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Hands-on Gear Review
Cons: Largest filter pore size.
Best Uses: Hiking and backpacking, backcountry camping.
One of the best-selling and most popular water filters, the Hiker Pro is easy to use, reliable, and effective against bacteria and protozoa, but not viruses. It is very similar in features to the MSR Sweetwater Microfilter, having almost identical weight 12.5+ ounces), pump-time (1.5 min per liter), capacity (750 liters), and price ($85-$89). If you want a pump that filters out the most harmful pathogens, go with the First Need XL, which has a filter pore size of 0.1 microns, much smaller than the Katadyn Hiker Pro's 0.2 micron pore size. If you are interested in the lightest and most economical method to purify your water, check out Aquamira Water Treatment Drops.
RELATED: Our complete review of backpacking water treatment
OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
A standard pump water filter, the Hiker Pro is reliable and easy to use.
As a durable and reliable pump filter, the Katadyn Hiker Pro effectively eliminates bacteria, protozoa, and cysts but not viruses. It uses an AntiClog pleated cartridge made of glass fiber that includes activated carbon granules. One detail of note is that a simplistic standard for comparing water filters is measuring pore size. Typically, a pore size of 0.2 microns or under is the ideal size for capturing the smallest bacteria. The smaller the pore size the more harmful organisms are strained out of the water. This filter has the largest pore size of any we reviewed, at 0.3 microns, though it is still approved for eliminating bacteria from water. The First Need XL has a pore size of 0.1 microns and can eliminate viruses. Other common pumps like the MSR Sweetwater Microfilter also have a pore size of 0.2.
At just over 12 ounces including the storage case and hoses, this filter is average in weight. Not too heavy, but not ultra-light either.
Time Before Drinking
Relatively easy to pump, the Hiker Pro takes a little over a minute and a half to pump a liter, which is not long to wait.
Ease of Use
This filter is simple to use. The only issue is that sometimes the pre-filter gets clogged when filtering silty water. Attaching a coffee filter around the outside of the pre-filter keeps this from happening and allows it to work smoothly.
Durability/Uses Before Maintenance
This filter is good for 750 liters before needing a replacement cartridge ($39-49). This is not nearly as much capacity as a ceramic filter like in the MSR Miniworks EX, which is good for 2000 liters, but it is longer than the Aqua Vessel or the First Need XL.
The taste of really gross water is improved slightly by the reduction of bad tastes and odors, and mountain stream water remains tasting fresh.
This is a durable and reliable water filter that is great for general hiking and camping.
At $85, this water pump is average in price for this type of product. It is less expensive than UV treatments such as a SteriPEN, but more expensive than a chlorine dioxide treatment.
Mini Ceramic Filter
Base Camp Filter
Katadyn Micropur Purification Tablets
Hiker Pro Replacement Cartridge
Read our full comparison review of other Backpacking Water Treatment Methods to learn more.
— McKenzie Long
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: July 9, 2015
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