I’ve built my entire hiking career around shirking water duty. From emergency foot care to feigned problems with my tent, I’ve used all kind of excuses to help me avoid spending that half-hour fussing with filters while my hands freeze.
But over the past few months, I’ve started to use the Platypus QuickDraw Microfilter System—and have finally changed my tune. A small handle on the one-liter squeeze pouch (helpfully labeled “Dirty”) lets you fill the reservoir without dunking your hands. And two types of locking threads plus a leak-proof gasket on the filter means it easily screws onto the reservoir or a Smartwater-size bottle without any seepage. On a 150-mile bikepacking trip in northern Montana this summer, I was able to filter two full-size bike bottles in about a minute.
Another bonus: Both the squeeze pouch and the filter come with designated caps. That meant I could stash them without worrying about leaks, a feature that came in handy while linking up peaks in the Tetons with a very tiny pack mostly filled with down puffies. (I’m happy to report they were all still dry when the sun vanished and the temps dropped to 40°F). Unlike other squeeze filters I’ve used, this one’s water pouch has yet to develop pinholes, which both reduce squeeze pressure—and thus filtration speed—as well as produce insidious spurts that somehow always end up at crotch level.
I also haven’t had to clean it yet due to filter speed slowdown, but doing so is easy with a quick backflush.
After a summer of dry hands, dry pants, and ultra-fast filter stops, I’ve started surprising myself by volunteering to handle fill-ups on alpine scrambles and long hikes alike. Either I’ve just matured—or (more likely) this filter really is that good.
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