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As with everything else, there are a lot of water treatment options on the market. I’ll just cut to the chase, buy a Sawyer Squeeze Mini. There are other options out there that would probably work just fine like Lifestraw or a Katadyn BeFree filter (both good filters in their own regard) but the Sawyers are arguably a better filtration system (same basic principle with all three but Sawyer has been found to be made of higher quality hollow fibers providing higher quality, more consistent filtration) and Sawyer is usually the most reasonably priced as well as being small and lightweight. It’s a win, win, win. Although I will say that it is not a bad idea to carry a backup squeeze bag or bottle as I did have one of their extra-large squeeze bags burst a seam once. Even when the whole family goes, I end up filtering everyone’s water with my Sawyer. I have tried other brands and styles and always end up going back to the Sawyer.


As far as water bottles, I have gone completely low-tech. Just pick up a couple bottles of water from the gas station…and reuse them. It is both the lightest and the cheapest option out there. The large LifeWater bottles are a good size/shape, (at least for me and my pack) and they hold up well. Oh, and that Sawyer filter will thread right on to it too. If you want something a little more fashionable, Nalgene or stainless bottles are good too. I used to carry a stainless bottle because in an emergency it could be used to boil water but it’s a little redundant if you have a cook pot.


A lot of recreational hikers along with other athletes (runners, cyclists, etc.) and outdoorsmen like to use a water bladder such as a Camelback. If that works for you great go for it. I would highly recommend getting a good high-quality name brand one though and buy a cleaning kit along with it. I personally am not a fan. They are limited on their usage, can be expensive, they can be difficult to clean properly, can be difficult to fill, the bit can get funky just hanging out in the open, and once you have one….or two…or three fail,  as in leak out all over you and your pack, (thus the part about getting a good high-quality name brand one) it kind of ruins them for you.  Plus, in most packs, the water bladder is right up against your back. Which is great for weight distribution, but it also means that the water gets quite warm from your body heat. Which may be nice in freezing conditions but not for most hiking weather. For those reasons, I have abandoned the water balder systems. Although I am the only one in my house to do so.

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