Hands-on Gear Review

MSR Hyperflow Microfilter Review

MSR Hyperfilter
Price:  $100 List | $74.95 at Backcountry
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Pros:  Lightest and most compact pump filter, 1000 liter filter life.
Cons:  Complicated backflush maintenance that needs to be performed often.
Editors' Rating:   
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Manufacturer:   MSR

Our Verdict

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 REVIEW: Best Backpacking Water Filters and Treatment of 2018

Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
McKenzie Long

Last Updated:
Monday
August 25, 2014

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Lightweight and compact, the Hyperflow is one of the smallest pump filters on the market.

Performance Comparison


The MSR Hyperflow Microfilter is the lightest and most compact of all the pump filters  weighing only 9.5 oz. including the bag.
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 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 a gravity-fed filter like the Platypus Gravityworks Water Filter. In our opinion, spending an extra $20 for a gravity filter is worth it.
McKenzie Long

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


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

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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 (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)
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   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.
Climber

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   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.
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   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.
Olympic National Forest  Washington Kyle and Levi filling up without taking their camel-back out of their backpack.
Olympic National Forest, Washington 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.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   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.


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