KATADYN BACKCOUNTRY SERIES CAMP WATER
TEST SERIES BY MIKE DAURIO JR.
December 02, 2007
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Mike Daurio Jr.
Wonder Lake, Illinois USA
6' 0" (1.83 m)
183 lb (83.00 kg)
I am quite new to backpacking. My experience lies mostly as a canoe guide. My inspiration to get more into this sport/hobby was a backpack trip to Thailand in 2005. Due to my experience I am fond of lightweight, waterproof quality gear. I backpack in mainly hilly forested areas and of course near rivers and streams. I also do a lot of backpack traveling to other countries. I am a 3-season backpacker. Every year I spend time in the Ozarks in Missouri and in Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota. I'd love to explore Canyonlands National Park in Utah.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Katadyn Products AG
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Manufacturer's Website: WWW.KATADYN.COM
Listed Weight: 13 oz (369 g)
Measured Weight: 13.5 oz ( 383 g)
Size: 6 in x 4 in x 4 in (15 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm)
Hose length: 48 in (120 cm)
The description and specifications as taken from the manufacturer's packaging:
Filter technology: .3 micron pleated glass fiber removes bacteria, cysts, and sediment, removable filter protector, activated carbon core. 99.9999% Klebsiella, 99.99% Giardia and Cryptosporidium.
Capacity of filter 200 gallons (750 l) depending on water quality.
Large volume water bag (2.6 gal / 10 l)
Easy open/close buckle system
Long output hose with on/off valve
The filter came packaged in an oversized cardboard box and in good condition. The manufacturer could have used a smaller shipping box for the filter I'm sure. When I opened the shipping container I found the filter in its manufactured packaging. This box was appropriate for its contents. On the front of the box there is an opening which would give a finger access to feel the material of the filter's bag. I do not know what function this would serve to the consumer. I'd feel more comfortable that the contents wouldn't be damaged if the box wasn't accessible like that.
After opening the box to reveal the filter I read the box to inventory the parts. The box reads as follows:
1- 2.6 gallon water bag
1- Anti Clog Hiker PRO Microfilter Cartridge
1- removable filter protector
48" Output Hose
1- on/off output hose valve
|CONTENTS OF BOX|
Also included in the package was a small bag containing a sponge and a small tube of silicone grease, and an instruction booklet.
My initial impression was that I was without the removable filter protector but it was already installed on the cartridge.
The filter is a dry bag type of bag with a hole at the bottom. A filter element is installed in the hole to create a gravity fed filter. The bag is made of vinyl and looks as the type of vinyl that would retain its stiffness in the hot sun. The bag is a soft dark blue and the color concerns me a bit. I am afraid the color of the bag will allow it to absorb the suns hot rays and changing the temperature of the output of water. I look forward to testing the sun's affect on the bag. The bag closes with a roll top feature that clips together. I am familiar with these as I am a canoe guide for a month out of the year, and I find this clip on most dry bags. The clip looks sturdy; however, it is placed at the fulcrum of where the bag will be hanging.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS / ASSEMBLY
The instruction booklet starts out by explaining how to install the filter protector that has already been installed by the manufacturer. I am glad I read this as the booklet later states how to clean it if the filter's output is decreased due to clogging. The next step is the filter assembly. I must admit that with most purchases I make I skip the instruction booklet and try to assemble it before opening. This is as far as I got without having to reference the instructions. The filter is clearly labeled OUT so I knew I was putting it in correctly. The instructions clearly explain the need for the silicone grease in this area. They also voice caution to not grabbing the cartridge which can damage it. After lubing the O ring I placed the cartridge in the hole and grabbed the hard ring at the bottom of the bag. I applied pressure with my thumbs to the cartridge and it slipped in with ease. I figure this is the best way to insert it without damaging the filter.
The instructions have a diagram to show assembly of the cartridge to the bag, fastened to the bag by a threaded cap. This was my first element of concern. If the cartridge is not fully installed the cap will not catch the threads. This was my indication to grab the instructions. Once I was educated and the cartridge was installed correctly the cap grabbed easily to the threads. I tightened the cap a little too much and the threads gave. I then tried over and tightened it just to the point of snugness.
The booklet then goes on to say to flush the cartridge with 2 liters ( 2.53 gal) of water and that it may produce discolored water on the flush cycle. It explains that this is normal.
The booklet never mentions how to install the on / off valve. It took me a good minute just to figure it out.
|SHUT OFF VALVE|
The instructions continue on to explain how to fill, hang, and start filtering. I will be referencing the instructions in the next section on these matters. Confident everything was installed correctly I proceeded to try it out.
