Water is the basic element of life and safe drinking water when you’re in the backcountry is always a concern, but Katadyn has an answer. The Katadyn Hiker water filter is a perfect fit for my pack, not only in size, but function.
The spec sheet states “handy for 1-2 persons while hiking,” but as quickly as we filled liter bottles, I wouldn’t hesitate to take it with a group of four.
The technical filter specs are listed as: 0.3 micron glass fiber with activated carbon granulate. What that means in real people language is that it filters out giardia and cryptosporidium; the two protozoa that can make you really, really wish you’d never gone hiking.
Watching the cool video on the Katadyn site made me, A) want to go hiking today, and B) make my own video. Fortunately you were spared. It did, however, generate another test. All the experimenting we had done was in nice mountain streams, just like the video. What if we tested something really nasty, like stagnant pond water? We went to the local fishing hole to try it out.
Right off the bat we noticed a problem–the moss was really thick at the edge, which would have clogged the micromesh prefilter, possibly permanently. So hubby, prince that he is, took the kayak out to the middle of the pond. The water he brought back was fishy smelling–very fishy smelling.
We filtered two liters, and when I cautiously tasted it, I was pleasantly surprised. No fishy taste, no fishy smell, just beautiful, clean tasting water that looked as good as what came out of our tap. I was sold.
Some of the attachments seemed like gadgets at first–the bottle adaptor, which fits into the mouth of some water bottles and holds the output tubing; and the hydration pack adaptor, which does the same thing for your Camelback or other hydration pack. I could see the benefit of an adaptor holding the outlet tubing so you have both hands free to operate the pump, but I never had any problems with just sticking the tubing down into the bottle or pack that I was filling. The float on the inlet tubing allows you to throw the prefilter out in the water and not have to hold onto it, which I really liked.
The instructions say to swish the filter in water (remove it from the pump first) to remove external sediment, and to keep the inlet tubing separate from the outlet tubing to prevent contamination. They provide a plastic bag for this. So far, I haven’t seen a lot of sediment, and the plastic bag will be replaced by a Ziploc baggy. I always carry alcohol wipes as well, so I could wipe down the tubing if need be.
The filter never gets time to dry out completely between uses while you’re packing; I noticed over the course of a couple of days that it gained a few ounces of weight from saturation, which might be a deal breaker if you’re an ultralight purist, but I didn’t think it was big deal. To clean the filter for storage between trips, run a liter of water with 2 tablespoons of bleach through it. It took at least 24 hours each time for the filter to dry out completely, depending on the humidity in the house.
Priced at $64.95, you’re mostly paying for filter, a replacement is $40. The company states the filter life is 750 liters. I’ve filtered around 100 liters so far, but if it lasts for 750 liters, which translates to about 25-30 backpacking trips for my spouse and me, it is well worth the $40 replacement cost.~Traci Schauf
Read more of Traci Schauf’s musings here: http://momonvacation.blogspot.com
*This product was received free by the user for review.