Gear Guy

Which water filter should I get for an extended trip?

Enlighten me, as I confused. We are planning a 12-month trip and I still looking for the "ideal" water filter. And I in doubt. Which to buy, the MSR Miniworks or the Katadyn Pocket Filter? Aside from the obvious differences (price, weight, flow rate, capacity), the carbon-core element of the MSR is the main difference. But why would I need a carbon-core element? Hans Janssen

A: Well, as you note, one obvious difference is the price. The Katadyn Pocket Filter goes for $199, the MSR Miniworks for $70. Both use a ceramic based filter, although the Miniworks has a carbon core which helps improve the taste of water and remove some chemicals such as pesticides and chlorine.

I think the Miniworks remains one of the best-designed filters out there—it's what I use, and I've always liked its easy-pumping handle and its ability to adapt to a variety of water containers.

However, the Pocket Filter, which is made mostly of metal, is a clear favorite among users who demand the most rugged filter around. Katadyn, in fact, claims you can filter 13,000 gallons without a cleaning. And even if that figure isn't based on real-world conditions, if you settled for half that, you could pump nearly 18 gallons a day each day for a year without a cleaning. So while I think the Miniworks would work for you, if I were making the same trip. I'd probably go with the Katadyn simply from a durability standpoint.

Keep in mind that both filters are, well, filters, not purifiers. So if you're in virus-prone country—i.e., most of the world, outside North America and Europe—you'll need to treat the water to ensure its safety. The best solution, in my view, is to take several bottles of Sweetwater Viralstop solution, a chlorine-based solution that quickly treats water and leaves very little aftertaste. One two-ounce bottle ($8) treats 80 gallons of water.

Have a great trip!

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