Price Paid: $150
I love this filter.
I have owned and own many other types, and backpack a lot.... I also travel in odd countries, and I always carry iodine and coffee filters as as pre-filter to extend the life of my filter.
For me, the fact that it was cheaper than the "hiker" yet offered better filtration (activated carbon, too) made it a no-brainer. The water tastes sweet and the pumping goes easy.
The pump body is hard molded plastic, unlike the 'hiker's metal, but I'm not worried about it at all.
The two caveats are that one should prevent it from freezing, or the ceramic will crack, (replacement ceramic only: 50 USD) and it is not an ultra-light pump for solo camping: But it will suffice for a larger party: We pumped for 12 using this filter alone. As a guide, it is my first choice to bring with me. At 30,000 gallons, it will keep pumping!
What a bonus, too, that you can use it in your RV or sink or wherever! I made a cool base-camp D.I.Y. sink from "instructables" (that's the url) with this filter as a flow-through - amazing! See the instructable titled "field sink".
Obviously this filter is a great choice for emergency preparedness, also B)
Price Paid: $160
Bought this filter in the spring and took it for a number of kayak/canoe trips over the summer. It was my first filter, but I'd had some experience using various other filters (belonging to friends) in the past.
I think the advantages and disadvantages of this filter were made obvious on one particular 5-day river trip, where my friend brought along his brand new MSR filter (waterworks?), and me my Combi. We'd often filter water at the same time in camp or on portages, and for the first few pumps the less expensive MSR filter seemed to match my Combi in both speed and water clarity (not that water clarity is necessarily proof positive of safe water).
In fact, I was even a bit jealous of my friend as the MSR's lever pumping action made it easier to grip than my Combi's piston action. This was compounded by the fact that the Combi didn't seem to grip the Nalgene bottles tightly enough and I ended up having to squeeze my bottle between my legs in order not to drop the whole assembly. (I later found out that the gripping piece that came with the filter was either broken or misshapen, and the replacement piece works perfectly.)
It wasn't until I was about a third of the way through filling a Nalgene that the Combi really hit its stride. I'm not sure how it worked exactly, but the Combi seemed to use built up pressure to dramatically increase filtering speed over the MSR filter, and after about twenty pumps or so, the Combi just took off and finished filling bottles in no time. It completely left the MSR filter in the dust and I was must have finished in a third the time it took my friend. The Combi seemed to use built-up pressure in the filter chamber to increase it's efficiency, and boy did it work.
I'm extremely happy with my Combi filter. Its speed and efficiency by far make up for its initial problems and difficulty of use. I'm not sure if anyone else has had the same Nalgene (or other bottle) gripping problems that I did, but if so I suggest you replace the gripping piece with a new one.
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Here's what other sites are saying:
The Katadyn Combi combines a silver impregnated ceramic element and a refillable, activated carbon cartridge. It is effective against bacteria and protozoa and also reduces chemicals and bad taste. With the optional Faucet Mount Adapter (sold separately) the Combi can be connected to a water faucet for multifunctional use in campers, cottages or boats. Includes: Prefilter, bottle adaptor and carry bag
Key Features of the Katadyn Combi Micro Water FilterCapacity: 13,000 galDimensions: 12 in. x 2.4 inOutput: 1 quart/min gal0.2 micron ceramic depth filterActivated carbon granulateWeight: 21 ozKatadyn Combi Micro Water FilterThe Katadyn Combi Micro Water Filter is the best way to enjoy the freshness of drinking water when you are out camping with family and friends. A 0.2 micron ceramic depth filter fights against bacteria and protozoa, by not allowing these micro-organisms to pass through its minute pores. Activated carbon granulate used in this product, reduces the chemical levels in the water and improves functional efficiency. Despite weighing a mere 21 oz., this water filter holds up to 13,000 gallons of water,� at a time, and filters out up to 1 quart per minute. Remove the filter and you have a water container at your service! Thanks to the carry bag included in the kit, you can port the item around easily. The Katadyn Combi Micro Water Filter is the ideal way to keep you hydrated on your outdoor trips!
The Katadyn Combi filter combines a silver-impregnated ceramic element with a refillable, activated-carbon cartridge to give you clean, great-tasting water on your backpacking trips. 2-stage filter not only removes bacteria and protozoa, but also chemicals and bad tastes from water. Filter physically removes parasites, protozoa and bacteria down to 0.2 microns in size, including giardia, salmonella, cryptosporidia and others. Output is approximately 1 liter per min. to get your filtering done quickly. Integrated bottle adapter at the bottom of the filter fits most water bottles, including Nalgene bottles (sold separately). Ceramic element provides up to 50,000 liters (13,000 gal.) of clean drinking water, while the carbon cartridge is good for up to 400 liters (106 gal.). Ceramic element and carbon cartridge can both be cleaned to maintain good performance. Pre-filter at hose inlet removes larger contaminants before they reach the main filter to increase its life span. Use the Katadyn Combi filter with the optional Faucet Mount adapter (sold separately) to treat water directly from a kitchen faucet or RV faucet.
Save yourself from the illness of nasty bacteria and gut-wrenching protozoa by filtering your hiking or backpacking water with the Katadyn Combi Microfilter. Drop the pre-filter hose in the water supply, attach the Kombi to the top of your water bottle, and in about a minute of pumping you're left with clean drinking water. An internal ceramic filter pulls apart for easy cleaning on the trail, and an activated carbon cartridge keeps your water tasting fresh. Externally an impact-resistant housing protects your pump from the rigors of backpacking. Included with the Kombi are a bottle adaptor, carry bag, and cleaning kit so you've got everything you need to sip high-quality H20 no matter where you are.