camping. A convenient pouch is included with the filter, reducing the awkwardness of trying to drink directly from the straw. There’s also a normal reusable straw for more convenient drinking and a cleaning plunger. It effectively removes over 99% of bacteria and protozoa.
Pros: Affordable buy, includes the filter, a reusable straw, a cleaning plunger and a drinking pouch. Compact and easy to take on the go.
Cons: The pouch could be more durable.
3. Brita Premium Filtering Water Bottle
If you’re looking for an option for use at home or on the go, consider Brita’s filtering water bottle. While many of the other options are designed for cleaning untreated water, Brita’s filters are well suited for filtering and purifying tap. The bottle itself is well designed — it features a convenient grab loop, straw-style sip lid, and a cap that protects the straw but easily opens with a button. The filter fits inside the straw.
Pros: Includes filter that fits into a reusable plastic bottle with a convenient flip-top cap and sipping straw. Available in various colors.
Cons: Better for filtering tap water, not designed for survival purposes.
4. Survivor Filter PRO Water Filter
This filter from Survivor PRO features a pump design, allowing you to filter the water first into a vessel before drinking it. This eliminates the difficulty that many straw-style filters have of requiring a lot of suction force to drink the water. This is also a good option for groups, because you can fill up a larger vessel and take it on the go. Included are a carrying case, various hoses, and a convenient plastic drinking cup.
Pros: Easy-to-use pump design makes it a good option for filtering larger amounts of water compared with straw-style designs. Triple filtration.
Cons: Somewhat expensive.
5. BOTTLED JOY Water Filter Straw
This affordable option has a sleek and simple design, and it utilizes a two-stage filtration system for purity and taste. The first stage is a fiber membrane that filters out bacteria and protozoa from untreated water sources. The second stage is an activated carbon filter that reduces chlorine and eliminates any aftertaste. This listing also allows you to choose options that come with a compatible sport bottle for easier drinking.
Pros: Affordable. Sleek design. Utilizes a two-stage filtration system. Available with a compatible water bottle.
Cons: Requires a lot of effort to get the water to flow.