If you want to purchase a useful gizmo for your next hiking trip or for survival/ emergency purposes, you’ve come to the right place. We’re going to tell you more about the best gravity water filter, how to choose one and which products we recommend.
The items we’ll discuss are affordable for various budgets, easy to set up, use and clean, so that’s a plus. Basically, if you want to have clean water fast, and don’t plan on using a mechanical filtration system that requires physical effort, then a gravitational system is exactly what you need.
Choosing requires some attention to detail and careful research from your part. So read the product description carefully, and take into account the following factors:
The materials from which the filter is built will affect its overall quality and resistance. You have to check for a good craftsmanship, that’s often supported by a good warranty or a reputable brand name.
The best materials are:
- Hollow or glass fiber for the filter, about 0.02 microns thick.
- Stainless steel or polymer for the exterior.
You might want a gravitational water purifier either for indoor use, maybe in the case of an emergency, or for outdoor use if you’re going on a camping trip. In the first case scenario, the weight and dimensions aren’t all that important since you’ll most likely be using it at home.
But if you have to carry the filtration system in your backpack, a lighter, more compact product is better.
Another important factor is the flow rate, or how many liters of water the filter can decontaminate per minute. Again, the speed depends on the size of your group and how much time you’ve got.
Faster is better if there are many people and you don’t want to wait around for the filter to work its magic, while a slower flow rate may be ok for emergency use or for longer trips when you have rest days.
The capacity, or how many liters the filter holds, is another deciding factor. If you have a bigger group, it’s obvious you’ll need a more capacious product that can hold and store enough water for everyone.
That’s also true if you want to use the filtration system as a shower, or if you plan to do some cooking and dish cleaning.
The lifespan of your filter will depend on the materials used, and how fast it clogs. While some items on the market will be good for filtering tens of thousands of liters, some will have a more meager lifespan.
So make sure you do its proper maintenance, and change the filter in due time.
Speaking of maintenance, it’s best to acquire a product that’s easy to clean even if you’re not home, and which doesn’t need a lot of equipment for that. Though it may require some cleaning utensils, make sure these are included, especially if they’re hard to find otherwise.
Make sure you don’t get too excited about additional purposes your filtration system might have if it doesn’t actually include the extras. If you want to buy something for its side perks, do some more research to find out where you can buy the missing parts.
However, it’s better if your filter comes with:
- A long enough hose.
- Water storage container.
- Universal bottle adapter.
- Extra filters.
- Stuff sack.
Take A Look at What The Market Has to Offer
We’ve discussed some of the most important characteristics that a good gravitational filter should have, and now it’s time to take a look at some of the coolest items out there.
Platypus GravityWorks 4.0L Filter System
Weight: 11.5 ounces
Dimensions: 3.25 x 9.5 inches
Specifications: 1.75 liters/ minute flow rate; hollow fiber filter; 1500 liter maximum; 4 seconds backflush; meets EPA & NSF requirements
Best Use: hiking with large groups
Description: This 4.6 stars and $119.95 Platypus GravityWorks 4.0L Filter System is perfect for hiking with a larger group, considering the fact that it has a rather decent speed of cleaning contaminated water.
As such, it can filter almost 2 liters of water per minute, which is the necessary amount an adult needs. With that said, it can easily help you store enough water for your group’s daily necessities in less than 30 minutes.
Besides, with very compact dimensions and a low total weight, it can easily be carried in any backpack, so it doesn’t become a burden to you. Its user-friendly design can also be noticed from its easy cleaning by backflushing it.
It can be backflushed in 4 seconds and you don’t need to use any other equipment or tools for its cleaning. That means you don’t necessarily need to take care of it at home, you can easily ensure its optimal functioning at the camping site.
Another great thing about this filter is that it allows you to collect and store clean water in very good conditions. It has a zipped pouch you can use for that, or which you can hang from your tent or a branch and use it to wash your hands or some dishes.
The fact that it meets all the EPA and NSF standards is a definite advantage: you’re sure most bacteria and protozoa are easily removed, without any BPAs or an unpleasant aftertaste.
