The Katadyn BeFree ($39.95) is an ultra-lightweight and compact/collapsilbe water bottle with an integrated microfilter that allows you to filter water for drinking. It is, in fact, water filtration at its most nascent and basic core: Just fill the bottle with water and drink. As you drink, the filter filters the invisible fluvial zoo that is lake and river water.
I used the Katadyn BeFree on a multi-day hiking trip in Scotland this past summer, as well as a few day hikes since and on a week-long trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. It’s now the end of October and I have yet to be admitted to the ER with “intestinal discomfort” from Cryptosporidium, Giardia, E-Coli and Salmonella. Yay Katadyn BeFree!
What I liked
- Simple and fast to use. Just unscrew the cap, dip the bottle into a lake or river, re-screw the cap and drink. The filtration process takes place with each suck or blast and filters up to one liter of water per minute. Cleaning is very simple, too. If you have a clog, just give it a good shake to unplug the filter.
- Bottle is soft and pliable. It packs down to the size of its own water filter when empty so an empty Katadyn BeFree takes up hardly any space in your pack or pocket.
- Long filter life. According to Katadyn, the “BeFree will deliver 1,000 liters of filtered water before needing a replacement.” I haven’t had it long enough to replace the filter yet but they cost $24.95 and baffle me. I can find them at REI but not on Katadyn’s website.
- Good water flow. Its wide mouth makes it a fast and easy way to stay hydrated while hiking.
- Lightweight. It weighs in at a svelte 2.05 ounces
Limitations of which to aware
- Its size may not be practical in every hiking situation. At 0.6 liters, I was pretty much stopping at every water source for a refill. In Scotland, water sources were all around me so it wasn’t an issue. But if I was on a multi-day hike in a more arid region, I would need to carry a full-sized hydration bladder in my pack (and a Hiker Pro Microfilter).
- The 0.1-micron “EZ-Clean hollow-fiber filter” removes the nastiness found in North American (and Scottish) backcountry water. But according to Katadyn, it doesn’t remove anything smaller than .1 microns—which means you’ll probably be ingesting viruses. If virus contamination is a concern where you’re traveling, you’ll need an actual water purifier.
Overall thoughts/final verdict
I prefer filter systems over non-filter treatment systems. Filter systems filter sediment, require less fiddling, they’re aster, they don’t reek of chlorine.
Do I think the Katadyn BeFree is worth the $39.95 outlay of cash despite its size? Most definitely. Katadyn products are like the breed standard when it comes to water filtration. I have an old Hiker Pro that celebrated its 15th birthday this past summer and it’s still filtering water and keeping me out of emergency rooms (I know it’s 15 years old because I purchased it right before a trip to Mt. Katahdin in Maine)
If you’re still not convinced, Just Google “long-term effects of drinking untreated lake/river water”.
KatadynDesigned with green deer coloring, the Katadyn MyBottle 8017777 Ultralight Series personal water purifier bottle makes it easy to drink clean, filtered water on any outdoor adventure. Comes complete with straw, carbon pre-filter, Virustat filter and cyst filter. Will reduce up to 99.9% of waterborne bacteria, viruses, and cysts from drinking water pulled from any freshwater source. An ideal gift for the camper, hiker, or adventurer on your shopping list! Order the Katadyn MyBottle 8017777 Ultralight Series personal water purifier bottle today.$62.99
KATADYNThe only variable water filter out there. The Katadyn Vario can be quickly configured for longer life in dirty water or maximum flow in normal conditions. The Vario filters 2 quarts per minute in Faster Flow mode and 1 quart per minute in Longer Life mode. Configuring flow mode only takes a simple turn. Replaceable filter element can last up to 500 gallons (depending on water conditions) before needing replacement. 0.3 micron high surface area; pleated glassfiber microfilter removes waterborne bacteria and cysts. Carbon core in replacement filter keeps water tasting fresh, and reduces chemicals, odors, and toxins through life of cartridge. Cleanable ceramic disc lengthens life of primary microfilter. Easy to operate dual piston technology provides continuous output with minimum effort. Adapter base attaches directly to water bottles or output hose can be used to fill hydration systems or larger containers. Contoured shape of the Vario is easy to grip. Size: 7.5 inches long x 4 inches diameter. Contents include Vario water microfilter, microfilter cartridge, ceramic disc, intake hose with modular prefilter, output hose with bottle clip, deluxe carry bag, cleaning pad, reusable silicone lubricant, and instructions$94.95
KatadynThe Katadyn EZ-Clean Membrane? Filter Cartridge is a replacement element for your Katadyn BeFree Water Bottle Filtration System.? Always keep a spare on hand. 0.1 micron hollow fiber. Replacement filter for the BeFree bottle. Field cleanable for long life. Safely removes bacteria and cysts like Giardia and Cryptosporidium. Always keep a spare on hand.$24.95
KatadynWith Katadyn 's BeFree? Filter you no longer have to worry about where your next drink will come from. Just fill up the flask and let the EZ-Clean Membrane? do the work. Gently squeeze the flask for instant refreshment. Maintain the EZ-Clean Membrane? quickly and easily for longer life and more enjoyment. Simply fill the flask with water attach the cover and shake free the debris.$39.95
KatadynWith the Katadyn BeFree? Water Filtration System, you no longer have to worry about where your next drink will come from. Just fill up the flask and let the EZ-Clean Membrane? do the work. Gently squeeze the flask for instant refreshment. Maintain the EZ-Clean Membrane? quickly and easily for longer life and more enjoyment. Simply fill the flask with water, attach the cover and shake free the debris. Or, remove the filter from the flask and swish in any lake, river or stream. And when you're ready to hit the road, the collapsible flask packs small to fit into tight spaces. Just smash, stash and go! Stay Clean Drink Nozzle keeps dir on the ground and out of your mouth. The BeFree? 0.1 micron microfilter is tested to protect against harmful organisms like bacteria and cysts. Free Flow Channels? keep water flowing fast to hydrate you. No need to suck! Collapsible 0.6 liter Hydrapak? Soft Flask allows for easy filling and packs small to fit into tight spaces. Wide mouth 43mm flask opening. Hydrapak? Soft Flask is longer lasting, rugged, high-tech, flexible, BPA-free. No backflushing and no clumsy tools. Simple shake or swish the EZ-Clean Membrane? in the water and be on your way. 0.1 micron hollow fiber technology. For solo use. Suitable for cloudy water. Lightweight and portable. Flow Rate: 1 liter per minute. Tested to 1000 L, depending on water quality. Wt. 2 oz (58g) . Size: 9.1 x 2.8 x 2.8 in (23.2 x 7 x 7 cm) .$39.95
KatadynKatadyns BeFree Bottle Filtration System Replacement Filter quickly and easily turns questionable outdoor water into clean and safe drinking water. This compact filter fits into your BeFree Water Filtration System 0.6L (not included) . This lightweight hollow-fiber filter cleans cloudy water and is effective against microorganisms. Boasts a 2-liters-per-minute output and a life-of-the-filter output of up to 1,000 liters. Color: Blue. Gender: Male. Age Group: Adult. Type: Replacement Filters.$24.99
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