View Full Version : Water Filter Woes

01-05-2011, 13:04
I currently own a Katadyn Hiker Pro. I have only used it in the field 2-3 times, plus 1-2 times at home when I initially bought it. It appears I now need a filter replacement already! I did not get near the life expectancy out of this filter that I should have. I suspect that I didnít allow the filter to completely dry 100% after cleaning it post-trip over a year ago. I recently used it on an overnighter and it almost did not work at all. Thankfully, it filtered enough water to get me threw an overnighter. Hindsight, I didnít operate the filter a day or two prior to the trip to make sure it was in operating order, which wouldíve allowed me to purchase a new filter prior to the trip. I did all the cleaning and back flushing procedures, and I am sure I need a filter cartridge replacement. This will cost about $40.

Now that I have some experience with filtering, I have learned a few things that has me considering a new system instead of purchasing a replacement filter cartridge. The few times I have used the Hiker Pro, the water source has been a lake, but the depth of the water I can get access to has been very shallow because one is standing on the lakeís edge. This has been problematic because as most know, keeping the weighted end of the line off the bottom is a challenge. Even after adjusting the float piece to the end of the line, it was near impossible to keep the weighted end out of silt and muck. This may have shortened the filters lifespan as well. Also, the hassle of managing the in and out lines while operating the Hiker Pro has been something much less desired. I have been using an Aquafina 1-Liter bottle perched between my feet. This has worked well, but a hassle to say the least.

If I continue to use the Hiker Pro, then collecting water into a collapsible bowl of some type would be one solution. This would minimize the silt/muck issue. But it would add a little weight depending on the collapsible bowl. I can foresee an issue with using a collapsible bowl, it would need somewhat of a flat level surface, which is not guaranteed in the field. Iíd also need some thing to collect the water from the water source. I am considering replacing the Hiker Pro with the Platypus CleanStream. I would still need a way to scoop water at the edge of the water source. I saw one of Jason Klassís videos where he cut down a foldable Platypus water bottle at an angle, which appeared to be a viable water scooper. The weight of a cut down 1-2 liter foldable Platypus water bottle would be minimal. Iíve seen the Platypus CleanStream system in use while in the Smokies and became quite envious. Even though the CleanStream system is a 4-Liter setup, its weight is still less than the Hiker Pro by a few ounces.

The water sources I will be primarily filtering from will be in the South MS area and are very tannic. I am not hard core enough to just use Aquamira drops, although I do keep a set of the bottles in my pack as a last resort. I like the idea of being able to let the water filter itself (by gravity) and tend to other things in camp. If I do decide to go with the CleanStream system, I will likely go ahead and replace my CamelBak with one of Platypusí water bladders as well. Anyway, these are just some thoughts I have about the Hiker Pro and the CleanStream system. I have read the discussion on WB about the CleanStream system.

What are your thoughts on this matter?

Stick with the Hiker Pro?

Or, use the $40 toward the CleanStream system?

What aspect(s) am I missing/not seeing here?


sly dog
01-05-2011, 13:55
I have had the Katadyn for a couple years with no problem at all. I finally got a new filter replacement for Christmas gift. I had about 500-600 miles on the last one and still is working fine. I never used a bandanna but maybe u wanna try that to help stop the silt. I clean mine once i get home with bleach water, let fully dry for a couple days then put away. I also clean it again before i go then rinse it. Like I said, I never had an issue and love my filter.

01-05-2011, 14:16
As sly dog sorta suggests, it ain't the filter, it's operator error. Between hikes, you really need to pump lots of clean water thru the filter, otherwise a filter that looks clean will likely get clogged with algae growth. I found this out the hard way while hiking in your area (Black Creek Trail). My hiking partners were cussing me since it was our only filter that trip.

myles to go
01-05-2011, 16:21
You already have a great filter so don't change to something else just yet. The above post are spot on about maintenance and you can also put a simple coffee filter held on with a small elastic(replace after every trip). This will catch all the big bits of crud and extend the life of a NEW filter.

01-05-2011, 16:23
We had an awful time with our hiker pro in '07. They had to send anew piece for it. Suffice it to say, I am strictly Aqua Mira now.

01-05-2011, 16:24
Iíve used the coffee filter add-on as well, forgot to mention that in the original post. What must have happened, was from the last time used (in South MS), I didnít post-trip clean it as thoroughly as I thought. IF I decide to stick with the Hiker Pro, after I clean it and Ďthinkí thatís its clean, Iíll clean again. Also, something I read here on WB, was to store the post-cleaned Ďdryí filter outside the housingÖ..

