A water filter is one of the most important pieces of gear you can carry. Without water, your chances of surviving for any length of time are pretty small. Not having enough clean drinkable water prevents your body from carrying out its normal functions, and can lead to death in as little as three days (possibly much sooner in harsh desert environments).
Whether you’re a hiker, a prepper or just someone who enjoys wilderness activities, having a way to obtain clean drinkable water is essential to your survival. While there are a number of water filters on the market, there is only one that I trust enough to put in my bugout bags, and carry as my main form of filtration when hiking. That Filter is the Katadyn Pocket Water Microfilter.
Over the years I have encountered a number of different types of water filters. While some of them worked for a while, not many of them were built to last. When choosing a water filter, one thing I look at, is how well it can take a beating. The last thing you want is a wimpy filter that breaks the first time you accidentally drop it.
Why we like the Katadyn Pocket Microfilter
The Katadyn Pocket Microfilter is no skimpy water filter; the thing is tough and can take a beating.
The manufacturer claims that it’s built for a lifetime of use, and they back up their claim with a lifetime warranty. From our own internal testing, I can tell you that this is one rock solid filter. In my opinion, it’s probably one of the most reliable and longest lasting filters on the market. As an update to the original review, this filter is going on its third year now and is just as solid and reliable as the first day I started using it.
Through a countless number of excursions into the wilderness, this filter has never once failed to deliver clean drinkable water. Its construction is top-notch and feels tougher, and more durable than any of the water filters that I’ve used over the years.
While it is one of the pricier filters on the market, its durability, ease of use and lifetime guarantee more than make up for the higher price tag. I’ve used some of the cheaper plastic filters in the past and found that many of them failed even during controlled conditions. That’s the last thing you ever want to happen in an emergency situation.
In a survival situation, water is your number one priority. Do you really want to put your life in the hands of a cheap plastic filter? When choosing something as important as a water filter, this is one area where I refuse to settle for anything but the best.
The Dirty Details
How much water can you filter with the Katadyn Pocket Microfilter?
The internal silver impregnated ceramic cartridge is designed to filter up to 13,000 gallons of water. The average person drinks somewhere around 1.9 Liters a day so that averages out to roughly 71 years’ worth of drinking water from this one filter.
How does the Katadyn Pocket Microfilter stack up against the competition?
A lifesaving product like this needs to be built to last, and must be able to stand up to the harshest of environments. Hands down the Katadyn Microfilter has got to be the most durable, dependable and well-designed filter that I’ve ever tested.
It’s easy to use, easy to field clean and uses top quality materials that give it a rock solid feel.
One thing that you need to consider is the overall weight of the filter. Although the Katadyn Pocket Microfilter is slightly heavier than other filters of its size, its reliability and indestructible design make it a much better option than its plastic counterparts. While some light hikers may be a little disappointed with the filters 20oz weight, those that have never considered carrying one may find it helps them reduce their overall pack weight.
A gallon of water weighs over 8 pounds; carrying a water filter and knowing where to find water can help cut down on a significant amount of water weight. I usually carry the Katadyn filter with one full canteen and one empty one in my pack. The empty one allows me to cut down on water weight while giving me the option of carrying extra water if I’m in an area where it’s scarce.
The filter is built to eliminate micro-organisms such as bacteria, protozoa, cysts, algae, spores, viruses and sediments greater than greater than 0.2 microns( 0.0002 mm). This effectively eliminates microbiological contaminants to the U.S. EPA standards for filtered water.
The filtration process itself was extremely easy. It worked with every commercially available canteen or bottle that we tried and even worked well when trying to fill up our hydration packs.
When it comes to buying a product that your life depends on, you better be damn sure that product is built to last. In my opinion, the Katadyn Pocket Microfilter is one of the only filters on the market that can live up to that challenge.
If you’re interested in taking a look at the filter, you can buy them through Amazon.
Best and longest lasting piece of gear in my bag. Have one going on 9 years now and have never had a problem.
the only problem I’ve had was in very cold weather.
maybe stitch a pocket inside your coat to keep it warm.
how well does it work on chemicals. if shtf does happen alot of water will be contaminated.
when new Orleans got flooded water every where could not drink from house hold chemicals to salt to raw sewerage will this product work in that kind of soup?????
It’ll remove the shit but leave the salt.
Since 1988 I have a Katadyn Pocket water filter, and one new filter element, in the packack that lives in my 4×4 suburban. We have a Big Berkey in the kitchen for cooking and drinking water.
Very good review. I’ve been wanting one for a while but it’s still quite expensive and, well, there are other priorities. Thanks.
Look on ebay got mine for a hundred bucks
Other priorities, tell me what other priorities their are that come ahead of water. If you have no water you die, if you drink contaminated water you become sick or die. So again, what priorities are more important that water. Let me guess, getting that 20th rifle to your collection that you never shoot…..
