Squeeze filters have made pesky pumps nearly obsolete when it comes to non-chemical water treatment, but they’ve had a few flaws—especially when it comes to cleaning. We’ve often arrived at a trip’s first water source only to realize our filters were clogged from the previous trip. But with the new Katadyn, all you have to do is swish it in water, clean or dirty, and you’re clear.
It’s also fast. A two-handed grip blasts out water at 1 liter per minute—comparable to pump filters but without the workout. “The water squirts out as fast as you can suck,” Lyons says. The BeFree condenses the hollow-fiber filter into a low-bulk package that fits in the neck of a soft-sided bottle. We used it in Colombia and found it so quick and handy that the group-size gravity filter we brought stayed in its bag, while everyone opted to use their BeFree. Between the bottle’s inch-wide opening and its pliable sides, it’s easy to dip and scoop from lakes and other non-flowing water. We did spring one leak after jamming the soft bottle in our pack on a climb up Colorado’s Longs Peak, but a dab of Seam Grip fixed it permanently.
Squeeze filters with pump-like reliability? Fill ’er up.