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Reviews > Water Treatment > Filters > Katadyn Backcountry Camp Filter > Test Report by Shelley LaClair

KATADYN BASE CAMP MICROFILTER
TEST SERIES BY SHELLEY LACLAIR
 

INITIAL REPORT
July 23, 2007

FIELD REPORT
September 30, 2007

LONG-TERM REPORT
December 04, 2007

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Shelley LaClair
EMAIL: adkhiker (at) gmail.com
AGE: 44
LOCATION: Albany, New York
GENDER: F
HEIGHT: 5' 4" (1.63 m)
WEIGHT: 158 lb (71.70 kg)

I have been backpacking since 2000 mostly in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State and have my New York State Guide License. I have completed several long distance thru-hikes including the Northville-Placid Trail, New York; Long Trail, Vermont; Cohos Trail, New Hampshire. Most of my backpacking is on the weekends during spring through fall. I carry a medium to lightweight pack trying to stay under 25 lb (11 kg) for gear, food and water. In cold weather, my pack increases in weight and bulk. I have experienced many weather conditions; usually finding shelter in a lean-to or tent.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Katadyn Products AG
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Manufacturer's Website: www.katadyn.com
MSRP: USA $ 64.95 (Price as found on the Katadyn Online Store)
Listed Weight: 13 oz (370 g)
Measured Weight: 13 oz (370 g)
IMAGE 13
IMAGE 11

Other details as listed on manufacturer's website:

"The most convenient camping water filter - just fill, hang, and drink!

The Katadyn Base Camp Microfilter has a high water flow rate and is ideal for groups and families. The Base Camp comes with the cleanable, AntiClog Hiker Pro Microfilter Cartridge that removes bacteria, Giardia, and Cryptosporidium to EPA Standards."

Technology: AntiClog Technology with 0,3 micron glassfiber (no cleaning needed)

Output: ~ 16 oz/min (~ 0.5 l/min)

Capacity (depending on water quality): 200 gal (750 l)

Dimensions: 7.5 x 3.9 '' (19 x 10 cm)

Replacement Filter: Hiker Pro Replacement Cartridge

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The Back Country Series Katadyn Base Camp Microfilter comes in an attractive box. Inside is the blue bag, a water filter, silicon lubricant, a small orange sponge, hose, shutoff valve and the all important directions. The direction I received includes English and French.

The blue bag that holds the water is coated to be waterproof. It says KATADYN on the front and has a typical "dry bag" seal and then the ends are folded over and secured with a plastic clip. This creates the loop that can now be hung on a tree branch or nail if available. The welded seam in the water bag looks very sturdy.

Hanging.
Easy to hang.


The shutoff valve slips right over the hose and is easy to open and close with one hand.

The filter cartridge is made of glassfiber and should not break if dropped. The directions do warn not to grasp the cartridge around the pleated surface, since it may damage the filter. I'm a bit concerned that it may get damaged when carrying in my backpack so I'll have to be smart as to where I place it.

There is also "Field Tips" on a tag attached to the bag.
Field Tips
Tag: Field Tips
In action
Easily filling my water bladder.


Over all, the construction seems durable and the filter very easy to use.

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

Yes, read the instructions, they made my life a little easier when putting together the bag and filter. I struggled getting the filter cartridge into the external threaded opening of the bag. I needed to push it in until the o-ring could no longer be seen. I was a bit frustrated because I didn't have the strength to do it and was about to ask my husband to install it when he asked me if I had put the lubricant on the o-ring. That's when I reread the instructions. It says, "A small amount of silicon grease on the cartridge o-ring will aid in the insertion." Well, they were right. I lubed the o-ring and with just moderate force in went the filter with no problem. So I could have been spared the "I told you so" look from the spouse if I had read the instructions completely from the start.

After installing the cartridge filter I removed the red cap that protects the outlet and installed the tubing and valve. I had some difficulty fitting the tube onto the filter so I put a tiny bit of silicon on the tip and it went on without further difficulties.

The final step before actual use is to flush the system. This is an important step. If I didn't do this, I would have blackish water from the carbon that is in the filter. I filled the bag with tap water about half way and then hung it in the backyard. It took a few minutes for the flow to start. Once it did, it was a steady flow. After the initial black water from the carbon ran through the filter ran clean and pure in just a few minutes.

