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#170352 - 10/10/12 05:44 PM Katadyn Vario Water Filter...
jbylake Offline
member

Registered: 09/15/12
Posts: 202
Loc: Northern KY USA
I'm thinking of purchasing a new water filte, the Katadyn Vario. Anyone have experience with these and opinions?

Thanks ahead,

J.

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#170353 - 10/10/12 05:46 PM Re: Katadyn Vario Water Filter... [Re: jbylake]
balzaccom Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 1719
Loc: Napa, CA
We've used the Katadyn Hiker for about six years now with no problems at all. Just need to make sure that you pre-filter any silty/muddy water first, before you pump.
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balzaccom

check out our website and blog: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/home

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#170369 - 10/10/12 11:31 PM Re: Katadyn Vario Water Filter... [Re: jbylake]
ETSU Pride Offline
member

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 931
Loc: Knoxville, TN
I have it and never got sick. I guess that proof enough it works. grin
_________________________
It is one of the blessings of wilderness life that it shows us how few things we need in order to be perfectly happy.-- Horace Kephart

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#170377 - 10/11/12 10:31 AM Re: Katadyn Vario Water Filter... [Re: ETSU Pride]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Katadyn makes some good products. I have never used that one, but am sure it will serve you well, and do what you want it to do. However, I will recommend another filter. Since you haven't bought it yet, it won't hurt to look at alternatives.

Here are some specs I pulled up for the Vario:
weight: 1 lb 2 oz
pore size: 0.3 micron (the smaller the better)
cartridge life : 500 gallons. 200 liters for carbon
price: $95
filter element replacement price: $45

Here are some specs for the Sawyer Squeeze/all in one
weight: Squeeze-3 oz, all in one-10 oz
pore size: 0.1 micron
cartridge life: there is a million gallon guarantee, but with good backflushing, it should last indefinitely.
Price: Squeeze- $60, all in one-$70.
filter element replacement price: n/a
The all in one is the same as the squeeze, with more attachments. You do have to figure in the price of another bag, since their bags suck. A platypus or equivalent work great.

Anyways, like I said, the Katadyn is a great product. But, there might be better options out there for you to look at.
_________________________
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#170399 - 10/11/12 01:54 PM Re: Katadyn Vario Water Filter... [Re: finallyME]
ETSU Pride Offline
member

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 931
Loc: Knoxville, TN
Originally Posted By finallyME
Katadyn makes some good products. I have never used that one, but am sure it will serve you well, and do what you want it to do. However, I will recommend another filter. Since you haven't bought it yet, it won't hurt to look at alternatives.

Here are some specs I pulled up for the Vario:
weight: 1 lb 2 oz
pore size: 0.3 micron (the smaller the better)
cartridge life : 500 gallons. 200 liters for carbon
price: $95
filter element replacement price: $45

Here are some specs for the Sawyer Squeeze/all in one
weight: Squeeze-3 oz, all in one-10 oz
pore size: 0.1 micron
cartridge life: there is a million gallon guarantee, but with good backflushing, it should last indefinitely.
Price: Squeeze- $60, all in one-$70.
filter element replacement price: n/a
The all in one is the same as the squeeze, with more attachments. You do have to figure in the price of another bag, since their bags suck. A platypus or equivalent work great.

Anyways, like I said, the Katadyn is a great product. But, there might be better options out there for you to look at.


