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Water Purifier When Hiking in the U.S.?

If I only backpack in America, do I have to get a water filter with a purifier, or will a filter for bacteria only suffice?


I am tired of iodine for water purification and I am considering a filter (like the Hyperflow), but I see that it doesn’t filter viruses. If I only backpack in America, do I have to get a filter with a purifier, or will a filter for bacteria only suffice? Going to Big Bend in 3 weeks and I’m clueless…

Submitted by - Tony, Cleveland, OH


Dear Derek,
This is a slippery slope. Many water treatment companies will tout all the nasty viruses you could ingest, and yes, there are lots of stomach-wrenching possibilities.

Are viruses something I, personally, worry about in the US? No. I just don’t, and I haven’t gotten sick yet (I’ve been at this job for almost 15 years).

But if you do worry about them, and many people do, go with a more stringent filter like a First Need or a Katadyn. Personally, I think Hyperflow is a great filter the weight savings and ease of use make me all the more willing to risk the virus thing.

All that said, the last time I hiked in Big Bend I had to carry all my water in (five back-breaking days worth). Before you sweat the filter thing for this trip, check with the park to find out if there’s water flowing where you’re headed or if you’ll be hauling it like I did.

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