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General Gear Discussion The General Gear Discussion forum is for the discussion of traditional and lightweight (ultralight) backpacking gear that is not covered in other Practical Backpacking™ forums. [Please post about Backpacks, Shelters, Sleeping Gear, Backcountry Kitchen (Food, Stoves) in those respective forum areas.]


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  #1  
Old 09-01-2011, 06:55 AM
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Mountaineerbass Mountaineerbass is offline
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Water Filters (only) - What do you use?

Wasn't able to find any specific thread on this, but what type of filter do you use and why?

I've recently had an accident with my MSR Miniworks, and was wondering if I should buy a new one. I'm leaning towards the Sweetwater, but maybe the hyperflow, katadyn, or something else?

So what do you guy's have and why do you like it. Thank you in advance!

p.s. I'm not a huge fan of tabs, drops, etc. so just filters please.
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  #2  
Old 09-01-2011, 08:33 PM
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texasbb texasbb is offline
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I've used a Miniworks for years and am mostly happy with it. I recently got a Sweetwater and it's okay too. Either one is a great filter. Some detail thoughts:
  • The Miniworks is the most field serviceable filter, period. I've had it clogged so bad I couldn't pump at all, but 30 seconds with the little brillo pad brought it back to brand new condition.
  • The Sweetwater pumps a little faster, at least when the filter is clear. It's field serviceable, too, but I just don't feel as confident the little brush will save me from a total clog up.
  • The Miniworks is heavy (1 lb), plus I have to bring a Nalgene.
  • The Sweetwater is lighter (11 oz), but you have to deal with two hoses. I was surprised just how big a deal this is. Keeping up with two hoses when I'm balancing on wobbly rocks in a stream is harder than I imagined. Then, when I'm done... With the Miniworks it's a matter of seconds to wrap the hose around the body and I'm on my way. I still haven't figured out how to wrap the Sweetwater's two hoses effectively. It's hose whack-a-mole as I try to cram the thing into its little sack.
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Old 09-01-2011, 08:54 PM
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FamilyGuy FamilyGuy is offline
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I use a Katadyn Hiker Pro for the following reasons:

Much lighter than the MSR offerings @ 11 oz. Once you pump water, you open the housing and dump out any excess water. It will still weigh 11 oz. The Miniworks has a ceramic filter and when wet will weight closer to 2lbs and you cannot dry it out. The Katadyn pumps faster and more smoothly and the Pro comes with various attachments to all kinds of water carriers from hydration bags to platypus bottles.
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Old 09-01-2011, 10:03 PM
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Reality Reality is offline
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I have several filters, but I've been using the MSR Sweetwater for a while - including recently.

I've easily modified mine to reduce its weight and to remedy such things as the aforementioned hose issue.

One feature that I require a filter to have is a carbon component. This is missing, for example, in the MSR HyperFlow.

I really like the MSR Miniworks EX too. It's a great filter. I have it set aside for camping. Because, for backpacking, I can accomplish similar results with the Sweetwater at 1/2 pound less weight.

I also like the lever-action of the Sweetwater over the other options. Moreover, it has a pore size of 0.2, and it's easy to clean in the field.

Reality
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  #5  
Old 09-02-2011, 09:09 AM
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richwads richwads is offline
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I use the Sawyer 2 liter gravity system, when I use a filter. The lack of a pump can be seen as a plus or a minus, depending on your viewpoint. The 2 liter "dirty water" bag that feeds the inline filter is a convenient camp storage bag and can be used to top off camp drinking water as needed, and can be refilled by whoever uses it last. It is, of couse, inconvenient to use at water sources crossed while hiking. I use CLO2 tablets on those occasions, and generally on solo or self-sufficient group trips.
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  #6  
Old 09-02-2011, 11:01 AM
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GGervin GGervin is offline
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I have used the Sweetwater since before MSR bought it out, and can say it's worked really well for me for the 7 or so years I've had it. I like it for pretty much the same reasons Reality outlines. (Haven't tried his mods, but am tempted because it would make a slightly more compact filter.)

I will say the Sweetwater's prefilter isn't the most robust in the world, and you probably want to use the "silt-stopper" accessory if the water is very dirty. But the silt-stopper also seems to be the weakest link in the system as it clogs easier than you might think. Once it clogs, good luck getting water out of the filter until you replace it. I've had no luck with field cleaning the silt-stopper filter. ...But like any filter, the best bet is to filter from a lighweight water carrier and let the water sit so silt settles to the bottom of the water carrier and never goes into the filter to begin with.

The only other interesting note about the Sweetwater is that it has a relief valve on the pump handle itself, and it pays to see that it is pointed away from you before you start to pump. If the filter's near to clogging and you pump too fast, you'll get a suprise if the valve is pointed toward you.

But overall, the Sweetwater's the best filter I've used. If it broke at this point, I'd probably replace it with another one.
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  #7  
Old 09-02-2011, 11:03 AM
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GGervin GGervin is offline
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I forgot to mention another unusual advantage to the Sweetwater. A lot of filter cartridges will expand and break if they're left out and freeze overnight. The Sweetwater won't be damaged by overnight freezes.
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Old 09-03-2011, 10:07 AM
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Outdoor_Jim Outdoor_Jim is offline
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I've had the hyperflow and sweetwater. I didn't have all the bad experiences that people report with the hyperflow but I didn't have my miles on it either.

I know use the sweetwater for all the reasons Reality talked about above. It's great but I do get nervous every time it plugs. So far the brush has taken care of it. I carry tables as a backup and double treat if I feel the need.

While I don't think it has a carbon portion I've got my eye on that new Sawyer Squeeze bag solution. It's on their website. I've read good reviews on it and I love the weight and not awkwardly swatting over a fragile creek bank pumping and not trying to spill or let the hoses touch and not falling in.
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  #9  
Old 09-03-2011, 10:43 AM
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Haclil Haclil is offline
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I want to put in a plug for General Ecology's First Need Water Purifier. In 30-odd years of using their pumps I've never been disappointed with them.

Granted, there are lighter systems out there. But I think the First Need wins in it's combination of easy pumping, robustness, versatility (prefilters, gravity feed), and efficiency in removing a broad spectrum of baddies.

Twice my First Need successfully purified really awful water. In the first instance a pool of water that had been turned red by some poisonous henbane plants that had been submerged after heavy rains. The second time I had returned to a cache a year later to find a yellowish-brown liquid that smelled of sulphur. Since I had little choice both times, I sat down with my pump and lo! produced sweet, clear water that was a pleasure to drink.
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  #10  
Old 09-03-2011, 02:21 PM
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texasbb texasbb is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Outdoor_Jim
I know use the sweetwater for all the reasons Reality talked about above. ... While I don't think it has a carbon portion ...
The Sweetwater does have an activated carbon core. As does the Miniworks. Not the Hyperflow, though.
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