Gear Guy

Can you help me choose an effective water filter?

I have been trying to decide between the PUR Guide water filter and the MSR MiniWorks, although I have heard that the MSR clogs less and is cleanable. However, the MiniWorks' high pump per liter ratio has turned me off, especially as the PUR Guide boasts a more efficient output. I will be using the filter mostly in high alpine areas where the water is fairly clear of mud and silt. What are your thoughts? Jim Huntsville, Utah

A: I have used MSR filters since they first came out, and have never had one clog unless it was dunked in liquid that looked more like mud than water. And as for volume rates, keep in mind that the job of a filter is to squeeze water through very, very small holes in order to filter out bad things. So think of a low volume-per-pump rate as perhaps a GOOD thing. And in fact, while the PUR filter you mention is just fine, MSR filters are renowned for their extremely fine filter diameter, making them an excellent choice.

That said, for your use I think it's fair to say that the best choice is the one that you think has the best design. The PUR Guide Filter ($70) has a cushioned T-style handle, and a hose that can be stuck down the open end of a bottle or attached to a threaded bottle adapter. The MSR MiniWorks ($70) has a pump handle like an old-style water pump, which I've always thought was more ergonomic than the up-and-down style used by other designs. And the water bottle attaches directly to the bottom of the pump (hose feed optional). Both filters have a pretty good field-maintenance record and are easy to work with.

So, try to get to a store that will let you fill a few water bottles with each model. Whichever one seems most convenient, buy it.

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