Gear Review: Katadyn BeFree Water Filter

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Filter/Mouthpiece

Filter/Mouthpiece

I recently got to test the Katadyn BeFree Water Filtration System which basically consists of a collapsible container that the filter screws into. The filter is 58 grams or a hair over 2 oz. The collapsible flask is .6 liters but the filter is compatible with any 42 mm Hydrapack bottle and flasks including the collapsible Seeker collection which come in 1, 2, and 3 liter sizes.

Squishy

Squishy

The first thing I noticed is the type of container. There is a new trend of soft, collapsible containers. I haven’t been able to take the Seeker collection out but they are supposedly built for a lifetime of tough wear. My hubby seems to exclusively use soft flasks for us ultras (he just finished his first 100 miler in 25 hrs 12 min) so they have to be tough, right? The type of plastic also has a grip to it. It doesn’t slide into pouches quite as easy and since they are super flexible, it is sometimes hard to shove them into a pocket if it is a snug fit versus using a more shiny container. It’s nice that it can change shape though since not all packs come with the same size pockets!

The second thing I noticed is that the flow of water. I’m glad that no one saw me because I was drinking water at the skill level of a toddler. The flow is so fast (1 liter per minute) that I kept spilling water out of my mouth and sometimes choking. I had to change the way I drank from the filter sucking on the nozzle like a straw instead of squeezing the bottle because the squeezing led to more water than I could handle.

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Squeeze Flow

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Wide Opening

Gravity Flow

Gravity Flow

Although I had trouble with it at first, I really like the filter for $39.95. The rate of flow is what makes it awesome. I can just picture myself back on the AT filtering an entire day’s worth of water for myself in just 2 minutes… We started the AT with a pump water filter (don’t do it!) and switched to a Sawyer Squeeze as soon as we learned about them. That switch cut my water filtering time by more than half and the BeFree would cut it down even more. Just make sure you wash the filter thoroughly several times before using to get the plastic taste out.

In itself, the Katadyn BeFree is a great filter. It has a 2 year warranty and lasts for 1000 liters. If you average 2 liters a day on the AT, this would have been more than enough for my husband and I on our 5 month trip. However, if you’re looking for a filter that will last longer because you’re a long-distance-hiking-aholic, there are other options out there.

Disclosure: The Katadyn BeFree was donated for the purpose of review.

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Comments 3

  • Katherine : Dec 7th

    Does it clog/slow as easily as the sawyer mini (I’ve heard, not experienced, knock on wood) does?

    Filters down to how many microns?

    Any way to tell if you’ve accidentally frozen it? (Making it ineffective)

    Does it get funky in storage over the winter? (Like my sawyer squeeze did)

    Does it screw on to a Platy? Smart water bottle?

    Is there a way to do an inline hose-sucking set-up?

    Reply
    • Nicole and Alex Docta : Dec 17th

      The BeFree would be way easier to clean if it does clog versus the Sawyer but I try to stay away from using silty water. You have to look at what the opening size is for whatever container you use. The BeFree screws onto 42 mm openings. I’ve never had a filter freeze on me or get funky in storage (I also have a Sawyer) because we flush them out/dry them before putting them away. I also travel with the filter in my pack so it never got to the freezing point. There isn’t a hose set up… yet… I may have heard something about an attachment in the works. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  • Alice : Aug 10th

    I just got one of these and the plastic/chemical taste is powerful– if it doesn’t go away I’m not sure I will be able to use this filter. I really hope it fades fast. I’ve filtered maybe 8 liters of water and it’s still pretty awful.

    Reply

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