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First Look: Katadyn ‘Gravity Filter’

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Wind raked waves off the mountain lake. I stooped to scoop water for dinner from the shore, six liters full into a bag.

In less than five minutes the water would be filtered and potable. The cleanse took no more work than hanging a bag from a branch.

I love gravity filters. These all-in-one water stations convert lake or river water to drinkable H20 with minimal work. Why not let gravity do the job as opposed to pumping or other methods of purifying water?

Three steps to purification (directions on side of bag)

Simply fill up the reservoir and watch as it seeps and flows through a filter placed down-gravity. Water is then routed through a hose for directing into a pot, bottle, or other holding container.

Katadyn this month announced two new models. Its Gravity Camp 6L and Base Camp 10L filters are touted to be the fastest flowing on the market.

(The units are for sale on REI now (see here for the 6L unit and here for the 10L; independent retailers will carry the Gravity models later this summer.)

I tested the 6L model and was impressed with the filtering speed as well as its overall ease of use. It has connectors that snap directly to my CamelBak bladder, making for a drip-proof seal.

Hose connectors click in place

On the Colorado lake I timed water filling a 100-ounce CamelBak. It took just under 2 minutes for lake water to flow clean into the hydration reservoir, filled up and ready to drink.

Filtering this much water via a pump would be much more of a chore. But gravity pushes the water through the system. You can even drink water right from the hose — the H2O shoots out with pressure like an ad hoc drinking fountain.

Katadyn notes it was the first company to introduce gravity water filters years ago. The company uses a 0.2-micron filter on the new units. This is a standard that Katadyn cites will eliminate protozoa and bacteria. It is the type of filter I use on most backcountry trips.

Filter unit out of the bag

The Katadyn filters pack up small and weigh as little as 11oz. (12.4oz. for the larger capacity model). They cost $89.95 and $99.95 respectively.

A final bonus: Katadyn guarantees the filters will not clog within the first year of use.

Look into the Katadyn gravity filters if you want a no-fuss, fast method for procuring water anywhere outside. —Stephen Regenold

Hands-off water purification at sunset on a mountain lake

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