My Quest for the Best Survival Water Filter

While I know plenty of ways to purify water in the wilderness, there are few things more useful to keep in a pack than a filter. Finding the best survival water filter became a personal obsession of mine, and after a lot of testing I’d like to bring my results directly to you, so that you can make sure you’ve got something in your pack to give you clean, drinkable water no matter where you might find yourself on your adventures.


The Top Best Survival Water Filter On The Market

**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

#1- Editor’s Pick-Survivor Filter PRO 0.01 Micron Water Purifier Pump


Sometimes, like a trail run or hike, you just want something simple. But for serious SHTF situations, this pump stands out as one of the best things… well, ever. The coolest thing about this pump is that it’s been tested independently, meaning that you know you can trust it.

The pump itself is a little bit bulky in the pack for my liking, but the results stand out for themselves: it removes pretty much everything that might be in the water that passes through it. Combine that with the super-fast flow rate, I can fill my water bottle in about two minutes, and you’ve got a clear winner in this round up.

When the whole thing is assembled it’s pretty much invincible too. That’s a nice touch, since you won’t have to worry about breaking the pump while you’re far from help. The three stage filtration removes virtually everything in the water, including heavy metals, which makes it invaluable in areas where you’re not sure of the water quality.

I can’t say it enough. I love this thing. If I’m packing out for a day I’ll figure out a way to carry it. It really doesn’t take up that much room anyways, compared to the utility it offers.

If you want the ultimate survival water filter, you don’t need to look any further. I stand behind this pump as the best solution for long term water needs in the wilderness, or anywhere else for that matter.


  • Handles everything but saltwater
  • Virtually indestructible
  • Easy to clean
  • Replaceable filters
  • Designed to last 100,000L!


  • Bulkier than some simpler options
  • Needs to be flushed in between uses

#2- Runner Up-Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System


This little mini filter really impressed me. It’s rated to handle a lot of stuff, but you’re out of luck when it comes to chemicals and heavy metals so don’t try using it in an urban setting.

The main thing I like about this filter is that it’s so small. You can keep it, quite literally, in your pocket. I did when I tested it out. It comes with an attached bag, which you can use to run water through and it also attaches to the tops of most standard water bottles.

The main thing I like about this one though? The price. It’s cheap, simple to use, and rated for a huge amount of water. I was even able to attach it to my normal hydration pack and filter water as I was drinking it without any adapters.

The main reason this one comes in second, to me, is that it doesn’t handle all contaminants. While it’s great for a hike, and it’s better than nothing, it’s not really a SHTF type of filter.

If you want something cheap and versatile, the Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System might be exactly what you’re looking for.


  • Small size
  • Handles most common contaminants easily
  • Can be adapted to hydration packs
  • Attaches to most water bottles
  • Almost indefinite life


  • No effect on virus or heavy metals
  • Needs to be backwashed every 5-10 gallons

#3- Best Budget Option-The LifeStraw


I’m not going to lie… I kind of love this thing. For my usage it’s pretty awesome and they’re super cheap. They handle most of the things in water that will make you sick and they’re super convenient to carry and use.

The thing is that the LifeStraw is also a little bit hard to draw through and it takes a bit to get used to it. They’re also not all that useful in arid environments, since you really do need to kind of submerge it to get things flowing.

Of course, they’re really cheap, have a good lifespan, and if you’re in an area where you’re just not sure about the water they’re pretty awesome. One of my favorite running trails allowed me to test it pretty extensively.

For the money, you’re really not going to find anything better. They’re not exactly the super survival tool they’re portrayed as however, since you need a considerable amount of water to use one in the first place and they don’t handle viruses, metals or chemicals.

If you’re looking for a budget survival water filter, and spend time in areas with a lot of water already then they’re a perfect addition to your pack.


  • Handles most common parasites and bacteria
  • Convenient to use
  • Comes with a lanyard
  • Light and easy to store
  • Super cheap


  • Only good when there’s plenty of water present
  • Takes quite a bit of effort to pull water through

#4- Our Upgrade Pick-Katadyn Pocket Water Filter


I picked this one up to see what I could do with it. Frankly, the cost is pretty astounding and I was hesitant. To be honest, I’m not sure if it’s really worth the price, but it is one of the most amazing survival water filters I’ve ever gotten my hands on.

It’s super lightweight and tiny, which was the first thing I noticed. It’s also user friendly, has a great flow rate, and the whole thing just has that quality built feel that you find sometimes. I love it, but I really couldn’t justify recommending it to most people due to the expense involved.

It comes with a twenty year warranty as well, so if something does happen you’ll be able to get it replaced. The company is pretty confident in their product.

