Katadyn Base Camp Pro 10L Gravity Filter
$100, 12 oz.
Treating water in the backcountry is usually a time-consuming chore—unless you use a gravity filter, which, once assembled, does most of the work for you. On a four-day, 86-mile, ultralight backpacking trip in northern Yosemite National Park in early September, a friend and I found the Katadyn Base Camp Pro 10L gravity filter simple to use and speedy, and it has the capacity to quickly treat water for a larger group or a family.
There aren’t many parts to spend a lot of time assembling the filter: Screw the filter unit onto the valve cap, fill the bag with water, then screw the cap onto the reservoir bag, and hang the bag from a branch (there’s a convenient strap on the bag) and it begins rapidly making potable water for you. We were really impressed with the speed of the 0.2-micron, pleated glass-fiber filter, treating up to two liters per minute while filtering protozoa, bacteria, cysts, and sediment out of backcountry water sources. While there’s just one reservoir bag, we didn’t miss having a second reservoir for the clean water because the Base Camp Pro is so simple to use and quickly fills a bladder or a liter bottle. We used it as a campsite water bag, filling it and taking water from it when needed for cooking and drinking.
Refilling the reservoir bag, or packing away the entire kit and reassembling it, is a breeze thanks to the quick-release valve with an automatic shutoff. A plastic window in the reservoir bag provides a visual indicator of how much water you have left in camp or remaining to be filtered. Be sure to install the filter protector, which Katadyn says extends the lifetime of the filter element to 1,500 liters of water. There’s also a smaller version, the Gravity Camp 6L ($90, 11 oz.), probably adequate for two or three people. You can purchase a Shower Adaptor Accessory ($10) separately for a backcountry bath; lay the full reservoir in the sun for a while and you’ll have a hot shower.
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NOTE: I tested gear for Backpacker Magazine for 20 years. At The Big Outside, I review only what I consider the best outdoor gear and apparel. See categorized menus of all of my gear reviews at The Big Outside.