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Hands-on Gear Review
Katadyn Gravity Camp 6L Review
Cons: Assembly is difficult, outlet hose not compatible with all vessels
Bottom line: A durable, fast gravity filter that is a great choice for group backcountry trips.
Effective Against: Protozoa, bacteria, cysts
Time to Treat a Liter (Timed Test): 40 seconds for 1 liter
Gravity filters are so hot right now! The Katadyn Gravity Camp is the new kid on the block and we were pleasantly surprised with how it performed. This filter is the fastest of all the gravity models and is as durable as the MSR Autoflow Gravity Filter. This contender is quickly catching up to our award winning Platypus GravityWorks, but is not quite there yet in our scoring. Read on to find out what we did and didn't like about this unit.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Gravity Camp is a strong competitor with our other gravity filter models. It is durable, fast and easy to use. It is also one of the lightest of the gravity models we tested.
The Gravity Camp has a 0.2-micron pore size, the same as the MSR AutoFlow and the Platypus GravityWorks and will filter out protozoa and bacteria, not to mention other sediment and debris. Unlike the other gravity models we tested, the filter unit is a pleated glass fiber/carbon unit, whereas the others are hollow fiber. The filter cartridge is also inside the bag and we suspect this is why the flow is somehow faster.
This filter treats up to 1500 liters; again, the same as the other gravity units, although there may be less maintenance required; there is a filter protector screen that stays around the filter to keep large debris out and to prolong the life of the filter. You can rinse this off if it appears to be getting dirty, but otherwise, no maintenance should be required for the life of the filter. The other gravity models need to be back flushed quite frequently to maintain a steady flow. This filter unit does seem to be a little more fragile than the MSR and Platypus versions, so it should be treated and packed more carefully.
Ease of Use
Take the roll-top bag to your water source, dip it in, hang it up and plug the hose into the outlet valve and you should be good to go. Assembly of this product is a bit more difficult than the MSR AutoFlow as you need to screw the filter into the bag before you put it in the water source. We noticed that the outlet attachment/cap has a gasket that is somewhat finicky to get seated and will sometimes leak if it hasn't been placed properly.
We also wish that the outlet hose just had an open end like the AutoFlow or GravityWorks. Currently, it has a link end that is compatible with some hydration systems like Camelbaks but not all. If the hose end was just open, you could plug it into the end of all mouth pieces of hydration systems. The Gravity Camp does not have a water bottle adapter included, which is fine with us — you can just hold your bottle for 40 seconds while it fills up, or find somewhere to perch your bottle below as it fills.
The filter has a 1500 liter lifespan, which is pretty average for this type of filter. We think this is a great choice for a group camp since it is so fast and can filter six liters at a time. The Platypus GravityWorks has 2 four liter bags so can hold up to 8 liters at a time. It is light enough that we would carry it with us in the backcountry as well. You can also get this filter in the Base-Camp Pro 10L version where you have very large groups and want to treat water fast. If you're looking for instant drinking water, but don't need a lot of carrying capacity check out the Katadyn BeFree.
The Gravity Camp is the fastest model we tested, treating water at a mere 10 seconds per liter. That is really fast, so you'll never go thirsty waiting for this filter!
Other instant clean water providers are the LifeStraw and Sawyer Mini that you can drink straight out of for personal water filtration.
The Gravity Camp is now the second lightest gravity filter in this test at 11.5 ounces, half an ounce lighter than the GravityWorks but .6oz heavier than the AutoFlow. It is also lighter than all the pump style filters like the MSR Sweetwater. Taking this along with you in the backcountry should be a no-brainer.
We would take this filter with us on any kind of backcountry trip, especially with two or more people. It would also work great for any kind of base camping situation. If you're more of a solo hiker, something like the Sawyer Mini could be a great lightweight solution for you.
This is one of the best value gravity filters in this review. It beats out its competitors at a low ball price of $90, $30 less than the big name brands.
The Gravity Camp by Katadyn is creeping up on its competitors to become one of the best products out there. It is super fast and a great choice for groups of all sizes. Its bag is more durable than the Platypus GravityWorks and it is also faster and less expensive. Once it fixes a few finicky durability and use issues, it could surpass the competitors and become a top scoring product.
— Jessica Haist
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