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Katadyn Hiker Pro Review

This is a reliable hand filter that can reach shallow water sources.
Katadyn Hiker Pro Transparent
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Price:  $80 List | $59.89 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, inexpensive, reliable, reaches shallow water sources
Cons:  Requires energy to filter, clogs with sediment
Manufacturer:   Katadyn
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 6, 2019
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70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 18
  • Water Quality - 20% 8
  • Durability & Maintenance - 20% 8
  • Treatment Time - 15% 6
  • Weight & Packability - 15% 5
  • Ease of Set-Up - 15% 9
  • Ease of Filtration - 15% 5

Our Verdict

The Katadyn Hiker Pro is a classic and reliable hand pump. It filters out both bacteria and protozoans like Giardia and Cryptosporidium, making it an ideal backcountry filter for North America. The ultra long tube and smaller intake can get into nooks and crannies that other hand pumps can't get into, accessing all sorts of water source sizes from small to large. Take it with you on your next fishing trip or while hiking in the desert.

While this filter does well in clear water, it does struggle in the silty stuff. Unlike the MSR Guardian Purifier, our favorite hand pump purifier, it does not have an automatic backflow, which causes it to clog easily when water sources aren't completely clear. While most filters couldn't stand up to this stuff, it's important to remember to pre-filter water that is extremely mucky. While the Guardian does take out viruses as well as the other stuff, it's far heavier and way more expensive. If the water sources are clear and you're heading out into the woods by yourself or with some friends, this reliable hand pump will help to keep you hydrated.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Katadyn Hiker Pro is an inexpensive and reliable handpump. Its perfectly happy providing clean and fresh water for small groups and solo hikers. While it does require some muscle to get a liter of water, it's one of our favorite hand pumps on the market.

Performance Comparison


We discovered that the Hiker Pro is a great choice when water sources are small and hard to reach.
We discovered that the Hiker Pro is a great choice when water sources are small and hard to reach.

Water Quality


This filter utilizes an anticlog pleated cartridge constructed of glass fiber and activated carbon that can filter out standard bacteria and protozoans (Giardia and Cryptosporidium) with 0.2-micron pore size. The activated carbon does a fantastic job cleaning the water of any nasty smells or stenches, leaving you with fresh, clean water to drink on the trail. We also like the clear overcoat that allows you to see the water that you're filtering out quickly.

The filter is easy to maintain and can rid water of bacteria  particulates  and protozoa  but not viruses.
The filter is easy to maintain and can rid water of bacteria, particulates, and protozoa, but not viruses.

Durability and Maintenance


Overall, this filter performed fine for us in the field but did require maintenance. The construction seems to be prime time with a pumping hand but is a little awkward at first to figure out.


While this filter isn't self-cleaning, it's certainly low maintenance unless you hit super silty or murky water. Make sure to clean it regularly so it can last you its rated 1,100 liters (~300 gallons). Some online users reported this filter cracking when they tried to force water through it when it was clogged. To avoid this catastrophe in the field, unscrew the bottom, remove the filter, and scrub it clean, then put it back together.

Keep in mind that filter life is highly dependent on the water source quality. If clear sources are what you're taking from regularly, expect a long life. But if sandy and silty sources are a norm, expect its life to decrease significantly.

Treatment Time


Treatment is relatively fast. During our timed trails, we averaged about 53 seconds to pump a liter. The flow is nice and fast, offering quick filtration.

While we do think that the time is decent, it's not early as fast as our Top Pick for Handpumps, the MSR Guardian, that proved to pump a liter in just under 38 seconds. Also, one of the issues we had with the Hiker Pro is that the handle is not super easy to grab. After a few pumping sessions, we also noticed that it got harder to pump the water through the filter. While these issues did occur, we are still happy with the overall treatment time.

Here we pump some water on-the-go  which doesn't take very long...especially to fill this personal use vessel that is just under one liter.
Here we pump some water on-the-go, which doesn't take very long...especially to fill this personal use vessel that is just under one liter.

Weight and Packability


Including the entire kit, this pump is pretty lightweight, weighing just 13.40 oz. For a handpump, this is pretty light, but it's not the lightest of other filters in this review. The packed size is also pretty decent, being just a little bit bigger than a Nalgene bottle. While this kit does come with a few parts when not assembled, we are happy with the cute little carry case included. The Hiker Pro is a far better option if you're seeking a handpump, but the MSR Guardian (1 lb 4.50 oz) is too heavy.

