User Review: Katadyn Base Camp
Price Paid: $65
I bought this filter primarily for use on Scout trips to make it easier to filter large quantities of water. It works OK and since our water sources are usually quite clean we haven't experienced the dramatically reduced flows other have.
However I still think there are some flaws - the flow rate is still quite slow and I'm surprised there isn't any provision for a clean bag (add on extra) or at least a clean bag connector (e.g. for hydration packs) - to allow for true unattended operation.
I have modified mine to be able to connect to up to 3 hydration packs with quick connect connectors and this simple change makes the utility much higher.
Another issue is the difficulty hanging the system - with the buckle in the center of the handle its difficult to hang and several times the buckle has come undone leading to a real drenching. It is also very heavy to hang when full - so its difficult to hang high without a rope/pulley system - especially for my Scouts.
I have also experimented using the same filter in a container below the bag and raising the bag much higher for more head - this gives much much higher flow rates - so the filter in bag seems quite a compromise for flow rate - though it allows a much simpler design.
I find filling the bag from a creek is quite easy - except for the requirement to keep the clean tube out of the dirty water - it seems Scouts just aren't capable of doing this reliably - which is also a common issue for pump filters. This is unfortunate - carrying an extra remote fill bucket is extra weight.
I do also think that while the dirty bag is extremely robust - really great for Scout use - its probably too heavy duty for most small group users - its heavy and difficult to pack down small.
Conclusion - The filter works but it seems a real compromise - there are some simple things that can make it much better...