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Archive for February, 2009

I like to use a water filter, rather than purifiying tablets, in the field since I sometimes encounter turbid water.  Cloudy water can be made safe with tablets, but not very appealing.  And I don’t like waiting around for my water.  I’ve been using a MSR Miniworks. miniworks_xl1

They use a ceramic element and can be field maintained with ease.  So when my last one was getting old, I decided to ‘upgrade’ to the MSR Hyperflow.  The Hyperflow is lighter by over 10 oz and supposedly pumps 3 times as fast.  3 liters per minute, vs. 1 liter per minute.  Wow!

At first I loved the filter and it performed as advertised.  But then, my experience with this filter was frustrating.

I purchased it at my local outdoor store. After studying the directions and test cleaning at home it went with me on a 6 day trip into the wilderness. After this one trip I returned it.

This unit is very fussy to clean. They recommend cleaning after every 8 liters pumped or about once a day. You can’t tell if it’s dirty or clean, because you can’t see the element. It breaks if dropped or frozen, but it’s very hard to tell if it’s broken. There’s a bubble test and a compression test to check for breakage. But no apparent signs.hyperflow_xl

I dropped by my local store today and my salesman had talked with his MSR rep. They told him that many people are getting an airlock when cleaning the filter. This can happen if you pump it at the wrong time while reassembling the fussy little pieces to create a back wash. And here’s the really bad thing. Once you have an airlock the element is ruined and must be replaced! This is the first I’d heard of this. The rep said MSR was replacing the elements of air locked filters for free. hmmmm.

I would not recommend the Hyperflow filter for field use. Too fussy to clean. Can’t tell if it’s broken. Cleaning can create an irreversible airlock. One other thing, you must use clean filtered water to clean it or it will become contaminated.basegear_2041_26972681

I would recommend the filter I now use:  the Katadyn Hiker Pro.  Without the bottle attachment, it weighs about 5 oz less than my old filter, the Miniworks, and is easier to pump.  I like the touch and feel of this filter better too.  The Hiker uses a accordion style element like in a hot tub.  It is somewhat field cleanable, but the element needs replacement much more often than the Miniworks.  Otherwise they’re pretty similar.  Both are good filters.

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hoody_hoodshut_mdI haven’t taken this backpacking yet, but it’s been great day hiking, running and biking in below 50 temps.  Really nice as a base layer when it’s really cold.  And great for fishing too.

At 8.2 oz in a medium it’s just a little lighter than my old Icebreaker Zip Top and it has the added advantage of a hood.  The fabric is lighter 150 g/m2 compared with 200 g/m2 for my Icebreaker.  But, that’s better in my book.  It has been durable too.

I’m not usually a hood wearer because I don’t like my senses limited.  But this hood does not block my sight or my hearing and makes quite a difference in warmth.  It works great under a bike helmet too.

And you get all the advantages of merino wool:  no itch, no odor, warmth when cold, coolness when warm.  How do they do that?

I’ve been living in this for the last couple months here in the PNW winter.  Should work for shoulder season backpacking, but may be too heavy and warm for summer.  Although, it could be just the ticket for sleep wear using the hood and nice long zipper for temperature adjustment.

More info here: backpackinglight.com

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