Katadyn Hiker Pro: 11oz of Garbage

Running out of H2O in the middle of a hike is dangerous. On one such day, without any nearby water sources, The Dusty Camel was in trouble. Our bodies began shutting down and we began to experience advanced stages of dehydration. When we finally reached camp there was a small water source, excited I dipped our Katadyn Hiker Pro water filter into the smooth current...

I had done this numerous times before- about twenty hardy pumps and a Nalgene would be filled with clear, filtered H2O- I couldn’t wait to replenish my losses on the day.

As I pumped the Katadyn, it began to resist- I never experienced this back force before. After the fifth pump there was a loud pop and the clean water tube and valve shot out downstream. Shit! I looked down and it was totaled. Luckily Ian had Aquamira drops to satisfy our water supply for the rest of the stretch.

This was the third and final strike that lead to the removal of the Katadyn Hiker Pro from my pack. The first two strikes should have had me ditching it long before, but my stubbornness let it live a little longer…

First strike- it’s weight… Eleven ounces compared to Aquamira Drop’s compact two. This difference alone is a no brainer for any lightweight backpacker- I just wasn’t a lightweight, yet.

Second strike- Problematic in cold weather… As we traversed through the frozen Smoky Mountains a few weeks prior to the valve blowing off, our Katadyn filter literally froze! You could never pump out all the water after use, so overnight the trapped water turned to ice. The frozen filter didn’t allow for water to pass through, resulting in angry and dehydrated hikers. This was one of the most vital pieces of gear in our packs and it failed. Luckily we were at high altitude, so we punched through ice and dipped straight into cold streams to quench our thirst.

Even after the frozen filter experience I stubbornly continued carrying this hunk of garbage till its final, exciting demise in Virginia (at least it went out with a bang!).

Before hiking the Appalachian Trail I read an article warning me about the downfalls of water filters, but I had to experience their inefficiency for myself before swearing them off… 

Take it from me, I’m all about hiking your own hike, but the Katadyn Hiker Pro is as efficient as a wax teapot.

- Andy