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Hands-on Gear Review
Katadyn Hiker Pro Review
Cons: Largest filter pore size
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 around 14 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 MSR Guardian, which has a filter pore size of 0.02 microns, much smaller than the 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
Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings
A standard pump water filter, the Hiker Pro is reliable and easy to use.
As a durable and reliable pump filter, this contender 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 0.2 microns, though it is still approved for eliminating bacteria from water. The Sawyer Complete Water Treatment System has a pore size of 0.02 microns and can eliminate viruses. The Hiker Pro and other common pumps like the MSR Sweetwater Microfilter also have a pore size of 0.2.
Ease of Use
This filter is simple to use, although we do not like its strange pump handle and find it harder to hold on to the filter while pumping than any other conventional pump handle like the Katadyn Vario or the MSR Miniworks. Another 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.
This water 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 more than the MSR Aquatabs. Although it pumps water at about one liter per every 90 seconds, this pump is not the best for large groups and would take it on trips with 1-3 people maximum. We think a gravity filter like the Katadyn Gravity Camp 6L is best for large group scenarios.
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.
At just over 14 ounces including the storage case and hoses, this filter is average in weight. Not too heavy, but not ultra-light either. We think that gravity filters like the Platypus GravityWorks are a better, more lightweight choice over heavier conventional pumps.
This is a durable and reliable water filter that is great for general hiking and camping, solo or in small groups.
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.
The Katadyn Hiker Pro is is middle of the road when it comes to pump type filters. It is relatively inexpensive and can treat a moderate volume of water in its filter's lifetime (750). It is on the heavy side and we found it's unique handle more difficult to pump with than traditional filter handles. Generally, we prefer gravity filters over this type of pump.
Mini Ceramic Filter
Katadyn Micropur Purification Tablets
Hiker Pro Replacement Cartridge
Read our full comparison review of other Backpacking Water Treatment Methods to learn more.
— Jessica Haist
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: August 10, 2016
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