(NFR) Water filters

I need a new water purifier/filter for car camping and backpacking. The last one I used is 15+ years old so I am not familiar with what's good on the market now. Anybody have experience with Sweetwater or similar filters? I'm looking for something lightweight, reasonably durable (will probably get used less than 10 trips per year), and reasonably fast (1+ liters/min) that costs ~$75.


Rod :beer2:
SweetWater's do come well recommended, but I've only used test models at REI. I like the line of filters that PUR offers personally. I had a PUR (forget the model name, but they don't make it anymore), for about 6 years and just replaced it 2 summers ago with a PUR Scout, which I love. I tend to prefer the pump/plunger style filter over the lever type that I believe all the SweetWater's use. That's probably just a personal preference though. I can't say from experience, but just by looks and mechanical function, the lever type filters look to me like they have more moving parts to get broken.
I'd say go to REI & try out a few -they normally have a little display where you can acually pump some water through several models to see what you like.
As for me, I recommend the PUR Scout! -simple, affordable (in your price-range), lightweight, packable, effective.
I have an old Seychelle water bottle where you put water in the bottom and when you squeeze the water bottle the water comes out clean. I like the simplicity; I am actually looking to get a new one because mine is worn out.


Banned or Parked
The Sweetwaters I've had experience with have started out well, then blown up and leaked all over the place except into the bottle you're trying to fill. I've seen the levers snap off too. The best one I've used so far is the First Need Deluxe. It's a badass purifier, but it's a bit more expensive than some of the others.
I think the main question you should ask yourself is what kind of water you'll be using it in. Muddy and murky, or clear and clean. When on a moose hunt, and spending alot of time in muddy, glacial water, I prefer a paper filter element. I've got an old PUR backpacker, which is now made by Katadyn. Good filter. When hiking or mountaineering, and I'm going to be in clearer water, I use an MSR filter, which is ceramic. The ceramic filter is cleanable with a green pad, and you can clean the filter in the field, and keep going, but I've found that in dirty water, it does clog quickly, whereas the paper filter, which is not servicable, flows better longer in dirty water. But when it's dirty and done, you have to buy a new one, which is about $25 The PUR I have is a plunger mechanism, and the MSR is a lever type. I guess I don't care how it pumps, as long as clean water comes out the other end, and it suits my needs and water type. I also like to look for a simpler pump, as more parts are more opportunities to break when you least need it.



Mark Steudel
I was given one of the big MSR one's and I think it's overkill for the most part. It seems a little slow on the pump side. Though I like that you can screw a nalgene into it.

mr trout

Trevor Hutton
msteudel said:
I was given one of the big MSR one's and I think it's overkill for the most part. It seems a little slow on the pump side. Though I like that you can screw a nalgene into it.
I have a newer smaller MSR that has a back pressure aided pumping mechanism. It pumps rather fast, and does a great job. Completely field serviceable, And I can screw it onto a widemouth nalgene or Dromedary hydro pack. I like it! Most others are virtually the same now, so you will be good to go with whatever you choose. I always take tablets with me anyway though...just in case!

Shawn Seeger

(aka. wabowhunter)
2 words -- giardia and cryptosporidia

Slower is better if you don't want to end up with the "screamin shiats"

We want to make sure that none of our Boy Scouts end up sick for up to 6 months.

And from 2 guys that I have talked to that were infected... it is the most miserable thing they have ever experienced...

Go with a filter that eliminates 99% or more of the above said single-celled parasites.

We carry the MSR SweetWater Microfilter it is dependable and only runs about $60.

Better Safe than Shiaty.

Tight Lines :beer2:


Well-Known Member
I've used the PUR Hiker model for years. It's now made by Katadyn. My preference for it is based largely on its being the lightest and smallest, which is important when it comes to taking up valuable space in my backpack. It costs about $59.

I have had Giardia 25 years ago, before water filters were common. It wasn't fun, so using a filter is pretty important to me.


Salmo g.