It wasn’t that long ago when you had to bring a separate tool for turning sketchy backcountry water into adequately potable thirst-quencher, either in the form of a sterilizing pen, a filter-equipped manual pump, or a purifying tablet. In recent years, though, we’ve seen a more convenient option for campers and hikers in the form of water bottles that can clean water on the fly, taking out sediments and particulates as you sip, making the whole thing feel as seamless as drinking out of the tap from your home. Seriously, you just fill up your bottle and sip out of it, with the built-in filters and purifiers doing the heavy lifting. Not only have these products become a popular option for outdoor adventurers, they’ve also proved handy for travelers who may end up exposed to new pathogens in drinking water at the places they visit.
There are two terms that are significant when it comes to these types of water bottles: filtering and purifying. While they may sound similar on the surface, there is actually a crucial difference. All filtered water bottles will remove larger particulates like silt, sediment, and some types of bacteria. For most situations, this is all you need to ensure clean, potable water. However, if you want to be doubly certain, it’s not a bad idea to get a water bottle that filters and purifies, as the latter function allows it to catch smaller contaminants that standard filters may miss, such as viruses, pesticides, and heavy metals that may be common in parts of the world where you’re traveling. Do note, water bottles with purifying action tend to be costlier, while also requiring more maintenance (you’ll need to replace the cartridge much sooner). Considering they will do a better job of protecting your health, though, we have a feeling they’re well worth the extra hassle.
At any rate, here are our favorite filtered and purifying water bottles in the market today.
Seychelle RAD/Advanced Flip Top Bottle
This 28oz. water bottle doesn’t look like anything special. Seriously, it’s styled like the water bottles you’ll find at the local bargain bins. That’s because the appeal for this product isn’t about the bottle – instead, it’s all about that unique filtration system. Like other items in this list, this model will take out all manners of nasty stuff in your water, from particulates and protozoa to viruses and bacteria to heavy metals and toxic chemicals of all sorts. Heck, it will even filter up to 90 percent of fluoride in any water source. It doesn’t stop there, however, as it’s also designed to take out radiological contaminants (hence, the RAD in the name) such as a gross beta, alpha radium 226, cesium 137 and 134, uranium, and radon 222. Seriously, it’s the perfect filtered water bottle for the apocalypse. Of course, if you managed to draw out water containing uranium, you’ve probably been exposed to the darn thing anyway, but, at least, you won’t be drinking it. Just make sure to visit a doctor or something once you get back to the city. It filters up to 150 gallons.
Epic Water sells filters that are compatible with popular water bottle brands, allowing you turn any existing bottle you own into a filtered vessel. If you’d rather get one with a bottle in tow, we recommend this combo, which pairs their outdoor filter with a classic 32oz. Nalgene wide-mouth bottle. Why this one? Well, the Nalgene wide-mouth bottle just feels like one of those things we’ve all owned at one point or another, so it’s comfortably familiar.
It uses the outfit’s outdoor filter, which both filters and purifies at a pretty impressive pace, so it should do a good job of cleaning all that water you draw from streams, rivers, and lakes. Aside from removing particulates, bacteria, and protozoa, this thing can take out viruses, heavy metals, and chemicals of all sorts, making it an extremely reliable companion. And yes, you can take the filter out and use it with a different water bottle in your stash, so you can add a filter to your insulated bottle if you want cold water throughout the day. The filter, by the way, is rated for up to 100 gallons of clean water.
While Sawyer does make more conventional filtered water bottles, this is not one of those. Instead, this unique design offers a dual-filtration process that uses the outfit’s standard 0.1-micron hollow fiber filter on top right as you drink, as well as a “foam adsorption technology” that’s integrated right inside the silicone bottle.
To use, simply remove the filter on top and fill the bottle with water. Then, put the filter back on. From there, you’ll need to squeeze the bottle over and over for 10 seconds to activate the foam adsorption feature, which, the outfit explains, prompts the molecules of heavy metals, chemicals, pesticides, and viruses to adhere to the foam inside the bottle, essentially removing them from the water. When you want to get a drink, simply put the nozzle on your mouth and vigorously squeeze the bottle to get the water flowing through the filter before it leaks out to quench your thirst.
Yes, it’s not the most convenient filtered water bottle there is, but it does offer one of the most powerful purifying systems available today. The filter is rated for 400 cycles.
Many people hail Grayl’s filtered water bottles as the best you’re going to find. We’re inclined to agree. Unlike some water bottles that filter as you sip, this one filters the water as soon as you finish setting up the bottle, so the water inside the container is ready to drink the whole time. Don’t worry, setting up isn’t that time consuming. Instead, it merely requires you to fill the outer container from your water source, set it down on a surface, and place the inner filtering sleeve inside, pushing it down as the water slowly filters from the outer container to the inner chamber. According to the outfit, the process should take no more than eight seconds, so you’re not wasting any valuable time going this route.
According to the outfit, it’s able to remove all pathogens, including viruses, bacteria, and protozoa, all while filtering particulates, chemicals, and heavy metals, ensuring water is properly purified and ready to consume. You don’t have to take their word for it, either, as the water you out inside literally turns crystal-clear as soon as you put it through the filter. The filter cartridge, by the way, is rated for 300 cycles before needing to be replaced.