On test, we have a trio of water purification and carrying devices from UK outdoors distributor Lyon. Although they’re from two different brands, Katadyn and Hydrapak, you’ll soon see why we chose to review these in tandem.
As we explore more remote terrain, or in hotter weather, finding clean, safe water for hydration and cooking becomes more and more important. I’ve dabbled with different methods over the years: tablets, pumps, UV, but the Katadyn BeFree Filter was a novel idea that I was keen to try.
The HydraPak soft bottle and water store offer greater water carrying capacity that’s also easily storable when not in use, and are also compatible with the filter nozzle of the Katadyn BeFree, giving greater volume options for water filtration.
Katadyn BeFree 0.6L water filter
The Katadyn BeFree 0.6L water filter system is comprised of two parts: a 600ml soft flask made by Hydrapak, and the EZ-Clean Membrane™ filter cartridge. The system is also available with a larger 1L pouch.
So how does it work? It’s really simple. Fill the flask, screw in the filter lid, and sip away.
I think it’s really important to say here that it’s not all on the water filtration device you’re using: some common sense is needed to determine if your water source is suitable for filtration. While this device is effective against bacteria, sediment and cysts down to 0.1 micron, that doesn’t take any potentially harmful chemicals into account. If you’re pretty close to a settlement, I’d always try and get tap water first rather than use the device, saving it for more remote areas that are likely to have cleaner water.
To clean, you can shake purified, clean water through the bottle or swish the filter in clean water, with easy instructions printed on the flask. You can even clean the soft flask in the dishwasher.
The simple design of the water filter really takes the hassle out of filtration: no pumping, no waiting, no added funny taste. Just filtered water on demand.
The 0.6L flask is really handy for stuffing into a stem bag when filled, or packing down really small as a back up just in case, especially as it only weighs 60 grams. For trips where you think you’ll rely on it more, that’s where the next two items come in really handy…
The Katadyn BeFree 0.6L retails at £40, with replacement water filter cartridges at £35. The cartridges are said to last for 1,000 litres, and simply stop working (you can’t pass water through) when they are worn out.
The only downside that I can fathom would be that it works best to suck through the drinking nozzle to get the water, so really (especially in Covid times) you need your own device rather than sharing. If you squeeze the bottle to get the water to filter through it does still work, but seems a bit less effective than drinking direct.
Hydrapak Flux 1L
The Flux 1L is a bottle-shaped flask that’s semi-rigid, yet easily collapsible when empty. The great news is that the mouth of the flask is compatible with the Katadyn BeFree filter, so you can simply screw that in to use this slightly larger one litre capacity bottle for water filtration.
The standard bottle lid is an anti-spill/leak design that you twist to enable, and is really easy to drink from.
When you have finished your drink, or wish to stash away, you can use the toggle on the bottle neck to roll down and secure small. The unit weighs in at just 77 grams.
Although I’d say it’s not rigid enough to put in a bottle cage, the flexible shape means that it’s easy to carry in a hip pack or other bikepacking bag. It was great as a supplementary water bottle on really hot days for mountain biking, which I could easily stash in my bag.
On really sweltering days, you can fill the Flux and put the whole thing in the freezer for an icy-cold treat on your ride!
The Flux is also available in a larger 1.5L size. The 1L retails at £19 $20 and 1.5L at £24 $25.
Hydrapak Seeker 2L
For a greater water reserve, consider the Hydrapak Seeker, which is available in 2, 3 or 4 litre sizes, priced from £21 $22. You can use this for water storage, or attach a compatible Seeker Hydration kit (£12.50, $13) for a hose to drink from the bladder on the go.
The Seeker is also compatible with the Katadyn BeFree water filter, although I found that at this larger 2L size it became more cumbersome to drink from.
Unlike the Flux, the Seeker has a screw-top lid that’s attached by a strap to the reserve, rather than a drinking nozzle.
For pure water hauling, the Seeker would be a great choice: it packs down small, has a handy carry handle and is evidently well-made. I’ve been really impressed by just how durable all three flasks are, especially with the softer material used.
Another thing worth noting is the quality of the lid interface. With previous experience of water reservoirs I’ve had leakage issues here, but with this system I’ve experienced no issues at all with the seals.
Last modified: 15th June 2021