MSR Hyperflow Microfilter Review
Cons: Backflushing setup takes long, lots of backflushing required to maintain performance
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The MSR Hyperflow hand pump is the one you should choose if you don't want to work your pumping arm too hard. The super fast flow is reminiscent of a Super Soaker, filling up 1 liter of water in just over 30 seconds! It offers reliable performance for a great value and its lightweight for a hand pump filtration system.
Like most pump filters, this one is suited for use in North America where water-borne viruses aren't usually a major concern. The filter cartridge is a hollow fiber design without any activated carbon. It can remove sediment, microplastics, protozoa, and bacteria. If you're traveling to a foreign country where you might be exposed to viruses, be sure to bring some additional purification tablets to add to your water.
Durability & Maintenance
The unit is a bit of a pain to use for long periods of time. It seems to be well constructed, and after two months of use at home and in the field, it's done a good job (so far). During our water pumping tests, this filter hardly worked in our sludge concoction, while others were able to at least pump a liter before needing to be cleaned.
Many online users have also noted that consistent backflushing is required to ensure performance, especially in turbid water. In our clear water tests, we pumped over 40 liters and noticed just a small decrease in performance in this very clear water. But when any sediment is introduced, pumping becomes much harder.
The filter itself is not one you can scrub but has to be back-washed — a lot! The process isn't simple either. We tried to figure it out without watching a YouTube video and failed, accidentally pulling air through the chamber when we weren't supposed to. If you do buy this, make sure you practice this process before going into the backcountry.
We recommend following the manufacturer's guidance on how to properly backflush the filter. We took the time to backflush numerous times and found the process to be laborious and one we sort of resented, especially when surrounded by other pump filters that offered much easier maintenance.
Since this filter requires a lot of maintenance with water that isn't clear, make sure you're prefiltering water sources and taking water from only the upper columns to avoid sediment build-up. While it's easy to pump and fast the maintenance makes it questionable. The filter cartridge is supposed to last at least 1,000 liters, but many online users who have had this product in hand for years are skeptics about this metric.
After just 29 pumps and 28 seconds (on average), you'll have a full liter of water. In comparison to the hand pump competition, it's one of the fastest we've ever tested. We tested this time while pumping clear water. In turbid water, treatment time decreases.
Our sludge bath is the ultimate test. The first few liters were easy, getting one liter in about 38 seconds and 26 pumps (again, on average). The pump took longer to fill as the prefilter had to do hard work to keep out the sediment. However, after this, it required backflushing. Even after the backflush technique recommended by MSR, it could only pull a liter in 48 seconds with 24 pumps. Overall, it does really really fast work in clear water but struggles with turbidity. However, of all the pump filters, it offers the fastest time in optimal conditions.
Weight & Packability
Not only is this filter super fast for pumping, but it's also lightweight. It weighs 10.6 oz and takes up very little space in any backpack. It comes with a mesh bag that easily fits all components and doesn't hold water after use. Overall, a good choice if you're seeking a light and packable hand pump filter.
Ease of Set-Up
Set-up is pretty simple, especially if you already have a Nalgene top bottle. Simple screw on the attachment to your bottle and place the prefilter float in the water source of your choice. You can keep all the tubes attached if you like for easy assembly and use. Before pumping, find a comfortable and scenic place to sit.
Ease of Use
The pumping action is quite easy. Even after 40 liters of water in one sitting, our arms were left with some energy. This pump is much easier to use than most, which is a relief. The only real issue we had was with the float of the prefilter flipping upside down.
It has a velcro strap built into the construction that, if you place higher up around the tubing, keeps everything nicely in place. Otherwise, it flips over and gets stuck. If you need to collect water from cracks and crevices, simply take off the prefilter in clear water sources. When you're done, pump out the water, open it up, let it dry, then store.
This pump actually offers a pretty decent price and value. Its upfront cost is about average for a hand pump, with a filter lifespan that lasts for 1,000 liters. Of the pump filters, it actually has the lowest lifespan, but the replacement filter itself isn't as expensive as others. If you're seeking high value, high output hand pump that is lightweight, you'll find the value in this product.
The MSR Hyperflow has a few caveats but stands out for its lightweight design and super high water output. If you're willing to deal with backflushing and typically stick to clean water sources, it is a reliable option that you can trust in the backcountry.
— Amber King