Not everybody has money to throw around. Some people have children that they are putting through college, and see that as a priority over a camping water filter. I would definitely choose paying for my child’s college textbooks rather than buying this equipment. It is a nice thing to have, but there are many other expenses that have to be paid before purchasing something like this.
water is a necessity to live. what good is a textbook if you die of thirst?
lol, u ignorant
Got that right! College isn’t a necessity
There are numerous ways to purify water. After you have drank the last reserves of your water from what is left in the hot water heater. Now it is time to get a bucket or small baby pool and collect the water from rain. Pure drinkable water. Unless there is a contamination in the atmosphere, in which case your expensive hiking toy is of no use. All you need is charcoal or burnt wood, and sand or dirt, and a cloth to filter water if you cannot boil it. There is no such think as a stupid question. Just stupid people.
You are right, not everyone has the money to buy something to take hiking / camping. Hell, not everyone has the money to go hiking / camping. Yes, it does take money to do these things.
That being said, you are not right, nor are you wrong. Look at another perspective. You are betting on a strong future by putting your kid through college. By saying that is more important, you are betting that nothing is going to happen. Others on this site are betting that something will. No one knows what is going to happen, nor when it is going to happen. Their view is slightly different than yours. It doesn’t make them any more right or wrong than you. And this goes to everyone on here, about every topic. Guys have some peace with each other. If no major disaster comes, then Paradox is going to be happy that he put his kid through college. If it does and he needs help, be there to help him.
Amen and well said. If SHTF, I hope I run into people like you, Urban Nomad.
Wait till the grid goes down everybody will be hikng and camping. Its called being a refugee. Fail to plan is a plan to fail.
It is common sense, like your comment. We all have different views to what will or could be, having tolerance for others is key for survival. I carry an EDC flashlight, and use it a lot. Some people could say why waste your time when you have lights and street lamps etc, but then when there isn’t any who do they ask? As for this filter I have one and used it in many places with no problems at all. Always looking for a spare filter though.
When the shtf you wont have to worry about college but you will have to worry about water. Do u watch the news lately
It’s not that simple – this thing is $300. It’s the Cadillac of water filters. You can buy a $20 Lifestraw that works just fine – won’t last as long as the Katadyn, but for the vast majority of folks it makes more sense to buy a $20 filter than the $300 fancy Katadyn. Yes, water is vital to life – no duh. But if we all have to have fancy brushed metal Katadyn filters to drink water, we’re all doomed, especially when a decent alternative can be had for one fifteenth the cost.
Sweet review although I wouldnt be able to afford one, id think i’ll stick to boiling water first, then add some tablets and or use tampons to improvise a straw out of it
Nice. I looked long and hard at one before eventually going with the Steripen. I’ve only used it during one weekend camping trip so far but it seems to work well.
Steripens are not at all comparable to Katadyn filters (especially this one). You’re comparing a UV device with a .02 micron ceramic element. That’s the definition of comparing apples to oranges.
My only complaint about this filter is that it produces a bit of a plastic-y taste. Any ideas how to cut down on that?
You can buy the Katadyn Carbon Cartridge and it will take that plastic-y taste away. Same thing happened to us when we first used it now our water taste great
I believe the steripen is an ideal compliment to a Katadyn Pocket filter, as there are things that the steripen can do that a filter can not, and vice versa. For instance, the Katadyn pocket filter (or any filter for that matter) will most likely not remove leptospirosis.
It is worth noting that there are various disputes ongoing regarding the ability for pore, charcoal, and membrane to filter leptospirosis, which is a 0.2 micron diameter by 3-12 micron in length bacteria. Think of it like a sub micron size long, thin spaghetti noodle. I have read that scientist and laboratories have found only a 0.1 micron filter will effectively strain 100% of leptospirosis, so I am inclined to err on the side of caution and believe that no 0.2 micron filter will effectively remove 99.9999% leptospirosis. Given the severity of the side effects and complications from leptospirosis, I think it is wise to take extra precautions.
Therefore, for certain backcountry water conditions where leptospirosis may be present, such as those found in Hawaii (Na Pali coast is a great example), you should consider a secondary purification method.
My personal water purification workflow involves using my Katadyn Pocket filter with carbon filter output to pre filter the water into a 1 liter bottle, then use a steripen to purify each liter at a time. I then pour each liter into either my 3 liter Camelback or MSR dromedary bag. Laborious certainly, but I don’t put a time limit or price on the purity of my water in a back country scenario, and most especially in a survival or grid down scenario. Some people say “ah, who cares, I’ll take my chances,” but this “me only” approach totally ignores the scenario where you may be purifying water for a pregnant woman, small child, or elderly person. Failure is not an option.
I have also used the steripen as a stand alone system when I know that the water is not going to have chemicals or large contaminants, i.e. a fast flowing cold water mountain stream. I do have a high degree of confidence in this system, but also understand the limitations and points of failures (dead batteries, broken UV lamp, etc.).
Alternatively, I have also pre-treated water with the Katadyn Micropur tablets (chlorine dioxide) to treat a larger volume first, then run it thru the Katadyn pocket filter to remove sediments and the carbon filter to remove chemicals.
For grid down / off grid / long term survival situations, there are a multitude of options and water treatment workflows, and each one has it’s pros and limitations. The important thing is to consider each option, risks, and scenario,- RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH, and then pick a tool or set of tools to help you accomplish the mission.
