My Ultralight Backpacking Hydration & Gravity Filtering System

This hydration kit is what I take for filtering water on backpacking trips. It’s compact, simple to use, and very lightweight.

my ultralight backpacking hydration & filtering system

Shown above:

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

Total weight of this setup: 10 oz.

For easy access to water while I’m hiking, I add a hydration hose with a bite valve to the SmartWater bottle. It’s important that the hose is inside the bottle, pushed all the way in so the water is pulled up from the bottom. I use this tube and cap setup and place the water bottle in the side pocket of my backpack.

Filtering water using gravity

Hydroblu Versa Flow water filter

Gravity systems are a great option for basecamps and groups since they allow you to quickly filter a large quantity of water. While it is possible to filter without the hose and adapters, the flow rate will be faster when gravity is involved. The hose serves to provide space between the two water collection containers. Hang the Vecto from a tree notch or limb or hold it up higher than the clean water container to allow gravity to do the work. The Sawyer adapters, sold in a kit, click together to connect the hose to the water containers for hands-free filtering.

How to filter using gravity:

  • collect water in the Vecto water container using the wide opening at the top
  • connect the Versa Flow filter to the bottom of the Vecto
  • connect the hose to the bottom of the Versa Flow filter, closing the clamp so the water flow is stopped
  • attach the adapter to the Hydroblu collapsible canteen
  • connect the hose to the adapter on the canteen
  • open the clamp on the hose
  • water will flow from the Vecto, through the filter, down the hose and into the canteen

Backflushing the water filter

Using the sports cap on a water bottle filled with clean water, hold the sports cap over the “out” valve on the Versa Flow filter and squeeze all of water through the filter. After I’ve done this a couple of times, I shake the water out of the filter and any debri lodged in the filter should fall out with the water.


After every backpacking trip, I rinse all of the hydration kit pieces and make sure they are completely dry before storing. For extra cleaning and disinfection, add a small amount of bleach in the water when rinsing items.


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