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Water Filtration Test
February 17, 2011
Searching for a clean water source can be difficult in the Colorado high country, but on this day I was looking for the most contaminated. My plan was to run the dirtiest water through all the filtration systems to see which ones handled the job the best.
Finding a contaminated water source was a much easier task! The saying "Beaver Fever" had to come from somewhere, so when I walked by this beaver pond I knew I was in the right place.
I had a little better feeling about pumping from a crystal-clear high mountain stream, but I could still see elk droppings within 25 yards of the creek.
The MSR Gravity Works getting tested in a little cleaner environment... Poor thing needed a break after the beaver pond!
Yep, the best-tasting water always comes from a creek, not a faucet!
Platypus - Gravity Works
When we tested the Gravity Works in a controlled environment, it actually outperformed its listed rating of 140 ounces in 2 1/2 minutes. When we filtered water out of a debris-filled beaver pond, the output times increased by only a few seconds, and we didn't need to backflow the system until we had run 1,280 ounces of debris-filled water through it.
As with any-hollow-fiber filter, if the Gravity Works is subjected to subfreezing temperatures, the water inside the filter will expand and break the fibers, rendering the filter useless. [ $90;
Katadyn Hiker Pro
The Hiker Pro had the same output time (2 1⁄2 minutes per 100 ounces) with all water sources. It comes with a multitude of attachments for several types of water containers, and a quick-connect inflow valve, which allows you to keep the contaminated tube separate from the non-contaminated one.
The total output of the pleated filter was lower than we had hoped, becoming unusable after filtering 80 gallons of debris-filled water. The pleated filter does allow for field cleaning, but if it's pushed too far, a replacement will run about $39. [ $80;
MSR MiniWorks EX
The MiniWorks EX is very consistent, producing output times within seconds of each other with all water sources. The ceramic element (the working part of the filter) should have a long life span before needing to be replaced.
It was relatively slow, yielding 100 ounces of filtered water in 3 1⁄2 minutes. We experienced problems with the seals on our first test unit. [ $90;
Aron Snyder hiked into the backcountry to test water filtration systems on the market.
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