I used both!! Haha. I've used the Vario a lot longer than the Sawyers at this point and neither one of them has gotten me sick. (Cannot stress the importance of this!!) The Sawyers was a gift and I like it so far, but only limitation I see with Sawyers is if you're somewhere there is weak water flow. Pump filter will excel in this situation and I thought about going mad science on creating me a pump for the Sawyers. I haven't got around to it, yet. laugh I've also already poked a hole in one of the bags the Sawyers came in. The biggest selling point for the Sawyers is the weight and million gallon guaranteed with no extra expenses spent on cartridge. That why I think it a conspiracy the bags are extremely flimsy so they can get continuous revenue from people who will purchase a new bag as they destroy them. laugh


Edited by ETSU Pride (10/11/12 01:55 PM)
_________________________
It is one of the blessings of wilderness life that it shows us how few things we need in order to be perfectly happy.-- Horace Kephart

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#170400 - 10/11/12 02:06 PM Re: Katadyn Vario Water Filter... [Re: ETSU Pride]
jbylake Offline
member

Registered: 09/15/12
Posts: 202
Loc: Northern KY USA
Guess I'll go with the Katadyn. Unless not possible, I still boil water, even after filtration. I'd feel safe drinkin it straight from the filter, but I just like the extra margin of safety.

Thanks,

J.

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#170409 - 10/11/12 03:50 PM Re: Katadyn Vario Water Filter... [Re: jbylake]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6372
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I have used a gravity filter for a number of years, first the ULA Amigo Pro (no longer made) and then a homemade version using the same filter (Katadyn Hiker Pro). No pumping, just hang it from a tree and keep an occasional eye on it so your water bottles don't overflow.

I recently switched to the Sawyer Squeeze, but (thanks to a foot injury that kept me off the trail last summer) haven't been able to test it in the field. However, in at-home tests in the bathtub, it works great as a gravity filter. I will ditch Sawyer's fragile squeeze bags (pretty useless, per reports) in favor of a 2 L Evernew water bag (the newer Platypus containers don't fit the filter threads, although the older Platys with straight sides do).

Weight of gravity filter setup (Evernew 2L bag with cord for hanging upside down, filter, tubing to connect to water bottle), with wet filter: 5 ounces
Filter size: 0.1 micron

Since this filter removes all bacteria and protozoa, there is no need to boil or chemically treat unless there is human habitation upstream. In that case, viruses can be a problem but are quickly zapped by chlorine dioxide pills, far lighter than carrying extra fuel. (The 4-hour treatment time on the ClO2 pill labels is for protozoan cysts in extremely cold and turbid water.) However, if you always boil your water, why bother with the extra weight of a filter?




_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#170412 - 10/11/12 04:25 PM Re: Katadyn Vario Water Filter... [Re: OregonMouse]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Yeah, it didn't take long for my sawyer bag to start leaking. The same with my friends. If you look online, everyone is complaining about this. This isn't a quality control problem, it is an inherent design problem. Either the plastics don't match, or the heat sealer has a bad part. At any rate, the local outdoor store had a box of Eddie Bauer 1.5 liter bags with the same thread size for $1.50 each. I bought more than 10. Then I wrote "dirty" on one. Hasn't failed yet, despite my abuse.

My last trip, I had to filter from a lake. I found that if I use another container to scoop water from the lake (I used my MSR collapsible canteen, wide mouth), then poor it into my "dirty" bag, then it is easy. That means another container that is dirty, but it comes in handy with putting out fires because you don't want to filter that water. And, you can still use it to carry water, you just have to filter it first. Plus, my dog carries it empty in her bag.
_________________________
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#170418 - 10/11/12 05:04 PM Re: Katadyn Vario Water Filter... [Re: jbylake]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2801
Loc: NorCal
If it's to be a Katadyn, I'll recommend a Hiker over the Vario. Same cartridge technology, less weight. [Amending this to note the Hiker does not have the ceramic filter stage, just a pleated cartridge with carbon inside.)

Confess I've been won over to gravity filtration (having used pretty much everything out there at one time or another). I love the freedom of walking away and doing something useful or fun while the water filters itself.

