Katadyn considers its products “all-conditions” filters.
The photo is Jerry Richardson & me on Utah’s San Juan River during a 3 day raft trip in May 2012 from Sand Island to Mexican Hat. We pumped about 5 gallons of the water in photo through a Hiker Pro with no clogging and no slowdown. The water came out clean and good tasting.
After the trip, when I cleaned the filter: I washed about a half-ounce of sand out of it. Although I cleaned the filter protector with the sponge we provide, it did not come completely clean. I also could not rinse all the dirt out of the pleated filter. However, after I reassembled the Hiker Pro, it pumped as fast as when new.
The San Juan use filter cartridge during cleaning in my kitchen sink, with some of the sand in background.
We say minimum dirty-water life of the Hiker Pro filter is 300 gallons. I suspect, even with cleaning, it might be less than 100 gallons in that type of water. Most filters on the market would clog irreparably much sooner, in water that dirty.
The filter cartridge is very hard to clog with cleaner backcountry water. They often last between 500-800 gallons.
However the charcoal inside the filter is going to be effective for only about 6 months after first use.
The charcoal improves water flavor by taking out organic chemicals. If you are below agriculture, it also removes herbicides and pesticides. Below industrial areas, it removes 53 different chemicals the EPA (Environmental Protective Agency) considers dangerous to consume. http://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants/index.cfm#Organic
When the charcoal is used up, it is not replaceable. If you want to remove organic chemicals and improve water taste, buy a new cartridge, otherwise—no problem.
The Hiker Pro pumps faster than the package says: about a quart every 35 seconds, one gallon in about 3 minutes.
First cup or so of water, on first use, will have some loose charcoal in it. Not a problem after that.
- Maintenance is only occasionally required:If you have been pumping very dirty water and notice a fall-off in pumping speed: clean the pre-filter that goes in the water. This can be done with a finger or cloth, but is best-done with a tooth-brush.
- Every 6 months or so, lubricate the black O-ring on the pump handle with the silicon lube provided with the filter & replacement cartridges.
- If the pump still pumps slowly after performing item 1 & 2, remove the filter cartridge.
I also strongly recommend taking the filter cartridge out and letting it air dry in between trips. It is possible to mildew it by keeping it wet and warm.
The pump handle may be used as a lever to unscrew the filter cartridge. Remove the plastic clip that holds the handle in, by pulling on the clip, lift out the pump handle, engage one of the deep grooves on a ridge on the cartridge, and unscrew (with difficulty) the cartridge.
It is quite easy to clean sediments off the cartridge that impair pumping speed and ease.
As a temporary solution in the field, remove the cartridge, unroll the plastic mesh over the filter, remove the Filter Protector sheet and clean it with the sponge provided. Swish both the Filter Protector sheet, and the pleated filter around in water. Take care that untreated water does NOT get inside the output barb. If flow is not restored, replace cartridge.
The filter protector sheet and the pleated filter may also be cleaned under a faucet with cold water. The filter may however be destroyed by subjecting it to high pressure.
BY Ray Brooks