The hollow fiber membrane from which this filter is manufactured is a strong material, used for its efficiency and high-quality. As such, it can purify 1500 liters of water, and get rid of the most common waterborne microorganisms, toxic chemicals, and particulates.
MSR AutoFlow Gravity Filter
Weight: 10.5 ounces
Dimensions: 4 x 6 inches
Specifications: no pumping; 1.75 liters/ minute; hollow fiber; universal bottle adapter included
Best Use: long hiking trips
Description: This 4.6 stars and $119.95 MSR filter is another great filter that can be used for prolonged camping trips or even for personal water storage at home if you live in a polluted area and need a fast solution before your environmental problems get fixed.
Since it’s a gravity activated purifier, you won’t have to do any pumping, and since its flow rate is 1.75 liters/ minute it can cover the daily drinking necessities of a family of four in less than 5 minutes.
Of course, you can use it for water storing needs, although you might want to consider adding your own reservoir or bottle for that since this item includes a single pouch or container in which contaminated water is collected.
But that’s not a problem, as the MSR is an adaptable gizmo, that comes with its very own universal bottle adapter which you can use to attach any sort of bottle to this piece of gear.
Moreover, the technology used is a great evolution when it comes to filtration systems because it has a great design. The hollow fiber membrane from which the filter is made assures a complete purifying of dirty water from debris, pathogens, and chemicals.
And once you’re done, you can easily clean it on the field in order to get back to a decent flow rate. You don’t need to disassemble it for that, and you also don’t need additional tools.
MSR Hyperflow Gravity Kit
Weight: 10.5 ounces
Dimensions: 2 x 4.6 inches (packed)
Specifications: converts mechanical filter into gravity filter; mesh sack; 1.75 liters/ minute flow rate; doesn’t include filters, tube or bottle adapter
Best Use: camping
Description: This 3.6 stars and $69.95 MSR Hyperflow Gravity Kit is a great kit to have when you’re camping. However, you should know that many people who bought this didn’t understand the product description very well and thought the actual water filter is included in the kit.
That’s not the case and for this reason alone it received many mediocre reviews which rendered it an average rating score.
But if you already have a good water filter that doesn’t work on gravitational principles, but you want to convert it in one, this is the thing you need.
Maybe you even have a DIY purifier at home and the constant pumping effort to get clean water just isn’t good enough for a prolonged camping trip when you need to store larger amounts of water. And losing time with a mechanical filter is definitely not the way to go, especially since this kit can be used with any water filter.
The included bag has a sturdy interlaced structure, as it’s a mesh sack. That means it’s very resistant, but also very lightweight, so it can easily fit in your backpack.
Since the purifier itself has a low weight means it can easily be hanged on a tree or the roof of your tent, and let it do its job while you set up camp or do some exploring. Once it’s filled up, you have the option of just putting a clip on the tube so that you filter only the water you need.
Keep in mind though that even if this item has a high filtration speed of 1.75 liters/ minute regardless of what bottle or reservoir you connect it to, you still need to buy all these additional items: the filters, the tubes, the bottle adapter and the optional clip.
Katadyn Gravity Camp 6L
Weight: 11 ounces
Dimensions: 9 x 9 x 3 inches
Specifications: 6-liter bag; 0.2 microns filter; 2 liters/ minute; 1500 liters maximum; eliminates bacteria, parasitic cysts, and particulates; converts to shower
Best Use: hiking with smaller groups
Description: This 4.2 stars and $69.95 Katadyn Gravity Camp 6L is a good gravitational water purifier that’s easy to use. Its main component is the 0.2-micron filter, that has a very high speed of 2 liters/ minute and which can be used for a maximum of 1500 liters.
The 6 liters carry sack is made from a sturdy polymer that’s highly resistant and which shows you the water level through its indicator window. The gradient lines are a great indicator of the amount of water you have left.
The hose is pretty long, reaching a total of 48 inches, and it comes with quick-connect fittings and an on/off valve. That will enable you to attach the bag directly to a bottle or a hydration bladder since that’s the adaptor’s job.
Besides, if you decide to buy a specific adaptor, you can easily convert this system into a shower and get a quick scrub at the campsite.
