Planning a backcountry adventure or safely traveling in a developing country is easier than ever before with recent advances in technology. Instead of hiking with numerous liters of water or packing heavy, non-reusable plastic bottles in your checked luggage, you can simply pack a water filter. All you need is a water source, such as a stream or questionable tap water. A Katadyn water filter is one popular option used by outdoor enthusiasts, such as bikers, trail runners and hikers.
Katadyn is a Swiss brand that specializes in providing clean drinking water. Other outdoor companies may offer a range of gear, such as tents and clothing, along with drinking water equipment. Katadyn is different in that it works by the motto ‘Making Water Drinking Water’ and offers a wide range of filtration and purification options without selling tents and other camping gear.
Many people are curious about Katadyn and how they can benefit it from the brand’s equipment. In this Katadyn water filter review, we go over some of the top Katadyn water filters. Our list of pros and cons is based on equipment specifications and customer reviews and was developed to provide the most reliable review possible.
We also compare Katadyn to two other brands to help you understand what your options are in a larger sense, as well as understand what makes Katadyn different from other filter brands. It is important to research different water filter options before making a purchase, as they are pieces of equipment that provide the most important component of a trip: safe drinking water.
What Is a Katadyn Water Filter?
- Easy-to-use design is great for the beginning camper to the serious backpacker
- The 0.2 micron glassfiber filter media is designed for high output with little effort
- Activated carbon in the core of the filter improves the taste and reduces chemicals in your drinking water
A water filter is a piece of equipment designed to screen out both seen and unseen particulates from unclean water, and thus provide the user with fresh, clean drinking water.
This is different from water purification, which has an added level of chemical cleansing. One traditional water cleansing system is the use of iodine tablets. While these are still used to clean water, many people prefer water filters because the water retains a fresh, untainted taste after filtration.
There are a few different filtration methods. Some filters use gravity to pull dirty water down through a filter until clean water is expelled into a storage container. These options sometimes take longer than filters that function with a hand pump.
Manually forcing the water through a filter provides drinking water in minutes. These options are usually most helpful when people are on-the-go and away from base camp. Kataydn offers models that utilize both technologies. Five examples of these Micropur models include the following:
- High performance 10 Liter Water filtration flows by gravity without pumping so valuable time is free for other...
- Features the newly developed pleated glass Ultra Flow Filter Element
- Gravity filter; 0.2 micron (0.0002 mm) Ultra Flow Filter pleated glass fiber
This filter uses gravity to filter dirty water into a clean storage container, such as a reservoir bag or a water bottle. It is easy to transport because it is a flexible and foldable bag. Katadyn also makes a 10-liter gravity bag filter system called the Base Camp Pro. Both are good options for people who want to filter a large quantity of water at a campsite, as opposed to on-the-go hiking. However, this is a good option for large groups of people who plan to take a long afternoon break on a day trip away from camp.
The Vario has a design that is ideal for on-the-go group functionality. It differs from the Gravity Camp in that it uses a hand pump instead of gravity to force water through the filter. It is also not foldable and will take up more space in a pack. A triple filtration system plus two output speed options make this a good choice for small families looking for a way to get clean water when hiking.
This filtration system is an excellent example of how Katadyn specializes in water filtration. It is one of the most expensive filtration options, with a price of over $1,000. It is designed to filter water for large groups, such as research teams composed of 10 or more people. It can also purify the water at a very high speed of 4 liters per minute. While it is designed to pack up and transport easily to different locations, this is not a filtration system to take on day hikes. It is intended to be an integral part of the base camp.
- Stay Clean Drink Nozzle keeps dir on the ground and out of your mouth.
- The BeFreeTM 0.1 micron microfilter is tested to protect against harmful organisms like bacteria and cysts.
- Free Flow ChannelsTM keep water flowing fast to hydrate you. No need to suck!
The BeFree system also uses gravity to filter the water. Instead of a long tube connecting the old water bag to the clean water container, as seen with the Gravity Camp and Gravity BeFree System, the BeFree system has a spout attached to the filter. It is possible to drink directly from the system or use it to refill water bottles. One unique aspect of this option is it is BPA-free. Other BeFree systems offered by Katadyn come in 1 liter and 0.6 liters. It is a compact and convenient option for either base camps or afternoon day trips.
