Occasionally here at Hydration Anywhere we get requests to review products from our readers. No single product has been requested more than the Katadyn Pocket Water Filter – we regularly receieve questions from readers about the product and inquiries wondering when we’ll be doing a review. Well, we don’t want to keep you waiting any more, so we got the chance to try out a Katadyn Pocket Water Filter for ourselves and this is what we found.
As in most of our reviews, we took the opportunity to spend a few weeks with the Katadyn and actually went out into the field and put the device through its paces. The Swiss-made Katadyn is designed to enable water to be filtered from practically any source, the Katadyn is a high-end piece of equipment with a design geared towards efficient high performance and built-to-last construction which allows the Katadyn to accompany its owners on any expedition.
The Katadyn: A Heavy-Duty Portable Pocket Water Filter You Can Rely On
The Katadyn has been regarded by survival experts, preppers, camping enthusiasts, even the armed forces of nations across the globe. It is certainly no toy: with heavy duty metal and PVC construction, the Katadyn is actually pretty heavy despite its relatively small size, weighing around 1.2lbs for the unit itself and approaching around 2lbs or so when in the kit with all of its included gadgets.
Aside from the weight and high quality construction, another feature that truly sets the Katadyn apart from its competitors is the price tag, which is not cheap. At over $250 on Amazon, the Katadyn is an investment. However, when pitted against similar products on the market, the price of the Katadyn Pocket Filter is justified given the filter’s longevity and the unparalleled design and construction of the unit.
Super Long Lasting Filter
The Katadyn features a 0.2 micron filter featuring a ceramic element impregnated with antimicrobial silver particles. This filter is effective at eliminating >99.99% of viruses, bacteria, parasites, and other water-borne pathogens, as well as trapping sediment or other contaminants. The design of the filter allows it to be easily cleaned off with a small included sponge, a design which affords the Katadyn filter its truly massive 13,000 gallon filter lifetime.
Just for contrast, the LifeStraw is rated for just 264 gallons of use. That means you would go through about fifty LifeStraws (approaching a cool $1,000 at current prices) in the lifetime of a single Katadyn Pocket Filter. When the Katadyn pocket filter has reached its lifetime use, replacements are around $130.
Looking at it like this, suddenly the $250+ price tag of the Katadyn starts to seem pretty reasonable. On top of this unbeatable filter lifetime, the pocket filter is backed up by a lifetime manufacturer warranty. But wait, there’s more…
Using the Katadyn
Anyone who uses the Katadyn can’t help but remark at how well it accomplishes the goals it sets out to. It is, quite simply, a well-made piece of equipment. The functioning of the Katadyn is quite simple: an intake hose is connected to the Katadyn and placed into your water source. Another outlet hose is connected to the Katadyn and inserted into your water bottle, hydration pack, or other container. A hand pump on the Katadyn forces water through the filter and after a bit of pumping, clean water flows out of the outlet hose.
The intake hose is equipped with a few nifty features. Firstly, a pre-filter is attached to the very end of the hose, which filters out any initial sediment or other large particles and helps prevent clogging of the hose or filter. The intake hose also features a float, meaning it won’t sink to the bottom if you toss it into a larger body of water, very useful for filling from lakes or deeper rivers.
While it does take a bit of pumping to get the Katadyn going, after a bit of priming the Katadyn gets to delivering clean water pretty quickly – the manufacturer advertises a flow rate of up to 1 quart per minute. Filling larger vessels with the Katadyn is a bit of a workout, but the results are certainly worth the effort. The filtration quality also benefits from the water being passed through the filter with pneumatic pressure, rather than relying on gravity or suction.
The combination of the pre-filter and the 0.2 micron ceramic filter is enough to get rid of just about all of the microbial life you need to worry about. It also gets rid of any large particles, sediment and dirt, but is not suitable for chemical filtration. The silver particles impregnated into the ceramic filter element help to kill off bacteria and viruses, which provides some additional anti-microbial assurances even though the 0.2 micron filter is small enough to block out most pathogens.
In testing, normal water passed through the Katadyn has a slight flavor imparted to it from the ceramic filter, but overall tastes fine. It is important to note that the Katadyn pocket filter will not remove things like chlorine, volatile organic compounds, and while it does work to improve the taste and odor of water, it does not go as far as a carbon filter in some regards.
