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Finding the Best Water Filter Bottle For Travel & Hiking

Finding the Best Water Filter Bottle For Travel & Hiking

Olly Gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, full-time traveler for 6 years. I visit every place I write about & share real tips, photos, & advice from my trips.

After years of trial and error, here is my updated guide to finding the best water filter bottle for travel, hiking, and backpacking.

Clean drinking water is our most precious resource. It’s something that we often take for granted when we freely pour purified water directly from our home country’s faucets. But, it’s not until we travel abroad or head out for a backcountry hiking trip that we realize just how important it is to have a sustainable and safe water filtration bottle

It’s a simple thing, but in many parts of the world, clean water isn’t just a turn of the tap away. I’ve been traveling full-time since 2018 and have tested numerous water filtration bottles in various travel scenarios—from hiking trails in New Zealand’s Southern Alps to dodgy back alley taps in Delhi.

In this guide, I’ll share my in-depth knowledge and firsthand experiences testing over 10 different filters to help you find the best travel water bottle filter for your adventures.

Olly gaspar with a water bottle
Testing water bottle filters is messy work

Comparison Table

After a lot of research and personally testing and reviewing filter bottles, here is a detailed comparison table to help you choose.

Note: Scroll left/right on smaller devices to see all columns.

BottleEase of UseWater QualityDurabilityPrice
Grayl geopress water bottleGrayl GeoPress5/5
Very Easy
Highly Durable
Grayl ultrapress water bottleGrayl UltraPress5/5
Very Easy
Highly Durable
Epic nalgene
water bottle filterEpic Nalgene
Ultimate Travel OG
Highly Durable
Lifestraw go filter bottleLifestraw
Moderately Durable
Survivimate water bottleSurviMate4/5
Moderately Durable
Larq water bottleLARQ
Very Easy
Nalgene water bottle and a steripen filterNalgene &
Steripen Ultra
Very Durable
Seychelle advanced water bottle and filterSeychelle
Katadyn befree squeezy bottle filterKatadyn BeFree5/5
Very Easy
Moderately Durable
Brita bottle filterBrita Bottle5/5
Very Easy
I update this article yearly to provide updates on innovations and new releases, and to let you in on the bottle that I've been using and recommending to other travelers.

Quick Answer: Here Are the Best Travel Water Bottle Filters

Want the quick answer? Currently, the absolute best travel water filter bottle for most people is:

The Grayl GeoPress Top Pick

This is an all-in-one travel water bottle filter and water purifier that uses an innovative and very easy-to-use press system. Turns any dirty or suspicious water into clean, great-tasting drinking water so we can focus on the adventure.

Why? - This is the only water bottle filter that allows me to actually transport clean water. I've used this bottle for five years on an almost daily basis. I've used it to filter water in Himalayan tea houses and to purify tap water in the bustling markets of Jaisalmer. I even use it to press out any chemical or metal tastes from safe tap water in countries like Australia and the United States.

Using a titanium water bottle filter from grayl in the mountains

The Grayl Ultrapress Ti New

My new top pick for hiking & adventure is the Titanium Grayl Ultrapress. It purifies water and doubles as a cookpot on my hiking stove.

It's worth every penny for multi-day hikers! Read the review.

Review: 10 Best Water Bottle Filters for Travel

Of course, it wouldn't be a fair review without considering alternative bottles. So, here are 10 more travel water filter bottles that I've tested for you to consider.

I've tested each of these bottles and judged them based on the following criteria:

  • Ease of use - convenience for everyday use
  • Quality of clean water - taste and range of protection
  • Flow rate - how quickly the bottle turns bad water into safe water (measured in liters per minute)
  • Durability & material - what the product is made from, and how long it will hold up
  • Filter lifespan & cost of replacement - filter lifespan in gallons & liters, and how much a replacement costs

For a further breakdown of these criteria, skip to the bottom of this article or read my take on why I recommend these types of filters. Otherwise, let's get into the review!

