< Go to Backpacking Water Treatment

Hands-on Gear Review

MSR Hyperflow Microfilter Review


Backpacking Water Treatment

Click to enlarge
Price:   Varies from $75 - $100 online  —  Compare at 4 sellers
Pros:  Lightest and most compact pump filter, 1000 liter filter life.
Cons:  Complicated backflush maintenance that needs to be performed often.
Editors' Rating:     
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Manufacturer:   MSR

Overview

If you want a water filter reminiscent of a SuperSoaker Water Gun, the MSR Hyperflow Microfilter is the one. It is light, small, has a quick flow rate, and can be used to douse your hiking partner. As the lightest and most compact filter other than the Platypus Gravityworks Water Filter, it is the most desirable filtering system to carry on long hikes. It does not purify for viruses like Aquamira Water Treatment Drops or the First Need XL, but it does strain out particulate. Its primary downfall is a complicated back flush system that is directed to be performed every eight liters.

RELATED: Our complete review of backpacking water treatment

Compare Side-by-Side

Compare all Backpacking Water Treatment >

Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings

Review by:
McKenzie Long
Senior Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Monday
August 25, 2014
Lightweight and compact, the Hyperflow is one of the smallest pump filters on the market.

Performance Comparison


Click to enlarge
The MSR Hyperflow Microfilter is the lightest and most compact of all the pump filters, weighing only 9.5 oz. including the bag.

Reliability/Effectiveness


The hollow fiber filter in the MSR Hyperflow Microfilter is effective against bacteria and protozoa, but not viruses. It does filter out particulate and requires a rather involved back-flushing process.

Weight


The Hyperflow is the lightest and most compact filter system, weighing 9.5 oz. including the storage bag, so it is the most desirable to carry if your preferred method is a pump.

Time Before Drinking


Only requiring one minute 30 seconds to pump a liter, this pump is fast with a decent flow rate.

Ease of Use


The pump itself is simple to use, and feels like pumping a Super-Soaker Water Gun. The pre-filter seems to flip upside down easily rather than staying facedown in the water, but this is minor. Where this filter stops being incredibly simple is the back-flushing, which involves unscrewing it in two places and removing and reversing small valves. Normally this maintenance would not be that big of a pain, except that it is recommended to be done every eight liters, which is very frequent and becomes a drag on a long or multi-day hike.

Durability/Uses Before Maintenance


There are a lot of user reviews online that complain about this filter getting clogged easily and not working. MSR issued a recall of filter cartridges in 2009 to improve the flow of the cartridges, which may have solved the problem. In our experience with the Hyperflow, we have not had troublesome clogging and have found the system to flow quite well. If you have used the Hyperflow please leave a user review comment, because we are very interested in how it is performing for others.

On one hand, we love that the Hyperflow can filter 1000 liters before needing a replacement cartridge. But on the other hand, the backflush process in this baby is rather complicated, involves small parts that are easy to lose, and is frustrating. It is suggested that this be be done every eight liters, which is quite often and would be tedious on a long distance hike.

Taste


The taste of the water remains unchanged.

Best Application


Since this filter is so light, it is the best pump to carry on long hikes or backpacking trips where weight is a concern. Often people forego carrying a filter because they are too heavy, and the Hyperflow makes a case for bringing one anyway to keep yourself from getting sick.

Value


At $100, this filter is slightly more expensive than the standard pumps like the MSR Sweetwater Microfilter and the Katadyn Hiker Pro and less than the nifty UV purifiers like SteriPEN Journey LCD or a gravity-fed filter like the Platypus Gravityworks Water Filter. In our opinion, spending an extra $20 for a gravity filter is worth it.

Other Versions and Accessories


Click to enlarge
MSR AutoFlow Gravity Filter
  • Gravity fed water filtration system
  • Treat and store up to 4L of water
  • Does not include second bag
  • Durable DromLite material
  • 14.6oz
  • $120

MSR SweetWater Microfilter
Click to enlarge
  • Cost - $90
  • Earns out Top Pick award
  • Weight - 11 oz
  • Flow - 1 liter per minute
  • Strokes per liter - 75

Click to enlarge
MSR DromLite
  • lightweight version of the dromedary bag
  • Same screw cap, compatible with all attachments
  • Available in 2L, 4L, 6L and 10L sizes
  • $25-40 depending on size

Click to enlarge
Dromedary Bag Hydration Kit
  • Hose and mouthpiece to convert a dromedary bag into a hydration bladder
  • Screws onto original screw-cap lid
  • $20
McKenzie Long

Where to Buy?


Thinking about buying some gear we've reviewed? Help OutdoorGearLab out if you do. Just click on any of the above seller links and if you make any purchase, the seller will contribute a portion of the sale to help support this site. It won't cost you anything extra, and it's a simple way to help us fund our gear reviews. Thanks!

