Is Katadyn Hiker Pro the Portable Water Filter to Carry on the Trail?
The Katadyn Hiker Pro is one of those outdoors water filters with only one purpose: be your friend by hydrating your body when clean water is required.
Its design and specifications are similar to other manufactures (such as the Survivor Filter Pro), but the quality could be different.
At first glance, the technology implemented looks very promising. Regardless of what is shown by the Swiss Company, Katadyn, this review will uncover the best and limitations of this hiking device.
Katadyn Hiker Pro Tech Specs
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What to Know Before Buying this Water Filter
I know you may be exited about the next hiking experience however before buying this water filter device, you should know its benefits and limitations.
Filtration stages and Contaminants removed
Any fresh water source will have different contaminants that will definitively affect your day and body performance.
Lets discuss the efficiency of the filters based on its stages:
- Stage 1: Pre-filter
Similar to what the main competitors offer, the pre-filter is locate at the inlet of the system.
This is basically as strainer (very fine lightweight aluminum mesh – 130 microns), which its job is to retain any material (coarse sand, small straws, etc) that could clog the next filters.
The strainer will not reduce the total dissolve solids (TDS) in the water as it has not being designed for that purpose.
There is no limit on how long you can use this pre-filter. You just need to clean it up after every single use (no single day).
- Stage 2: Micron Glass Fiber
After passing thru the pre-filter, water will hit the second stage.
Here, TDS will be reduced at some level, which will at the same time remove different micro-organism such as bacteria.
Glass fiber filters are more cost effective and lightweight. That is why the use of this material is good for a portable device.
Of course, because its micro properties (pore size of 0.2μs), it will get clogged overtime. This stage would have the same filter life as the stage 3, for obvious reason.
Lastly, due to its high level of contaminants removal, the next filtration stage will perform better.
- Stage 3: Carbon Filter
Now, the final stage. The granular activated carbon (GAC), will ensure that potential chemicals and organic compounds bigger than 0.2 microns are removed from the water.
You won’t see the GAC as such. It is basically in the middle of the part, like a filtration core.
This filter media will not remove any viruses or majority of heavy metals, nevertheless by removing most common pollutants from fresh waters, you could rest assure the taste of the water is good.
Last but not least, expect the filter life around 1150 liters of water to be treated before having to replace the part.
Portability and comfort
What can be say about the portability? Well, it is not the smallest device but not the biggest too.
I know it is hard to judge its portability and comfort just by looking at the dimensions: (H:6″ x 2″).
Just to put it with perspective, it won’t be bigger than a 250 ml standard water bottle.
At least, the Katadyn Hiker Pro comes with a carry bag so is easily accessible when needed from the backpack. Clearly, if you are carrying a small one, it may be a little troublesome.
In terms of comfort, this really depends on each person. Regardless of this, I find it easy to handle when pumping and the flexy silicon hose will adjust to what you need.
Lastly, I think the overall weight is not that impressive (226 gr – 8 oz). This may not be heavy to carry but after a long day, you could be thinking otherwise.
How to Setup, Use and Maintain It
I know this filtration system will look after you but you have to look after it too. Yeah, it could possibly look straight forward to setup but it is always handy to get some tips on how to, including operation and maintenance.
Setting up the Hiker Pro
After buying the Katadyn Hiker Pro, you must’ve received all the elements including:
- the pump handle.
- the housing.
- Bottle adapter (EasyFill™)
- two (2) silicon hoses (in and output) and last but not least,
- the filters (strainer and the main one).
My advise it to install the glass fiber / GAC filter first, then connect the hoses. It will be easier to manipulate.
Lastly, as it is BPA free plastic, be gentle when attaching the hoses into the input and output barbs. They could be fragile so be mindful.
How to Use Katadyn Hiker Pro (Operation)
The operation of this outdoors water filter system is very simple. All you have to do is placing the intake hose into the water source and start pumping.
A few things to consider when in the field:
- Rest the outlet parts on a clean surface (could be the carry bag provided). This is to prevent dirt getting into the filtered water.
- Connect the EasyFill™ bottle adapter into the drinking bottle first. This way you can easier place the bottle at a reachable distance.
- DO NOT block the EasyFill™ adapter exhaust (small hole at the top side). If you experience resistance when pumping, the exhaust may be blocked.
- The handle pump is plastic. Just be gentle as it could break.
- I recommend you clean the strainer to remove any obvious particles accumulated after filling up the bottle. It is easier when wet.
Once you are done with it, you should clean it up (see below), let it dry completely and store it in the dedicate bad.
I don’t recommend you place the hoses back into the re-sealable bag.
In the scenario that you are using it back again (maybe a few days or months later), it is a good idea to purge the system with clean water to remove any old taste.
Katadyn Hiker Pro water filter cleaning
When I saw the product, my first thought was: ok, looks good but it has way too many things to look after. And after reviewing the inner parts, the question was how to clean the Katadyn Hiker Pro water filter?
Luckily, in terms of the filters, there is three (3) to clean: the strainer, the glass fiber and the GAC.
For the strainer, you just need to wash it as doing the dishes. Of course, be gentle. Let it dry and check its integrity.
- Glass Fiber and GAC
The glass fiber would be a bit different. Just remove the BPA free white plastic mesh and remove the filter protector (sheet) covering the main filter (GAC).
Use the small sponge provided to scrub the surface of both the protector and main filter. It would be ideal to use tap water but if the source is a “clean” stream, then it would be okay.
- The housing and fittings
Regardless of the water sources, the housing and fittings will accumulate particles and micro-organisms overtime.
After finishing your daily trip, it is a good practice to scrub also the inner housing using, if possible, fresh filtered water.
You will see that, overtime, the walls of the filter will get darker or change in color. This is an indication of bio-films accumulating.
That is why I love the new transparent feature. Easy to detect changes inside the housing and core filter.
Katadyn Hiker vs Hiker Pro
I lot of people ask, why they should buy the Pro version? To be honest, there is not much of a difference between the two.
This table shows their tech specs, so it is easier to make a call on which one to buy:
|Flow rate (lpm)||1||1|
|Filters||Pre filter (strain), glass fiber, GAC.|
|Filters lifespan (months)||N/A. Depends on usage.|
|*Filtered volume (lts)||750||1150|
|Dimensions||W: 2′; H:3′||W: 3′; H:6′|
Clearly there is no a massive differences between the Katadyn Hiker and Hiker Pro, but I guess the filtered volume and lifespan could be a deal breaker.
An extended lifespan of the filter will translate into saving money in the long run (if you intent to use it a lot) but if that is not an issue, you could save money at the start too.
Lastly, I know that on a trek you want to be lightweight. It is not much of a difference but it could be something to think about.
Katadyn Hiker Pro Review Wrap Up
There is not much left to say really apart from seeing that this portable water filter was built to last.
The simplicity of its operation and quality of its filters (for what is worth), makes it a good candidate for a few hikers.
I guess the factor that is outstanding from other systems with similar characteristics, is the filtration flow rate and quick connect features.
Not only it is simple to setup but also easy to connect with with most hydration packs.
I know some hikers complain about the need to modify their hydration pack, but really, it has being designed to give you a good experience.
In terms of the Katadyn Hiker Pro replacement cartridge and associated costs, I find more appealing what the Survivor Filter Pro has to offer.
Survivor Pro has the thre (3) stages separated so it is only replacing one of them (less money to pay?) when useless.
After all, I believe the Katadyn Hiker Pro is still a very reliable outdoors filter in 2020, regardless of its portability and price.
Images courtesy of Katadyn