It also doesn’t handle heavy metals, which can be problematic as a real “end of the world” filter. When it comes to most of the common contaminants you’ll have to deal with this one is a winner though.

Due to the simplicity of use, superior build design, and extreme warranty I can confidently recommend this as the ultimate convenience filter for travelers and outdoorsmen. You’ll be paying for it though.


  • Superior build quality
  • Amazingly easy to use
  • Lasts 13,000 gallons
  • Silver impregnated filter
  • Clip on outlet hose


  • Really expensive
  • Doesn’t handle heavy metals

#5- Best Survival Filter Straw-Etekcity 1500L


As far as survival straws go… I really like the Etekcity. It’s a pretty transparent attempt to one-up the LifeStraw, right down to the boasted capacity, but really it’s the best survival straw I’ve ever seen. The only real issue I take with it is that it’s a bit harder to draw through than the LifeStraw.

The cool thing about it though, really, is the accessories. There’s a pouch to hold water, something most survival straws lack, and a straw extension which will let you get down to water easier.

That latter accessory is what really makes it stand out. When you dig a well in an arid area, it can be hard to get more than an inch or two of water in the bottom of an area. This means that, unlike the LifeStraw, the Etekcity 1500L is actually useful in desert areas.

Now, it’s not quite as convenient as its competitor, but if you’re willing to carry the accessories it really is a better filter.

If you want the best survival straw around, then pick up the Etekcity 1500L. It’s a pretty impressive product overall and more versatile than its competition.


  • Convenient to use
  • Attached straw to access smaller water sources
  • Comes with water holding pouch
  • 1500L capacity
  • Three step filtration


  • Really hard to draw through
  • Clogs easily

How to Decide on a Survival Water Filter for You

It can be hard to figure out which water filter is perfect for your needs. After all, this is something you’ll want to be able to depend on when you’re out in the wilderness. If all else fails, there are definitely things you can do, but a survival filter is probably the best thing you can find to make your life a little bit easier.

Rather than bore you with the technical specifications of filters, let’s talk about the context in which you’ll be using one. Every situation is a little bit different, and that means you’re going to need to adapt which filter you choose to the situation.

End of the World Scenario

what is the best survival water filter


In this kind of scenario you may find yourself virtually anywhere, dealing with any kind of water. Humans contaminate a lot of sources of otherwise good water with chemicals and heavy metals, byproducts of the agricultural and industrial processes we use.

This means that you need one heck of a filter to get through it. In this case, prioritize heavy metal removal over pretty much everything else. Mercury, lead, and other heavy metals will kill you quickly if you have to repeatedly drink from the same water source.

Honestly, there’s not much you can do about most chemicals, but a filter which handles heavy metals stands a chance at removing some organic molecules.

You also need a filter which will work virtually forever. This is the kind of thing I based my main recommendation on, of course, since it’s the true test of a survival filter.

Long Term Wilderness Stays

best water filter for survival kit


In this case, you’ll want something which can pump through instead of a survival straw. Being able to fill different containers is no small thing at the end of the day, and you’ll want to make sure you can do it quickly and easily.

A good pump also eliminates the need for having to carry a huge amount of water or go through a boiling process each time you want to refill your bottle.

The life of the filter isn’t quite as important, unless we’re talking about months and months of staying in the backwoods, since it’s doubtful you’ll go through more than around a gallon a day. Heavy metals and other contaminants are also less of a concern if you’re actually in the wilderness, except for certain areas rich in natural ores which you’ll undoubtedly be aware of before your stay.

Hiking or Trail Running

best survival water filter reviews


This is where survival straws shine. Personally, in some of the areas I head out to, I don’t even bother carrying a water bottle anymore. It just seems like excess weight when I have a convenient, portable filter with me that I can have at all times.

Of course, I wouldn’t go without a regular water bottle if I was taking a trek through the Mojave but in the areas I frequent a survival straw is often more than enough. Something cheap and portable, maybe something a little more heavy duty if most of the water in the area is standing.

Desert Trekking

best way to filter water survival


In this case, you’ll need to know how to find water in the first place, but when you do find it you’ll want to be able to filter it with minimal fuss. Some of the survival straws with attachments are great, but believe it or not I actually prefer hand pumps for this kind of thing.

You need a small inlet, however, as you’ll rarely be able to find more than an inch or two of water in most of these situations.


Whether you want to be prepared or just want an easier woodland trek, finding the best survival pump you can is a great idea. I did the research for you, and I tested a lot more than these, but I can virtually guarantee one of these is certain to meet your needs perfectly.

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