The set-up was complete so I turned the bag inside out and let it air dry overnight so it would be ready for its first trial which was in a few days after receiving the filter.

TRYING IT OUT

I packed the Base Camp Water Microfilter by rolling up the bag and hose and stowing it carefully in the top pocket of my backpack. I wanted to make sure that nothing would crush the pleated filter cartridge. It fit well into the top pocket along with my water bladder and off I went on a 7.5 mile (12 km) hike.

Once my husband and I arrived at camp. I unpacked the water filter and noted there was no damage to the cartridge.
Filter (inside-out)
Filter shown inside-out


Since we were staying at Cedar Lake Lean-to #3 in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State, I had plenty of water to fill the bag with. I was wondering if I could just dip it into the lake to fill it. I really didn't want to use another container to fill it. I walked out a few steps and while carefully holding the output hose away from the untreated lake water, I opened the top of the bag and dragged it through the water.
Filling
Traveller supervises me filling the water bag.
It easily filled and I carried the now heavy bag to shore.

At first I had too much water in the bag so I wasn't able to close the top and fold down the edges. After a few false starts I finally emptied enough water out so I could close the bag securely.
Too much water.
Getting the right amount of water.
Closing
Closing the bag.

IMAGE 12
Closing the buckle.
Carrying water
I'm going to build some muscles!


I am not a particularly strong woman, so I found the bag pretty heavy to carry. I did manage carry and hang it securely from a nail that was in a tree. I made sure that the exterior was well dried so that no untreated water would drip down the tube to contaminate my clean water.
Hanging water.
Hanging the water filter.


I opened the valve and the water flowed almost immediately. Much quicker than the first time when I ran water through it to clean out the excess carbon dust. There was a steady stream of water coming from the filter and it tasted just delicious.
Flow
A steady water flow


I decided not to filter the water into a separate container but to use it like "running" water. This worked out fine since the flow is steady. I was able to wash my hands and dishes easily and could open and close the valve with one hand. I did notice that when the bag was first filled, the flow was stronger due to the additional water pressure. There was still a steady stream as the bag emptied but not as strong. It wasn't a problem.

After my first attempt at filling the bag, I decided that on my second try I would just stand on a rock and drag the bag through the water. Again, I was careful not to contaminate the output hose with lake water. I didn't fill the bag as full as I did the first time and I was successful in closing it and hanging it with no problems.

On my last day at camp, I refilled the bag and hung it on the nail. Unfortunately I didn't hook it right and it fell off the nail and like a lead brick it fell to the ground. Luckily the bag did not pop open and the seam did not split. The threaded ring at the bottom of the bag did get a small dent in the plastic and it came loose from the threads. I had to take the plastic ring off (with a full bag of water) and re-thread it. I had no problems with leaks as the o-ring kept the filter securely in place. The filter and bag was fine and it appears to be sturdily made.

In the future, I'll be more careful of how the heavy bag of water is hung so it won't fall to the ground.

TESTING STRATEGY

I will be backpacking just about every weekend in July and August of 2007, with multiple 3-5 day trips. Since most of my evenings will be spent in a shelter near an easy source of water, the Katadyn Camp Filter seems an ideal way to filter water. How nice it will be to fill the filter up in the evening before bed and let the water sit outside so I can have cool water ready for the morning to put into our water bladders. Or, to fill it up when we arrive and have cooking water for dinner or washing my hands. I plan on using this filter as the primary source for water purification.

As I continue to test the Katadyn Camp siphon filter, I will be observing the following:

• Is it easy to transport? Is it bulky thereby taking up too much room in my pack?
• Will it leak in my pack from left over water even after I've emptied it as much as possible?
• How easy is it to fill? Can I just dip it into the water or will I have to use my pot to fill it?
• Does the filter leak when in use?
• How clear does the water have to be when I fill the water bag?
• Does the filter clog easily?
• How long will the filter last?
• Is the pleated filter easy to clean and replace? How durable is it?
• Will it keep me safe from Giardia and other "bugs"?
• Will the output seem way too slow for practical purposes?
• Will I still need to bring my hand pump water purifier with me?
• How durable is the water bag. Is it easily pierced during normal use?
• Is the bag and tubing easy to clean?
• Is the bag easily closed and hung on a tree branch?
• Does the plastic tube clog?
• Does the plastic valve easily open and close? Can I do it with one hand?
• How does the water taste? How does the water quality affect the taste?
• Over all, it easy to clean? Will tree sap come off the outside of the bag?

