Pump Filters

High-volume pump filters include a hose to reach the water source. Rather than repeatedly filling a squeeze bottle or bucket these filters allow you to directly access the water supply with a hose. Pump filters are more expensive than gravity filters, they do not generally last as long, and they are larger and heavier. A pump filter is an excellent choice if you need to filter larger volumes of water quickly. These filters range in price from about $80 to $350.

MSR Filters

MSR makes some excellent pump filters including the MiniWorks and the Guardian. The MiniWorks is a smaller and lighter backpacking unit that filters down to 0.2 microns. This is sufficient to filter most water but can allow some limited bacteria and viruses to pass through for severely tainted water. The MSR Guardian is one of the few devices that filters water down to 0.02 microns and will remove bacteria and viruses.

Katadyn Filters

The Katadyn filters generally filter down to 0.2 microns and they include both a main filter element and replaceable carbon insert to improve the taste of the water.


A pump filter does NOT negate the need for a personal filter since both have different functions. Use the personal filter for water bottles or bladders. Use a pump filter to process larger volumes of water. I prefer those that incorporate ceramic filter elements because ceramic elements are effective and last a long time. If you need to filter absolutely everything then select the MSR Guardian since it filters down to 0.02 microns and will filter down to the virus level.