Lightweight Backpacking Hydration & Gravity Water Filtering System

This combination of lightweight hydration items is what I take for filtering water on backpacking trips. It’s compact, simple to use, and only takes a few minutes using gravity to filter 2 liters of water.

my ultralight backpacking hydration & filtering system

Initially, I used a hydration reservoir in my backpack, but I’ve switched to using lightweight water bottles. With a reservoir, it can be difficult to tell how much water you have, and it’s almost impossible to pull out of a fully loaded pack for refilling. The potential for leaking and getting gear wet is another reason I made the switch, as well as wanting a much lighter option.

This hydration kit is what I take for filtering water on backpacking trips. It’s compact, simple to use, and lightweight. I created a DIY setup for filtering water using gravity, without needing to purchase a kit designed specifically for this use. Learn more in my blog post.

Total storage capacity with this system: 5 liters (add another Hydroblu canteen for 7 liters of capacity)
Total weight of this setup: 10 oz

  • Nalgene Ultralight 1 liter water bottle (3 oz, $14.81) View at Amazon
  • One Bottle Hydration System for wide mouth bottles ($28) View at Etsy
    This system has a hydration hose, insulated cover, and a cap that fits on Nalgene bottles for easy access to water. The hose goes inside to the bottom of the bottle and has a bite valve on the other end, just like those on hydration bladders. I place the water bottle in the side pocket of my backpack with the hose connected to the shoulder strap on my backpack. See my full review of the One Bottle Hydration System
  • HydroBlu 64 oz. collapsible canteen (1 oz, $3.50)
    These collapsible water containers are my favorite for storing filtered water while at camp. The handles at the top make it easy to carry, and the carabiner at the bottom makes it easy to backflush my Versa Flow filter by hanging the bag to reverse the order of my gravity filter setup. If I’m not camped near a water source, I take two of these containers for more capacity.
    View at HydroBlu
  • HydroBlu Versa Flow filter (1.4 oz, $22.95)
    I’ve been using this filter for several years. It’s easy to backflush and the flow rate is consistently fast. See my full review of this filter.
    View at Garage Grown Gear   |   CNOC Outdoors
  • Sawyer Fast Fill Adapter (shown above with a blue cap and white adapter)
    This kit helps to connect a hydration hose to filters and water containers. I used one on the Hydroblu collapsible canteen so I don’t have to hold the hose while filtering water.
    View at REI Co-op   |   Amazon
  • HydroBlu silicone hose (pictured with a clamp and small adapter on one end)
    Water flows much faster from the filter when adding a hose to a gravity setup.
    View at HydroBlu
  • CNOC Vecto 2 liter water container (2.6 oz, $22.99)
    The Vecto is the only water bladder with openings at both ends for ease in collecting water to filter. Remove the slider at the top to fill with water, then connect a water filter to the small opening at the bottom for filtering.
    View at Garage Grown Gear  |  CNOC Outdoors
  • not shown: HydroBlu Water Filter System Package ($25.95)
    This kit includes water filter, two collapsible canteens, hydration hose, and a clamp – and costs much less than purchasing each item separately.
    View at Amazon   |   HydroBlu

Filtering water using gravity

See my post on how to setup a DIY gravity filter system.


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