backpacking water filter

Hey, I’ve got till the end of today to get 20% off an item from REI.
One thing I’m thinking of is a backpacking style water filer.

I’ll be doing some other online reasearch, but I’m wondering if an dopers have any experience / suggestions. Seems with the MSR Miniworks EX people either love it or say it breaks if you look at it funny.

The pump would only be needed by me and maybe one other person. It would probably be used in northern WI, MI or MN. (Perhaps the Sylvania wilderness )

Oh, and the length of the trips would probably be in the 4 day range (I don’t need something for a month long journey - though field cleanable would still be desireable)



I have an MSR Waterworks and we used it during our 6-day trek along the West Coast Trail. All of the source water we used flowed from old-growth rain forest and it looked like orange pekoe tea, but the filter served us well. I’d recommend their products.

When I went to Philmont with my scout troop, we got a pair of MSR Sweetwater filters.

It worked pretty well - read the instructions, I’d use it again in a heartbeat.

I’ve got an older MSR filter and it’s worked like a charm for years. Very simple, field strippable. If you don’t want to spend the weight/space on a filter I’d recommend a tiny bottle of PA tablets.

Carrying a water filter on a hot day is one of the best ways to make new friends on a long hike. The other is to bring booze :slight_smile:

Same rec here - I have the MSR - works great.

I did look at the MSR comparison site ( )- the sweetwater is cheaper and lighter than the EX, though the EX has a longer cartridge life and is “field maintainable” (but also looks more complicated)


I (back)ordered the sweetwater.


In the BWCA, I use a First Need XL. I ended up setting on that simply because of it’s ease of use. The filter changes easy, the pump handle is designed so it’s easy to get leverage (that is my biggest complaint on other models) and the tube makes it easy to draw water even when you are moving around. I had a katadyn before that. To tell you the truth, I never trusted it. The water didn’t look clean, and usually had a funky taste. The First need produced totally clear water. The only complaint being the bulk.

Hey, I spent a week on a fly-fishing trip last year in Sylvania. Have fun, It’s a beautiful place to get lost for awhile.

I brought my REI backpacker’s filter but we ended up using an el-cheepo hanging filter. In the morning we would fill a hug collapsible jug for the camp and some milk jugs for excursions.

As an aside…

Don’t worry too much about packing light unless you have multiple portages to get to your site. I spent months researching, planning menus and dehydrating foods. Another guy I was with brought some summer sausage, cheese, bacon and the like. Bear bag it and it will be fine. Canoes can carry a great deal of weight easily. I found out that they actually do better weighted down. (I’m only telling you this because I wasted a lot of time and energy stressing. Maybe this will save you some trouble and make mine a bit more worthwhile!) Feel free to PM me if you have any questions or concerns about the trip. Maybe I can save you some headaches I went through never having been there.

Also, try to watch the Sundance Channel’s “Nimrod Nation” before you go. It’s pretty cool to meet some of those folks when you’re in town.