5 Best CamelBak Bladder Filters (+Water Purifiers)

When it comes to backpacking and traveling, finding clean drinking water can sometimes be a challenge. 

I used to simply boil water directly in a stainless steel Nalgene to purify it, but it’s time consuming and can lead to lots of unexpected downtime if you underestimate how much water you’ll drink. 

When I eventually got a water filter for my CamelBak, I was left wondering why I hadn’t tried one out years before.

The best filter overall for a CamelBak bladder is CamelBak’s Reservoir Filter Kit by LifeStraw. It’s incredibly easy to install and uses a two stage filtration process to remove bacteria, parasites, microplastics, chlorine, and other bad tastes. It can even be used with a Gravity Kit for RVing or car camping to provide clean drinking water to your entire group.

If you’re backpacking or thru-hiking, a Sawyer Squeeze Filter may be a better option. It can be used inline or removed and used to filter water into any other container as well. 

A filter for my CamelBak has seriously been a massive quality of life improvement when I’m hiking or traveling in countries with sketchy drinking water. 

I even sometimes find myself using my filter for day hikes and bike rides back home because it makes any water taste so much better. 

1. Reservoir Filter Kit by LifeStraw [Best Overall]

CamelBak Reservoir Filter Kit Filtered by LifeStraw

CamelBaks official inline water filter kit uses LifeStraw’s two stage filtration process. 

A Hollow Fiber Filter that removes bacteria, parasites, and microplastics, and an Activated Charcoal Filter that eliminates chlorine, lead, and other bad tastes. 

It’s extremely easy to use with a CamelBak bladder because it clicks directly into your reservoir’s QuickLink port. No cutting or refitting required. 

Just pop off your tube, insert the filter into the QuickLink port, connect your tube to the filter, and fill your reservoir with water from any sink, stream, or lake with no worries — it filters as you drink. 

Being lightweight and quick to set up, I use my LifeStraw kit for bike rides, day hikes, and normal everyday use.

It can filter up to 1,000 gallons (4,000 L) before it needs to be replaced, making a very cost effective filter.

The only thing it doesn’t do is filter out viruses (as these are too small). But for most adventures and water sources this isn’t needed.

CamelBak Reservoir Filter Kit Filtered by LifeStraw
$42.00 $34.27

Features two stages of filtration to not only kill bacteria and protozoa and remove microplastics but also to reduce chloride and remove bad odors and tastes from your water.

Compatible with all CamelBak reservoirs and filters up to 1000 gallons (4000 L).

Can be paired with a CamelBak Reservoir Gravity Kit (sold separately)

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03/07/2024 10:22 am GMT

2. CamelBak Gravity Kit by LifeStraw [Best for Car Camping and RVing]

While an inline filter is perfect for a single person, it’s not ideal for keeping a family hydrated while camping or RVing.

That’s where a CamelBak gravity kit comes into play. 

It uses the same two stage filtration process as the inline LifeStraw filter, so you know your water is safe. But instead of connecting to a single wearer’s bladder, it turns your bladder into a gravity filtration system that lets anyone fill their bottle or cup quickly and easily. 

Just fill the bladder with ‘dirty’ water, connect the gravity kit, and hang it from a tree, rock wall, or the side of your RV. You can then use the water for cooking, cleaning and drinking.

It’s really that simple. 

CamelBak Reservoir Accessory Gravity Kit, Filtered by LifeStraw

Converts the Crux 2L Reservoir Filtration Kit into a filtration gravity bag.

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03/07/2024 10:28 am GMT

3. Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter [Best For Thru-Hiking]

Sawyer Products SP129 Squeeze Water Filtration System w/ Two 32-Oz Squeeze Pouches, Straw, and Hydration Pack Adapter

While an inline LifeStraw filter is really easy to use and super convenient, it’s not always my first choice for thru-hiking — where I’m fully dependent on my filter for clean drinking water. 

The problem is, if the inline filter or QuickLink port breaks, you don’t have the flexibility to use the filter in any other way. 

A Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter solves that problem. 

Not only can it work as an inline filter with any CamelBak (granted it takes more work to set up initially), it can also be removed if needed and used to filter water into any other container as well. 

Weighing in at only 3 oz and including a lifetime warranty, it’s no wonder that Sawyer filters have been a staple for backpackers for about as long as I can remember. 

Sawyer Squeeze Water Filtration System (with Hydration Pack Adapter)

Lightweight and easy to use 0.1 micron inline portable water filter. Removes harmful bacteria, protozoa, sediment and microplastics.

Fits standard water bottles with 28mm threads and comes with 2 x 32 oz collapsible water pouches and a hydration pack adapter.

Buy Now at Amazon
03/06/2024 08:07 pm GMT

4. SteriPen UV Water Purifier

As far as filters go, LifeStraw and Sawyer have your bases covered. But a filter isn’t the only way to purify the water in your CamelBak. 

The SteriPen UV Water Purifier uses UV light to destroy over 99.9% of the harmful microorganisms in your water. 

All you need to do is fill your bladder, stick the SteriPen in the reservoir, and stir until the indicator light says your water is safe. I’ve used the SteriPen in the past as a filter for my Hydro Flask and other water bottles and it works great.

The biggest downside is that the SteriPen doesn’t remove silt and it also doesn’t work effectively in silty water. This is because UV light sterilizers work by shining UV-C light through the water and this light kills the microorganisms. But with silty water the light can reach all parts of the water.

The SteriPen will only work in clear water.

If you don’t want to drink the silt, you’d have to strain the water first anyway — which is a concern when hiking in certain climates (like the deserts of Arizona or Utah) but barely matters in others (like the mountains of the Pacific Northwest).

SteriPen Adventurer Personal UV-C Water Purifier

Compact handheld UV water purifier reusable for up to 8,000 liters. Kills over 99.9% of harmful bacteria, protozoa and viruses. Comes with two disposible CR123 batteries and case with belt loop

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03/06/2024 08:07 pm GMT

5. Katadyn Micropur MP1 Purification Tablets [Best Ultralight Option]

Katadyn Micropur MP1 Water Purification Tablets purify water using chlorine dioxide to kill viruses, bacteria, Giardia, and Cryptosporidium. 

They’re perfect for ultralight backpacking because the individually wrapped tablets barely weigh anything and leave your water tasting great (better than any other chemical purifier I’ve tried).

To use Katadyn tablets with your CamelBak:

  1. Figure out how many tablets to use with your bladder — one tablet per liter of water.
  2. The same concerns regarding silt apply, so strain if desired. But again, it’s only a real concern in certain climates. 
  3. Place the tablets in your bladder and wait 15 minutes to kill viruses and bacteria, 30 minutes if Giardia is a concern, and four hours for Cryptosporidium. 
Katadyn Micropur MP1 Water Purification Tablets (30 Count)

Ultralight tablets provide fresh drinking water anywhere you go. Fresh tasting water with no unpleasant taste that meets EPA purification guidelines.

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03/06/2024 08:57 pm GMT