Free Shipping and Returns in the U.S.


Your Cart is Empty

by Austin Campbell September 01, 2016

Enter to win!

Stay Hydrated on the Trail with These Water Purification Options

6 Ways to Purify Water While Backpacking and Hiking

A long hike or multi-day backpacking trip requires plenty of hydration and unless you want to weigh down your pack with water you should plan on bringing a water filtration or purification method. The options for purifying water in the backcountry have never been lighter or easier with solutions ranging from ultra light squeeze filters to high tech UV purifiers. Here we will look at 6 popular options for purifying water on the trail, so you can keep hydrated and happy on your next hiking or backpacking trip.


Purify Water by Boiling

6 Ways to Purify Water While Backpacking and Hiking | CloudLine Apparel

Boiling water before drinking is one of the most reliable ways to purify drinking water. The basic rule is to make sure you bring the water to a rolling boil for 1 minute at lower altitudes and 3 minutes at altitudes above 2000 meters. Boiling will eliminate bacteria, protozoa, and even viruses. The downside is you'll use up your cooking fuel and will need to wait for the water to cool down. 

Best for:  Silty Water, because the silt will settle during boiling allowing you to scoop clear water off the top. 

Recommended Gear: MSR Windburner Stove


Water Purification Tablets

6 Ways to Purify Water While Backpacking and Hiking | CloudLine Apparel

Chemical purification methods weigh almost nothing and are small enough to keep in your first-aid kit so you always have a way to purify water on the trail. Traditionally hikers used iodine tablets, but iodine wasn't able to eliminate Cryptosporidium and also left the water yellow and tasting funky. Today hikers prefer Chlorine Dioxide Tablets, which purify water with a highly active form of oxygen as they dissolve. The downside is needing to wait 30 minutes for the tablets to effectively neutralize Giardia and up to 4 hours when Cryptosporidium is a concern. 

Best for:  When going ultra-light is a priority or as a backup purification method.

Recommended Gear: Aquamira Water Purifier Tablets


Ultraviolet Light Water Purifier

6 Ways to Purify Water While Backpacking and Hiking | CloudLine Apparel
Ultraviolet purifiers neutralize bacteria, protozoa, and viruses with UV rays. Fill a 32 ounce Nalgene water bottle and stir with the ultraviolet purifier for 90 seconds and you'll have purified water. Make sure to use a prefilter for murky water and carry extra batteries. 

Best for:  International adventures and when viruses are a concern.

Recommended Gear: SteriPEN Adventurer Opti UV Water Purifier


Sip or Squeeze Water Filters

6 Ways to Purify Water While Backpacking and Hiking | CloudLine Apparel

Sip or Squeeze filters offer a light-weight personal filtration solution. There are several popular variations available from simple straws that allow you to sip water directly from a water source or that include an optional squeeze bottle that attaches to the filter so you can squeeze water into containers. Most filters in this category filter out bacteria and protozoa via microscopic pores in the filter media usually .2 microns or smaller, but do not eliminate viruses.   

Best for: Day hikes and as an ultra-light personal water source.

Recommended Gear:Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System


Pump Water Filters

6 Ways to Purify Water While Backpacking and Hiking | CloudLine Apparel

Pump water filters are basically the same as a sip and squeeze filter with a pump mechanism attached. This allows you to quickly filter large quantities of water. Pump filters can require maintenance and can also be an expensive purchase. Most pump filters take care of bacteria and protozoa, but some higher end models eliminate viruses by including iodine resin inside the filter. 

Best for:Quicky filtering water for yourself or a small group.

Recommended Gear: Katadyn Hiker Pro Microfilter


Gravity Water Filters

6 Ways to Purify Water While Backpacking and Hiking | CloudLine Apparel

Gravity filters are perfect for large groups or when you have camp setup. You can fill the dirty reservoir and hang it from a tree branch and let gravity do all the work. Gravity filters eliminate everything a pump or sip and squeeze filter catches and the larger models can filter up to four liters of water in 3-4 minutes. 

Best for: Filtering large quantities of water without the exertion of pumping.

Recommended Gear: Platypus GravityWorks Filtration System


Austin Campbell
Austin Campbell

Austin lives in the Pacific Northwest where he enjoys hiking and backpacking in the Olympic and Cascade mountains.

3 Responses

Richard Corso
Richard Corso

July 21, 2017

You need to look at Pure2go which is a water purifier that kills bacteria, Cysts and Viruses instantly without boiling water adding chemicals or UV light or


May 18, 2017

Bleach kills neither giardia or cryptosporidium (paracites). It’s only good for bacteria.

Nell Davis
Nell Davis

October 11, 2016

You left out the easiest (and most cost effective!) one of all – a couple drops of bleach! The ratio is 2:1; 2 drops per 1 liter. Wait 30 minutes and you’re good to go! (pre-filter if murky, just like a steri-pen).

Leave a comment

Also in Hiking and Backpacking Blog

Wilderness Connects Everyone
Wilderness Connects Everyone

by Erin Gautier April 28, 2019

In the past, hiking and being outdoors with people of other backgrounds, cultures, languages, and countries has been an incredible experience. It is not all relative to how much nature is valued in that context, or to how exciting the activity is. It is not solely about the pictures taken and ways that our own pride can be lifted by showing off the tall mountain we climbed or the exotic animals we saw. While I enjoy these things as much as anyone, they do not alone account for the extraordinary connection and leveling effect of nature on all people.
Read More
Why and How to Journal Your Hikes
Why and How to Journal Your Hikes

by Erin Gautier April 18, 2019

The most compelling reason to trail journal is the wholeness it creates. While you might tend to hike for fitness or to clear your mind, taking a few moments to set intention and focus helps connect your physical experience and mental/emotional state with your surroundings. Suddenly, you notice details that you would have passed by before. You find yourself tuned in to the natural world around you, and can move forward with a clear mind.
Read More
How to Choose the Best Hiking Trails
How to Choose the Right Hiking Trail

by Erin Gautier March 14, 2019

Some trails are familiar, like a pair of cushioned slippers formed to your feet. Each turn is comforting and warm, as known as the pages of your favorite book. Some trails are rocky and wild, proving to you with every mile both the thrill of nature and your own limitations. For different experience levels, locations, time constraints and moods, there are likely to be a variety of trails near you that meet your needs. With some helpful resources and considerations, finding the perfect hiking trail is easy.

Read More

Join Us on the Trail

Size Guides

Sock Size Guides

Small 4 - 6.5 2 - 4.5 35 - 37  20.5 - 23
7 - 9.5
5 - 7.5 38 - 40 23.5 - 25.5
10 -12.5
8 - 10.5 41 - 45 26 - 28.5
13.5 - 15
11 - 13.5 46 - 49 29 - 31

MEN'S  US  UK Europe CM
Small N/A N/A N/A 20.5 - 23
6 - 8.5
5.5 - 8 39 - 41 23.5 - 25.5
9 -11.5
8.5 - 11 42 - 44 26 - 28.5
12 - 14.5
11.5 - 14 45 - 47 29 - 31

X-Small 6C - 8.5C 1.5- 3.5 5 - 6  12.7 - 15.24
9C - 11.5C
3.5 - 5.5 6 - 7 15.25 - 17.78
12C -2.5Y
5.5 - 8.5 7 - 8 17.79 - 20.32
15% Off Your Order