Drink to Live: The Best Water Filtration Systems

As someone who has nearly died from drinking bad water, I cannot stress enough the importance of having good and clean water available to you.

A couple of years ago I was in the jungle in West Africa when we ran out of drinking water. At the time, I only had water purification tablets on me and learned it the hard way that they are only so effective— and ultimately I ended up getting Typhoid Fever, which nearly killed me.

Back then, there were not as many options available to me as there are now, and because of this truly horrifying experience I have become rather militant about water and water purification.

My goal here is to prevent you from having to experience what I did, which, in my case, was the extreme—however, there are still nasty worms, parasites, and bugs that we do not want in our system, even in areas with the “cleanest” of waters natural or man-made. Giardia are commonplace out there, so we need to be aware of what we’re putting in our bodies.

That stream you are gathering water out of may look fresh, clean, and clear, but you are not seeing the decomposing carcass two miles upstream that is in the water. Perhaps that animal died from some sort of parasite or disease, which is now floating in the water downstream to where you are.

You will never know you have consumed bad water until a week later when you are doubled over in pain with a high fever, wishing for the sweet release of death to set you free from the misery you’re feeling.

I am not exaggerating, so take the steps and pay attention. Drinking filtered water might not only going to save your life, it is going to keep you healthy. I have complied a list of the ONLY suitable water filtration systems out there for campers, hikers, anglers, hunters, and backpackers.

Now, beyond saving your life, water filtration systems are good for a number of reasons. For one, water filters can make even clean water taste and smell better by removing the chlorine, lead, dangerous contaminants, and bacteria.

Also, they are a cheaper alternative to bottled water, and easier to carry as well. I personally carry a water filtration system on me at all times when I am out fishing. I require a lot of water, but hate carrying it with me because it is heavy—this way, I can enjoy clean water without having to break my back carrying gallon after gallon.

Best Water Filtration Systems - Reviews

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

This is a world-famous and lifesaving invention designed to bring people from impoverished and underdeveloped countries the ability to consume safe water—something we in the first world tend to take for granted.

This straw has a built-in and fully integrated water filtration system that can take the most disgusting and dangerous of waters and transform it into safe drinking water. The LifeStraw is lightweight, durable, and easy to use. Simply immerse the open end into water, place the drinking end in your mouth, and use it like you would any straw. As you suck the water up through the filter, all the nasty microorganisms and such are filtered out, and all that is left is the clean, natural water your body needs.

Having this extremely handy and portable option will mean you always have access to clean water no matter where you are, and with that comes the security of knowing that as long as you have a water source, you are covered. It is great for backpacking so you don't have to haul much water, or to keep in a survival kit for those “you never know” moments where you are lost, thirsty, and need some clean water.

Had I had this LifeStraw with me, like I carry with me now everywhere, I would not have gotten so sick in Africa. It was a lesson that cost me 80 pounds of body weight in 2 months, and a digestive system that never recovered. So I am not making light when I say: get one of these and save yourself.

They are inexpensive as well, so it would not hurt to get a few and let others traveling with you have one as well, or just have extras in other gear bags so they are always handy. You really cannot put a price on clean water and your health. So do yourself a favor, make sure that water is clean. Use a Life Straw.

Now, I have praised this tool for all its value, but there are some drawbacks. It is cheap, and is made cheap. It’s durable enough for what it is, but the lanyard it comes with comes off pretty easy, and since then I have made my own. The major issue that I truly do not like is how hard you have to suck in order to draw the water up into the filter. Since the filter is powerful, it takes a bit of pressure, which, after a while, can cause some pain in the jaw and cheeks—it’s better than dying from dehydration or being sick for weeks, but it’s still a problem.

