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216 Base Camp Water Filter 2010-04-16

Basecamp Water Filter

For Christmas, my wife bought us a Katadyn Base Camp Water Filter. Yesterday, I finally got it out of the box and tested it.

The Base Camp is a dry bag with a water filter fitted in the end. The water flow is made not by pumping but by gravity. Hang the bag and let her drip.

The setup was not complicated. The manual suggested using the supplied lubricant on the filter’s seal before inserting it into the bag. The fit is so tight, a bit of grease definitely helps.

With the filter attached, all you do is put water in the bag and let gravity do the rest. So I sat and watched the bag. Nothing happened. I got out the rule book to see if I had done something wrong... and then it happened, filtered water was dripping. I assume the delay was caused from using a new, dry filter, after it was saturated, the water began to flow.

filter dripping

A few gear notes...

  • The Base Camp dripped one quart of water in 3:24. My Hiker Pro filters a quart in about a minute. The flow is steady but not fast.
  • To fill the bag with unfiltered water requires dunking or dipping. After dunking the bag the rules suggest drying the bag with a clean cloth. In the backcountry there would be a good chance that a clean cloth might be hard to find!
  • A plastic bag might work as a dipper - to help fill the water bag. A cooking pot would also work as long as you vigorously boiled water in the container before cooking in it.
  • It would be nice if the filter had an adaptor kit on the output hose (similar to the one on the Hiker Pro filter.) The adapter is a detachable link in the hose. It allows the hose to be split. A short length of hose stays connected to the filter, and the long length is detachable.
  • The rules said, "For best flow, hang from the highest possible location." I hung the bag from a tree limb, probably seven feet high. The supplied hose did not come close to reaching the ground. I had to put the collection point on a stand.
  • Collecting the water, requires a container as large as the filter bag - to receive the filtered water or someone to watch the container for overflow.
  • It is reasonable to think that the filter would clog easier than one operated by the pressure of a pump. I will report back later after some field use.
  • It is a three season filter, only. There would be winter issues.
  • To protect the filter, it would need to be stored in a hard shell case or very carefully packed.

One last note, please click on the link to the Katadyn site. I will wait for you to look at the picture first... Sir Isaac is turning over in his grave! So what is that model doing? Is she trying to fill that water bottle? If so, I think she will have a long wait. I feel sorry for her. Come on Katadyn. Give us a break. It is a gravity system, the water does not flow uphill.

I actually liked the Base Camp Filter. It was a simple design. The complications arrived with me trying to think of how to use it in the field. I think it would be very useful for car camping, canoe (kayak, raft, etc.) camping, or on a trip that really had a base camp.

Happy gravity trails, it’s all downhill!



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