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Best Gravity Water Filter: Let Gravity Clean Your Water

gravity water filter featured
Dennis Owens
Written by Dennis Owens

So, you love being in the great outdoors, but you don’t like carrying too much water on your back? Also, you are afraid that when your water bottle gets empty, you will be forced to drink the water from the river or other sources, but there is no guarantee that this water is safe to drink, right?

So, is there a solution that doesn’t involve a large and heavy water bladder? Yes! What you need is the best gravity water filter you can find on the market. Gravity water filters remove all the major contaminants found in the water, for example, the harmful bacteria and other microorganisms.

They are widely available, but getting the right one is not always simple, especially if you are a regular hiker, a wild survival enthusiast or a camper and have special preferences that make the right choice even harder. We know how frustrating all this can be, so we decided to help you out and make sure you make an informed, well thought final choice.

We are going to discuss the factors that you will need to consider before committing to buy a water filter that does not rely on the mechanical filtration system. So, a majority of them will require physical effort in the filtration process. To reduce the amount of physical strain, gravitational systems are exactly what you need.

Product NameWeightDimensionsFlow Rate per MinutePrice
Platypus1 lb5.8 x 2.8 x 13.2 in1.75 lCheck price on Amazon
MSR Autoflow1.01 lb3.94 x 8.46 x 11.81 in1.75 lCheck price on Amazon
MSR Hyper Flow0.7 lb3.94 x 3.94 x 11.81 in1.75 lCheck price on Amazon
Katadyn Gravity Camp1 lb8 x 3 x 9 in2 lCheck price on Amazon
Berkey Travel8 lb15.5 x 7.9 x 7.8 in0.25 lCheck price on Amazon
Life Straw Mission0.81 lb4 x 5 x 12 in0.2 lCheck price on Amazon

Features to Consider Before Buying

Choosing the right gravity filter requires some attention to detail and careful research from your part. So, before you get started with carefully reading the product description, you should take into account the following factors:

Materials

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, and stainless steel or polymer for the exterior.

The filter should have about 0.02 microns in thickness. If the pores are too large, it might end up, allowing some bacteria or harmful microorganisms to stay in your water and not get filtered out.

Portability

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.

man with gravity water filter

But if you have to carry the filtration system in your backpack, a lighter, more compact product is better.You should look for a model that can be put in a backpacking bag in the most convenient way possible.

Flow Rate

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 longer trips when you have rest days or not too many thirsty people around you.

Capacity

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.

gravity water filter on a tree

Alternatively, you can get a filter that works at a faster rate and get a large bottle to collect the clean water. In all the cases, ensure capacity is in line with the volume demanded. Since a majority of the gravitational water filters are foldable, it is wise to get a big capacity bag.

 Lifespan

The life span 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 proper maintenance. Changing the filters in due time and unclogging them more often, is essential for extending the life of your water filter.

Cleaning

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.

water filter

To ensure minimal dirt gets to the cartridge, use pre-filters as well as cartilage protectors in the filtration process. The majority of the water cartridges, use a backflush mechanism to clean any clogged materials as well as the trapped microorganism.

Extras

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 hose: it makes it easy to draw water from the source or connect the filter and the clean water holder.
  • Water storage container: after filtering water, it is always good to have a safe storage container to put your bag. BPA free containers are recommended.
  • Universal bottle adapter: most of the water filtering system kits come with the adapter though it can be purchased separately. They are made in a way that they can be used with almost any water bottle.
  • Additional filters: depending on the conditions of the water you are filtering, the filter might require cleaning or un-clogging more often. An additional filter will save you the inconveniences.
  • Pre-filters: these are the filters that are used to get rid of the debris in the water before they reach the cartilage where the real filtration takes place. Having pre-filters in place will help prolong the life of your system.
  • Stuff sack: after using your water filtering system, you should fold it a nice way and store it a carrying bag. Most of the water filter systems come with carrying bags.

Top Products on Today’s Market

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 finest products out there.