*Most retailers free shipping offers apply only to lower 48 US states using ground/economy shipping. See retailer's website for details.


OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: October 1, 2015
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (4.0)

75% of 4 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
5 Total Ratings
5 star: 20%  (1)
4 star: 40%  (2)
3 star: 40%  (2)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 4 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
Write a Review on this Gear

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
   Oct 1, 2015 - 12:50am
Vegan Packer · Backpacker · Miami Beach, Florida
Here is a video of me using the filter in the field: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWtlSbaAY7o. You will need to forward to 19:38 for the section on using the filter.

You will notice a slight modification that I made by switching out the floating prefilter that comes with the unit for an MSR Sweetwater Prefilter. This took care of the reports that mention how the stock prefilter tends of flip over during use.

In short, the pluses: fast fills, reasonable weight, able to pretty much completely drain of residual water after use. The minuses: backflushing is somewhat of a pain (but still not enough to be a deal breaker), only mounts directly to their heavy, proprietary cap for wide mouth bottles (though you can still easily fill small mouth bottles and bladders, etc.)

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
Help other readers find the most helpful reviews
Was this review helpful to you? 
Yes
 
No

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
   Apr 4, 2014 - 04:58pm
jclimb1 · Climber · Moab, UT
I'm not sure what the deal is with the complaints about the prefilter. See those black straps with Velcro on them? Slide a small rock or stake through them and they hold your prefilter down with the mesh facing up and not in the silt or mud. Works great.

I've used mine now for 3 years in the desert and mountains of southeast utah and haven't had a single problem. Even makes undesirable water taste reasonable. No clogs or break downs. I did build a hose that snaps into my camelbak to make fill ups a bit quicker.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
Help other readers find the most helpful reviews
Was this review helpful to you? 
Yes
 
No

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
   Feb 25, 2013 - 05:53pm
OutlawMike · Backpacker · Bremerton, Wa
I have had this unit for 2 years now. Haven't noticed a need to change the filter yet. I do make sure that I drain any excess water from it before storing it and moving on during my backpacking.
One down fall, if you don't secure the pre-filter good, and put in a stream that is flowing pretty well, then you might watch it flow down the stream/creek. :) But the nice thing is that a replacement is only $30.
I made some modifications to the system. I have quick release valves on my camel-back. So I bought other compatible quick release valves and attached them to the filtering system. This allows me to fill my camel-back while it is still in my pack. Saves me the headache of pulling it out and then trying to get it back into the pack.
The size, weight and ease of use will keep me using this product.
Click to enlarge
Olympic National Forest, Washington<br>
Kyle and Levi filling up without taking their camel-back out of their backpack.


Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
Help other readers find the most helpful reviews
Was this review helpful to you? 
Yes
 
No

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
   Jan 15, 2013 - 05:12am
Arc · Backpacker · Stanford, CA
I've used the Hyperflow on both day-hikes and backpacking trips for 3+ years and though in the beginning it was love at first sight the rosy glasses soon came off. Bringing a water filtration system on hikes with lots of elevation gain and a water source cuts literally pounds off your back. Also, nothing beats drinking freshly filtered snow-melt or mountain spring water. Compared to the old style ceramic/activated charcoal filters this thing is light and fast but it's also not nearly as durable. This is also a good system if you have water reservoirs or bottles with Nalgene style wide-mouths as it comes with a cap that mates with them so you don't have to transfer water.

The problems always start with the float/pre-filter. The plastic tubing and float are positively buoyant if air is in them and it can often be a challenge to get the end of the hose to sit in the water. A companion grew so frustrated on a backpacking trip that they took the pre-filter off. Mistake, this filter is very very sensitive to suspended particles in water and working the pump becomes a lot of work once a filter is clogged. Somewhere in the first 15 liters or so you'll notice a slow-down and then worse. Time to back-flush and recover about 50% of the initial flow. It's all down hill from there. New cartridges are expensive and I never seem to get more than a years worth of trips out of one.

Last summer I brought Aquamira on a few trips along with the filter, then just Aquimira after the less than a year old cartridge suddenly clogged. I miss the taste that you get only from filtered water but not the hassle.

I give the system three starts because when it's working well it really shines but there are also lighter and more cost effective options.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
Help other readers find the most helpful reviews
Was this review helpful to you? 
Yes
 
No


Have you used the MSR Hyperflow Microfilter?
Don't hold back. Share your viewpoint by posting a review with your thoughts...

Write a Review on this Gear
Where's the Best Price?
Seller Price
Amazon $74.95  -  25% off!
Backcountry $99.95
REI $99.95
Compare prices at 4 sellers >

*You help support OutdoorGearLab's product testing and reviews by purchasing from our retail partners.

Unbiased.