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Last Updated on 30/08/2021

If you’ve travelled anywhere in the world, particularly to less developed countries, you’ll know that safe drinking water is important to consider. You’ll often be advised not to drink the water, stick to properly sealed bottles, avoid ice and don’t go for fresh food or salads. 

But what if water wasn’t something you needed to worry about? What if you could drink from freshwater sources around the world with confidence and cut down on single-use plastic? The answer is water filter bottles. 

Your body deals with a lot when you travel, from different climates to food and germs. Safe drinking water is something that needs to be taken seriously if you don’t want your holiday ruined. 

However, relying on single-use plastic bottles is not the answer. Not only do they pollute the planet but bottled water can also contain microplastics, mould, bacteria, heavy metals and chemicals. 

Investing in a water filter bottle is the smart choice. So, here are the best water filter bottles for travel. 

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Quick options 

Don’t have time to read the whole post? Here’s a quick guide to my favourite water filter bottles for travel: 

Get 15% off any Water-to-Go water bottle with code FB15!

My top recommended water filter bottles for travel 

Bottle

Filters
bacteria

Filters
viruses

Filters 

heavy metals

Filters 

chemicals

    Improves

 taste

Price

LifeStraw 

Go

££

Water-to-Go

£

Brita 

36387

£

LARQ

£££

Epic 

Nalgene

££

Waterwell 

£

Bobble


£

Sawyer

££

Grayl Ultralight

£££

SteriPen

£££

What is a water filter bottle? 

Lifestyle image of a LifeStraw, one of the best water filter bottles for travel.

These water filter bottles are perfect for travelling and hiking (Photo credit: Manny Moreno

A water filter is a device that makes fresh water safe to drink by filtering out harmful microorganisms, heavy metals and chemicals. 

Usually contained within a built-in cartridge, the filter attracts these nasties as water passes through it so that you’re left with clean water. For most filter bottles, this occurs as you’re drinking, although there are some that filter water at a push of a button. 

Not all filters are created equal. Some only filter out microorganisms while others only filter out heavy metals and bad tastes. Whichever one you choose, most filters have a limited lifespan and will need to be replaced due to the build-up of debris they harbour. 

There are two types of water filter bottles you should be aware of:

1. Carbon or charcoal filters

Carbon or charcoal filters work through a process called adsorption. Water flows through the filter and it soaks up impurities like a sponge. The chemicals then get trapped in the filter.

Cabon filters aren’t able to filter out bacteria, viruses or heavy metals like lead so they should only be used on reliable water sources.

2. Reverse osmosis filters

Every water filter bottle with a straw uses reverse osmosis to filter out waterborne nasties. This works by forcing water through a very small filter at high pressure.

It filters as you suck through the staw, catching particles, bacteria and sometimes viruses whilst allowing the small water particles to pass through.

You can use reverse osmosis filter bottles on most fresh water sources.

What are UV water purifiers?

Water purifiers differ slightly. These rely on chemicals or ultraviolet light to eliminate harmful bacteria and viruses. They’re usually tablets or steriliser pens but you can now get ultraviolet light built into water bottles too.

Whether you go for a water filter or a water purifier, it really comes down to a matter of preference. If you want to stay away from chemicals in general then UV purifiers and water filters are your best bet. 

In the end, they protect you from bad-tasting, smelling and/or pathogen infested water!

Why you should invest in a water filter bottle while travelling 

Lifestyle image of LARQ water filter bottle. Someone holding it.

Photo credit: Alexandra Tran 

Should you invest in a water filter bottle for travelling? The answer is one big yes. It saves you money, saves the environment and saves your body.

1. Environment

Single-use plastic is a serious environmental problem. It’s clogging waterways, polluting our oceans and getting consumed by animals. Not to mention, plastic takes approximately 450 years to decompose. 

Plastic bottles contribute massively to the single-use plastic problem. Studies show that people around the world buy a total of one million plastic bottles a second. That’s nearly 1.4 billion plastic bottles a day. 

On average, packing a reusable water filter bottle or purifier saves you from using anywhere between 300-3,000 single-use plastic bottles. You only need to replace the filter and they’re usually recyclable. 

Just think about how many plastic bottles you prevent from ending up in landfill and all that money saved not buying water bottles!

Read more sustainable travel tips here.

2. Health 

Water safety is something you should consider when you’re travelling. Ideally, you should avoid or be wary of drinking tap water abroad. Sometimes, this is because the chemical makeup is different from what you’re used to so you may end up with a dodgy stomach. 

Other times, it could contain harmful microorganisms that could make you seriously ill.

Some waterborne nasties to be aware of include: 

Bacteria: This includes the likes of E. Coli and Salmonella.  

