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Nick - Cacher

Water Filter: Activated carbon 0.3 micron versus hollow fiber 0.1 micron?

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I'm trying to debate between two water filters I saw at REI. One is a Katadyn Hiker filter with 0.3 micron pores, it has activated carbon, and it can filter up to 200 gallons before you have to buy another filter. The other is a Sawyer with hollow fiber with 0.1 micron pores the water travels through, comes with something to backwash the filter, and because of that "a use it a million times guarantee". As far as price, these two are only $5 from each other.


Which one is better?


I was thinking having a 0.1 micron filter will filter more germs than a 0.3 micron filter. However, the activated carbon will remove chemicals, odors, or if you have no choice but to take from a stagnant pond and for all you know many animals pee in it, I think it could help out.


On the REI water filter comparison chart, it says both the Katadyn Hiker and Sawyer filters are rated for taking care of bacteria. However, the thing which concerns me is on another place on their chart it says bacteria can be anywhere from 0.1-10 microns, which tells me they could be slightly smaller than the Katadyn Hiker 0.3 micron filter.


So that's why I'm confused on what to get.

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Drinking water from a stream is risky business. I believe these filters should be used only as a emergency backup system. Research the watershed, if you can for industry. Straining germs is not the whole story if Chemicals from industry are a factor. Just a thought before a thought!

Edited by GPS-Hermit

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The activated carbon filter will also help a lot with taste. I'd probably lean towards the one with the carbon filter.


What can make or break these in the field is how you use them and what you use as a water source.

A puddle or standing water is the last source you want to use with any filtering gear you can carry.


Deeper water (more than a foot deep) a few feet or greater from a shore line would be preferred, but more difficult to obtain.

On a river, most cases, moving water is better than non-moving water.


For water bottle filters (in a foot or more deep water), I'll put the bottle into the water mouth first (so I don't get too much surface water). Once the bottle is in the water, slowly turn it upwards until it's full. This keeps the floating junk up on top of the water, and the bottom dirt, mud, etc on the bottom.


The above does not compensate for industrial contaminants.

If I'm using a filter, I'm in the middle of nowhere, and industry contaminants are the least of my concern. If I'm only doing a day trip, I'll generally carry water from home (which is heavily filtered).


Take what I have here as you will. I can say I've yet to become sick from drinking water on any of my trips.

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Posted (edited)
On 9/12/2012 at 3:18 PM, Nick - Cacher said:

I'm trying to debate between two water filters I saw at REI. 

Which one is better?


Saw you came back (lurking ;-) in '16, so said what the hay...       :)

I've had a lot of time off lately, and though I'd add my penny.    Filtering, weight, price, and reliability were my reasons to look around.

I still have a Hiker mini-filter,  about 8 years now, and along with a relative who has one, used  'em a lot.   11oz weight.   45 bucks.

The first thing I noticed different than you was mine had a 0.2 micron filter though.   Good for around 300 gallons.

I found it a pain-in-the can to pump at times, my relative broke their handle the second time out.  Couldn't find "clogs".  

Back-washing when that handle gets tough helps some.  Small, clear mountain streams, lasted a while.

Eventually I broke mine too, and reasoned that a 45 buck plastic gizmo lasting 8 years isn't too bad.

Fifteen bucks for a flimsy (I thought) handle.  It's now a spare after finding the filter's are the same price as the whole unit.


Now I'm using a sawyer mini.  0.1 micron filter,  weighs 2oz, no pump (squeeze pouch or drink tube), filter good for 100,000 gallons. 20 bucks.

That might last a while...  Easy backwash too.  Many reviews mention the bag splitting.

I thought the drink bag was too small, and that narrow fill sucked.  You'd have to bring yet-another thing to fill the bag.  That's crazy.

Picked up a 2Liter CNOC and a  Evernew  bag  (JIC the other's no good too). CNOC weight is 2.5oz,  Evernew is  1.

For now,  I went with the CNOC.   The evernew's still in a storage bin.

Going lightweight, 4.5oz compared to 11 is a plus for me too.



Edited by cerberus1
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