Safe drinking water is absolutely critical when hiking, camping, traveling, or just living life in general, and when out in the wilderness, water purification systems are often the only way to ensure that something will be safe to drink.
But when choosing water filters or purifiers for outdoor use, it's important to know the difference between the two products, as it can often mean getting sick due to improperly treated water. Filters will remove the majority of harmful substances; purifiers will kill whatever is in the water, making them the safer of the two.
The best water purification systems will do both, removing potentially harmful heavy metals and other debris through a filter system, but also killing viruses and other microorganisms that are small enough to slip through filters unharmed. It's advisable to find one that will do both, or combine a filtered water bottle with a purification system to remove any potential impurities in the water.
So, what's the best portable water purifier for backpacking and other outdoor adventures? Read below for details, and a long-term estimate for water filtration cost per liter for each device.