1. Grayl GeoPress

Grayl filter water bottles
  • Ease of use: 5/5 - Very Easy
  • Quality of clean water: 5/5 - Excellent Protection & Taste
  • Flow rate: 5 liters/minute (8 seconds per 24oz)
  • Durability & material: 5/5 - BPA-FREE polypropylene #5, food-grade silicone, TPE, and ABS food-grade plastic to withstand drops of 10ft+ onto concrete (full of water)
  • Filter lifespan & cost of replacement: 250 liters | $29.95

You already know that the Grayl GeoPress is the world's best water bottle filter for travel, hiking, and everyday use. Grayl makes the only bottles on the market that can purify dirty water and store it inside the same system with a best-in-class outstanding flow rate.

The GeoPress works by filling dirty water into the outer "case", and pressing the inner filter bottle into it, effectively creating fresh, clean drinking water from any water source, without any risk of cross-contamination.

If you came here for the absolute BEST bottle filter solution for traveling to any destination on earth, this is it.

Grayl geopress bottle

This makes the GeoPress extremely versatile. It allows travelers to filter 24 oz of water in just 8 seconds, which is great for cooking in the backcountry and sharing water with others by letting them fill their own bottles with the purified water.

The quality of water and range of protection is also best in its class, effectively removing:

  • 99.99% of viruses
  • 99.9999% of bacteria
  • 99.9% of protozoa
  • All particulates including microplastics, sediment, and silt
  • Chemicals including chlorine, benzene, chloroform
  • Heavy metals including lead, arsenic, chromium
Water filtering from a dirty tap

This level of filtration effectively makes the Grayl system also a water purifying bottle, since it is able to filter out bacteria, protozoan cysts, and heavy metals– plus waterborne virus as well. Protection from virus is paramount for any traveler making their way to continents like Asia, Africa, and Central/South America, where a purifier bottle is essential.

The Grayl states that the cartridge lasts roughly 350 presses. However, by filtering mostly clean water without particulates, I've managed to get away with using at least double this amount. Filter cartridges are also very easy to find around the world in outdoor stores, and Grayl even has a recycling program for these.

I've used this bottle for several years and have very few gripes with it. The weight and size are the only downsides I can think of for weight-critical hikers. However, if this is a priority, the issue is solved by opting for the UltraPress option instead.

Grayl water filter in tasmania
Using electrolyte mix with a filter bottle
Update: The new Grayl filter cartridges now include a one-way valve, so you can drink electrolyte mixes straight from the bottle!

2. The Best LIghtweight Water Bottle Filter: Grayl UltraPress

Grayl ultrapress filter bottle for travel
  • Ease of use: 5/5 - Very Easy
  • Quality of clean water: 5/5 - Excellent Protection & Taste
  • Flow rate: 3 liters/minute (10 seconds per 16.9oz)
  • Durability & material: 5/5 - BPA-FREE polypropylene #5, food-grade silicone, TPE, and ABS food-grade plastic to withstand drops of 10ft+ onto concrete (full of water)
  • Filter lifespan & cost of replacement: 150 liters | $24.95

The runner-up place for the world's best water bottle filter for travel is the Grayl UltraPress. This is a new addition from The Grayl, coming in a 16.9 oz (500 mL) bottle as opposed to the 24 oz (710 mL) GeoPress. The smaller size bottle means that is much lighter, at only 12.5 oz (354 grams), and fits much better in a backpack drink bottle holder.

Additionally, the UltraPress provides the same safe water protection (removing viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and heavy metals) as the original GeoPress. Due to the lighter weight and better packability, I've decided to swap out my original GeoPress and use the UltraPress instead for everyday use and travel.

For longer hikes where I need more water, I use it to filter and fill a 3L water bladder in my camera backpack or carry a spare Nalgene bottle to filter into.

Bottom line: If weight and packability are a priority when choosing the best travel water bottle filter, pick the UltraPress. Alternatively, if you prefer a larger capacity and longer filter duration, go for the GeoPress.

Grayl ultrapress water bottle filter
Filling up a grayl geopress water bottle filter in nepal
Dirty tap water? No problem.

3. Epic Nalgene Ultimate Travel OG

Nalgene epic water bottle filter travel og
  • Ease of use: 4/5 - Easy
  • Quality of clean water: 5/5 - Excellent Protection & Taste
  • Flow rate: information not available - reported more restricted flow than Lifestraw Go
  • Durability & material: 5/5 - BPA BPS free Tritan plastic
  • Filter lifespan & cost of replacement: 380 liters | $30

The next best filter water bottle after the Grayl systems is made by Epic Water Filters in collaboration with Nalgene.