This filter is a good option for individual hikers and bikers. It is designed to pack easily and work efficiently. The small size also correlates to a slower pump time of 1 liter per minute, as compared to some of the other, quicker models. One advantage of this filter is you can clean the filter protector even when away from camp, which means you do not need to worry about a clogged filter ruining your day. It is one of the lightest filters offered by Katadyn.
Each Katadyn model has distinguishing features that make it more suitable for certain groups and activities than others. For example, a research group with an established base camp in the wilderness would benefit from the Expedition, while a solo hiker looking to refill a water bottle from a stream would be better off with the Hiker Microfilter. Here we go through the specifications of five Katadyn water filtration models to help you understand what options are available for you.
10 inches x 2 inches x 6 inches
2 liters per minute
4 x 7.5 inches
2 or 1 liter per minute
22.8 x 7.9 inches
4 liters per minute
3.5 x 9.1 inches
2 liters per minute
3 x 6 inches
1 liter per minute
Katadyn water filters fall in the more expensive end of the price spectrum. This is because they are made of quality materials and last for a long time. Additional replacement parts are also available after the initial purchase. You can buy all the filters through online vendors, including Amazon and the Katadyn website. They can also be purchased in-store or online through retailers, such as Cabela’s and REI, that specialize in serving outdoor enthusiasts. Stores like these often offer sales that align with holidays, such as Labor Day. Shopping for filters around this time may help you find a good deal. Market prices for the previously described filters include the following::
- Gravity Camp 6L: $
- Vario: $
- Expedition: $$$
- BeFree Water Filtration System 3.0L: $
- Hiker Microfilter: $
How It Compares
There are many other brands that also provide quality water filter options. Here, we compare water filters from other brands that all utilize the gravity filtration technique..
Ease of Use:
One advantage of choosing a gravity-based filtration system instead of a hand pump system is the overall ease of use. After a long day of canoeing or hiking, it is more relaxing to simply hang and filter some water instead of leaning over a stream and hand pumping water. The Katadyn Gravity Camp is a good option to have at a base camp or while doing longer hikes with groups of people. One disadvantage noted by previous users is how excessive amounts of algae and debris can clog up the filter and make it unusable. In this case, it is a good idea to have a back-up filter option on hand.
MSR AutoFlow Gravity Filter 4L
Ease of Use:
The advantages of gravity filtration translate from the Katadyn to the MSR filter model. This option costs more than the Katadyn; however, there are more positive reviews and fewer complaints about clogging. The MSR is smaller than the Katadyn and also filters more slowly. Overall, the brand Katadyn offers more water filter options than MSR. Other filters, including the Katadyn Hiker MicroFilter and MSR MiniWorks Microfilter, fall in similar price ranges but vary in filter mediums, flow speed and water capacity.
Ease of Use:
Just as Katadyn specializes in water filtration systems and desalinization technology, so does Platypus specialize in pump-free filtration systems. Platypus offers GravityWorks technology in 4- and 2- liter sizes, as well as a Meta Bottle and Microfilter kit. Based on reviews, the Platypus is more effective and easy to use than the Katadyn and MSR, despite being more expensive. However, the brand does not offer any hand pump filters or desalination systems.
Pros and Cons
Katadyn is a popular and well-established brand in the water filter market. Many customers have used Katadyn systems when hiking in Colorado or canoeing in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota. With this in mind, we developed a list of pros and cons of the Katadyn brand.
Our Final Thoughts
Along with water filtration systems, Katadyn also offers water purification options including SteriPEN and desalinization systems. SteriPEN uses UV light to target chemical impurities. One important feature to note is a battery is required to use a SteriPEN.
So while it is extremely effective and easy to pack, it requires a power source as opposed to the water filtration systems reviews here that do not need external power. Desalinators are specially designed to remove salt from water. They are typically very expensive. For example, the Katadyn Survivor 06 has a price of $$$. This desalinization equipment is more for rescue operations and survival as opposed to recreational hiking and biking.
When purchasing a water filtration system for your next adventure, consider how many people will rely on the system for clean water and if you desire a more mobile or stationary option. High-quality filtration systems are designed to last for many years. Investing in a quality option early on will likely pay off down the road.
To extend the lifespan of your filtration system, be sure to replace the filter at recommended times and to pack it carefully between each site. With this advice and new knowledge gathered from our Katadyn water filter review in mind, you are now ready to make an informed decision about which filtration system is the best option for an upcoming adventure.