From Karo on 6-13-2010:
ďThe problem could be mold or likely mildew growing on the filter element. My question is Do you reassemble the filter after cleaning and "drying"??? If so then that is the problem. After several experiences from me and other Hiker users, and after talking to reps from the company, I have come to this conclusion. If you are not using the filter on a daily basis and clean and store your filter after a trip, then you should store the filter and element separately from each other. Any moisture that will be in the filter body will lead to a mold issue if you store it assembled. I have even tried drying over heating vents, hair dryers, etc. but you cannot completely dry the body or the element to prevent some growth of bacteria. I also use some of those little desecant packs that are in some food/meal containers.

If this is just a dirt issue with the filter then try to cover the pre-filter acorn with a coffee filter and a rubber band to prolong the life of your filter element. Also try to get water from a source that is not sandy or brackish. One of the tricks I have used is a water container to gather water at the spring or source. Then I hang that container and allow it to sit and filter from the top while back at camp. This allows me to have a ready water supply to drinking and washing at my campsite. Ē

Iím guilty of reassembly of the filter cartridge back into the housing.

Has anyone replaced the IN house with a longer hose? If so, where does one get the same/similar hose?

I wonder if having a longer IN hose would solve the problem of being to close to the waterís edge?

Or, would the weight just bob around and eventually make its way back to the edge of the water line while pumping?

My current filter cartridge has either a dark yellow or light brown color to it and it smells a little like mold.


01-05-2011, 17:08
We've used our hiker pro for a number of trips and have never had a problem. We're still on the original filter as well. We collect the water in a 3L collapsable nalgene and filter off the top of the water so there is less chance of sediment clogging up the filter. No problems!

Once we are home, I filter some chlorox water through the filter, take it apart, wipe away any left over residue, and let EVERY piece air dry for a day or so. Then I store it in my sil nylon once it is all dry.

01-05-2011, 17:08
you face a problem hiking in areas where the only water sources are silty or high in tannic content (the water looks like ice tea).... I'm in north Florida, we have the same situation here as you do.

hiking the A.T. last year, I only used AquaMira drops, it worked fantastic, NO problems at all, most all springs and water sources on the AT were clear, there are some creeeks in eatern TN and VA with cloudy tannic water, but I endured those with the aquamira, just doubled the aquamira dosage... and much less hassle than dealing with a Katadyne pump filter with the input and output plastic hoses, which are a PAIN.

for collecting the water from the water source, I suggest a Sea to Summit folding bucket, they are very lightweight, can hold 8-9 liters, and you can get all the water you need for camp each night, and filter it from the bucket with any pump filter. If you are collecting the water from shallow stream or pond banks, with silt on the bottom, take an empty gatorade, aquafina, or powerade bottle to collect the water, you can avoid the silt problem that way. I also use the Platypus 2.0L Bigzip hydration bladder, and a Platy 2.0L water bladder for collection and treatment with Aqua Mira.

as far as pump filters, you already have seen the limitations with the Katadyn filter cartridges becoming contaminated from storing them wet for long periods.... another good pump filter is the MSR Miniworks EX, it has a ceramic cartridge, the filter works great and can be cleaned easily in the field with a green scrubby pad.

good luck

01-05-2011, 17:13
SMSP, for water collection, I use one of the lightweight water bags to haul water to camp. Then I have plenty of water after everything heavy settles to the bottom of the bag, to boil, filter, and use to clean up.

01-05-2011, 17:16
As far as using a longer hose, that is another good idea, tho I haven't done it yet. Let us know where you get another hose. I have also heard of someone using a longer hose with their trekking pole and a tye wrap to get down to deeper water or down a steep bank to water.

01-05-2011, 17:17
I weighed my Katadyn Hiker Pro at 14.7ozs. REI website says it weighs 11ozs. So, if I had a Coghlanís Water Bag at 1.9ozs that holds 2.5 gallons to carry and hold water for filtering, Iíd suspect I would still have to have a device to scoop water with like the cut down Platypus foldable bottle, which would weigh around .8oz.

Katadyn Hiker Pro 14.7
Coghlanís Water Bag 1.9
CutDown Platypus Bottle .8
Approx. Weight: 17.4 ounces
For a modified Katadyn Hiker Pro Set-up weighing in around 17.4 ounces and the time it takes the manually pump the device.

Platypus CleanStream, 12.7ozs (according to REI website) and then add the cut done platypus foldable bottle at around .8oz for scooping water into the dirty bag. An approx. total weight for the Platypus CleanStream set-up is around 13.5 ounces with no manual pumping involved.

Wow, looking at the numbers and a savings of almost a ľ of pound (@4 ounces) and less labor, more time for camp chores and/or more time in the hammock lounging, makes it almost worth my while to just try the Platypus CleanStream system and see how it functions with the water in South MS.


