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Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Review: Katadyn BeFree water filter

My last filter was a Katadyn Virustat, but the product is out of stock and replacement filters are also similarly impossible to find. The replacement is the Katadyn BeFree, which does away with the virus elimination stage of the previous device, but in exchange gives you a collapsible bottle and a filter that does not need to be replaced monthly. Just dry it out between trips, and it should be good for 1000 liters.

The bottle is indeed very light at 63g. The instructions must be read carefully, as there are a few counter intuitive ways where you might break it: for instance, you cannot run the filter under a tap horizontally, as it might destroy it! Similarly, when squeezing water through the bottle, take care not to squeeze the plastic filter as well. And of course, it won't kill viruses, but it does impart a somewhat sweet taste to the water.  In typical Swiss fashion, the bottle nozzle comes with a cap so you can't easily contaminate it. You can drink directly from the bottle, but there's no way to carry the bottle easily (except by hand), so the intention is that you use it to filter water into other containers that you then drink from.

Other than the virus thing, everything about this filter is better than the previous models I was using. Water flows freely, the bottle is much lighter and the collapsible feature is very nice. With this weight, you can carry 2 in case you break one, but if you read the instructions carefully there's no reason you would break one unless the water you're filtering is very badly soiled. This thing deserves the rave reviews and the $40 MSRP.


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