Water Filters for Your Bug Out Bag: What You Should Have in Your BOB

Bug Out Bag Water Filters

Water is critically important to survival so it only makes sense to have water in your bug out bag. The real problem is that water is heavy. That’s why you need to have some way to filter water in your bug out bag.

Having a bug out bag water filter lets you gather water while you’re bugging out and filter it to make it drinkable. If you weren’t able to filter water you’d have to either drink water that may be contaminated or try to carry enough water to get to your bug out location.

Luckily, there are tons of water filter options out there that are perfect for use in a bug out bag.

Water Filters for Bug Out Bags

Water filters are an important part of your bug out bag (any survival kit really). Water weighs about 8 lbs per gallon so it would be tough to carry enough water for your entire bug out.

How much water do you need? You’re going to want about 64 oz (a little less than 2 liters) of water per day to stay properly hydrated. It could be a lot more than that if you’re really working hard and sweating a lot. The minimum that you can survive on is about 1 liter a day.

I normally suggest keeping about 2 liters of water in your bug out bag to help you put some distance between you and the area that you’re bugging out from before you need to stop to find water. Always have extra water containers in your bug out bag just in case you pass an easy to access water source while you’re walking. It would suck to walk past a water source and not be able to find one later on down the road.

Types of Water Filters

There are two types of water filters that I’d suggest for use in a bug out bag. The first is the straw style water filter and the second is squeeze style water filters.

Straw type water filters are made for ease of use. You stick one side in the water source and suck clean water out the other side. They’re pretty even with other styles of water filters as far as pore size goes which means they can filter the same types of things as other filters, but they can’t filter clean water for cooking or other needs. Their lifespan is also usually a lot lower than other types filters.

Straw filters are great for a single person, but if you’re going to be bugging out with a family, you’ll need one for each person or may want to go with a different type of filter.

Squeeze filters are made to collect dirty water in a reservoir and then force the dirty water through the filter by squeezing. This makes them capable of producing water for multiple people and also makes them able to filter water for cooking and cleaning.

The lifespan of squeeze filters is pretty amazing with some of them being able to filter up to a million gallons of water before they need to be replaced.

Best Water Filters for Bug Out Bags

Bug out bag water filters are simple to use, and if you choose one of the ones I recommend, probably won’t cost any more than $20. With water being so important and filters being so cheap, it doesn’t make sense not to have one packed in every survival kit you own.

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter for Hiking, Camping, Travel, and Emergency Preparedness, 1 Pack, Blue
  • Removes bacteria & parasites: The microfiltration membrane removes 99.999999% of waterborne bacteria...
  • Removes microplastics: Removes the smallest microplastics found in the environment (down to 1...
  • Rigorous Testing: All claims are verified with laboratories using standard testing protocols set by...
  • Long Lifetime: The microbiological filter will provide 4,000 liters (1,000 gallons) of clean and...
  • Make an Impact: For every LifeStraw product purchased, a school child in need receives safe drinking...

The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter removes more than 99% of all bacteria and parasites. This means it takes out 99.999999% of waterborne bacteria (this includes e.coli and salmonella) and 99.999% of waterborne parasites (including giardia and cryptosporidium). It also removes all but the smallest microplastics and sediment.

The long life span of the filter means that it can filter 1000 gallons (4000 liters) before it needs to be replaced. This is an estimated 5 years of drinking water.

Uses a hollow filter microfiltration membrane style filter.

The filter is 9″ long, 1.2″ wide and weighs in at a little under 2 oz.

Sawyer Water Filter Mini

Sawyer Products SP105 MINI Water Filtration System, Single, Black
  • Ideal for outdoor recreation, hiking, camping, scouting, domestic and International travel, and...
  • High-performance 0.1 Micron absolute inline filter fits in the palm of your hand and weighs just 2...
  • Attaches to included drinking pouch, standard disposable water bottles, hydration packs, or use the...
  • Removes 99.99999% of all bacteria (salmonella, cholera, and E. coli); removes 99.9999% of all...
  • Filter rated up to 100,000 gallons; includes one Sawyer MINI filter, 16-ounce reusable squeeze...

The Sawyer Water Filter Mini is one of the most versatile bug out bag water filters and it’s the one that I’d suggest for just about anyone. It removes 99.99999% of all bacteria ( including salmonella, cholera and E.coli), 99.9999% of all protozoa (including giardia and cryptosporidium), and 100% of all microplastics.

The lifespan of the Sawyer Mini is estimated at 100,000 gallons of water. That’s a lot more than you’ll probably ever want to put through it.

The biggest selling point of the Mini is its versatility. You can screw it onto standard water and soda bottles, use it with the included pouch, attach the straw to it and drink through it like a LifeStraw, or you can connect it to hydration pack tubing so all of your water is filtered as you drink it.

The filter is 5″ long, 1″ wide and weighs 2 oz.

Other Ways to Get Clean Water While Bugging Out

Water filters aren’t the only way to get access to clean water while you’re bugging out. You can use any method of purifying water that you have access to when you’re bugging out but these are some of my favorites.


According to the EPA boiling water kills viruses and bacteria. Make sure you filter the water as best as you can before you start boiling it, then heat it until it reaches a rolling boil.

Keep the water boiling for at least 60 seconds to kill off the microbes that cause disease. It’s that simple!

Chemical Purification

Chemically purifying water is when you mix chlorine, chlorine dioxide or iodine into the water to kill off disease-causing microbes.

The real benefit of chemical treatments is that you only need to put the chemicals into the water and wait. There’s no need for pumping, squeezing, or filters to get your water clean. They also usually take up very little room.

I like to keep some kind of chemical water treatment in my bug out bag on top of a filter.

UV Light Purification

SteriPEN ULT-MP-EF SterPen Ultra UV Water Purifier
  • UV light destroys germs' ability to reproduce and make you sick; The SteriPEN destroys over 99.9% of...
  • Battery Life: Up to 50 treatments per charge and 300 charge discharge cycles; This is equivalent to...
  • Simple OLED display shows everything you need to know - treatment, lamp, and battery status; USB...

These are the only option that is capable of neutralizing viruses which can be a huge benefit. They will treat all pathogens in water but do nothing for chemicals or other contaminants.

These are the only treatment system that requires power but as long as you have batteries and the bulb lasts, you can treat water without concern for capacity. They are somewhat limited in the amount they can treat at once but treatment only takes about 90 seconds. Just make sure you’re starting with decent water.

The SteriPEN Ultra is the best example of these types of water purifiers. It destroys over 99.9% of bacteria, viruses, and protozoa.


By choosing a decent bug out bag water filter you should be able to drink from just about any water source as long as it’s not contaminated with chemicals of some kind.

We need about 2 liters of water a day to stay hydrated. As we work harder the amount of water we need increases, and bugging out isn’t going to be a leisurely stroll down the street.

Water is always one of the first things that runs out in any survival situation. As you pass water sources you should be filling up any water containers you have so you’re not looking for water as it runs out. Keep the water flowing and you’ll be good to go!