Cheers,


Edited by Rick_D (10/11/12 05:20 PM)
_________________________
--Rick

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#170421 - 10/11/12 05:29 PM Re: Katadyn Vario Water Filter... [Re: Rick_D]
jbylake Offline
member

Registered: 09/15/12
Posts: 202
Loc: Northern KY USA
Rick, I've looked at both, and have taken note of the weight difference. I still haven't decided yet, but the extra filter for silt/goo, really captures my attention, over the saved 4oz.
The Vario weighs 15oz. vs. 11 for the hiker. I am trying to save weight, that's why I searched out this site, but I do like the idea of dipping water out of a "green" river, and filtering the silt out..but that's why I posted this. I'm going to wait a while, and see if I get anymore replies, then I'll probably just flip a coin or something... laugh

Thanks for the help,

J.

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#170423 - 10/11/12 05:58 PM Re: Katadyn Vario Water Filter... [Re: jbylake]
Glenn Roberts Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1343
Loc: Southwest Ohio
You might look at the MSR Hyperflow, if you haven't already. A bit lighter than the Vario. I've read of problems with it, but I've been using one for over a year without problems. They say it's field cleanable, but it's a rather fiddly backflush: take it apart, reverse two small (easily losable?) valves, then reassemble it, pump clean water through (upside down and backward), the take it apart, put the two valves back the way they were, reassemble, and hope for the best. So, I carry a spare filter element (one or two ounces) and switch them out if the first one clogs. I do the backfilter thing with it when I get home and have lots of clean water.

Whatever filter you choose, take along a backup method (mine is 10 or 20 Potable Aqua chlorine dioxide tablets that live in my first aid/repair kit.)

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#170425 - 10/11/12 06:07 PM Re: Katadyn Vario Water Filter... [Re: Glenn Roberts]
jbylake Offline
member

Registered: 09/15/12
Posts: 202
Loc: Northern KY USA
Thanks, Glen.
I do carry tablets, although mine are old, and I'm sure they need replacing. Finding water here is no problem, really, so I can always fill an empty water bottle, and boil. Problem with that, is , that if it's silty/crappy water, I have to filter through a piece of T-shirt or something, and although it does a good job of clarifiying before boiling, you still get that, for lack of a better term, "dirt" taste. Yeck!!

I used to have a filter, years ago, and I can't really recall, but I want to say it was made by PuR, the company that now caters to the home market. It was pretty effective. I can't find them now, so I guess they don't make the personal/camping stuff anymore. I believe mine broke, but I really don't recall.

Still working on a lighter kit...

Thanks,
Jim.

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#170440 - 10/12/12 12:29 AM Re: Katadyn Vario Water Filter... [Re: jbylake]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2801
Loc: NorCal
PUR sold the outdoor line to Katadyn and the Hiker is a direct descendent of theirs.

They had a few other models but I don't know that any of them exist any longer.
Cheers,

Rick
Originally Posted By jbylake
Thanks, Glen.
I do carry tablets, although mine are old, and I'm sure they need replacing. Finding water here is no problem, really, so I can always fill an empty water bottle, and boil. Problem with that, is , that if it's silty/crappy water, I have to filter through a piece of T-shirt or something, and although it does a good job of clarifiying before boiling, you still get that, for lack of a better term, "dirt" taste. Yeck!!

I used to have a filter, years ago, and I can't really recall, but I want to say it was made by PuR, the company that now caters to the home market. It was pretty effective. I can't find them now, so I guess they don't make the personal/camping stuff anymore. I believe mine broke, but I really don't recall.

Still working on a lighter kit...

Thanks,
Jim.
_________________________
--Rick

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#170441 - 10/12/12 12:37 AM Re: Katadyn Vario Water Filter... [Re: Rick_D]
jbylake Offline
member

Registered: 09/15/12
Posts: 202
Loc: Northern KY USA
Originally Posted By Rick_D
PUR sold the outdoor line to Katadyn and the Hiker is a direct descendent of theirs.

They had a few other models but I don't know that any of them exist any longer.
Cheers,

Rick
I used to have a filter, years ago, and I can't really recall, but I want to say it was made by PuR, the company that now caters to the home market. It was pretty effective. I can't find them now, so I guess they don't make the personal/camping stuff anymore. I believe mine broke, but I really don't recall.