The Epic Nalgene OG Ultimate is a straw-style filter inserted into a durable wide-mouth Nalgene Tritan bottle. This makes it a lightweight and very durable water bottle filter that is an excellent choice for hiking and outdoor use.

The filtration system creates potable water from dirty water using its "Outdoor Adventure Filter", which gets rid of:

  • 99.95% of viruses
  • 99.9999% of bacteria
  • All particulates including microplastics, sediment, and silt
  • Most chemicals including chlorine (96.8%), fluoride (68%), nitrate (88.2%), and sulfate (91.8%)
  • Heavy metals including lead, arsenic, copper, etc (88.4%-99.5% depending on the metal)

For a full list check out the performance data tests.

While the filter quality isn't quite as good as the one from Grayl, they do last for nearly twice as long as the UltraPress (I still think that Grayl is being too conservative). Additionally, the water quality is extremely good and tastes great, even when drinking from dirty water sources.

A potential downside to this system is that finding replacement filters can be tricky, especially while traveling abroad. Also, after using straw filters for a while, I've quickly come to dislike them since they are effectively useless for filtering water for cooking or sharing.

Epic water bottle filter

4. Lifestraw GO Bottle Filter

Lifestraw go bottle filter
  • Ease of use: 4/5 - Easy
  • Quality of clean water: 4/5 - Great Protection & Taste
  • Flow rate: 1.2 liters/minute
  • Durability & material: 3/5 - BPA-FREE food-grade plastic
  • Filter lifespan & cost of replacement: 4000 liters | $24.95

LifeStraw (Vestergaard) is a company that's been around since 2005 and is credited for inventing the filter straw during its work to eradicate the Guinea worm in developing nations.

The LifeStraw Go bottle is one of the most popular water filter bottles for travel as it's lightweight, affordable, and filters up to 4,000 liters before needing a replacement filter.

The LifeStraw works by inserting its patented straw filter inside the bottle, which when sucked, forces water through hollow fibers of 0.2 microns in size, meaning bacteria & parasites cannot pass, and only clean water gets through.

The microfilter effectively removes:

  • 99.999999% of bacteria
  • 99.999% of parasites/amoebas/cysts
  • 99.999% of microplastics

In my experience, LifeStraw products have always kept me safe, but the resulting taste of the water is nowhere near as clean as what you will get with press filters like the Grayl. Again, these systems do not create clean water for storage, forcing travelers to carry dirty water, and only filtering it just before it hits the mouth.

I also don't really like how much effort you have to use to "suck" the water through the straw. While not a huge deal, it can get annoying if you're using a filter daily like I do.

However, if an affordable, long-lasting filter bottle that will likely do the job of filtering water for immediate drinking on your travels is what you're looking for, then this is a great option. Just keep in mind that the LifeStraw is not a purifying bottle and will not remove any waterborne viruses.

Lifestraw bottle in a river

5. SurviMate Bottle Filter

Survimate water filter bottle for travel
  • Ease of use: 4/5 - Easy
  • Quality of clean water: 3/5 - Decent Protection & Taste
  • Flow rate: 0.55 liters/minute
  • Durability & material: 3/5 - BPA-free, food-grade Tritan Copolyester
  • Filter lifespan & cost of replacement: 1500 liters | $18.99

I've included the next outdoor and travel water bottle filter in this roundup because it is currently one of the most popular filter bottles on Amazon, with thousands of 5-star reviews.

I'm going to be honest, I've never used this filter. So, all I can do is provide you with the specifications and a summary of reviews.

At first glance, the SurviMate Filtered Bottle seems like a cheaper copy of the better-tested LifeStraw Go Bottle. This bottle claims to use medical-grade PP cotton, antibacterial beads, medical-grade hollow fiber UF membranes, and a coconut shell-activated carbon filter to remove 99.99% of E. Coli, with not much more information available regarding heavy metals, viruses, or parasites (we can assume it does not filter these).

