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Boundary Waters Quetico Forum :: Gear Forum :: Katadyn vs Platypus Gravity
 
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IndyCanoe
07/07/2020 08:29AM
 
Don't think you can go wrong either way and both use similar technology to filter the water. At camp a gravity filter is the way to go for sure. I have never used the platypus system but i have seen it mentioned many times by other users with very favorable results. We have the older Sawyer 4L gravity filter that we have used for years and is very similar to the playtpus. It works fine but I always hated getting it out in the middle of the day when we needed more water.


Just as a gravity filter that you could use right out of the box without any other add-ons, I would probably go with the platypus system. One thing the platypus system gets right is the dirty bag has the large opening for easy fill. The 42mm opening on the BeFree is not the easiest to fill from the lake for the larger water bladders. It requires pouring water into the water bladder with something else to fill it to capacity. We carry a cut off water bottle but i have also used a use a pot. Purchasing the aftermarket CNOC water badder has solved that problem for me this year but it is an additional cost. Same issue we had with the Sawyer system as it has the same size tread size as the wide mouth nalgene bottles.


All that said we have switched over exclusive to the BeFree when its just 2 of us. The BeFree filter is awesome with a VERY fast flow rate. I originally purchased it with the small 0.6L for day use in the kayak or canoe around home not really thinking of BWCA trips but that has changed. I like it because I have so many options with items I already had and a few we purchased since. I have since added a 2L hydrapak bag and a 2L CNOC bag so I can use it as a gravity filter. Hydrapak and CNOC also have larger sizes if you need them. The thread size on the output side of the BeFree match those of the sawyer squeeze allowing you to easily add different connections to fit any need. The BeFree is very versatile with a few accessories. The biggest reason we use it exclusively now is that it easily be used on the move during the day and not just as a gravity filter. I still use the .6L bag fill it from the side of the canoe and drink away. At portages a take a drink, empty the water, collapse it down and store it in my life jacket pocket. At camp use the larger water bladders and the same filter for a gravity system. Flow rate is so fast you can drink directly from the filter or pour directly into another water bottle.









 
mirth
07/07/2020 12:17PM
 
Durza: "I have the "Katadyn Gravity Camp 6L Water Filter" and it's decent but you have to pair the filter with a coffee filter and rubber band specifically in the BWCA or it will get clogged. Didn't believe the reviews the first year. By end of trip the water was a trickle/nothing. Called customer service, they sent a new filter and recommended the coffee filter trick in BWCA. 2nd year no issues.
If going with Katadyn I would ask customer service / DYOR on if the BeFree has fixed the BWCA water issue."



Yeah, this filter setup has been widely discussed here before. It's not the same tech as Sawyer or Platypus - uses a pleated paper & fabric filtration medium which is not field serviceable or backflushing has limited effectiveness on it.
The newer filters with hollow membrane media is almost like having modern plumbing in the wilderness.


There are several threads where people have discussed converting their Katadyn 6L setups by sawing off most of the OEM filter and inserting a Platy or Sawyer filter inline down the tube.
 
Zanzinger
07/09/2020 08:31AM
 
butthead: "eyepaddle: "I’m planning on upgrading to a gravity filter system. Lots of info on here about the Katadyn BeFree 3L and the Platypus 4L....but I’m wondering if anyone has compared the two. Which one would you buy? Any others I should be looking at? "



Kind of limited choices,. What about Sawyer, MSR, Lifestraw, home built from mix and match parts?
They're all dirty and clean bags a filter and tubing. You could buy a no-name system and a Sawyer Squeeze Filter and have a good system with long life under well $100.



butthead"



This is what I've done. MSR Dromedary bag with a sawyer filter and some tubing and you have yourself a great gravity filter for a fraction of the price.


https://www.rei.com/product/114829/msr-dromedary-bag-4-liters



 
mgraber
07/08/2020 03:11AM
 
It would be hard to improve on the Platypus system.
 
Grandma L
07/07/2020 06:57PM
 
I prefer Sawyer or Platypus. Work well year after year. Just clean at the end of the trip and let it dry. Never any problems.
 
