Gear Review: Katadyn BeFree Water Filtration System
We recently got a chance to review a new on-the-go water filtration system. The Katadyn purifier is a personal and portable water filtration system designed to give you safe drinking water on the go. Now I am a believer in occasionally drinking unfiltered mountain water from very specific sources (and man is glacier fresh water tasty), but now with this handy little water filter, I’ll be taking it with me in case I get stuck in an area where I’m not comfortable with drinking unfiltered water. This is essentially a plastic bag with a filter on top, it’s so light and easy to use. It filters water as you drink. Literally, on the go.
The unit we got for review is a personal size bottle that fills 0.6 L (or 20 ounces) of water. This is a great size that you can literally take anywhere, since it weighs next to nothing. In fact, it’s so light and small, that I would also recommend stowing it in your backpack as safety item, which will be helpful in case you get stuck in an area with questionable drinking water.
The collapsible water filter has great reviews, and even won the editor’s choice 2017 in Backpacker magazine. It’s easy to clean. Simply shake or swish to remove any debris.
Pouring water from the unit is easy, and the spout delivers a normal, natural flow that you’d expect from any water bottle. The cap over the spout keeps dirt out, and is handy to have. The flow rate is great and if you want specifics, it pours water at a rate of 1 litre per minute.
How to use
The filter will work in either clear or cloudy water. Simply remove the cap and fill. To activate the filter, simply tip and start drinking, the water will start flowing right away. To clean any debris, just swish or shake. Or, you can swish the filter in any lake, river or stream. Reattach the cover, and you’re ready to go. The bottle produces a quick, even flow of water.
The filter removes bad taste as well, so the water you drink tastes great.
What does the filter do?
According to Katadyn, the filter can remove 99.9999% of harmful bacteria that cause sickness. This means you can get safe drinking water from virtually any source, and will be especially useful if you’re in a place where the water may be questionable. For example, in ranch areas where cows graze or meadows that sheep frequent. The micron filter protects you against harmful protozoa (99.99%) and bacteria (99.9999%) to EPA standards.
The bottle is easy to fill because of the wide mouth opening. The plastic is BPA free.
The bottle uses a hollow-fibre 0.1 micron filter to rid of bacteria and protozoa.
How long does it last?
The information given on the box states that the filter is tested for 1000 liters of water. So if you drink an average of approximately 1 liter every time you go out and use it, it will last you over 100 days. When you’re over that threshold, buy a new filter. Filters are also sold separately for when you need to replace them.
The unit retails for $39.95 and replacement filters cost $24.95. You can see the main part of the cost of this item is the filter.
Though the plastic is so light, it’s surprisingly durable. I keep it away from anything sharp in my pack (like a hiking pole) and wrap it in clothing in my pack when I’m storing it. It doesn’t seem fragile at all, and I haven’t had any issue with leaks.
More from Katadyn
The personal filter system isn’t for everyone, so the company has also made larger portable water systems for bigger groups. They have a pretty good selection of water filtration options for groups, including a 10 L bag called the Base Camp Pro.
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