What we liked

  • Filters water so you don't die 
  • Lightweight 
  • Simple to use
  • Affordable

What we didn't like

  • Not as durable (lanyard specifically) 
  • Requires a lot of pressure to get water through the filter
Sawyer Products PointOne Squeeze Water Filter System

Like the LifeStraw, the Sawyer PointOne Squeeze water filter gives you the ability to filter out things so that you can enjoy safe and clean drinking water. They are able to achieve this through a unique filtration system that lets you filter out 99.9999% of contaminants in the water that could hurt our precious bodily fluids.

It comes with a 32-ounce collapsible water bladder that you can fill up and squeeze through a filter, so it works much like the life straw, only instead of drawing the water yourself by sucking, you do it by squeezing the bag with your hands—this makes for a faster and more effective way of filtering an entire 32-ounce bottle of water.

You can also attach a tube to another gravity-fed system like a bucket and the filter will work much the same. This gives you the ability to filter quite a bit of water and gives you the added bonus of speed for when you need it right now. When it comes to needed water in a survival or backcountry situation, you might have already waited too late to drink and need it now more than ever.

Being able to manually squeeze water through a filtration system that lets you drink clean water sooner rather than later is not only smart for time management, it can literally keep you alive. The effects of dehydration can take hold quickly and without much warning, especially when you are in a stressful situation and are ignoring a lot of the signs. So do yourself a favor and have one of these handy so you can always ensure that you have portable drinking water.

This unit is easy to carry, easy to use, and will last you a long time. How long? Well, if it breaks, they back it with a lifetime warranty, so you are more than covered. This piece of gear, like the LifeStraw, has saved countless lives the world over, and may one day save yours—or, at least, it will give you access to fresh drinking water on a day hike.

What we liked

  • Filters a lot of water quickly 
  • Lightweight 
  • Easy to use 

What we didn't like

  • Multiple parts to keep up with as opposed to 1 integrated unit
LifeStraw Mission Water Purification System

As mentioned before, the LifeStraw is without a doubt the greatest single invention in the modern world in terms of water filtration for a single person, but they have gone out of their way to outdo themselves with a complete water filtration system for multiple people, or for larger amounts of water to be at hand.

Combining the same filtration system used in their straws, this gravity-fed system will provide 5-12 liters of pure and clean drinking water for everyone to enjoy—water that can be used for cooking, drinking, washing, and that can be put in containers for longer-term storage. So going off what we already know about water filtration systems, this water filtration system brings the best of both worlds. It does, of course, cost a little bit more, but as stated before, you truly cannot put a price on clean water.

The Lifestraw Mission Water Purification system boasts a lifetime filtration capacity of 18,000 liters (4,755 gallons), and can produce flow-rate of 9-12 liters (2.4-3.4 gallons) of purified water per hour. That means every hour you let this feed, you will have about 3 gallons of drinking water.

I cannot say enough good things about LifeStraw and their water filters, and this filtration system defies all expectations. You can make clean water out of the most disgusting and disease-ridden water at the rate of 3 gallons an hour—this great little invention is without a doubt one of the many reasons I am glad we live in the future.

What we liked

  • Filter life 4,755 gallons of water
  • Filters water at the rate of 3 gallons an hour 
  • Will let you prepare enough water to sustain a party in the field so long as water is near 
  • Durable and reliable 
  • Best in the world 

What we didn't like

  • The only downside is the initial price

Final Verdict

Having clean water in our systems is essential for us to live, and we truly are fragile and live and die by the things we put in our bodies. While this was impossible in the past, now that the times have caught up there are many water filtration systems that we can use in order to stay alive and healthy in any difficult outdoor situation.

Make sure you get the right water filtration system, otherwise you could wind up in a worse situation than you were before. I have taken the time to do the work for you, so now all you need to do now is make the purchase.

These are the best options for safe drinking water that exist today, and without a doubt the only ones I would be willing to trust my life with. If I seem like I am making a big deal out of this, I am. It is your life, make sure you take care of it! 

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David Valle

I started this blog to provide advanced material, guiding you towards a better and more comfortable fishing experience. I deliver more than fishing gear guides, and motivate people to hit the water!