SUMMARY

My first impression is that I really like this filter. No pumping water. What a treat.

I was able to easily fill the bag from a lake with out too much sediment getting into the water. I like the flow of the purified water and it tasted really clean. I also like the convenience of having "running water" that I know is clean and pure.

This concludes my Initial Report. The Field Report will be amended in late September. Please check back then for further information.

A big thank you to backpackgeartest.org and Katadyn for allowing me to participate in this test!


FIELD REPORT

FIELD REPORT
September 30, 2007

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I had many opportunities to test this filter over the summer. I backpacked in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State. The terrain was mostly back country trails with moderate gaines and losses in elevation. My usual stay was 2-3 days and I was able to go backpacking about 5 times over the summer.

The weather was mostly moderate with temperatures during the day of 75F - 80F (24C - 26C) and temperatures dipping to 40F - 60F (5C - 16C) at night. It rained on several trips but otherwise the weather was sunny or partly cloudy.

For each trip I was with my husband and our two dogs Traveller & Liberty. We were able to secure a lean-to on all of our trips. All the lean-to shelters were located next to a small lake or large pond. The water typically was fairly clear although there was some discoloration to the water due to the natural mineral and decomposition of trees and plants.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

The filter preformed very well. It was easy to use, especially when I could just dip the water bladder into the lake or pond. If the water was too shallow, I used a pot to fill the bladder. This took more time but allowed me to keep most of the debris out of the water that was to be filtered. Mostly, I was just able to open the bag and draw it across the cop of the water to fill it. Once I learned how much water should fill the bag. I was able to fold over the top to close it and securely buckle the bladder without having to pour out excess water.

Since the water conditions were usually very good in the areas I tested in, the filter did not clog at all. I did get some sediment in the water, but it did not effect the water flow through the filter and I was easily able to rinse out the dirt from the inside of the bag and around the filer. The flow of the filter is as good as when I first used it.

I still find the bag heavy when I first fill it. (I guess I still need to build some muscles.) If I had to climb up a hill, I usually passed the filter to my husband once it was filled and he carried it back to the lean-to (Free muscle power. I'll use it!) I could like the bag though if I was alone. Typically I would either hang it from a nail on the outside of the shelter or to a sturdy tree limb or random nail that I could find in a tree. On two occasions, the bag slipped from the nail. The first time I had hung it I had the plastic buckle resting on the nail. I should have had the material of the bag touching the nail because since the buckle is hard and slick the whole filter slipped off the nail.


One the second occasion the bag fell off a nail that was on the outside of the lean-to. Liberty and Traveller were racing around and one of them got tangled in the hose and down came the filter filled with water. I was please to see that the buckle held and no water came spilling out all over the ground. The unfortunate thing was that the waterproof bag apparently is not "rock proof". It fell on a rock and punctured the bag leaving two small holes that slowly leaked water.

IMAGE 1
Two small holes in bladder.

The delilema that arose was the fact that no patch kit is included with the filter. I did have a patch kit from my inflatable mattress so I was able to take the material and glue from that and make a small patch for the water filter bladder. The patch worked very well and I have continued to use the filter numerous times since that initial repair without any further leaks. The actual internal filter cartridge was undamaged in both falls.

IMAGE 2
A patch I made using the patch kit from my mattress pad.


One one trip, a group of young men came through for a lunch and rest break. They were using iodine drops to purify their water. I offered the use of the filter. One guy seemed particularly happy to pour out his chemically treated water and fill his container with filtered water. Once he tasted the filtered water he then dumped out the rest of his containers and filled them with water from my filter. He walked away with a big smile as he drank the water. From his testament as to how good the water tasted the rest of the guys dumped their water and filled up their containers too. The filter worked well and the flow was good so they didn't have too long of a wait for all of them to fill up. With a big "Thank you!" off they went.