01-06-2011, 00:18
I had a brand new Katahdin and it quit on the AT section on the second puddle. It was my error. My O ring did not fit correctly and I asked a thru hiker to look at it and he correctly placed the O ring in side the filter in correctly and put the jell from the tube provided around the o ring. That was three years ago.
It has worked like a jewel ever since, but now I test the darn thing before I hike and all the inner parts too. Hope this helps you. This was an expensive filter Now it is heavy compared to the newer stuff but it works.

01-06-2011, 05:28
Well, Erin, ironically, I'm somewhat embarassed to say, but I set the filter up in the kitchen sink for one last attempt to 'salvage' it. I assumed the O-rings were lubed enough. aink, not. I lubed both O-rings up, then set-up a liter of water w/ approx. 2 tablespoons of bleach and it filtered a lot easier than on the trail the other day. I pumped the water into a second bowl because I wanted to 'see' what the water looked like and it appeared a little yellow. I set-up another batch of water & bleach and did the same. I then set-up a double batch and again pumped that water through it. So, I ran a good 4 liters through with 2-3 tablespoons of bleach per liter. Each time, the water became a little lighter in color.


01-06-2011, 15:40
I've used mine in mud puddles where streams were just dribbling and haven't had any issues.

01-06-2011, 16:51
Yep, looks like another incidence of Operater Error perhaps.


Pioneer Spirit
01-06-2011, 18:27
I used this filter system several times. I took it to Land between the lakes where I figured I could get plenty of water. I failed to consider that the water was 100 yards out past the cattails.

I clogged up the filter by using it in muddy water along the BT in northern Ohio last spring even with a coffee pre-filter filter. I also wish for a longer hose, I was balanced on a log over a stream holding the hose away from the bank.

I'm more cautious with the new filter and I always take them apart and dump the extra water out after filtering. I also dry the filter when i get home.

I used a Platypus double bag gravity filter this year as well. I find it hard to fill up because you have to hold the bag open in the water. Although I find the Platypus bags to be superior in design to Camelbaks

01-06-2011, 18:40
I also have a hiker pro and love it. I picked up a plastice waterline coupler so I can remove both the inlet and outlet hoses works great makes storage much easier. When i have water sources that make filtering a challenge I'll take a small stick and stick it in the bottom with a loop of string I'll make a couple simple slipknots and loop one over the stick and the other over the inlet hose. It keeps the inlet hose from settling to the bottom or from floating downstream with the current

01-06-2011, 19:41
If you have extra time or the water's extra dirty, you can scoop it up and put it into a ziplock gallon bag. Wait for the silt to settle, then prop the bag up and close the zipper so it holds the intake hose away from the bottom. Filter what you can and throw the muck out. Time consuming, but effective in getting the most out of your filter. I've done this in the evening at camp but I wouldn't have the patience to do it during the day when I'd rather be walking.
I use a First Need with a prefilter.

01-06-2011, 19:51
I had the same problem with the hiker pro so I got rid of it and now I use straight unscented household bleach.

I thru hiked with a guy this past year that used the MSR Miniworks Ex Water Filter for the entire trip and never had to replace the filter once. It worked the entire time for every liter of water. Might be something to look into if you are in the market for a new filter.

Good luck and happy trails!

01-06-2011, 20:08
I've used an MSR Water Works filter for years without a problem...only have to use the little scrubber thing a few times and it filtered like new again I clean it after every trip and store in the refrigerator between trips...that keeps little nasties from growing in it..I also store my hydration bladder in the fridge...and since I prefer to hike in Winter every thing stays cold all the time...Since I always go to the mountains I've always had nice clear, clean water to filter though which I'm sure makes a difference with any filter

01-06-2011, 21:42
I had the same problem with the hiker pro so I got rid of it and now I use straight unscented household bleach.

I thru hiked with a guy this past year that used the MSR Miniworks Ex Water Filter for the entire trip and never had to replace the filter once. It worked the entire time for every liter of water. Might be something to look into if you are in the market for a new filter.

Good luck and happy trails!

If it's clear enough to drink with just treating with bleach, it won't plug up a hiker pro (unless you are into drinking mud and bugs :) )

The main issue I see with people that use filters is they are not as picky with their water sources, because they think that is what the filter is for. It not a mud filter, its a itty bitty bug filter.

I have a First need, a hiker pro, a Steripen adventure and polar pure. What I take depends on the where I will be going and what I expect for water. I have not had any failures with any of them.

I am not a thru hiker, just a weekend hiker and Scout Leader.

01-06-2011, 22:33
SMSP, glad it worked out for you. My problems are usually my operator error. I have learned alot of nice tips from this site over the past few years.

