Saturday, October 02, 2010

Review: Katadyn Pro Hiker Filter


I must admit to becoming a bit spoiled as a tramper in New Zealand. Like many other Kiwis, I tend to rely on rainwater collection tanks at the backcountry huts for my supply of clean drinking and cooking water. Most huts have these tanks, and since the NZ backcountry is rarely hit with drought conditions, the tanks are not often empty.

However, when tenting away from the beaten track, or on the rare occasion when rainwater is not available, trampers here do need a backup method of getting their water supply. In the past, we have used either boiling (the most reliable method, but you use a lot of extra fuel) or purification tablets.

Last weekend, I was able to test drive a Katadyn Hiker Pro water filter, something I haven't used since I relocated to NZ. I got a review one from allfilters.com, who sell all kinds of water filtering equipment for both home and away. They only stock Katadyn filters, and I wanted to give the Hiker Pro a try because a) it's under $100 which makes it reasonable for most backcountry campers to add to their gear collections, and b) it's reasonably small and lightweight (11 oz.) so it's not a burden to bring along on a trip. It also claims to get up to 750 litre (200 gallons) through the filter before it needs replacing, which seems like good value.

What makes this mode the 'pro' version is that it has extra attachments to connect the filter to either a widemouth Nalgene bottle or a hydration bladder. Being a bladder-user myself, I thought this was a good feature. Unfortunately it doesn't connect to ALL bladders, just certain brands that have a quick connect fitting built in. So no easy connection for me. Even my Nalgene is a narrow mouth!

The initial set up was relatively straightforward and the instructions easy to follow. I pre-cleaned the filter as instructed by pumping about a litre of water through it before we left home. This cleaned the dust out of the filter (which was clearly necessary!)


I took the Hiker Pro out to one of our favourite spots in the Catchpool Valley on a lovely spring day. I stopped next to a running stream and gave it a go.

It was easy to pump, and quickly filled my bottle. Their fill rate of 1 quart (1 litre) per minute seems accurate. The water tasted great, and 24 hours later my tummy is just fine so it must have worked!

There is a good pre-filter at the end of the intake hose which keeps the filter from getting gunked up with leaves and other large particles.

They also supply you with a separate carrying baggie for the output hose, to keep it from getting cross-contamination when carried with the rest of the filter. Everything fits in a small, nylon pouch which packs well.


The Hiker Pro has a 0.3 micron filter. This is small enough to remove bacteria and protozoan cysts like Giardia. It will not filter out viruses, so if your water supply is likely to have viral contamination you should still boil it as a precaution.

This is not the smallest or lightest water purification you can buy, but unlike a Steripen you don't need to rely on batteries, unlike purification tablets it doesn't make the water taste strange, and unlike boiling you don't need fuel or fire. If I'm going somewhere with a questionable water supply, I will definitely be bringing it along.

3 comments:

Mike said...

Hi Michelle.

I took the Hiker Pro out to one of our favourite spots in the Catchpool Valley on a lovely spring day. I stopped next to a running stream and gave it a go. It was easy to pump, and quickly filled my bottle. Their fill rate of 1 quart (1 litre) per minute seems accurate. The water tasted great, and 24 hours later my tummy is just fine so it must have worked!

I reckon most New Zealand river water is pretty safe to drink (and tastes great) straight from the river, to the extent that many huts next to a river don't bother with water tanks, and I know enough people who just keep a cup outside their pack when they're walking along a river. As long as it's coming straight out of the mountains and hasn't flowed through farms or populated areas or a Great Walk zone full of people, anyway. I'm not sure I know anyone who bothers to treat it. :)

A better test for tummy bugs than Catchpool Valley might be to filter some water from the Petone end of the Hutt River. I bet all kinds of yucky stuff gets into there before it flows into the harbour.

blogpackinglight said...

I can't see the point in pump filters when you can use much simpler and cheaper bottle filters like the Travel Tap, or even better the Super Delios. They are much easier to use, more convenient, give the same (or better) filtration and cheaper. A lot of walkers in the UK are moving to these in preference to other methods of filtration. I don't know whether they are available in NZ, though.

Ellie said...

Love it! Happy holidays to you and your readers.