June 15, 2011

Katadyn Hiker Pro: Serious Detractions

Summary 
This filter broke my first trip using it and I don't trust its build enough to give it a second chance. 

I bought this filter on sale as a upgrade to my MSR Miniworks. I was looking for something faster and that could last longer between cleanings. The very high rating on REI's customer reviews and the recommendations of some friends convinced me to buy it over other filters. I used it on one 6-night backpacking trip to the Wind Rivers in Wyoming.

I say it so often, but when it comes to backpacking gear, durability is the most important feature. It doesn't matter how fast, light, or efficient a piece of gear is if it fails. This one failed. It wasn't an utter failure; it lasted me through the end of the trip, but on day three the piece that connects the 'in' hose to the filter  broke off. I was able to hold the hose in place though. Two days later the handle broke. This made filtering much more difficult. Despite the fact that I was able to use the filter the rest of the trip, it didn't impress me so when I returned it I decided to replace it with another filter. Truth be told, I could tell from the feel of the filter that it was not built with a high quality plastic, as opposed to the MSR Miniworks which, despite its drawbacks, is a well built filter.

If you get a filter that lasts, you should be pleased with its efficiency. At least that's my initial impression. It's lighter than comparable filters (perhaps in part to its lighter weight, more fragile plastic) and it pumps water very quickly. I can't speak to its long term efficiency however, since it lasted only a few days. The crux of weight and use efficiency is how it maintains that speed and ease of use over time (during long trips and multiple uses). I didn't use it long enough to be able to rate its long term efficiency.

I'm afraid that my personal experience with this filter was generally negative. Many people rave about this filter and have used it for years without the problems that I encountered, but that's the nature of individual reviews. It certainly detracted from the quality of my trip.

This filter was of very poor value. I payed for a decent filter and it failed me almost immediately. The only consolation is that I could return it easily.

Bottom line, I'm extremely disappointed in this water filter. It broke easily and left me looking for that illusive ideal filter.

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