• Katadyn BeFree Water Filtration System review

    A while back I did a review of the Pyramid SafeHydrate water bottle, http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/for...-Bottle-review In that I was very taken with the benefits of being able to just scoop water out of pretty much any source and just drink it. No boiling no chemicals no faff. the only downside was the size of the bottle even when empty and the resistance to suck the water from the bottle. The Katadyn BeFree system solves both these issues with only a few drawbacks.

    First a quick disclaimer. Iím not being paid for this review nor are there any conditions on what I can say about the products. I did receive both the filters you see in this review for free as review samples so probably about £60 worth. However, I asked for these to be sent as I thought these would be of interest and be different option from the SafeHydrate so this is not the supplier pushing for a review. Anyway on with the review.

    The technical information about the filters can be found here, https://www.katadyn.com/us/us/14946-...efree-0.6L_usa as with the SafeHydrate I canít really test the validity of the filtering claims. I can tell you I have used this product a lot in testing and not been ill. Also Katadyn are a well respected company in water treatment and filter technology for the outdoors so my feeling is their claims can be trusted.

    I got two filters to try. The one litre and the three litre. Empty and rolled out they look like this.

    Both squished up in the hand.

    One squished on not.

    The filter unit is identical in both bottles and can be swapped between them. you can but replacement filter parts as shown for about £23 currently. The bottles and filters are about £30 to £40 if you shop around.

    The mouth piece screws off for cleaning and also to let the filter dry out if you are going to store it for a long time.

    The obvious advantage over the SafeHydrate bottle is the size when empty. The BeFree bottles take up almost no room when empty. The weigh is not nothing but as close to it to make no difference. Going out for a walk or a short paddle there is no commitment to sticking one of these in your jacket pocket to a pocket on your PFD just in case you get thirsty. For this small commitment of space and weight you have potentially thousands of litres of safe drinking water.

    You can fill the bottle fully when you want as below. Or only partly if you still want to save space.

    The design of the filter also allows you to clean it to an extent. you can swish it about, even in dirty water to loosen some of the material from the filter and extend the life. As with the SafeHydrate these filters ďfail safeĒ in that at the end of there life they donít allow water through. Only filtered water can ever get through an unmanaged filter.

    The other great advantage for me with the BeFree is the flow rate. It is not difficult at all to draw water through the filter and drink. Indeed the three litre version is meant to be hung up and used like a tap. Just flip open the lid and out pours clean water.

    If you happen to be a super lightweight camper (I am really not) you could take a large and a small sized bottle but only one filter unit. Fill up the small bottle to drink out of while canoeing then when you are at camp, fill the 3l bottle, put the filter on it and use it as a camp tap. Even from a money saving point of view I think I would buy the 1l bottle. When the filter eventually becomes clogged I would buy the 3l bottle and swap the filter into whichever bottle suited the situation. Then when that filter eventually clogged I would just buy replacement filters.

    As with the SafeHydrate what I really love about these portable filters is the ability to leave the shore without having to carry heavy full bottles of drinking water. When yu want you just scoop water into the bottle and drink.

    Of course there have to be some drawbacks over the SafeHydrate system. The SafeHydrate system does filter out slightly smaller particles and also removed some chemicals, including chlorine if you are using that as an extra layer of treatment. In some situations this may be a critical difference makes the SafeHydrate the only option.

    In my situation I could probably drink the water straight from the lochs I paddle and be fine half the time (I donít and have always boiled the water up till now). Using the BeFree filter should ensure I am safe all the time. As a result it is a clear winner for me. My only condition on this would be that this is for the UK. I suspect when I go on holiday abroad it is the SafeHydrate bottle I would take with me just for that slight extra protection in a country where I am really unsure of the water.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Katadyn BeFree Water Filtration System review started by MagiKelly View original post