Itchymenace
07/08/2020 12:01AM
 
I've had a Platypus for ten years and never experienced a problem. It works great and back flushes easily. I usually have between 3-5 people for a week long trip.
 
eyepaddle
07/05/2020 04:30PM
 
I’m planning on upgrading to a gravity filter system. Lots of info on here about the Katadyn BeFree 3L and the Platypus 4L....but I’m wondering if anyone has compared the two. Which one would you buy? Any others I should be looking at?
 
unshavenman
07/05/2020 05:53PM
 
I have not compared them. I've never heard of the Katadyn BeFree system. I do know though that there is no comparison to the Platypus GravityWorks system ;)
 
Atom
07/08/2020 09:55AM
 
Durza: "I have the "Katadyn Gravity Camp 6L Water Filter" and it's decent but you have to pair the filter with a coffee filter and rubber band specifically in the BWCA or it will get clogged. Didn't believe the reviews the first year. By end of trip the water was a trickle/nothing. Called customer service, they sent a new filter and recommended the coffee filter trick in BWCA. 2nd year no issues.
"



I just picked up this filter. Could you explain a little bit more about this filter method? Where does the coffee filter go in relation to everything else?

 
schweady
07/08/2020 10:01AM
 
Having used a Sawyer gravity system for years and thinking it was the cats, I switched to a Platypus when the Sawyer just wouldn't improve flow rate even with constant backflushing. Anyway, very happy with the Platypus for a few years now, but really noticed the ease of backflushing on our last stay. We were on Nina Moose, where the water is notoriously heavily stained with tannins. Doing a simple backflush by raising the clean bag over the dirty bag produced great plumes of very dark water as it was being washed out of the filter. The fact that this could easily be seen in the already stained water in the dirty water bag was something. After a number of seconds, it quit looking as dark and I would dump the now excessively dirty water and resume filtering. Easy-peasy. I took video, but it doesn't really show all that well.

 
Durza
07/08/2020 12:03PM
 
Atom: "Durza: "I have the "Katadyn Gravity Camp 6L Water Filter" and it's decent but you have to pair the filter with a coffee filter and rubber band specifically in the BWCA or it will get clogged. Didn't believe the reviews the first year. By end of trip the water was a trickle/nothing. Called customer service, they sent a new filter and recommended the coffee filter trick in BWCA. 2nd year no issues.
"




I just picked up this filter. Could you explain a little bit more about this filter method? Where does the coffee filter go in relation to everything else?
"



The idea is to pre-filter the water to keep whatever is clogging the Katadyn filter from getting in. So you take one of those bowl shaped coffee filters (not the cone ones) and just rubber band it around the Katadyn filter. I can't say I know it works forever since I only have 2 trips worth of testing. Hopefully it's fine this year though.
 
butthead
07/08/2020 01:28PM
 
eyepaddle: "I’m planning on upgrading to a gravity filter system. Lots of info on here about the Katadyn BeFree 3L and the Platypus 4L....but I’m wondering if anyone has compared the two. Which one would you buy? Any others I should be looking at? "


Kind of limited choices,. What about Sawyer, MSR, Lifestraw, home built from mix and match parts?
They're all dirty and clean bags a filter and tubing. You could buy a no-name system and a Sawyer Squeeze Filter and have a good system with long life under well $100.


butthead
 
scotttimm
07/08/2020 02:50PM
 
Durza: "Atom: "Durza: "I have the "Katadyn Gravity Camp 6L Water Filter" and it's decent but you have to pair the filter with a coffee filter and rubber band specifically in the BWCA or it will get clogged. Didn't believe the reviews the first year. By end of trip the water was a trickle/nothing. Called customer service, they sent a new filter and recommended the coffee filter trick in BWCA. 2nd year no issues.
"





I just picked up this filter. Could you explain a little bit more about this filter method? Where does the coffee filter go in relation to everything else?
"




The idea is to pre-filter the water to keep whatever is clogging the Katadyn filter from getting in. So you take one of those bowl shaped coffee filters (not the cone ones) and just rubber band it around the Katadyn filter. I can't say I know it works forever since I only have 2 trips worth of testing. Hopefully it's fine this year though."

I used the basecamp for a few years before I finally threw up my hands in disgust. I'd throw a sawyer squeeze or mini in your pack just in case, they are super cheap. As mentioned, I cut out the useless filter inside the basecamp bag (so the nozzle/tube still fit on, you cannot just remove the filter), then added the sawyer further downline in the tube leading from the bag - the further the better. Works like a charm, and you can backflush it. If you bring a saw along on your trips, you could probably even perform this surgery in the bush - just make sure you have the ends that fit on rubber tubing (maybe the mini has that, and not the squeeze, not sure). Here's one of the numerous threads: Base camp mods
 
butthead
07/08/2020 04:41PM
 
" just make sure you have the ends that fit on rubber tubing (maybe the mini has that, and not the squeeze, not sure)."