TRYING IT OUT
The instruction's state to fill the bag with separate container. As I will not be bringing any other container with me I tried filling it without one. The book also warns not to touch the hose to the source of water.
I filled the bag in the kitchen sink. I thought it would be simple but it proved a bit challenging but not impossible. During the filling period, hose became disconnected but I couldn't deal with that until it was full. When full, I followed the instructions to roll the bag 4-5 times and snap it closed. I then hung it on a hook right outside my back door. Reattaching the hose proved difficult while it was draining. After about a minute it finally slipped into place. The shut off valve did an adequate job of stopping the flow of water. It surprisingly didn't drip either. I started the filter draining into a 1 liter bottle ( 34 fl oz) it took 2 minutes 49 seconds to fill. I then let the remainder of the water drain into a pan. I do not have a measurement on how much water was in the bladder but it took 25 minutes 50 seconds for the rest to drain.
The filter seems to work better when the hose is as straight as possible. I will be commenting on its application in the field report.
I lead a wilderness canoe trip to the Ozark National Scenic Waterways every year. We canoe up
to 60 miles (97 km) of the Current River and do day hikes about every other
day. Last year we completed a 20 mi (32 km)section of the Ozark Trail when
finished canoeing. We will be returning this year. I also spend time
in Voyageurs National Park every year as my fiancée's family owns a
home on Lake Kabetogama. We spend about a week canoeing and
exploring the islands. This year we are planning a 2-day adventure
on the locator lake trail and another two day trip to Cruiser Lake.
My summer is also filled with many day hikes and small
camping trips to the many state parks in Illinois and Wisconsin. My
favorite being Kettle Moraine State park in Wisconsin.
I will be using the filter in Minnesota, and Missouri this year on
weeklong trips. The Missouri trip is where it will get the biggest
test. I lead a group of 18 people down the current river. It is a
spring fed river and we usually fill up water at the ranger stations.
It will be a five day trip and we will probably use the filter almost
all day. We will be filling up (2) five gallon thermos cooler 1-2
times a day.
Temperature could range anywhere from 60 degrees F (16 degrees C) to 100 degrees F (38 degrees C).
The filter will be used in rocky, wet, and dirty conditions. Water
will range from clear spring fed moving water, to murky water that
has been sitting. My test plan will be built around function,
filtration, and durability.
Time of filtration will be a heavily weighted category for the
filter. We my stop to fill up midday and still need to keep on
schedule. Also after cooking the thermos would have to be
replenished. How long will that take?
Is the bag easily filled in different situations? A shallow creek?
How hard is it to change the filter cartridge? Is it easily carried? How well
does the shutoff valves work? I also have concern about how easy it will be to find a place to hang the bag. Does the clip hold? I will also bring a rope to make sure we will be able to find a place to hang it.
How does the water look smell and taste? Does the particles and
debris I may pick up sit in the bag? Is it easy to clean out
afterwards? How does it do with various clarities of water? Does the time to filter decline over the long term use of the cartridge?
Can the material hold up if stored exposed on my canoe, or will it
need to be in a protected area? Does it soften when sitting in the
sun? Does that significantly effect the temp of the water? The
bladder looks like it can be hung, will it stretch or hold with the
weight of the water?
I look forward to getting in the field to test the performance of the filter. It seems to be the perfect product for my needs. Thank you to Katadyn and Backpackgeartest.org for the opportunity to test the filter.
This concludes my Initial report.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I was able to use the filter on two separate trips this summer. The first was a wilderness canoe trip down the Current River with sixteen people. After we floated for six days, we then spent a night on the Ozark Trail. Terrain was mostly gravel bars and mountainous forests. The river winds through large tree covered bluffs and naturally creates huge gravel bars. Most of the time these bars are lined with dense forests.
|Our terrain for six days|
As the river winds through the mountains, its elevations receded from 852 ft (260 m) above sea level down to 570 ft (174 m). When on the trail elevations reached 870 ft (265 m). The trail's terrain was dirt or gravel trail through dense forests primed with hungry deer flies ready to bite and annoy us. Temperatures scorched to a recorded 113 degrees F (45 C) dropping to a comfortable 72 degrees F (22 C) at night.