A look at the relative sizes of other handpumps like the MSR Guardian. The Katadyn Hiker Pro is much smaller  offering better functionality as a backcountry water filtration option for those who are weight conscious.
A look at the relative sizes of other handpumps like the MSR Guardian. The Katadyn Hiker Pro is much smaller, offering better functionality as a backcountry water filtration option for those who are weight conscious.

Ease of Setup


After the initial assembly, setup is pretty darn easy. Click everything into place and get on the go. When you're ready to pull the filter out on the trail, unload the bag, unzip, and get pumping.

This does have a bottle adaptor  but when the mouth is too small (or you lose the adaptor)  you can just put the tube in the water for easy filtration.
This does have a bottle adaptor, but when the mouth is too small (or you lose the adaptor), you can just put the tube in the water for easy filtration.

The hose that comes with the setup has a well-designed little float that keeps the tube from hitting the bottom of the puddle and sucking up muck. Because of the longer tube length, it has a nice niche where this filter can take water in from even the smallest sources. On a trip to Death Valley, we found it was easy to get water from tiny puddles without much effort. Overall, setup and water sourcing are easy. Get water from anywhere.

Make sure to pump through a bunch of water before your first filtration you want to drink. When we did our first filtration the water was tainted black from the activated carbon inside. After about 2L of pumping, it was nice and clear again.

Ease of Filtration


After you've found a nice cozy place to start the pumping process, you've got to get to work. All the hand pump filters earned low points in this category simply because you have to pump it using a little muscle. The handle on this pump is a little small, and the top is curved, making it hard to hold the filter. Holding the pump took some time getting used to, but filtration isn't bad for a pump filter.

The hose has a pre-filtration system affixed to the end to filter out larger debris when sucking in water from shallow sources. The water bottle adaptor fits easily onto a Nalgene, but won't fit inside of more narrow-mouthed bottles.

During an at home test  we look at the adaptor end to see what kind of bottles or jars it fits into.
During an at home test, we look at the adaptor end to see what kind of bottles or jars it fits into.

That said, you don't need to use the adaptor if you don't want to. We also love that it comes with several adaptors so you can plug this into a hydration pack if needed. The adaptors seem to cover a wide range of hydration bladders out there.

The Katadyn Hiker Pro's handle can be awkward to hold because the rounded bottom slides around.
The Katadyn Hiker Pro's handle can be awkward to hold because the rounded bottom slides around.

One caveat is its performance in silty water. Unlike the MSR Guardian it doesn't have a natural backwash system that continually cleans the filter. Thus, you need to be careful. If pumping gets hard, backwash the system manually; otherwise, you can crack the plastic housing while trying to push water through the pump. While this wasn't our experience, other online users report having had this issue. Overall, filtration is easy when you don't mind pumping for water and when clear sources are plentiful.

Dan Sandberg uses the  Hiker Pro to filter water from a running stream  Rocky Mountains  Colorado.
Dan Sandberg uses the Hiker Pro to filter water from a running stream, Rocky Mountains, Colorado.

Best Application


While spending time in Death Valley, we discovered another fantastic niche of this filter. A combination of its long hose and smaller intake allows you to suck up everything from small pools to big lakes. As a lightweight filter, it's been tried and tested on several backpacking trips, serving solo hikers and small groups. Not only is it affordable, but reliable, too. Use it anywhere you need, and make sure to pre-filter when the water's super sandy or it clogs.

Filtering water with the Hiker Pro on the approach up to Mount Ritter in the Easters Sierras.
Filtering water with the Hiker Pro on the approach up to Mount Ritter in the Easters Sierras.

Value


At just $75, this is one of the highest value pumps in this review. It performs well, is quite versatile, and doesn't cost an arm and a leg. That's the exact reason we made this one of our Best Buy award winners. If a handpump is what you seek, the Hiker Pro won't disappoint.

Conclusion


The Katadyn Hiker Pro is a lightweight and affordable handpump. It can treat a moderate volume of water in its filter's lifetime. While it's a little awkward at first, you'll find that you can access any water source easily, with the option to filter right into any storage reservoir you might carry with you.

The Katadyn Hiker Pro is well built and reliable.
The Katadyn Hiker Pro is well built and reliable.


Amber King