The hose, bag and filter are easily cleaned. No debris or gunk accumulated in the tubing.

After my last trip I cleaned the filter according the the manufacturer's directions. I ran some water with bleach through it and then air dried the filter. Once it was completely dried I stored it for the next time.

SUMMARY

In summary, I am still very impressed with the ease of use and the good flow of the water. I really like to fill the bladder in the evening and then have cold or relatively cool water to filter into my water bladders in the morning. I also like to use it like a water tap so I can wash my hands with clean water. I found that the shut off valve was easily used with just one hand. This was really good since I usually had a small handful of liquid soap leaving me with one hand to operate the valve.

The water tasted very good and I have not found anything floating in my filtered water. If the water was really discolored, the filtered water was also somewhat discolored although I found the taste was still very good. Neither my husband or I came down with any illnesses from drinking the treated water.

TESTING STRATEGY

During the second week in October 2007, with my husband and dogs, I will be doing a weeklong through hike on the a portion of the Northville-Placid Trail in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State. Since this Fall I anticipate the weather will be much colder than during the summer. It may frost during the night so I will have to see if the temperature will affect the filtering capabilities. Will I have to take the filter into the tent with me?

I expect that the filter will be filled using the numerous streams, lakes and ponds that these mountains are known for.

Please check back in Dec. 07 for my final report. My continued thanks to Katadyn and BGT for allowing me to test this filter.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM REPORT
December 04, 2007

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

During the long-term testing of the filter I hiked in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State. The temperatures ranged from highs near 65 F (18 C) to lows of 38 F (3 C). The weather conditions went from sunny to mostly cloudy with some rain. The water temperature dropped from the summer conditions and the temperature of the water was approximately 50 F (28 C). My husband and I used the filter on every trip and I estimate that I ran approximately 63 gallons (240 L) of untreated water through the filter.

The terrain was composed mostly of well defined back country trails with moderate elevation gains and losses. My husband and I stayed in a lean-to on each trip.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

The Katadyn Base Camp Microfilter preformed very well. With the water temperature cooler than the summer, my water sources were fairly clear before I filled the water bladder. It took approximately 3 - 4 minutes to filter into a 68 fl oz (2 L) container. I was pleased with the consistency of the water flow and the taste. I did not notice any significant decrease of water flow from when I first received the filter until the end of the testing period. I will check the filter out next spring but at this time I anticipate that I will still be able to use the same filter cartridge.

I left the filter outside on cold nights but since it didn't get below freezing I was not able to determine if freezing temperatures would be a problem. A light frost did not affect the filter or the flow of water but left the water "refrigerated" for my next day's hike.

The patch I put on earlier in the summer has held fast. I would like to see a patch kit included with the filter just in case an emergency happens where the bladder gets punctured or ripped. I'm happy to report that I didn't have any further accidents with my filter. I made sure to find an appropriate nail or limb that would secure the filter so it wouldn't fall.
 

Since the filter does not come in a special carrying case, I found it to be a bit bulky in my backpack. I was concerned that I might crush the filter cartridge but it was not a problem and the filter held up well over the course of the testing series.

SUMMARY

The Katadyn Base Camp Microfilter lives up to the company's advertising. This is easy to use. Just fill up the water bladder, hang, and enjoy fresh filtered water.

Pros:
• Easy to use. Let gravity do the work - no pumping!
• The design is simple and straight forward.
• The shutoff valve is easy to use with just one hand.
• The flow rate of water was very good.
• Easy to clean.

Cons:
• The filter is heavy when filled.
• There is no stuff sack for the filter and it is a bit bulky in my backpack.
• Sometimes it was hard to find a suitable place to hang the bag and having it stay where I put it.
• No patch kit if the bag gets a tear or puncture.

CONTINUED USE

I will definitely continue to use this filter. I really like the ease of use and the convenience of having a large water supply on hand when I am in camp. I really like the fact that the water not only tastes good after filtering, the filter also makes a handy hand washing station for me. I plan on taking this on most if not all of my future backpacking trips in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State and hope to use it on other trails throughout the U.S.A.

Thank you to Katadyn and BackpackGearTest for allowing me to test this great product.

This concludes my report.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.

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