Scientia potentia est!
sounds like someone.. should be creating something for the mass market of people who need and want it! get to work!
Thanks, Knowledge. Great response. What kind of carbon filter do you use for your Katadyn Pocket Filter to ‘prefilter’ its output to your one liter bottle?
If the water is clear then boil it, if not then filter it first. The Steripen can save the need to boil it but it wont remove the particulate matter.
I have been using this filter for a couple of years now…a good way of getting rid of the plastic taste is to put flavoring in the water…I use Zip Fiz from Costco.
I own one of these filters, never used it (it’s for just in case), but the literature says that it is NOT rated for viruses, but this article claims that it is…
You are correct, you still need to treat the water
glad to know someone thinks I maid the right choice just for all you that are on the fense something to think about you pay a buck for a 20 oz. of water. going by the mfg claims on the filter if you get half of what the claim if I remember 13,000 gallons of water that comes out to .50 and if you have a decent water supply and you get the 13000, out of it the is enough water to last a few years not just a week or 2
As an avid camper going out at least 12 trips a year in all kinds of weather, water treatment has been high on my priorities, since carrying multiple pounds of water is just a pain in the back and knees (and points in-between).
The Katadyn Pocket filter weighing in at just over a pound on my scale is by far the best, most reliable and durable filter available for portable usage, IMHO.
I have used the gravity H2O Amigo (no longer sold) and built my own gravity filter from Platypus bags even before Platypus packaged their own gravity filter rig. Gravity filters are nice so you can be filtering water while you setup camp, and are lightweight; great for a week long hike, but not as good for endurance.
There are other filters that attach directly to your water bottle that have worked okay over the years, but they can and do break. The Katadyn Pocket filter will far outlast 3, 4, or 5 of those; may as well get it over with, cry once and smile for much longer.
I also use the Steri-pen with the solar rechargeable batteries. I bring it when camping, but use that mostly when I am traveling to other countries to treat their tap water… never had any problems with other country tap water since using the Steri-pen, including places I had issues with before.
I think that this is one of your best choices for a water filter. The price, size, weight and durability are all good. I intend to pick one up for myself.
I have had the pocket filter for 4 years now and it still going strong It still looks NEW. Great Filter Highly recommended
I bought the hiker pro katadyn for around $60 but it only does 200 gallons. I wish I had known about this one. I still probably get one as water is important enough to have some redundancy.
This is a GREAT piece of gear, I have owned this since 2005, used it several times and even bought a spare filter replacement. Great peace of mind riding in my back pack. I do recommend using and keeping coffee filters in your pack to wrap around the water inlet pickup, so it keeps fine sediment or debris off the filter and this will increase filter life. Just wrap it around, use a rubber band or bread tie or hold it with your hand and start filtering water. God Bless.
I’ve been trying to decide which personal water filter I want to buy. This was very helpful, thanks! Have you tried making your own?
I have one of these units and it is without question the most solid well built portable unit on the market. I’m sure it will be operating 10 years from now but I’m not sure I can say the same about my plastic filters. But don’t rely on just one filter. I have six different filters. You need backups and backups for your backups when it comes to water.
I bought the Katadyn Pocket water filter in 2011 and used it a few times while camping in Algonquin Park. Worked awesome and I didn’t get sick once. The Katadyn website does say it cannot filter viruses smaller than .2 microns so I in combination with the filter I used the Steripen adventurer opti. I also attached a silt filter to the inlet of the katadyn which greatly reduced how often I had to clean the filter and an activated carbon filter on the outlet of the katadyn which improved the taste of the water. In the end I had clean, virus free, great tasting water for me and 4 of my other campers :).
How does the Katadyn compare with the Berkey?
Hi all. I’d love to get one of these and most likely will. But as a cheaper and compact solution, what are everyone’s thoughts on boiling/steripen/tablets and drinking through a Lifestraw. As far as I know boiling, use of tablets or the steripen would remove biological threats like bacteria and viruses; and the Lifestraw also has a 0.2 Micron filter so you’ve got pretty much the cleanest water you can expect. Only drawbacks being that the Lifestraw is good for 1,000 liters (obviously far less than the Katadyn) and it’s only for personal use so couldn’t be used to filter large amounts of water to store. BUT like I said, cheap and compact are the benefits of this strategy. What do you guys and gals think?
In my opinion the Katadyn is the best option due to it’s quality, readability and how long the filter will last. If you can’t afford the Katadyn, then any of the options you mentioned are going to be better than nothing, once you can afford the Katadyn the cheaper filter will make a good backup.
LOVE these water filtration ideas, but really, most of us can’t afford $400 for a filtration device when we have trouble paying expenses as it is. I know its a good investment, but just personally, don’t have that kind of money laying around. Thx.
What about winter applications ? It says not to freeze the filter. Is that only if it is full of water, or no freezing at all ? What is the resolve for this scenario ?
Any moisture in the filter element will freeze and damage the element causing it to crumble . It must be cleaned and dried completely.
I’m looking at the cost of this device and it ranges from $199.00 to 375.00 can anyone tell me other than price what if anything is the difference? They both look the same. clr