Again, the reviews of this filter are phenomenal, which must account for something. However, I am skeptical about its public reports, which come from independent Chinese labs (even then, from a questionable source). Furthermore, while I haven't seen a single review claiming that the filter resulted in illness, Amazon users have commented that the initial plastic odor and taste are quite bad.

In conclusion, this is a cheap water bottle filter that it seems tens of thousands of people are happy with. I personally would invest in a more reputable brand. But, if the price is the absolute top priority for you, it might be worth digging into.

Survimate filter bottle

6. LARQ PureVis

Larq purifying bottle
  • Ease of use: 5/5 - Very Easy
  • Quality of clean water: 3/5 - Decent Protection & Taste
  • Flow rate: 1.5 liters/minute - 20 seconds for 17oz bottle
  • Durability & material: 4/5 - polished stainless steel
  • Filter lifespan & cost of replacement: N/A - replacement cap $69.95

LARQ became famous when it made headlines for asking the highest valuation in history on the popular TV show 'Shark Tank'. Today, LARQ produces one of the world's top UV-C bottles, the LARQ PureVis.

This unique UV-C light works by damaging 99% of bacteria, viruses, and mold inside the bottle, effectively making it "self-cleaning" and "purifying". It takes roughly 20 seconds to purify the water inside the 17 oz bottle, by bouncing the UV-C light around inside from its rechargeable lid.

This is an innovative water filtering solution that makes it one of the simplest and easy-to-use water bottle filters for travel. However, after testing out a LARQ bottle from a questionable water source (even filtering the water for 3-minutes on the adventure mode), I realized that while the water might be safe to drink, it tastes awful.

The reason is that this filter does not remove particulates, heavy metals, or silt that you will be sure to find in tap water across the developing world. As a result, the LARQ UV-C is a great filter for everyday use when filtering already clean drinking water, but I would not recommend it for outdoor use or as a travel bottle in countries with poor water quality.

Larq filter bottle for travel

7. Nalgene Bottle With Steripen Ultra

Steripen and nalgene bottle
  • Ease of use: 2/5 - A bit annoying
  • Quality of clean water: 3/5 - Decent Protection & Taste
  • Flow rate: 0.75 liters/minute
  • Durability & material: 5/5 - BPA-free, food-grade Tritan Copolyester |
  • Filter lifespan & cost of replacement: 50 liters per charge (8000L lifespan) | $269.95

The SteriPen is a popular UV-C light filter that is gaining popularity with the outdoor crowd. While quite expensive, the pen is tiny, and claims to filter up to 50 liters of water on a single charge!

Combining the SteriPen with the (so far) indestructible Nalgene 1.0L wide brim bottle is a popular option when filtering clean stream water in the outdoors. That's because this DIY water filtration solution is the lightest system on the list and does a good job of removing nearly all bacteria, viruses, and common pesky parasites like giardia (however, it won't remove the parasite's eggs, including tapeworms).

Again, as with all UV-C filters, you will have the issue of particulates and silt. It also involves a few extra steps, so this isn't the most convenient for everyday use. With that said, this system is more tailored toward hikers looking for that peace of mind when drinking fresh stream water and serves this purpose well.

Hiking travel water bottle filter system

8. Seychelle Advanced

Seychelle bottle
  • Ease of use: 4/5 - Easy
  • Quality of clean water: 4/5 - Great Protection & Taste
  • Flow rate: unknown - more resistance than LifeStraw Go
  • Durability & material: 4/5 - EPA approved low-density #4 plastic
  • Filter lifespan & cost of replacement: 378 liters | $28.95

Next up is another very popular water bottle filter, especially with the survival and prepper crowd.

The Seychelle Advanced Flip Top Bottle is an American-made filter system with very reputable filter testing reports. Similar to the LifeStraw Go, the Seychelle water bottle filters use a straw filter to purify water on demand. What makes the Advanced filter stand out is its ability to filter radiological contaminants– yep, you head that right!

Additionally, this system clears out 99.99% of

  1. Odors
  2. Cloudiness and silt
  3. Chlorine and other toxic chemicals
  4. Heavy metals
  5. Bacteria
  6. Viruses
  7. Parasites

Furthermore, this bottle is very affordable and can be used with a convenient pump to filter larger amounts of water for storage, sharing, and outdoor cooking. The biggest gripe that I have with this system is that it is almost impossible to find a replacement filter when traveling. I also found it difficult to find at all in Asia and in Australia.

