Saturday, September 12, 2015

Update on Water Filtration

After extended use of my MSR Sweetwater hiking filter, I became unsatisfied with the filter. It was a pain to clean, requiring excessive scrubbing with the included brush, and I kept encountering flow issues after only 1.5-3 liters filtered after cleaning, and this was less than 20 liters total through the filter. This was patently unacceptable. It first began to disappoint me on our hike through the Harrison Hills segment of the Ice Age Trail. Field Cleaning the filter while covered in bugs, dead tired from a grueling hike was the LAST thing I wanted to do. To get it good and clean would have likely meant wasting up to 50% of our remaining clean water, and that just seemed like a losing proposition energy wise.

My intention had been to switch to the Platypus Gravity Works filter system, as that was what I had been eyeing alongside the Sweetwater this spring. But, as I looked at what REI had available to trade in for, I found this Katadyn Gravity Camp 6L filter on the REI website. The standing filtration element in the bag was appealing, because I believe it will provide a superior, less prone to blinding by sediment/silt filtration method. Even if silt settles to the bottom of the bag during filtration, it won't jam the hose. The filter will still pull water from above the sediment line. The fact that the Gravity Camp has a carbon element to the filter is a plus as well.

So, I traded in my MSR Sweetwater + the Prefilter that did jack, for ~$120, and bought the Katadyn Gravity Camp 6L and a 100oz Camelbak to fill from it, for ~$125.

The real lesson here, in addition to "The Sweetwater was too much work for too little water" and "make gravity do the work for you" seems to be "REI's Return Policy is AWESOME."

I did my final test of the Sweetwater, which it failed, at Firefly Lake. Tomorrow, Bob and I are headed up there, so we'll test out the Gravity Camp 6L and see how that does, and I'll have a gear review when I come back.