This hose can easily be taken out in order to fill your bag directly from the source of contaminated water, like a river or a pond. The fact that you can then easily connect it to most models of hydration bladders is a plus since it allows a convenient hands-free water purification.
You’ll also find a protection for the filter that can easily be cleaned at the camping site with the included cleaning sponge. It doesn’t need any backflushing for cleaning, mainly because it has a sediment trap that ensures the filter’s long lifespan since it prevents clogging.
Travel Berkey Water Filter with 2 Black Berkey Filters
Weight: 8 pounds
Dimensions: 14 x 11 x 11 inches
Specifications: stainless steel; 1.5 gallons capacity; 2 gallons/ hour filtration speed; 2 Black Berkey filters included; 2 PF2 filters included
Best Use: emergency
Description: This 4.8 stars and $258.50 Travel Berkey Water Filter with 2 Black Berkey Filters is better suited for at home use since it weighs a bit more than the average filter: at a total weight of 8 pounds, it can definitely be considered a bit hefty and less portable.
However, you might still decide to bring it along on a prolonged camping trip if the weight of your luggage is not an issue.
That’s because it’s a highly capacious item, that can hold 1.5 gallons of water, which it can filter in less than an hour since its flow rate is actually 2 gallons/ hour.
The two included black Berkey filters do a wonderful job of eliminating waterborne micro-organisms and debris, while the other two PF2 filters are great for getting rid of arsenic and fluoride traces in the water.
Moreover, both the filtration and the collection containers are made from stainless steel, with no cheap plastic. That accounts for an overall higher retail price, but also for its resistance and quality.
Plus, if you want to take it camping with you, it’s good to know that you can maximize your space by placing the bottom part into the top. And the small 7-inch diameter shouldn’t raise much space issues, either at home or in your car.
It’s also good to know that you don’t need any electricity or plumbing to make this filter work, gravity is all you need.
That’s especially important in emergency situations when you need to conserve electricity instead of wasting it. Besides, the water you’ll filter tastes really good, because the minerals aren’t eliminated along with the impurities.
LifeStraw Mission High-Volume Gravity-Fed Water Purifier
Weight: 13 ounces
Dimensions: 17 x 10 inches
Specifications: filters most waterborne pathogens; 5 liters capacity; 0.02 microns hollow fiber membrane; 9-12 liters/ hour flow rate; 18,000 liters of water life; 4 pre-filter screens; BPA-free reservoir; carrying strap, stuff sack included
Best Use: hiking in a group
Description: This 4.4 stars and $119.95 LifeStraw Mission High-Volume Gravity-Fed Water Purifier is another good gravitational water filter, that’s based on the technological advancements developed by the LifeStraw brand which has won it a number of important awards for innovation during the time.
One of the best things about this product is that it can work perfectly well on its own, without needing extra chemicals or batteries, since it employs gravity in order to remove all traces of waterborne pathogens.
Its cleaning abilities are above the standard EPA requirements, as it can remove 99.9999% of bacteria, 99.999% of viruses, and 99.99% of parasites, starting with the most common ones.
This filter has a large capacity of 5 liters, which is why it’s perfect for a small-medium group. You can easily let it do its job at the camping spot, while you go around with your business.
That’s because you can hang it to a support and let water descend through the 0.02-micron thick membrane, that’s manufactured from hollow fibers. This membrane keeps all contaminants inside, letting only potable water through.
You can easily clean the filter by backflushing it, in order to keep it up and running at a high speed of 9-12 liters/ hour. Keeping it clean is easy because it requires little maintenance, effort, and no tools, but it will ensure a long life of filtering more than 18,000 liters of water. The four pre-filter screens included will also help you clean it at the camping site.
One convenient feature of this product is the included reservoir that’s free of BPA, and that can be rolled into a compact bag.
Apart from saving space, it has a pretty wide mouth that lets you fill it from any water source. Besides, it has a carrying strap that lets you carry it on your shoulder with ease, as well as a stuff sack to store it into.
Related: The 12-liter model ($129.95)
Getting Your Gravitational Filter
That being said, do you think investing in a gravitational filter is better than using a mechanical one? Have you found an item you’re in love with? Where have you used it? What’s the next trip you’re planning?
Tell us more about your trips and the gadgets you use in the comments!