02-15-2011, 13:28
SMSP, for water collection, I use one of the lightweight water bags to haul water to camp. Then I have plenty of water after everything heavy settles to the bottom of the bag, to boil, filter, and use to clean up.

I ordered and obtained one of these water carrier bags. Wow, light indeed, as advertised, 1.9oz. I filled it up with about 2 gallons at the house, hung it outisde on the hook on the garage door frame for a few hours, I am impressed. I will integrate this into my Hiker Pro and see what happens.


02-15-2011, 13:59
email the company, they will replace any damaged or failed parts for free. I have 2 of the filters and love them. I also clean mine when I am finished hiking. I have found out that even when the filter looks dirty it still pumps plenty of clean water.

02-15-2011, 15:17
I had a Pur/Katahdin Hiker and Guide for years. It seemed that, at the worst possible time, the Hiker would become unpumpable and the Guide would pump but no water would come out. This put a damper on a few hikes for me. So I switched to an MSR Miniworks and now, when it gets hard to pump, I just clean the ceramic filter. Problem solved.

Odd Man Out
02-15-2011, 17:09
I used a Platypus double bag gravity filter this year as well. I find it hard to fill up because you have to hold the bag open in the water. Although I find the Platypus bags to be superior in design to Camelbaks

I have wanted to rig up a gravity system like this, but use a water bucket/bag as recommended by others. I would seem to give the best of both systems. What I need is the way to attach a hose outlet in the bottom of a syl-nylon water bag. Anyone have experience with this?

03-24-2011, 21:36
Get a Steri-Pen Opti-no problems...

03-24-2011, 21:48
Yep, a Steri Pen plus a prefilter plus all those extra batteries and you are... at about the weight of a gravity filter. Hmm. And no guarantee the thing won't just stop working. Don't mind me, I just have a huge honkin' bias against trusting electronics with something like my water supply... I've had too many Steri Pen users borrow my Hiker Pro, I guess.

I also have a ULA Amigo Pro - they discontinued that filter when the company changed hands, much to everyone's detriment, it was a neat item for folks who weren't into DIY. Just a bag with a Hiker Pro filter in it, cost about five dollars more than the filter itself would have been. I swapped in a Platypus Cleanstream filter, spliced it into the hose, because unlike the Hiker Pro you can backflush it.

The Hiker Pro has a screen over the filter. When you take the filter out of the housing, pull off the netting and the screen, give the screen a good scrubbing with a hard bristle brush, and rinse out the pleats of the filter. If the filter still looks grungy you can dunk it in bleach water and rinse it a bunch of times.

03-24-2011, 21:59
I used a Hiker Pro for years and years, but got sick of the size and weight. Once you get the filter wet, it really gets and stays heavy.

Last summer I switched to a Steripen Adventurer and I love it. Tiny and what, 5 ounces? lol I use a coffee filter to prefilter. A set of batteries lasts plenty long enough for me.

03-25-2011, 13:24
Get a Steri-Pen Opti-no problems...
Did (and still do sometimes) the filter thing and chemical thing, and the Steripen is the bomb. I haven't been using it for a long time yet so time will tell on how reliable it is, but for what it does I couldn't be happier.

I also have a ULA Amigo Pro - they discontinued that filter when the company changed hands, much to everyone's detriment, it was a neat item for folks who weren't into DIY.
According to this thread http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=44083&startat=40 (see post from Chris McMaster, owner of ULA) ULA will be making something along the lines of the Amigo again at some point in the near future.

04-08-2011, 01:59
Well, I got to use my Katadyn Pro again in Feb. 2011 on an overnighter. I also got to try out a new system (for me) when it comes to water filtering. Once we decided on a campsite, the first thing I did was go to the water source with the Coghlan's 2.5 gallon water bag and the cut down Platypus 1L bottle and collected water. Hauled the water back to camp and hung the water carrier on a sturdy branch. I then began to set-up camp and other camp chores. Then, I filtered water, enough to fill-up my 3L Camelbak, 20oz Evernew collaspible bottle, 16oz shaker/mixer cup from WalMart. Made dinner, drink plenty of the water I filtered. Next day, had plenty of filtered water for coffee and 1L to camel up before getting on the trail. I filtered more water to top off the 3L Camelbak once again. I still had enough leftover unfiltered water to extinquish the camp fire before leaving the campsite.

This new system (for me) worked out well. Basically, I had collected enough water in the water carrier to filter from that eveing, the next morning, top off for the trail and extra water to throw on the fire.

As always, this is a progression and may change again down the road, but for now, this will be my go to filtering set-up. Also, the Coghlan's water carrier and the cut down Platypus stuff nicely in the Katadyn storage pouch.