Protozoan parasites: They can exist in food, water and soil. Some can cause serious diseases while others will make you a bit sick. 

Viruses: The likes of hepatitis A, gastroenteritis and norovirus. 

Heavy metals: These can be toxic even at low levels. This could be lead, mercury, arsenic etc. 

Chemicals: Chemicals like herbicides and pesticides end up in our waterways and get ingested by humans and wildlife. 

Microplastics: Before it breaks down completely plastic becomes microplastics which get absorbed by wildlife and humans.

How to decide which water filter bottle is right for you

Man using a filter with a bottle in a stream

Not every water filter bottle is suitable for your needs. To help you decide, here are some things to consider: 

Your destination

Are you travelling to a place that has warnings about unsafe drinking water like Southeast Asia? Make sure you invest in a water filter that filters out viruses, bacteria and protozoans like LifeStraw and Grayl.

Filters like Brita and Bobble are better suited to Northern and Western Europe because they don’t remove viruses but they do eliminate chemicals like chlorine and heavy metals. 

How you intend to use it 

What activities do you need your water filter bottle for? 

Camping, glamping and hiking

You’ll want a water filter that can be used in freshwater sources like streams. If you want to cook, a filter that doesn’t require you to suck through a straw is best. 

Going camping or DIY glamping? check out my eco-friendly packing list here. 

Exercise 

If you’re doing any type of exercise then being portable and lightweight is key. 

Everyday use

It really comes down to preference but any bottle is suitable. Go for lightweight and leak-proof. 

Water bottle size

How much water do you want to filter? If you intend to be running to catch planes then you might not want to lug about a big heavy water bottle.

If you’re going camping then go for a larger sized bottle.

Water safety tips 

Water filter bottles can do a lot, but it doesn’t mean they’re magic. To make sure your water is truly safe to drink: 

  • Never use it in saltwater
  • Avoid filling up your bottle downstream from waste plants or factories
  • Avoid cross-contamination by keeping mouthpieces away from unfiltered water
  • Always replace the filter when it stops working as it’s no longer effective. 
  • Follow instructions when cleaning filters
  • Never put other liquids in it

A little unsure about how to get to grips with travelling without a single-use plastic bottle? My friend Jen has some great tips for travelling without plastic water bottles which you can read here!

The best filtered water bottles for travelling abroad

Plastic free water bottle on a table outside.

1. LifeStraw Go 

Product image of LifeStraw Go, one of the top water filter bottles for travel

The LifeStraw Go is an upgrade from the version I currently use and it’s my favourite filtered water bottle for travelling. The award-winning filter technology filters up to 4,000 litres of contaminated water without the need for chemicals, iodine tablets or batteries. 

LifeStraw is ideal for adventure types and international travellers worried about unsafe drinking water. The filter removes 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria, 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites and contaminants including E. Coli and Giardia. 

For every product sold, a child in a developing country receives clean drinking water for one school year. 

Pros: 2-stage filter including an activated carbon filter which reduces chemicals, bad tastes and chlorine | Extra lightweight | Replaceable filters | You can use the filter straw by itself | Easy to clean | Choice of colours

Cons: Exposed straw so not 100% hygienic | Bulky | My version leaks through the mouthpiece so keep it upright | Filtered while you drink

Best for: 

  • International travel 
  • Backpacking
  • Hiking and camping 
  • Everyday use 
  • Filling up from natural water resources 
  • Unsafe tap water 

2. Grayl Ultralight Compact

Product image for Grayl Ultralight

Grayl is said to be the holy grail (aptly named!) of water filter bottles. A step up in terms of price, this bottle is a firm fan favourite.

You can take it and use it anywhere with the confidence that it will keep you safe from a variety of waterborne nasties, including viruses, bacteria, protozoan cysts, pesticides, chemicals, heavy metals and microplastics. It’ll remove bad odours and tastes too. 

It takes as little as 15 seconds to make 473ml of safe drinking water anywhere on Earth when you press the button on the lid. The filter cartridge should last for up to 300 presses and the bottle itself is compact enough to fit inside cup holders and backpack pockets. You really can’t go wrong with this one if you want safe, clean drinking water wherever you go. 

Pros: Can be used anywhere in the world | Compact size | Replaceable cartridges | You can use it to fill up a larger bottle as it’s filtered before you drink it 

Cons: Small volume of water | Cartridges are expensive to replace | Expensive 

Best for: 

  • Backpacking 
  • Hiking and camping 
  • International travel 
  • Backpacking 
  • Filling up from natural water resources 
  • Unsafe tap water 

3. Brita 36387 Premium Filtering Water Bottle

Brita waterpuifier bottle product image.

