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Water Filters

Discussion in 'Preparedness & Survival' started by timbernet, Nov 29, 2009.

  1. timbernet

    timbernet Boring, Oregon Member

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    I've been looking at water filters recently and I am torn between the MSR MiniWorks EX and the MSR SweetWater.

    Both have the same micron level filtration, both cost the same. The SweetWater comes with a Chlorine based liquid that you can add to your water to kill even more (if you know the stuff you are drinking is really nasty).

    Really... it looks like the difference comes down to the actual filter. Ceramic vs. Carbon based.

    I've read somewhere... can't find the link :( that one is easier to clean in the field, but the other handles colder temperatures without breaking... So based on materials, I would assume the ceramic is easier to field clean, but doesn't handle the cold as well.

    Does anyone know anything about that?

    Of the two filters mentioned, which do you suggest?
    I know some might mention the katadyn hiker pro -- I looked at it, but it only has a 0.3 micron filter instead of the 0.2 micron of the MSRs.
     
  2. OFADAN

    OFADAN Brownsville, OR Well-Known Member

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    If you want to call and chat I'll help you just call the OFA office number below...I'll do the best I can here tho...OFA is a MSR dealer (no I'm not trying to sell you anything) and we use both models (and some others) for our Wilderness and Urban Survival courses. I train in the wild frequently and use both along with other filters/purifiers.

    You've gotta figure out what you're intending on using them for and then select the one that fits the mission/purpose profile for urban and/or wilderness settings. I can help you better by phone than this forum in order to determine what attributes are most important for your mission/purpose.

    Everything is a trade-off. Including these two models. Either one is fine from an effectiveness perspective. Both are rated at .2 micron. You've already figured this part out.

    The EX is heavier and larger if weight and size is a consideration but it is very easy to clean in the field (big plus) and it will screw onto wide mouth Kleen Kanteen, Goyat, and Nalgene bottles and filter H20 right into them - nice!

    The one we use has performed flawlessly in the field. It cranks out H20 very fast. I can attach it quickly to my water bottle, fill a Camelbak, and fill up MSR water containers very easily. But it is bigger and heavier - a trade off.

    The Sweetwater fared better in a military/gov testing a few years ago in filtering effectiveness and is ranked as one of the top filters. It is smaller and lighter weight. When plugged you do not have the capcity to clean in the field unless you have a replacement cartridge. I've found it is harder to pump at times.

    Bottom line..all filters can and will plug. Sediment will plug them up unless you practice effective filtering techniques. Some filters are rendered completely useless because of it. So you'd better have a plan b, c, and d in mind - cuz the day will come! The EX is easier to clean in the field but is bulker and heavier - plus you've got a chance of loosing the cleaning tools in the field (don't ask me how I know).

    Although I do not own a Hiker Pro and we've never sold one...it is considered the bellweather for a hard core reliable filter and is very popular with hiking, backpacking and wilderness surivival crowd.

    Good luck - hope this helps.
     
  3. cameronhu

    cameronhu Ridgefield, Wa Member

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    I think the first thing to consider is if you want a filter, or a purifier. - The Sweetwater does purification- but you need to add the drops. I use a First Need XL Purifier. The main reason I bought it was because I was volunteering for the Katrina response, and the environment was more likely to contain contaminated crap in the water. The trade off was having to replace the canister after 150 gallons.

    If you only need a filter, the MSRs are great.
     
  4. Wenis

    Wenis Tri-Cities, WA Member

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    I bought the ceramic Katadyn Pocket filter because of its ruggedness and ceramic filter to last up to 13,000 gallons before needing to be replaced. I haven't put it through anything that a normal filter couldn't handle, but knowing I have the capability keeps my mind and health at ease.
    katapic8013618.jpg
     
  5. timbernet

    timbernet Boring, Oregon Member

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    Yes it does... and it doesn't at the same time :)

    Really it sounds like I can't go wrong with either MSR. Both have their pros and cons... I think I might get BOTH over a small period of time -- depending on what I am doing and where I am going. I'd rather pay a few hundred for a few filters than get sick from water.