Mini fits inline to hose each end. Squeeze and All In One can be fitted with Sawyer Inline Hydration Adapter ends.


butthead
 
mirth
07/06/2020 01:58PM
 
Looks like it's the same basic technology as MSR/Platypus and Sawyer - hollow membrane filtration. You should expect the same type of use and care guidelines. Backflush 1/4c between bags and discard the waste water before refilling. An air-locked filter can resemble a clog. Gently tap the filter and you'll probably see air bubbles coming out of the dirty or clean ends. You may need to seesaw the dirty & clean bags until the bubbles are gone and water flows at a good rate. In the field, try to cap the clean end when not in use to preserve the fully wetted-out filter cartridge. Sterilize with bleach when not using for an extended period.
 
Durza
07/07/2020 04:52AM
 
I have the "Katadyn Gravity Camp 6L Water Filter" and it's decent but you have to pair the filter with a coffee filter and rubber band specifically in the BWCA or it will get clogged. Didn't believe the reviews the first year. By end of trip the water was a trickle/nothing. Called customer service, they sent a new filter and recommended the coffee filter trick in BWCA. 2nd year no issues.


If going with Katadyn I would ask customer service / DYOR on if the BeFree has fixed the BWCA water issue.
 
butthead
07/08/2020 09:56PM
 
There ya go good comparison!


butthead

PS: Maybe I should edit my my 2 bags to "a combination of clean filtered storage and potentially contaminated source storage to be treated". bh
 
Durza
07/08/2020 08:00PM
 
butthead:
OK then you either run the water on the ground or into some other container than a bag. Nothing that other gravity systems can't do. Similar flow rates apply to MSR and Platypus.
Not knocking Katadyn just nothing special ther in the field of water treatment.
"



Good point. I do usually run a few liters on the ground just in case the trees are having a hard time. Then I put my nalgene under my first bag instead of a second bag because its important to be efficient. =p


Joking aside I will point out that according to testing the Katadyn systems are almost always twice as fast to fill a nalgene as a other systems. The actual difference in time is pretty negligible though.
42 seconds for Katadyn basecamp vs 80ish for Platypus.
47 seconds for a Katadyn BeFree vs 93 for a sawyer Micro.
 
Durza
07/08/2020 06:28PM
 

They're all dirty and clean bags a filter and tubing. You could buy a no-name system and a Sawyer Squeeze Filter and have a good system with long life under well $100.
butthead"



To be fair I specifically went with the Katadyn system because there's no 2nd bag which I feel is unnecessary. Filters are good enough now where you shouldn't need to wait the 2 minutes for the water to be filtered and then need to store that somewhere.
 
Durza
07/08/2020 07:20PM
 
scotttimm:
I used the basecamp for a few years before I finally threw up my hands in disgust. I'd throw a sawyer squeeze or mini in your pack just in case, they are super cheap. As mentioned, I cut out the useless filter inside the basecamp bag (so the nozzle/tube still fit on, you cannot just remove the filter), then added the sawyer further downline in the tube leading from the bag - the further the better. Works like a charm, and you can backflush it. If you bring a saw along on your trips, you could probably even perform this surgery in the bush - just make sure you have the ends that fit on rubber tubing (maybe the mini has that, and not the squeeze, not sure). "



I have a Steripen as a backup if needed. If the basecamp fails this year, even with the coffee filter, I'll do a bit more research then. Although it seems like the BeFree system might not have the same problems the basecamp does, so that might just be a seamless upgrade.
 
butthead
07/08/2020 07:12PM
 
Durza: "
They're all dirty and clean bags a filter and tubing. You could buy a no-name system and a Sawyer Squeeze Filter and have a good system with long life under well $100.
butthead"




To be fair I specifically went with the Katadyn system because there's no 2nd bag which I feel is unnecessary. Filters are good enough now where you shouldn't need to wait the 2 minutes for the water to be filtered and then need to store that somewhere."



OK then you either run the water on the ground or into some other container than a bag. Nothing that other gravity systems can't do. Similar flow rates apply to MSR and Platypus.
Not knocking Katadyn just nothing special ther in the field of water treatment.


butthead