Brita’s Premium Filtering Bottle makes cutting down on single-use plastic bottles elegant and stylish. A single bottle can prevent you from using up to 300 single-use plastic versions and you get great tasting water while you’re at it. 

I wouldn’t recommend this bottle if you’re travelling to places with unsafe drinking water as it doesn’t filter out bacteria, viruses or heavy metals. However, it does filter out chlorine and any bad tastes or odours. 

The bottle comes with an easily replaceable filter and a lid to keep the straw clean. 

Pros: Easy to replace filters | Attractive design | Easy to transport | Affordable | Protective lid

Cons: Filter up to 400 gallons which come to about 2 months | Doesn’t filter out bacteria, heavy metals or viruses

Best for: 

  • Travel abroad if you’re not too worried about water quality
  • Cutting down on single-use plastic 
  • Filtering out chlorine 

4. LARQ 

Product image for LARQ water purifier bottle

If you’ve got cash to splash and you want to kick plastic for good, LARQ is a good option. This UV water bottle purifies water with non-toxic UV-C LED technology. At the press of a button, it eliminates up to 99.9999% of germs, bacteria and viruses in 60 seconds. 

If that wasn’t enough, LARQ is the world’s first self-cleaning bottle. Say goodbye to dodgy bacteria-causing odours and tastes in reusable bottles. It automatically self-cleans and purifies your water every two hours. 

The UV light runs on a long-lasting rechargeable battery that will keep you going for up to a month. The stainless steel bottle will also keep water cold for up to 24 hours and hot for 12. 

Pros: Plastic-free | No replaceable filters | Self-cleaning | Eliminates harmful bacteria and viruses | Can be used anywhere | Purifies before drinking 

Cons: Expensive | Doesn’t remove heavy metals | Use it for water only | USB charging so not ideal if you’re going off-grid for a while

Best for: 

  • International travel 
  • Hiking 
  • Backpacking 
  • Cutting out plastic
  • Filling up from natural water resources 
  • Unsafe tap water 

5. Epic Nalgene Water Filtration Bottle 

Product image for Epic Nalgene and filter

Epic Nalgene is one of those heavy-duty filter bottles that have a doomsday prepper vibe. If you want a bottle that filters a decent amount of water in one go, this is the one for you. The bottle has a 907-gram capacity and its filter can produce up to 100 gallons of clean water. 

This bottle was engineered with backpackers in mind. It filters out 2000% more contaminants than some standard water filters or purification tablets, including bacteria, virus, cysts, heavy metals, chemicals, microplastics and trace pharmaceuticals. You can use this filter bottle safely wherever you go in the world.  

To top it off, 1% of every product sold is donated to environmental organisations around the world. 

Pros: High-quality filter for pathogens, virus and bacteria | Decent water capacity | Replaceable water filters | Lasts 3-4 months | Each filter is recyclable | Carabiner for easy carrying | Affordable

Cons: Bulky | Filter prevents you from finishing the contents of the bottle | You need to submerge the entire filter to use it correctly 

Best for: 

  • International travel
  • Everyday use
  • Hiking, camping and trekking 
  • Backpacking 
  • Filling up from natural water resources 
  • Unsafe tap water 

6. Waterwell 

Product image of waterwell filter bottle

Waterwell is a budget-friendly choice for those who want a good level of protection in a water bottle. Its patented two-step filtration system eliminates 99.9% of bacteria, protozoan parasites and microplastics from any freshwater sources. It’ll also remove chlorine and bad tastes too. 

Similar to LifeStraw, it has a carbon-fibre filter that improves taste and removes chemicals such as pesticides, and a hollow fibre membrane filter that tackles waterborne pathogens. 

This water filter bottle is ideal for international travel, backpacking, camping or hiking. It has a touchless drinking straw to prevent contamination and comes with a carabiner so you can strap it to your bag. One Waterwell bottle filters up to 3,000 single-use plastic bottles and has a 1,000-litre lifespan. 

Pros: 700 ml capacity | Leakproof | Affordable | Filters out microplastics, bacteria and protozoan parasites | Portable | Safe used in freshwater sources anywhere in the world | Replaceable filters | Handles extremely cold temperatures well

Cons: Doesn’t filter out heavy metals or viruses | Filters as you drink

Best for: 

  • Hiking and camping
  • Cycling 
  • International travel 
  • Backpacking 
  • Filling up from natural water resources 
  • Unsafe tap water 

7. Bobble

product image for Bobble water purifier bottle

If you want naturally purified water, look no further than Bobble. This stylish bottle has a replaceable carbon filter that filters water as you drink. The best bit about it is that it saves heaps on single-use plastic because you only need to replace the carbon rather than the entire filter. On top of that, each filter is equal to 300 single-use plastic bottles. 

