Is there a reliable water filter that produces clean-tasting water?

This July, I’ll be doing a five-day, 50-mile hike on Oregon’s Pacific Crest Trail. I need to purchase a good water filter for the trip—one that’s very reliable in removing giardia and crypto, and durable enough to be used everyday by multiple people. Also, if I need water-purifying pills, it would be nice to have a filter that removes the iodine or chlorine taste. Is there such a beast? Henry ity, Oregon

A: Sure, several models will work for you. My first choice would likely be the MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter ($80; It’s been around in several models for more than a decade now and remains one of the better-designed water filters on the market. It screws onto a Nalgene bottle, for instance, which makes filling easier. Its water-pump-style handle is easier to manipulate than a push-pull type. Should you need to work on the filter, it’s easily disassembled. And as for filtering, the MiniWorks takes care of giardia, cryptosporidia, bacteria, and other protozoa. Plus its carbon core removes bad tastes in water, such as those from purifying agents. All in all, it’s an excellent filter for two or three people. If your group is bigger, then take a look at the MiniWorks’ bigger sibling, the WaterWorks EX Microfilter ($130).

MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter

MiniWorks EX Microfilter

Depending on your budget and how much use you intend to get out of the filter, Katadyn’s Pocket Filter ($220; is also worth a look. Its filtering capability is on par with the MSR models, but it’s made with an aluminum body for durability, and its ceramic filtering element is billed to clean 13,000 gallons. So it’s a filter for the long haul.

Have a great hike! That’s beautiful country.

Pick up a copy of the 2006 Outside Buyer’s Guide, on newsstands now, for a look at the best bike gear and 396 other torture-tested products.

Support Outside Online

Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.

Contribute to Outside
Filed To: Filters and Purifiers
Lead Photo: courtesy, MSR
More Gear