The second was a five day adventure in Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota. It was spent with my fiancée, and her two younger brothers. We canoed Lake Kabetogama setting up three different base camps and heading out on numerous day hikes to do some exploring. The terrain is rocky shores covered in grass and moss, some sandy beaches, and dense northwoods forests containing pines, poplars, and quaking aspen. Elevations stayed pretty constant between 1100 -1200 ft (335-366 m) above sea level. Temperatures were between 85-89 degrees F (29-32 C) during the sunny days, and got down to almost 60 degrees F (16 C) at night.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
On the first trip the filter was perfect for our use. Sixteen people were on our trip each having two Lexan bottles (32 total) and we had two 5 gallon (19 L) containers. I am a beginning backpacker and have only borrowed a pump style filter. I couldn't imagine using that to fill up 32 Lexan bottles or two 5 gallon (19 L) water coolers. Given the temps outside, and size of the group, the filter received tremendous use. Before we launched we filled up at our outfitter's spigot. I tried the water it had a strong iron taste. I got the first bag full filtering into the water cooler while we loaded the bus. The filter takes about 20 minutes to drain and filter its capacity. I got two of these done in the time it took to load. We then transferred the water to our Lexan bottles. We only had enough filtered water for about half of the individual bottles, so it was decided we all got one iron tasting and one filtered Lexan bottle. We then filled the two water coolers and shipped off. I have found no information that the filter filters iron; however, in comparison the filtered water was definitely more palatable. There was virtually no taste of the heavy iron content the water from the spigot had. As for quality of water I was impressed already.
Daily we had to filter a large amount of water so every stop, I kept replenishing the water coolers, and from the water coolers we replenished our Lexan bottles. It was a good system and we'd time our breaks around the time it took to filter a bag of water. While I was in charge of water throughout the day when we stopped to camp I shared the responsibility with my traveling partners. The others found the process of filling the bag and filtering the water, equally simple.
As our surroundings changed I had to get creative to find places to hang the bag and even more creative on how to hang it. I sometimes lucked out with a sturdy branch about 7 ft (213 cm) from the ground. For this ideal situation hanging the bag was as simple as clicking the clasps in place around the branch.
|Hanging with a bungee|
A couple of times I had to bungee it around the trunk of a tree at the ideal height. I found it useful to bring a 25 ft (762 cm) rope to help create possibilities for hanging. I'd fill the bladder and attach the rope. I'd then throw the other end over a higher branch and tie it to the trunk. This was tedious when I had to refill the bag over and over to replace our cooking water. This method was also easier with two people but had been performed the first time by myself. I welcomed the offer for help the next time. The bag and clasp held up for the most part. On one occasion there was a small protrusion of bark on the branch it was hanging from that triggered the clasp and created a large splash. I refilled the bag and was on my way filtering again.
The Current River is spring fed and we grabbed water from the cleanest sources possible. There were times I stopped and had to get water from stationary parts of the river. The filter performed consistently with all types of water, the well water at the outfitter, the flowing spring water, and the stationary pool water. Every time I was finished filtering I rinsed the inside of the bag out to rid it of debris. Filling the bag was easy but did require getting into the water to do so. If faced with having to stay dry to fill the filter's bag, I'd use a large ladle or pot to fill from the shallow shore. I hope to test a situation like this for my long term report.
Use was a little more involved for our trip to Lake Kabetogama. The filling and hanging was an equally challenging situation. What proved more challenging was the attention factor. On this trip we had no 5 gallon (19 L) reservoir. I had to fill the Lexan bottles individually versus the hang and let drain method used in the Ozarks. It takes approximately 2-2 1/2 minutes to fill each bottle. The water quality in Voyageurs National Park was a clear, but golden tinted. It filtered clear and odor free. It didn't seem as refreshing as the water in the Ozarks, but I believe the warm sun increased the temperature of Lake Kabetogama. The Current River, being spring fed, has a cooler year round temperature. Other than its refreshing qualities the temperature of the water had no bearing on the filter's performance.
A couple of lessons learned. I learned to figure out the place of hanging the filter before filling it. I got a good workout the first few times as the bag is heavy when full. Also it is easier to attach the small hose to the bottom of the filter before filling it. It proves harder to attach the hose when water is coming out. Finally, I found that the temperature increases when the bag is in the direct sun. Finding shade to hang it in rectified this situation.
The trips were definitely an ideal way to test the filter. The filter performed well yet required some adaptation as our surroundings change. I am pleased with the quality of water that it produces with different water clarities and odors.
I will be bringing the filter on a few dayhikes and mountain biking trips to state parks in the Illinois and Wisconsin areas. I hope to try filtering some really murky water taken from some shallow areas to test its abilities further.