Platypus Gravity Works Filter SystemPlatypus Gravity Works Filter System

Price: Approx. $120

Weight: 1 lb

Dimensions: 3.25 x 9.5 in

Flow rate: 1.75 L per minute

Lifespan capacity: 1500 L

Carrying capacity: 4 L

Specific features: Removal of 99.9999% of bacteria and 99.9% of protozoa, 4 seconds back flush cleanup process, made from polymer, hose shut off clamp, you can zip the bag, efficient pinch valve,

Best use: Hiking with large groups

Description: The Platypus Gravity Works 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 on 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.

PROS

  • No pumping required
  • Easily portable, it can be folded up
  • Uses hollow fiber technology
  • It is microbial and produces tasty BPA free water

CONS

  • The nylon material can easily get ripped off or burnt
  • Does not remove viruses

Related: The one single most important element in the water filtration process that determines the efficiency of the process is the filter cartridge. If you can, it is better to have two cartridges, one for pre-filter and the other one for the actual filtering process. It is also advisable to change them often. The Platypus Gravity Works Filter Cartridge comes in handy to save these situations. It costs approximately $54, but gives real value for your money.

Check the price on Amazon

MSR Autoflow Gravity FilterMSR Autoflow Gravity Filter

Price: Approx. $115

Weight: 1.0 lb

Dimensions: 4 x 6 in

Flow rate: 1.75 L per minute

Lifespan capacity: 2000 L

Carrying capacity: 2 L

Specific features: Removes bacteria and protozoa, 0.2-micron pore size, meets NSF requirements, hollow fiber technology, and universal bottle adapter included.

Best use: Camping and hiking

Description: The MSR Autoflow Gravity Filter is the system of choice for hikers. It filters water at a higher rate and can be used for prolonged camping trips or for personal water storage at home if you live in a populated area and you need a fast solution before your environmental problems gets 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.

PROS

  • Full filter recovery after cleaning
  • Engineered for frequent and heavy use
  • It runs almost like a tap
  • Light weight and portable since it is foldable

CONS

  • Not the best for removing viruses

Related: It’s not a hidden fact that we are living in a world of plastics. Also, you are aware that plastic has been associated with many health complications. One of the main elements present in a majority of the plastic materials is BPA. It is an element found in polycarbonates used in plastic wares. To be free from the toxic effects of BPA, consider buying the Nalgene Tritan Water Bottle.

Check the price on Amazon

MSR Hyper Flow Gravity KitMSR Hyper Flow Gravity Kit

Price: Approx. $21

Weight: 0.7 lbs

Dimensions: 2 x 4.6 in

Flow rate: 1.75 L per minute

Lifespan capacity: 2000 L

Carrying capacity: 2 L

Specific features: Hose kit only containing shut off clamp and quick connect fittings, there are no filters, water bottle adapters, flow rate of 1.75 liters per minute, a mesh sack

Best use: Camping and hiking

Description: The MSR Hyper Flow 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.

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.

PROS

  • Uses hollow fiber filtration technology
  • Fast flow rate
  • Lightweight and portable

CONS

  • Made from polymer materials

Related: As explained in the description, the full MSR water filtering kit consists of various interrelated parts. One of them is the MSR Autflow Replacement Cartridge. It must be purchased separately to make the filtration process possible.

Check the price on Amazon

Katadyn Gravity Camp 6 L Water FilterKatadyn Gravity Camp 6 L Water Filter

Price: Approx. $84

Weight: 1 lb

Dimensions: 3 x 9 in

Flow rate: 2 L per minute

Lifespan capacity: 1500 L

Carrying capacity: 6 L

Specific features: 6 liters carrying bags, 2 liters per minute, ultra flow rate technology, 0.2-micron filter, removes protozoa, bacteria and sediment, and converts to shower

Best use: Camping, fishing, hiking, sailing, and backpacking.

Description: The Katadyn Gravity Camp 6 L 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 in, 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.