If this wasn't the case, I'd strongly consider it the number-one best water filter bottle for travel.

Travel water bottle filter next to river

9. Katadyn BeFree 1.0L Squeeze Bottle Filter

Ultralight squeeze bottle filter
  • Ease of use: 5/5 - Very Easy
  • Quality of clean water: 4/5 - Great Protection & Taste
  • Flow rate: 2 liters/minute
  • Durability & material: 3/5 - Hydrapak SoftFlaskTM made of TPU, 100% PVC, and BPA free
  • Filter lifespan & cost of replacement: 1000 liters | $49.95 (replace entire bottle)

The BeFree by Katadyn is one of the most popular water bottle filters for backpacking and long-distance hiking. Actually, it's developed a bit of a fan base among gram-counting ultralight communities. This largely comes down to its ease of use, packability, and super ultra-lightweight design. At just 2.3 ounces, this empty flask and filter system rolls up into your backpack or pocket and is the lightest bottle filter on this list.

This system filters up to 2 liters per minute by squeezing a collapsable flask full of dirty water through the filter mouthpiece. This filter is very small but works extremely well considering the 0.1-micron hollow fiber microfilter eliminates protozoa (99.99%) and bacteria (99.9999%) from 1,000 liters of water before needing a replacement.

Additionally, the ability to "squeeze" water through the filter means that hikers and backpackers can fill up their water reservoirs, a much better solution than an on-demand filter straw. However, just like the LifeStraw and other stray-style filters, you will be carrying dirty water until you squeeze it into your mouth or another bottle.

While I would recommend this as the number one water bottle filter for ultralight hikers and backpackers, having a collapsable bottle for everyday use when traveling isn't very practical. I took this bottle while climbing Kilimanjaro to reduce weight but ultimately ended up using my partner's Grayl more anyway.

Furthermore, the Katadyn BeFree does not filter out viruses, which means your water will not get 100% safe water from this filter in the majority of countries outside North America, Europe, and Oceana.

Befree katadyn 1. 0l water filter bottle

10. Brita Bottle

Brita bottle filter
  • Ease of use: 5/5 - Very Easy
  • Quality of clean water: 3/5 - Decent Protection & Taste
  • Flow rate: 0.3 liters/minute
  • Durability & material: 4/5 - Triple-vacuum insulated stainless steel
  • Filter lifespan & cost of replacement: 151 liters (40 gallons) | $7.99

The final water bottle filter on this list is a budget pick with decent specs on paper. The Brita is a really popular option on Amazon and features an activated carbon filter that reduces chlorine taste and odor and after trying it the taste was pretty good. However, for a budget price don't expect high-end results. This might be better for use in urban environments where the primary concern is chlorine and basic impurities rather than bacteria or viruses.

In terms of design, the Brita bottle is highly convenient. It includes an easy-sip straw, a built-in carrying loop for portability, and a one-handed push-button lid that makes it very user-friendly. The bottle’s leak-proof construction is fairly good and I didn't experience any spills.

Durability-wise, the Brita bottle is made from BPA-free stainless steel and has double-wall insulation that claims to keep water cold for up to 24 hours. I'd say expect around half of this. If you're on an absolute budget, this might be a good bet, but I wouldn't personally use cheap Chinese filters as my go-to filter bottle.

Brita bottle filter

What I Look For When Choosing a Water Bottle Filter for Travel

As promised, here's a rundown of exactly how I've reviewed these bottles and what I've looked for when choosing the best option to recommend to you.

