I have just about assembled all my stuff for my first backpacking trip (dec 9th) its a close to home, 5 miles from civilization, chance to try out my stuff. One of the last items is water treatment. I will be using the tablets for back up and am torn between the katadyn hiker pro and the sawyer mini water filter. I will be filtering water for drinking and for freezer bag cooking and coffee, also will have a dog along. I like to carry hydration bladder and I drink a lot of water on hikes. any suggestions on choosing between the two or why something else may be better?
Sawyer Mini. It's inexpensive, reliable, and fairly quick. It can also be backflushed in the field. It also allows you to use just about any water bottle you want. My only tip: take along a gallon-size ziploc bag. I found it really hard to fill the "dirty" water bag in a flowing stream (the easiest fill is if you can catch water falling vertically.) You can always use the ziploc as a bucket to fill and then pour it into the dirty water bag.
You can't attach the clean bottle to the filter, which sometimes makes it a bit of an awkward operation. If you want a filter where everything connects, is easy to fill and backflushed, and very light and compact, then get the Platypus GravityWorks 2L Bottle Kit and a 1L Playtpus bottle. More expensive, but really easy to use.
I have a KHP new in box waiting as a backpup. I used one for 20 years+ until I clogged it on a glacial lake and a friend's Sawyer saved the day. The pump handle snapped off because of the clogging. Admittedly, I should have rigged up some kind of pre-filter step with cloth and a pot. I've now used the Mini-Sawyer for going on 5 years and the KHP may never come off the shelf again. I can buy 2.5 Sawyers just for the price of a replacement filter. The only downside is it can't freeze, but I've used it extensively in the cold by back flushing out as much water as I can and carrying it in a pocket. It's small and doesn't bother me in any way, so it's really not an imposition. The 16 oz. dirty bottle is a pain, I use a 32 oz. Evernew as a replacement. Beware the Platypus bags, as they have a different thread. They'll go part way and leak, which defeats the purpose! You can also rig it into a gravity system, as it will work beneath a water bag. Glen's suggestion of the baggie is spot on, take it to heart. I have a GSI cookset that is covered by a rubber stiffened cover that is suppose to act as a little sink. This works great, as does a smart water bottle with the top cut off. Or the baggie. I end up getting water out of a lot of places with sediment, so I like the dirty water scoop to have some stiffness to hold it shallow. When you factor in the weight savings, the Sawyer really stands out. Have a great hike.
I'd also recommend the sawyer mini. Cheaper, lighter, and I have found it to be more reliable than my previous pump filter, an MSR sweet water. Instead of having to unscrew the entire system to clean, simply backflush with the syringe. 10-20 seconds and you are ready to filter again.
I use mine in a gravity filter setup with an evernew bag as the dirty water bag and a few feet of tubing from mcmaster carr. Depending on what hydration bladder you are using you can hook the filter inline with an adapter, so you don't even have to take the bladder out of your backpack to fill it up. I know camelbak sells an adapter; I assume other companies do as well.
As far as freezing, it's true that it shouldn't be allowed to reach freezing temperatures, but I was under the impression that was no different with the ceramic element filters. Something about water expanding and creating hairline cracks that allow clean and dirty water to mix; maybe that has changed with newer filters.
The only real disadvantage I can think of is that the sawyer mini does not have a carbon filter element, so if you are concerned about any chemicals in your water source, you may want to consider either getting a separate carbon filter cartridge, or going with the katadyn.
As mentioned it can sometimes can be finicky to get water into your dirty water bag depending on the water source, but having something to pour with solves that pretty easily. Could be a ziplock bag or kitchen sink as mentioned. I use the top of a small milk jug cut off. Has a handle and everything.
I don't want to hijack your thread, but this is an issue I've been working on recently. I would need to treat at least two gallons a day, and where I hike recently it pretty much has to be all at once. Optimally, I could treat a quart and then drink it as I move to the next water source, but things have been so very dry recently that it has forced me to change methods. I've got a Hiker Pro, though it needs a new cartridge. The Sawyer Mini is about a third of the price, but I'm worried that it will be a major pain in the butt to treat all that water all at once.
What am I missing?
"Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls."
Hi, Friar: For treating that amount of water at one time, I'd recommend one of the higher-volume gravity filters; the two that I'm familiar with are the Platypus GravityWorks and the MSR Autoflow. (The filter element is identical in each - both are Cascade Designs companies - but the dirty water bags are different.) I've used both, and both are fast and easily backflushed. You can hang up to four liters of water to filter, then walk away to do something else (as long as you're filtering into a 4-liter clean bottle; otherwise, you have to tend it to change smaller containers as they fill up.) Both of the bags are wide open at the bottom and easy to scoop and fill - the Platypus uses a ziploc-style closure; the MSR uses a dry-bag style closure.
I prefer the MSR only because I like the coated-fabric dry-bag container.