While bottled water is available in most large towns throughout the world, in many remote locations the water quality is questionable. Even where bottled water is available it seems extremely wasteful to throw away a dozen plastic bottles every day. We used the Katadyn Pocket Microfilter to fill up our own canteens. On a bike trip through SouthEast Asia we were able to avoid purchasing about 20 of those liter bottles of water every day by having the pump. And of course in places without bottled water, this was a life-saver.
The Katadyn Pocket is different from everything else on the market. The first difference is the price. It costs is two-to-three times the price of it’s competition! Also, it is not lightweight. And really it’s not all that easy to use.
So what’s so great about it? Katadyn has been making this filter for decades. It has been used by the Navy Seals and other special forces for years. The aluminum construction makes it very durable.The filter is fully field-cleanable. That means there is no expensive filter cartridge to replace after a month of use. The ceramic cartridge in the Katadyn Pocket has a life of 13,000 gallons or 50,000 liters. So this filter will last for a lifetime of any adventure.
There are a few things that need to be done regularly to keep the filter in good working condition. The pores of the ceramic filter element absorb the contamination and must be scrubbed clean periodically. Generally I give it a light scrubbing after pumping about ten liters of sink water. If the water source is slightly salty or dirty then the element must be scrubbed more frequently. I can tell it needs a cleaning when the filter becomes difficult to pump. When I first began using the filter I would scrub it too often and too hard, removing more of the ceramic coating than necessary. The first filter wore our faster than the 50,000 liter limit and I learned my lesson. Now I am careful to scrub it lightly and evenly so the wear occurs at the outer edges of the filter at the same rate as the center. Katadyn provides an organic lubricant that is applied to the pump handle at the bottom and the point where the rod enters the pump. While the lubricant is a tiny little tube it seems to last a long time.
Filling the water bag in a hotel bathroom in Thailand