  1. Ease of Use
    • Convenience is key. The bottle should be straightforward to use without needing a complex setup.
    • Ask yourself: How will I use it? Day-to-day, special trips, or backcountry use? How likely am I to commit to filtering my water through this bottle?
  2. Quality of Filtered Water (Taste & Range of Protection)
    • The water should taste good and be free of odors. Look for bottles that filter out chemicals like chlorine and heavy metals.
    • Ensure the bottle provides adequate protection against bacteria, protozoa, and viruses.
    • Key contaminants to consider: E. coli, Campylobacter, Hepatitis A, Salmonella, Cryptosporidium, and Giardia.
  3. Filter Flow Rate or Time to Clean Water
    • The filtration process should be quick and not cumbersome. Check the flow rate, measured in liters per minute.
    • Consider on-demand filters like straw-style or press systems for different scenarios.
  4. Material & Durability
    • The bottle should withstand rough handling. Look for durable materials like hard plastics or stainless steel.
    • Ensure both the bottle and filter can endure travel-related wear and tear.
  5. Filter Longevity & Cost of Replacement Filters
    • Consider the lifecycle of the filter and how easy it is to replace. Factor in the cost and availability of replacement filters, especially for extended travels.
Water taste test of the grayl titanium bottle

Why I Use a Bottle Filter to Purify Water

When I first started traveling, I desperately needed an easy and sustainable water purification solution. Single-use plastic bottles were not an option, and water purification tablets tasted foul.

Luckily, new filtration technology and travel-inspired water purification bottles with built-in filters emerged. These bottles can turn dirty and unsafe water into clean, great-tasting water, free of heavy metals and harmful parasites. Here's why I swear by them:

  1. Safety from Harmful Bacteria & Parasites
    • These bottles remove 99.99% of harmful contaminants, even from dirty water sources like lakes and puddles.
    • They filter out bacteria such as E. coli, which causes Traveler's Diarrhea, a common and serious illness among travelers.
  2. Reducing Plastic Waste
    • Using a reusable water bottle significantly cuts down plastic waste. For example, a 3-month backpacking trip can save over 180 plastic bottles from ending up in landfill or being incinerated.
  3. Cost Savings
    • While a high-quality filter bottle might seem expensive, it saves money in the long run. Avoiding the cost of single-use bottles and water purification tablets can save hundreds of dollars annually.
  4. Convenience and Ease of Use
    • Unlike gravity filters or simple straws, bottle filters are easy to use. No need for complex setups or waiting times – just fill up and drink.
Using the grayl titanium bottle as a cook stove in the mountains

Summary: What's the Best Filter Bottle For You?

Here's a summary of all the products I've reviewed in this roundup.

  1. Grayl GeoPress - the original and the best filter bottle for most people
  2. Grayl UltraPress - the newer, lighter Grayl. A great bottle filter for hiking or when you need an ultralight purifier bottle.
  3. Grayl Ultrapess Ti My Pick - the Cadillac of travel water bottle filters. I use my Grayl a lot, so I decided to upgrade to this new Titanium model that even doubles as an ultralight cooking pot when camping.
  4. Epic Nalgene Ultimate Travel OG - good straw-style water bottle filter for lovers of Nalgene
  5. Lifestraw Go - a convenient straw bottle filter for everyday use
  6. Surivimate - a budget straw filter bottle
  7. LARQ Purevis- a unique insulated UV-C light filtration bottle
  8. Nalgene Bottle with Steripen Ultra - unique solution combining a versatile UV filter with a regular Nalgene
  9. Seychelle Advanced - a unique bottle filter that removes radioactive contaminants
  10. Katadyn BeFree - very lightweight and compactable filter bottle
  11. Brita filter - popular budget filter on Amazon
Carrying a water bottle filter near a glacier
Filtering glacial waters in New Zealand

And, that's a wrap on this detailed gear guide to finding the best water bottle filter for travel, hiking, adventure, and everyday use!

Whether you're planning a backpacking trip through South America, or a quick business trip to Japan, purchasing a quality water filtration bottle will benefit both you and our environment.

Before you head off to purchase your new water bottle, check out some of my other useful gear guides below.

Turkey by gulet tour

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Thanks for Reading

I'm Olly Gaspar, adventure traveler from Australia. I’ve spent the last six years traveling the world full-time, sharing my first-hand experiences & photography in over 700 travel guides on We Seek Travel. I visit every destination I write about to bring you unique travel itineraries, epic hiking routes, fun tour ideas, travel & photography gear ideas, & interesting places to stay.

I only make genuine, worthwhile recommendations based on my experience, expertise, & research. If you buy through my links, I may get a commission, supporting this website at no extra cost to you. Read my Publishing Ethics Statement.