PROS

  • It has a filter protector screen as well as sediment trapping mechanism to prolong the filter life
  • Quick release valves and adapters for different bladders
  • Can easily be converted to a shower by using a Katadyn adaptor
  • The system is highly portable in a backpacking trip

CONS

  • It does not have a clean water collection bag

Related: Enjoy your bathing while away from home in the same way you do with your hot shower. With a Katadyn Shower Adapter, you can convert your water filtering system into a shower. If you need it hot, just put the clear side of the bag facing the sun.

Check the price on Amazon

Berkey Travel Water FilterBerkey Travel Water Filter

Price: Approx. $259

Weight: 8 lbs

Dimensions: 11 x 14 in

Flow rate: 0.25 L per minute

Lifespan capacity: 22, 000 L

Carrying capacity: 5.5 L

Specific features: 2PF2 filters, 2-Black Berkey filters, stainless steel, no electricity required,  removes bacteria, chemicals, parasites.

Best use: Emergency

Description: The Berkey Travel Water Filter 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 at the top. And the small 7-in 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.

PROS

  • Compact design
  • It does not eliminate essential minerals along with impurities
  • Long lasting kit

CONS

  • A bit costly
  • It is bulky

Related: The way the Berkey water filter requires to be put on a stand for convenient use. Using a stand also reduces the risks associated with it being knocked down from the table. Fortunately, there is a Berky Water Filter Stainless Steel Stand that fits this water filter perfectly.

Check the price on Amazon

Life Straw Mission Water PurifierLife Straw Mission Water Purifier

Price: Approx. $95

Weight: 0.81 lbs

Dimensions: 17 x 10 in

Flow rate: 0.2 L per minute

Lifespan capacity: 18,000 L

Carrying capacity: 5 L

Specific features: 5-liter water bag, removes virtually all bacteria (99.9999%), protozoa (99.99%), and viruses (99.999%) from water, 0.02 microns, 80-micron pre-filter, 4- extra pre-filter screens, carrying straps, wide mouth, BPA free reservoir, EPA compliant.

Best use: Camping, outdoor activities, and emergency preparedness

Description: The LifeStraw Mission 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.

PROS

  • Removes even viruses from the water, including rotavirus and hepatitis A
  • Lightweight and easy backpacking
  • Best for emergency preparedness since it has no shelf life or expiry date
  • It uses hollow fiber technology
  • The backwash technology ensures that the membrane is cleaned from trapped contaminants

CONS

  • The carrying reservoir might not last long enough to match the life of the filters.

Related: Among the many risks associated with hiking, camping and bush trekking is losing track and getting lost. It would be a terrifying experience if you are alone in the wild in a place where security is not guaranteed. Thus, there are essential items that are very important for these outdoor activities. One of them is the Survival Spark Fire Starter for starting a fire to cook, keep warm, scare away the animal, or as a rescue signal.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrap Up

Since we have come to the end of our analysis, we are sure that you have gained valuable information. You got more familiar with the various types of gravity water filters on the market, and how easy they are to use. There is no physical effort required during the filtration process either. Isn’t that good? You can do other activities as the filtration process takes place.

gravity water filters

Did you realize how portable and easy to maintain the water filters are? The majority of them are foldable, light-weight, have pre-filters, high flow rate, and are affordable. Getting clean water for yourself and the rest of your crew members should not be an issue any longer with any of the devices from our list.

Also, don’t you agree that irrespective of whether you are planning to go for outdoor activities now or in the future, it is important to have a water filter? It will ensure that you have clean water even at home and protect you from waterborne diseases. Or would you rather keep it on the shelf until the time comes to go for outdoor activities?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dennis Owens

Dennis Owens

Dennis Owens is a graduate of National Camping School and REI Outdoor School. He knows everything about what gear to take with you, how to plan your trip to stay safe and what to do if you get lost in the mountains. We are lucky to have Dennis with us as he is a ‘walking encyclopedia’ when it comes to the wilderness.