Ultralight filter bottle for solo use
Water is heavy. You really don’t want to carry more of it than you have to. At the same time water is essential. In many areas water away from buildings and livestock is safe to drink untreated – I don’t often treat water in the hills – though of course there’s always a slight risk. In lowland areas where the stream you’re looking at may have passed through fields of cows or farms or villages there’s a fair likelihood that the water isn’t clean enough to drink straight. Many options exist for treating water – most are quite heavy, cumbersome or slow to work.
Water bottles with filter systems in them first appeared quite a few years ago. They too tended to be quite weighty and to require quite an effort to get the water to flow. That’s not the case with the new Katadyn BeFree Water Filtration System 0.6L. This weighs just 60 grams and is easy to drink from. It has a hollow fibre 0.1 micron filter that is said to remove 99.9% of protozoa like cryptosporidium and giardia and 99.9999% of bacteria. I guess saying 100% would be a risk. However it’s not guaranteed to remove viruses so if you’re going anywhere these could be a problem (developing countries like Nepal for example) water should also be purified with chemicals. In Europe, North America, and other developed countries the BeFree should be all you need.
The filter unit screws into a collapsible HydraPak SoftFlask that can be rolled up when empty. A flip top protects the drinking spout. To use you just fill the bottle to the 0.6 litre mark, screw on the filter, tip the bottle a little to aid flow, and squeeze. I found the water flowed quickly without needing to apply much pressure. There was no taste either so this is about as close as you can get to drinking straight from the source.
The filter is easy to clean by either shaking it in the bottle or swishing it in a stream or pool. The filter is meant to filter up to 1000 litres before needing replacement.
If you think you might need to treat water or if you’re cautious and always do so this little bottle is excellent. For solo use the 0.6 litre size is ideal as long as there are fairly frequent water sources. There are 1 litre and 3 litre versions if you want more capacity. The latter would be good for camping.