    MSR has a silt-stopper pre-filter with fairly cheap replacement stoppers -- of course it works with any filter - but just adding that will increase the useful life of the main filter.

    I *think* I need a filter... or if I need to purify further I could add the Sweetwater drops. Since I am in rural Oregon - far from most sources of massive pollution (factories, sewers, etc) - I don't think I need to worry about the pollution like Katrina had.... THAT said... who knows what the future holds... in case of a natural disaster or something how will the environment change? Nobody knows...

    That looks nice.... hmm... something else to add to the list!
     
  6. Sun195

    Sun195 Pugetropolis, WA Well-Known Member

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    The Katadyn's are very nicely made, but I don't care for the push/pull pumping action. I find this type of pump gets tiring if you have a lot of water to filter. I prefer the MSR lever-style pumping action.

    Although, if I ever have a lot of water to filter again (I'm talking gallons) I'd probably go with a gravity-fed system (like a Katadyn TRK Drip Ceradyn).

    In general, I do prefer the ceramic filters as field maintenance is easy & service life is quite long.
     
  7. OFADAN

    OFADAN Brownsville, OR Well-Known Member

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    Not sure what you need a filter or purifier?

    Granted you live in a rural area and you have less human interaction with the water but it can happen. If there is any chance of human's passing near, in, or over (as in boat) of the water then it could be contaiminated with a virus. Hep B can live a month on paper. Viruses don't make a stream turbid so it could look pure and not be. Viruses live just fine in fast or slow moving water.

    Remember Protozoa such as crypto and giardia are relatively easy to filter out, bacteria such as cholera and salmonella are smaller than Protozoa and harder to filter out. And Viruses such as Hep A and B are the tiniest pathogens of all and need purification. Hep is much more prevelent than most of us want to think.

    Filters trap protozoa of 2 to 15 microns and bacteria 0.2 to 10 microns but viruses are too tiny averaging between 0.004 to 0.1 microns. Keep in mind this period ( . ) is approximately 500 microns.

    Again, I don't know exactly what your intent is...if you looking for an everyday filter for your home then call a water place in a larger city - I just installed a full time filter on my home H20 system for around $150 and my home drinking water is now filtered. If you need something for an occasional backpacking/hunting trip or road travel or what...

    But you might want to consider getting a filter and then also getting the Steripen. The Steripen is UV which irradiates the water neutralizing all pathogens including viruses. It is battery operated but if you go with the Classic model you can use rechargable AA batteries which can be recharaged by a small solar panel. I've been using one for two years now and it goes with me everywhere. I don't trust municiple water systems where I travel to train. So I take a MSR filter and a Steripen with spare batteries and a recharger. I UV all my drinking water when I'm out of my area.

    If you need larger volumes of water (for extended stays rather than an overnight) then you could consider the MSR Autoflow or Playtapus Clearstream which is what I use when I'm on an extended stay/base camp situation.

    One of our student's wife is a full time grad school qualified Microbiologist. She has scared the living you-know-what out of me regarding H20 rural or urban. So I now use the Steripen to UV all my drinking water when I can.

    No perfect system...everything has trade offs...
     
  8. m45acp

    m45acp Salem Member

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    there is a big difference between the two; this site will explain it (I can't) and give some info on large volume usage or portable units. As said it is a trade-off between efficiency, cost, portability, durability, etc.

    copy and paste

    http://www.pleasanthillgrain.com/be...lter_british_berkefeld_portable_purifier.aspx

    considering nearly all city water systems need electricity and do not have manual backup, preparation for some lengthy term of purification is feasible for one's self and family....and friends.......
     
  9. powersbj

    powersbj Seattle Area Active Member

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    I backpack with an MSR, its the ceramic filter version but I dont remember the model name. Its pretty easy to clean in the field, just pop out the filter and gently rub it down with a scotchbrite pad. There are a few tricks making your filter last a bit longer like useing it in fast moving water if possible, and putting a paper coffee filter over the intake hose. I always have a small bottle of bleach on me to treat water further if it needs it.... I caught some giardia once cause I was lazy and figured the water was clean... not fun blowing stuff out both ends in the middle of the jungle....
     
