KATADYN HIKER WATER FILTER
BY JERRY ADAMS
March 24, 2008
jerryaadams AT yahoo DOT com
Portland, Oregon, U.S.
6' 2" (1.88 m)
190 lb (86.20 kg)
Backpacking Background: I started hiking about 45 years ago. My first backpack was 40 years ago. I currently try to do one backpack trip of 1 to 5 nights every month (which can be tricky in the winter). Mostly I stay around Mount Hood, Columbia Gorge, Mount Adams, Goat Rocks, and the Olympic Peninsula. In recent years I have shifted to lightweight - my pack weight without food and water is about 15 lb (7 kg). I make a lot of my own gear - silnylon tarp-tent, bivy, synthetic bag, simple bag style pack. My sleeping pad is a Therm-a-Rest air mattress.
Katadyn Hiker Water Filter. The intake prefilter is above, in a small pool that is about 6 in (15 cm) wide and 4 in (10 cm) deep. There's a rock on the hose at the bottom of the pool and the prefilter is floating up from there. The filter is the grey object near the center of the picture. The output hose is stuck into the water bottle below:
Pump handle pulled out which draws water from the intake hose into the filter:
Pump handle pushed in which pushes water out the output hose into the water bottle:
Filter disassembled: filter, filter medium, pump handle, and the small clip that keeps the pump handle in place. The intake hose is attached to the filter. The output hose is attached to the filter medium:
Year of Manufacture: about 1990
Listed Dimensions: 3 x 6.5 x 2.4 in (7.6 x 16.5 x 6.1 cm)
Measured Dimensions: 3 x 6.5 x 2.4 in (7.6 x 16.5 x 6.1 cm)
Measured Hose Length: 36 in (91 cm) (both intake and output hoses)
Measured Weight: 12 oz (340 g)
The Katadyn Hiker Water Filter (hereafter called the filter) is a multi-stage water filter for backpacking.
The filter is made of grey plastic. A handle is pulled out and pushed in to pump the water. There's an intake hose with a small prefilter on the end that filters larger debris. An output hose goes to the water bottle for clean water. Inside the filter is a 0.3 micron pleated glass fiber medium. Inside the filter medium there's an activated carbon core that removes bad tastes.
The 0.3 micron filter medium removes typical parasites like Giardia and bacteria but not viruses.
When the pump handle is pulled out, at the end of each stroke, a brief rush of water is expelled out of the intake prefilter which clears it of any debris.
The Katadyn website says that I'll get up to 200 gal (800 L) before having to replace the filter medium.
I have used the same filter for at least 15 years.
I've used this filter on trips of from 1 to 5 nights for a total of about 150 nights of backpacking during that period. This has been around Mount Hood in Oregon, Goat Rocks, Mount Adams, and the Olympic Peninsula in Washington, and other places in Oregon and Washington. The temperature has been from 25 F (-5 C) to 90 F (30 C). The filter has probably frozen at least once, but I always use it in the afternoon when it would be thawed out, and emptied it of water after use, so there would have been only a few drops of water in it when it froze. I've used it from sea level to 8000 ft (2500 m) elevation.
I purchased the filter as a Pur Hiker Filter, but this product has since been acquired by Katadyn. I have looked at the Katadyn version in the store and it appears identical to the Pur. Also, I have bought a Katadyn replacement filter medium and used it successfully in my Pur filter.
One difference between the Pur filter and the Katadyn version, is that the Katadyn filter has a carbon core to remove unpleasant odors, and there's an additional screen that goes outside the pleated filter. I think these offer a slight improvement. The Katadyn replacement filter medium includes these.
The Katadyn website says that I'll get up to 200 gal (800 L) before having to replace the filter medium. I only get about 50 gal (200 L). Maybe if I used cleaner water I would get closer to the amount they claim.
When the filter gets near the end of its life, the filter medium becomes discolored with a brownish material. It starts becoming much more difficult to pump. It's a gradual decline. If it starts getting clogged, I could easily go another 10 or 20 gal (40 or 80 L) before I replace it.
It takes me about 5 minutes (200 strokes) to filter my 1 gal (4 L) of water, which is consistent with the manufacturer's claim.
After each trip, of 1 to 5 nights, I disassemble the filter, swish the filter medium in clean water, rinse off all the filter components, and air them out until the next trip, maybe 1 month later.
Once, I had no choice but to use water that was quite dirty, and the filter became clogged with that one usage. I was able to barely use it the rest of that trip. The only thing good about the experience was that pumping the filter made this noise that attracted a frog that thought my filter was another frog which was rather amusing.
The prefilter on the end of the intake hose has a flotation foam collar. I weight down the hose with a rock, near the end, and the prefilter floats up off the bottom of the stream. It the prefilter rests on the bottom, it tends to take in sediments off the bottom of the stream which clogs the filter. I can put the prefilter in a volume of water as little as 4 in (10 cm) deep and wide, but usually I use a larger volume of water. Sometimes I have to dig a hole (remove a few rocks or sticks) to create a big enough volume. If there isn't very much water flow, I may have to wait a few minutes for the sediment to settle after digging before filtering. Occasionally I have to use lake water, in which case I just let the prefilter sink into the water, suspended from the flotation collar.
I have used or been with someone else who used other water filters that didn't work as well - either it took too long to filter water, or the intake hose was too short, or the pump was more difficult to pump.
I use a large plastic freezer zipper bag for storage, which is good because it keeps any residual water from leaking onto other gear in my pack.
Plastic gets brittle with age, but mine is still okay after all the use I've got. I expect to have to replace it some day, and I'll definitely replace it with another Katadyn Hiker Pro.
One thing that makes me skeptical about water filters is that I have read studies that conclude that mountain water in the Western U.S. which is where I go, is almost always clean enough to not need filtering. As long as water is obtained from a clean source there is no need to filter it. Then I'd save 12 oz (340 g) and the hassle of pumping. The authorities have no motivation to say this, because if there were even rare cases or people just thought they got sick from the water, it would be a hassle. Easier to just recommend filters. Obviously, filter manufacturers recommend to use a filter.
The Katadyn Hiker Pro is an excellent backpacking water filter. This is the best filter for backpacking that I'm familiar with. I've used it for years and when it wears out I'll buy another one.
THINGS I LIKE
1. Easy to pump.
2. Filters the amount of water I need fairly quickly.
3. Fairly lightweight - as light as other pump filters.
THINGS I DON'T LIKE
1. It does take some effort to pump the amount of water I use. It would be easier to use chemical water treatments or no treatment
2. It is heavier than chemical water treatments or no treatment
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
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