Bobble is best used in safe drinking water destinations as it doesn’t have the capacity to filter out bacteria, viruses and other nasties. It does remove heavy metals such as mercury and copper as well as chlorine and bad tastes and odours. 

The bottle is easy to hold and has a hands-free carry design which allows it to attach to the outside of your bag. The sturdy pull top lid ensures there won’t be any surprise spills on the go.  

Pros: Natural filtration system | Single-use plastic-free | Hygienic pull top led | Easy to carry design | Stylish | Affordable | Choice of colours

Cons: Not recommended for unsafe drinking water | Only a 550ml capacity | Filters as you drink

Best for: 

  • Travel but not safe for non-potable water 
  • Filtering out chlorine and heavy metals
  • Everyday use
  • Exercise 
  • Cutting down on single-use plastic 
  • Removing unwanted tastes and odours from your water

8. Sawyer Products

Product image of the Sawyer water filter bottle

Sawyer has size on its side with a maximum capacity of 1 litre. It’s perfect for hiking, trekking or camping trips or used in places with unsafe drinking water. The hollow fibre membrane inline filter removes nasties, including 99.9999% of all bacteria such as salmonella and 99.9999% of all protozoan parasites and 100% of microplastics.  

The filter has a straw but it’s designed to have a high flow rate so you feel hydrated when you drink from it. Other features include a backwash syringe and two replacement straws so you’re never caught out. 

A big perk about this bottle is the lid which helps prevent contamination and keeps the mouthpiece hygienic. The filters are also recyclable and you can use them with any other compatible bottle. 

Pros: Can be used on any freshwater source around the world | Removes bacteria and protozoan parasites | Lid | Portable design 

Cons: Noisy when drinking | Prone to leaks | Expensive | Bulky 

Best for: 

  • Hiking and camping 
  • Backpacking 
  • International travel 
  • Filling up from natural water resources 
  • Unsafe tap water 

9. Water-to-Go

Produce image of Water-to-Go, one of the best water filter bottles for travel 

As handy as its namesake, Water-to-Go has filter technology that works to instantly reduce the volume of contaminants in freshwater sources by 99.9999%. 

It eliminates waterborne bacteria and viruses like E. Coli, Cholera and Hepatitis A. It also neutralises parasites such as Giardia and Tapeworm as well as chemicals like chlorine, fluoride, lead, mercury and PFAS. Microplastics won’t get past it either. 

Water-to-Go helps you reduce single-use plastic. To put it into perspective, it delivers clean and safe drinking water at just 5p per litre with the filter lasting for 200 litres. Think about all the pennies you’ll save!

The bottle has a leak-proof lid (2020 design update!) and if not, you have a lifetime replacement guarantee. 

Pros: Volume capacity is a decent 2000ml | Hygienic and leak-proof lid | Easy to carry | Lightweight | Can be used on any freshwater source | Affordable | Recyclable and replaceable filter

Cons: Filters as you drink | Some older models leak 

Best for: 

  • Hiking, camping and trekking 
  • Backpacking 
  • Cycling
  • International travel 
  • Exercise 
  • Filling up from natural water resources 
  • Unsafe tap water 

Get an exclusive 15% off any Water-to-Go water bottle. Use code FB15 at checkout!

10. SteriPen 

Product image of a steripen.

SteriPen by Adventurer Opti obviously isn’t a water bottle but I thought I’d include it anyway so you have another option up your sleeve for safe drinking water should you need it. 

This handy little gadget has an adventure survival vibe to it combined with technology to make it one of the best water purifiers for travel. It has a wand that uses ultraviolet (UV-C) light rays to sterilize clear water from 99.9% of protozoan parasites, bacteria and viruses. You’ll know the water is safe to drink when a smiley face lights up. 

The SteriPen is a useful travel essential because you can slip it into a bag or pocket and it won’t take up much room. You don’t have to channel Bear Grylls to use it either. If you’re unsure about the quality of tap water, bottled water or a fountain, you can be sure it will have your back. 

If you do fancy going Bear Grylls, the UV light can double up as an integrated LED flashlight so it’s ideal if you’re camping. 

Pros: Lightweight and portable | eliminates viruses, bacteria and protozoan parasites | Doubles up as a torch | Has about 8000 capacity use before it needs to be replaced | Purification in 90 seconds | You don’t have to carry around a heavy water bottle

Cons: Non-rechargeable battery-powered (lithium CR123 batteries) | Doesn’t filter out heavy metals, chemicals or microplastics | Expensive 

Best for: 

  • Hiking and camping bear in mind it’s battery operated
  • Outdoor activities
  • International travel 
  • Backpacking
  • Filling up from natural water resources 
  • Unsafe tap water 


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