Fortunately, the folks Katadyn seem to have thought of everything, offering users concerned with the best quality filtration the chance to pick up a Katadyn Carbon Cartridge (~$20), which equips the Katadyn with a carbon filter at the end of the outlet hose. This creates essentially a third stage of filtration, passing your water through the carbon filtration to eliminate chlorine, volatile organic compounds, and further improve the taste and odor quality of the water. The carbon attachment also does a good job of removing the taste imparted by the ceramic filter itself. While certainly unnecessary to get potable water from the Katadyn, the carbon filter attachment is a good addition for getting tastier water.
Some Maintenance Required
The Katadyn does offer a truly incredible 13,000 gallon lifetime, but to get the most from it, it requires a bit of maintenance. Some great information is included in the manual and there are plenty of useful videos and documentation available for proper care, and overall it is a pretty simple process. The main thing that needs to be done is a gentle cleaning after each use. The ceramic filter element should be wiped down with the included cleaning pads after being flushed out. Be sure to allow the entire unit to dry out completely in order to prevent the possibility of bacterial growth. To further combat this, don’t seal the Katadyn tightly when storing it – leave it open a bit to allow airflow and prevent moisture build up.
If the flow rate of the Katadyn is declining, it usually just means that the filter needs a cleaning. Typically this is enough to restore flow rate to just about as good as new.
The only other maintenance the Katadyn pocket filter requires is the occasionally lubrication on the pumping mechanism. It is lubricated with a silicone lubricant, a tube of which is included with purchase of the Katadyn.
One potential issue we have heard of is the filter cracking if it manages to freeze. For those using the Katadyn in cold weather conditions, this is an important concern to look out for and to avoid during usage. We have not encountered this problem ourselves, however there are some reports of it. Hopefully in such an even the lifetime warranty on the Katadyn pocket filter would be able to furnish a replacement filter.
Included With Purchase
In addition the Katadyn pocket filter itself, included with purchase is outlet hose with storage bag, outlet hose, a tube of silicone lubricant, two small cleaning pads, and a carrying case to story the Katadyn and all of its accessories in. This handy little bag makes the Katadyn even more easily portable, although it probably weighs upwards of two pounds, which can be a bit hefty for an already packed travel bag.
Our Final Thoughts & Review Summary
The Katadyn Pocket Filter is without a doubt one of the finest portable filtration solutions available on the market. Swiss-made, exceptionally well engineered, remarkably portable, easy-to-use, crafted from high quality materials, and with an unbeatable 13,000 gallon filter lifetime, there is no other portable filter that can really hold a candle to the impressive stats boasted by the Katadyn.
At $250+ it is a bigger upfront investment than many of its competitors – however, it is important to consider that it has substantially longer filter liftime than just about anything comparable. When viewed over the long term, the Katadyn is possibly the best portable water filter on the market for anyone who truly plans to make frequent use of their portable filter.
Ultimately we are more than satisfied with the Katadyn. For anyone willing to fork over the chunk of change required to own one, and be diligent with the few simple maintenance tasks it requires, a lifetime of portable water filtration is available. We award it 5/5 stars.
See For Yourself: Katadyn Video Review
We are not the creators of this video, but YouTuber ReviewOutdoorGear has put together a really excellent run down and demonstration of the Katadyn Pocket Filter. Check out their YouTube video below to see the Katadyn in action for yourself. Thanks ReviewOutdoorGear!
If the Katadyn isn’t quite what you’re looking for in a portable water filter, there are plenty of other options on the market worth checking out as well. If you want something integrated into a water bottle, check out the pneumatically powered LIFESAVER Bottle, or the suction-powered LifeStraw GO Bottle. If you need to tackle serious amounts of water or want a portable source of running water, the 5-gallon behemoth LIFESAVER Jerrycan might be more your speed. Or you can take a whole different approach to portable purification with a SteriPEN Ultraviolet Light Portable Water Purifier.
If the Katadyn is just a bit too expensive and you don’t want to break the bank, have a look at our Sawyer Mini Portable Water Filter Review. While not as heavy-duty or full of features as the Katadyn, the Sawyer offers impressive and comparable results at literally one-tenth of the price.
With so many options, it is easy to equip yourself with something that will provide you with the peace of mind of knowing that you have one (or more) ways to provide clean water at any time.
Easy To Use
Superbly Engineered & Manufactured
Long Lasting Filter Lifetime
- Editor Rating
- Rated 5 stars
- Katadyn Portable Pocket Water Filter
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The Katadyn Portable Pocket Water Filter offers a world-class, top-of-the-line filter suitable for use in just about any conditions - all which you can tuck into your pocket.
Jacob Hatch is the author and founder of Hydration Anywhere. He has been actively writing about drinking water since 2013. These days Jacob spends most of his time investigating water related news, studying environmental issues, reading health studies, and reviewing products like water bottles and water filters.