User Review: MSR MiniWorks EX
Price Paid: £70 (UK pounds)
Overall this is a dependable, solid bit of kit - when cleaned it pumps fast, it is very easy to field-maintain, it packs easily and has lasted very well with only minor abrasions from clumsy use to show for it's age. I have used this now for over four years and have taken it on multi-day wilderness trips as well as trekking trips, so it has had a decent long-term test.
It is prone to slowing down after a few days pumping, as other reviewers have pointed out, but in my experience this is due to very fine pore size (which I positively want for getting the nasties out of my drinking water) and is easily rectified with a quick scrub of the ceramic element with the included scourer. I have not worn out the original filter yet, something which is easily gauged with the attached measuring device, but this is possibly more a comment on careful choice of water source than longevity of filters.
This is not a device for individual use, it weighs a pound and takes up a fair bit of pack space - my choice for solo hiking would be a filter bottle; however it is ideal for a group of two to four where you can send one off to fill the bottles at camp time.
I would probably buy this again if I lost it, there are other products on the market, but I think the easy maintenance and dependability are the key features for me. As testimony I would offer this: I have pumped water from streams, muddy puddles, cattle troughs and dodgy hostels and haven't had a single case of nasties yet.