Still working on a lighter kit...

Thanks,
Jim.
[/quote]

Thanks for clearing that up for me...I was beginnng to believe I was having a "senior moment"...happens to me all the time blush

J.

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#170442 - 10/12/12 08:35 AM Re: Katadyn Vario Water Filter... [Re: jbylake]
Blue_Ridge_Ninja Offline
member

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 98
Loc: North Georgia
I'll throw in my .02 for the Katadyn Hiker. Very happy with mine. Easy to pump with a good flow rate. A paper coffee filter secured with a rubber band over the inlet hose works great as a pre-filter.

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#170444 - 10/12/12 10:04 AM Re: Katadyn Vario Water Filter... [Re: balzaccom]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
I have a Hiker Pro (second one, the first one cracked around the outlet hose in such a way that the hose was coming loose, so I got another). Also a gravity filter, also a Sawyer Squeeze.

The Hiker Pro is reliable and the first one used to death. The gravity filter goes where there's plenty of water, and on long trips, as I can also use it as a shower - with no moving parts to break it's pretty simple and goof proof (uses a platypus cleanstream inline, backflushable).

The Squeeze has not leaked - one of the few people who've tried it who hasn't had problems, I suppose. But it's not the most flexible of the options. Hard to fill the reservoir from a puddle.

A friend traded in the Vario for a lighter filter - there are lots of options, all about the same in terms of the end result. A companion on the last trip had a Hyperflow that seemed to work well for him. There were lots of problems with that one initially. Perhaps MSR worked out the kinks.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#170446 - 10/12/12 10:53 AM Re: Katadyn Vario Water Filter... [Re: lori]
Glenn Roberts Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1343
Loc: Southwest Ohio
I had the same reaction to the Squeeze: neat idea, no leaks or issues with the reservoir, but not furiously practical. Not only is it hard to fill from a puddle, it's also hard to fill from many of the creeks I encounter: shale or sandstone bottoms (sheets, not gravel) with an inch or two of water flowing over them - no way to dig a hole to let the bladder fill.

Have a buddy who had lots of problems with the intitial version of the Hyperflow (works in a gear store, was an early adopter.) I waited a year or so to get mine, and they do seem to have the bugs worked out (or at least I've never had any of the problems he described.)

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#170451 - 10/12/12 01:49 PM Re: Katadyn Vario Water Filter... [Re: Glenn Roberts]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2801
Loc: NorCal
IMHO Sawyer needs to craft a screw-on funnel to facilitate filling the bag through that tiny opening. The only time I find filling it simple is in a stream deep enough to immerse the bag, facing the flow. Lakes are less easy (especially if you're avoiding murky water next to the shore) and seeps and trickles are about impossible.

Since realizing it can be rigged as a gravity filter I'm liking the concept better.

Cheers,
_________________________
--Rick

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#170462 - 10/12/12 05:47 PM Re: Katadyn Vario Water Filter... [Re: Rick_D]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6372
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
This idea courtesy of Jason Klass, several years ago: cut the bottom off an old Platypus bag and use it as a dipper to fill your water bag. Works beautifully for filling narrow mouth water bottles or bags from small pools or shallow lake shores.
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#170484 - 10/13/12 06:30 AM Re: Katadyn Vario Water Filter... [Re: jbylake]
Dok Offline
newbie

Registered: 05/04/12
Posts: 10
I have used the bags quite a lot and have had no problem with them. I think the real problem is, and i have observed this a coupele of times in the field with others that have a sawyer, is that they squeeze the heck out of the bag. So ya, its gonna fail when you push it past its limits. A steady firm squeeze and rolling the bag up works just fine, and i have been using just the 1 liter bag that has come with it. no problems at all.

and all the people i know that need new bags sat there and put everything they have into squeezing the bags.

