Last year, my husband and I took three months to road trip through Africa. Visiting over a dozen countries in our 4×4 was no small feat and there were countless hours of planning. While I am happy with how we planned and stayed on budget, there is one piece of equipment I wish we would have had with us: a portable water purifier for travel.
Instead, we carried 5 liter bottles that we bought along the way. Thankfully, we were able to refill them when we stayed in places with water purifiers so they didn’t end up breaking the bank.
However, we saw so many water bottles littered in ditches along the way, we knew that we would choose a more eco-friendly option for our next trip.
Best Portable Water Purifier for Travel
We have been talking about another African road trip, so it’s a great time to start looking into the best portable water purifier for travel.
Here are three of our favorites:
First Need XL Water Purifier
We used this while traveling with Peace Corps members in Namibia.
While living in rural Uganda, they used the First Need Water Purifier to purify rainwater that they collected outside of their hut.
After getting stuck in Dead Vlei and running out of drinking water, we were thankful that they had their purifier with them. I like that this is chemical-free water purification and is certified to EPA Guide Standards.
It also removed dirt and unpleasant tastes, which is a huge plus for drinking water. It purifies quickly, which is helpful while traveling. The original purifier will clean 150 gallons of water before needing to be replaced.
MSR SweetWater Water Purifier System
This MSR purifier uses Chlorine-based purification, without the iodine taste. This is probably one of the easiest pumps to use—it’s quick, which is helpful when you are pumping drinking water.
This would be great for an overland trip, but it is also pretty lightweight, so it could be used for backpacking as well. This is a little bit different than the First Need Water Purifier because it uses drops to treat the water.
So, each filter can treat up to 200 gallons, and each 2-ounce bottle treats 80 gallons of water. The MSR SweetWater Water Purification System comes with the drops.
Katadyn Hiker PRO Water Filter
Unlike the first two purifiers, this Katadyn water filter is not a purifier. So even though the water will be safe to drink, it may still have some unpleasant taste.
However, I like this particular water filter because does have a glass-fiber element inside that does help to improve the taste of water without chemicals.
This Katadyn water filter is easy to clean — you just have to swish the filter in water. It also has a handy water bottle adapter, which can be really helpful. I appreciate that this filter does not use any chemicals so there is no chemical aftertaste.
It also can filter the most water per filter — depending on the water quality, the Katadyn Hiker PRO can filter up to 1150 liters.
LIFESAVER Systems Filtration Water Bottle
This is my all time FAVORITE!!! LIFESAVER Systems 4000 Ultra Filtration Water Bottle
Any of these portable water filters can be lifesavers and are great to have, even if you’re not planning a trip out of the country.
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Photo credit: brianandjaclyn