  10. Sun195

    Sun195 Pugetropolis, WA Well-Known Member

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    One thing to consider with the Steripen is that it doesn't work as well in turbid (cloudy, gunky, whatever) water. It helps to have a handkerchief or something to filter some of the junk out before you use the Steripen.
     
  11. OFADAN

    OFADAN Brownsville, OR Well-Known Member

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    Yep, they make a pre-filter or you can find other work arounds to accomplish the same thing. Again without knowing exactly where and what he intends to do we're just shooting in the dark in giving advice on tablets, UV, filters, boiliing etc.
     
  12. timbernet

    timbernet Boring, Oregon Member

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    Yes... no perfect system - but I have no issues buying a couple different systems for those different situations. (Large volume, hiking, car travel, etc, etc)

    So back to your first question: Do I need a filter or purifier? Well... I really don't know....

    When I was younger and in the Boy Scouts we hiked around Mount Hood and just used a filter - no issues there. But there easily could have been... you don't know what has gone on upstream. Or landed in the snow runoff, etc...

    So right now I think the Sweetwater, with its chemical purifier and a SiltStopper will be a pretty versatile system for most situations. I just need water for one person... for drinking and cooking while out in the woods.

    I've looked at the Steripen before and think I will grab one of those too...
     
  13. BlvdKing

    BlvdKing Almost Boring Member

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  14. XOR

    XOR Pacific NW Member

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    I own a Katadyn Pocket Filter (you need big pockets for it!). It's a great filter but is very heavy for backpacking solo. I would carry it only if I think I had to purify water for two or more people in a group or if I knew it was going to be extended hard use. I also own the Katadyn Mini which is a pocket ceramic filter. It's light weight but takes a lot of pumping to get water. It's OK for one person, but too much work for two. But if you're out in the woods you have all the time in the world though for pumping. It is also really compact. It could easily be included in a day trip type survival kit or for people looking for a lightweight filter that can be field cleaned easily.

    I've owned the Pur Hiker (now Katadyn branded) in the past which was a paper filter. It worked OK, but the paper filter can clog quickly and there is no way to clean it without damage. I plugged it up when the pre-filter hit creek bottom once by mistake and it was a real pain to get working again. The ceramic filters like Katadyn Pocket/Mini can simply be taken out and brushed off by comparison.

    The ceramic filters are fragile and you don't want to drop them when they are out being cleaned. I've also heard that freezing them with water in the filter can cause them to crack. Since you shouldn't leave water in your filters afterwards anyway this should not be a problem. If water froze in any filter I suspect you could have problems of some type (blown seals, etc.).

    If you are really worried about nasty bugs then you may want to consider taking along some Polar Pure iodine purifier (http://www.polarequipment.com/). It's a small lightweight bottle of iodine crystals that will last for thousands of gallons of making clean water. It leaves a taste in the water and I probably wouldn't want to use it for extended periods, but it should be able to clean up germs in the water. This is a cheap and great option for long term storage in emergency kits in vehicles, etc. for water purification.

    A friend of mine got Giardia after drinking water cleaned by a Steripen. The Doctor who cleaned him up thinks the cysts were in microscopic particles in the water (bark dust, etc. ) and didn't get hit by the UV. Or perhaps the exposure wasn't long enough. It was enough to convince my friend not to use the Steripen any more. If you do use one, then probably best to run it through a good filter first. They also take batteries which always worries me for field gear.

    I don't think viruses are a big problem here in the states. If you are worried about stuff like Hepatitis such as traveling south of the border then you probably want a vaccination. You can pick that up from people handling your food, etc. not just bad water. I'd put virus filtration at the bottom of the list of things to worry about personally and get a filter that is easy to use and service in the field.
     
  15. hefftuck

    hefftuck the Specific Northwest Member

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    i have the MSR ceramic one, great filter, took it to belize and used it in the jungle, not cause i needed to, just to see if i'd get sick or not i guess, it's goes camping with me several times a year, Mt. Rainier, the coast, always does it's job