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#170489 - 10/13/12 11:12 AM Re: Katadyn Vario Water Filter... [Re: Dok]
ETSU Pride Offline
member

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 931
Loc: Knoxville, TN
Originally Posted By Dok
I have used the bags quite a lot and have had no problem with them. I think the real problem is, and i have observed this a coupele of times in the field with others that have a sawyer, is that they squeeze the heck out of the bag. So ya, its gonna fail when you push it past its limits. A steady firm squeeze and rolling the bag up works just fine, and i have been using just the 1 liter bag that has come with it. no problems at all.

and all the people i know that need new bags sat there and put everything they have into squeezing the bags.


I dropped mine on the ground and something poke a hole in it. Oh well.
_________________________
It is one of the blessings of wilderness life that it shows us how few things we need in order to be perfectly happy.-- Horace Kephart

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#170589 - 10/15/12 01:28 PM Re: Katadyn Vario Water Filter... [Re: Dok]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Originally Posted By Dok
I have used the bags quite a lot and have had no problem with them. I think the real problem is, and i have observed this a coupele of times in the field with others that have a sawyer, is that they squeeze the heck out of the bag. So ya, its gonna fail when you push it past its limits. A steady firm squeeze and rolling the bag up works just fine, and i have been using just the 1 liter bag that has come with it. no problems at all.

and all the people i know that need new bags sat there and put everything they have into squeezing the bags.


This is what Sawyer says as a response. Here is the problem with it.....it should be able to take the abuse. If you apply the same abuse to a platy, or any other brand (off brand) with a heatsealed "boat" lid, it can take the squeezing. The seal around the "boat" is a bad seal. Either they have two different plastics, or they have faulty manufacturing equipment. My guess is the plastic is mismatched. Of course, their bag material could be junk as well. Considering how easy the seal is (lots of manufacturers are doing it correctly) and how inexpensive the bag material is, this shouldn't be a problem. But, sawyer is ignoring it, at least it seams that way. At least the rest of the product is excellent.
_________________________
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#170634 - 10/16/12 12:22 AM Re: Katadyn Vario Water Filter... [Re: Dok]
orclwzrd Offline
member

Registered: 08/11/09
Posts: 81
Loc: Illinois(I just live here)
I have a Vario. If it were half the weight it would be awesome as it is, it's still pretty good. I always carry MicroPur pills as backup but I've never had to use them. The vario comes with a scrubby that you learn to use when the face of the ceramic gets gunk covered. after scrubbing, it works great again, this is expected behavior. I'd buy another one.

John

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#170911 - 10/24/12 06:37 PM Re: Katadyn Vario Water Filter... [Re: jbylake]
BarryP Offline
member

Registered: 03/04/04
Posts: 1574
Loc: Eastern Idaho
ďAnyone have experience with these and opinions?Ē

My first water filter was the First Need. So thatís what I compare all filters to. It can take dark tannic water and make it clear. Plus itís easy to tell if the filter is broke.
1. The Vario shocked me and let the tannic water through. It probably kept out the cooties but psychologically I have a hard time drinking brown water.
2. I canít tell if the vario cracked.

The plus for the Vario is it only has one tube. This really helps scouts not get the dirty and clean tubes touching or intertwined. And this also means way less parts to deal with.

Iíve tried several dozen filters (carbon to ceramic) and they all let some degree of color through. So when I want clean water, Iíve stayed with my First Need. I liked the instant cold water I could get from filtering (vs waiting 30 minutes w/ chemicals). But admittedly, the First Need took all the flavor out of water and the filtered water does taste distilled; something that I got used to.

But now, out in the Rockies, Iíve really enjoyed the steripen opti for the past 2 years. Tasting cold mineraled mountain water is a pleasurable highlight of my trips. The opti is light, fast, and hasnít failed me yet.

-Barry
The mountains were made for Tevas

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