This concludes my field report. My long term report will be amended in December. Check back for more information.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
|Glacial Park (MCCD)|
The Katadyn Camp filter has tagged along on a few day hikes in Glacial Park part of the McHenry County Conservation District. I usually just pack water on a day hike but I wanted to test the ability to filter different water sources, so I flung it in my day pack and hit the trail. Glacial Park is a glacial formed park filled with hills and grasslands with some patches of forested acres. The trails wind across the Nippersink Creek, whose headwaters stem from a man made lake. The hikes took place on a cool evening with temperatures at approximately 65 degrees F (18 C) and on a brisk morning with temperatures around 50 degrees F (10 C).
The filter was also used in the Harrison-Benwell conservation area also part of the MCCD. I chose this location to test the filter because the 3.5 mile loop crosses a swampy area. The trail is a groomed trail through a forest consisting of maple, oak, black walnut, and boxelder trees. The terrain is flat and sometimes muddy.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
|filtering the Nippersink's finest|
The filter has performed exceptionally with all it's been asked to do. The Camp filter has withstood the 80 or so gallons (303 liters) of clear, cool water in the Current River, approximately 10 gallons (38 liters) of Lake Kabetogama's finest, and another 10 gallons (38 liters) of water from various sources. The filter has taken out the floating particles of the Nippersink and left the filtered water clean and clear. When asked to perform against the murky wetland water in the Harrison-Benwell Recreation area it stepped up to the plate. With the swamp water, the filter produced a clean product that had a slight odor. The filtered water did taste fine and after drinking it I never felt the effects of any "beaver fever" or parasites.
The filter has also had a consistent rate of approximately 3 minutes per liter (34 fl oz) of water. The exception of this has been when filtering the swamp water. It took almost five minutes to filter a 1 liter (34 fl oz) Nalgene bottle full of water. I believe this was due to the floating algae bloom that was scooped into the filter's bag.
I used a small Gatorade bottle to fill the bag with the swamp water. Until now I have entered the water source to fill the filter's bag. I wanted to test how this method would differ. I had no trouble filling the filter's bag with the extra container but I did have to lug an empty bottle around. Because it has come in contact with the tainted swamp water, the empty Gatorade bottle although light, is a useless bulk that would need to be carried to fill the filter this way.
The swamp water clogged the filter with its muck and algae. Although it still did the job it was a more time consuming task to clean. I rinsed the filter out thoroughly and then filled it full of water and dumped two caps full of bleach ion the filled bladder. I then just rolled the top and hung it on a post on my deck to drain.
The shutoff valve does an excellent job of keeping the water from flowing in the tube. Although it was initially a concern of mine, the simple design of the valve not only performs well it serves another function. While filtering water in Glacial Park, I had a lack of nearby trees. After deciding to hold the filter while it was filtering instead of hauling water in the filter about 200 yards (183 m) to a tree, I used the valve to clip the hose in a fixed position on the Nalgene bottle.
|another use for the shut-off valve|
POSITIVES: I am overall pleased with the performance of the filter.
1. It is the absolute perfect filter for our annual canoe trip down the Current River and it worked great for the four of us trekking Lake Kabetogama's Islands.
2. I am impressed with its filtered product. The filter has bested even the funkiest of water qualities.
3. The weight of the filter not much more than the filter cartridge itself.
4. The simple design is easy to use.
5. I like the fact that I can fill the filter and let it drain clean water in my container
1. Filling the bag is a slight inconvenience. It is extremely easier to fill the bag by getting wet, however that method could pose dangerous in cooler temperatures. Filling it by bringing a separate container poses a different annoyance. I brought the extra Gatorade bottle specifically to test this method but was hampered with carrying around the useless bulk of an empty contaminated bottle full of bacteria.
2. Holding the bag to filter it can be tiring; only a problem if no trees are around to hang it on.
3. The filter isn't very packable. There is no protection from crushing the filter and no case or sack that comes with it. I haven't found a container or sack I like to store the filter yet.
I will definitely bring the filter with on any trips with more than two participants that can all benefit from the volume of water the bladder can handle. In solo or coupled outings I'd weigh my options. I will continue to use the filter and am glad it's in my arsenal. It especially comes in handy for high volume needs. I really appreciated the filter when stopping to cook. I filtered water to drink, cook and dish duty all in one filling.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
Thank you to BGT and Katadyn for allowing me to test the filter.
Mike J. Daurio Jr.
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