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Camping Water Filters : Choosing the Best for you!
( Camping water Purifier / Portable Water filter )

There are so many Camping Water filters to choose from, such as the ceramic filters to using iodine as a chemical camping water purifier…

Water is essential to life, and so, choosing a good camping water filter from all the many kinds of camping water purifier options is very important.

Interior campers need some sort of water filtration or purification system.

A good choice is a portable water filter.

Why do you need to filter water? (Isn’t it clean, cause it’s far from people?)

There are many different organisms that can make us sick.
These include:
- Gardia / Beaver fever- This organism is usually found in small stagnant bodies of water in North America, such as beaver ponds and thus the name beaver fever. If you get it, it won’t show up right away, but when it does (about a week to ten days later) you will want to be as close to a toilet as possible. Nausea, Vomiting and Diarrhea are not something that you want to experience in the woods!
Others dangers include:
- E-coli
- Bacteria
- Protozoa
- Parasitic Worms
- Salmonella
- And others

These pathogens are why you want a portable water filter to keep hydrated.

Sometimes if you are far enough from civilization and farms which contain a lot of bacteria (think Walkerton in Ontario), then you may be able to drink straight from the water source such as the center of a large uncontaminated lake. BUT, this is not recommended, because you just don’t know what you can’t see.

Or, If you are up in the mountains, some springs are very clean, having been fed by glacier water, and people have been known to drink straight from the spring, but this is becoming less and less common these days.

Water these days is getting more and more contaminated with bacteria, and pathogens. It’s better to just play it safe and use a camping water purifier .

My favourite water filter is the Miniworks. (learn more about this filter)

Purchase the MSR MiniWorks Ceramic Filter

MSR Miniworks ceramic filter. It is easy to use, has replaceable parts, is sturdy and lasts a long time, is easy to clean, and does not require any chemicals. Plus it removes any unwanted chemicals with the activated carbon part.

Below I will explain other options that you have when filtering water.

What are your camping water purifier options?

Heat (boiling the water)


Mechanical filtration


Chemical purification

Let’s look at each method individually:

Boiling the water- How: Bring water to a rolling boil for one minute and virtually all bacteria and organisms are killed. You don’t need to have it boil for longer since most of these organisms die at lower temperatures than the boiling point.

- Pro’s: It’s simple, low tech and easy.
o Water tastes natural

- Con’s:
o If you want to have cold water the next day, you need to boil enough water (and carry it)
o Time consuming if you need to boil water whenever you want to drink.
o It uses your fuel up which can be very precious if you can’t cook with a fire.

Mechanical water filtration
- Pros:
• Water tastes natural.
• Fast: Do not need to wait till water is boiled, or chemicals work.

- Cons:
• Depends on the filter size.
• Most viruses can squeeze through filter pores
• Some camping water filters require chemicals too
• Camping Water filters are bulkier to carry than chemicals
• More expensive than other portable water filter methods

Kinds of Mechanical Camping water filters:

1. Ceramic: (Portable water filter I recommend and use myself)
a. Hardy- I have used the MSR ceramic camping water filter for many years when guiding many interior canoe trips when things get tossed around, and they have held up many years of repeated trips.
b. Easy to use: screw the portable water filter to your water bottle, and just pump
c. Usually No chemicals need to be added
d. Reasonable priced for a camping water purifier
e. Last a long time
f. Easy maintenance

g. Ceramic filter is expensive to replace

2. Activated Charcoal: (Katadyn Water filter: also very good. I have used it in the past and liked it)
a. Removes bad tastes
b. Is used with other purification methods (ceramic, and chemical)

3. Paper:
a. Often Smaller and lighter than the ceramic models
b. May be cheaper than ceramic camping water purifier
c. Can get ‘base camp’ models that you just fill with water and hang from a tree and open the tube to let water flow (no pumping necessary).

d. Often have to to add chemicals to the water too.
e. Does not filter everything, as paper pores are quite large.

Chemical purification
Both take time to treat the water so it’s not readily available.

Plus, they may have adverse health effects if used for prolonged periods.

• Chlorine
o Affects taste
o Will need to wait 30 minutes or more before it’s drinkable
o Has been used to treat water for several centuries
o Used in the treatment of city water
o May not be completely effective against Gardia.

• Iodine
o Wait around 30 minutes (or longer) before you can drink it
o Doesn’t affect taste as much
o Has been used for nearly a century to treat water
o Should not be used for long term treatment (3-6 months max)
o Should not be used for people with allergies to Iodine, Pregnant women or people with active thyroid disease.
o To get rid of the bad flavour, add 50mg of vitamin C!

If you do decide to go with a chemical camping water purifier , add flavor later such as tang or sugar juice crystals – after the recommended time.

Chemicals aren’t healthy for pregnant women or extended use.

Thus, my recommended choice is the ceramic camping water purifier . I use the MSR Ceramic Water filter. And it’s lasted a very long time! I have also used the Katadyn ceramic water filter which also incorporates activated carbon with a ceramic filter.
I have used many different portable water filter and these are my two favourite camping filters. I currentlyown and use the MSR Miniworks Ceramic filter.

Advice for Car campers:

If you’re doing drive-in camping, many of the taps have potable/ drinkable water, and so camping water filters aren’t as important. However, the water is usually quite different than the water you’re used to drinking at home, so I if your body is sensitive to change, I would recommend bringing a large collapsible water container to drink from so that you can slowly get used to the local water, or even filter it yourself with one of the many portable water filter choices available.

You can never be too safe.

Check out which water filter I recommend and use myself.

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