HydroBlu Versa Flow
Current Retail: $24.95
Reviewers Paid: $19.95
1 gallon in 5 minutes
Lightweight water filter.
- Lightweight (2 oz)
- Ease of use
- Slower than some other filtering systems
- Collapsible flask developed pinhole leak
This 2oz filter employs hollow fiber tubes with thousands of tiny holes (0.1 microns) that block 99.9999% of harmful bacteria, Giardia, E. coli, protozoan cysts, Cryptosporidium and more. Unlike other filters, which filter through their core, the VersaFlow filters water through the outside of these tubes by bending the hollow fiber. This dramatically increases the surface area and flow rate of the filter while protecting the filter integrity itself.
I've not yet experienced any clogs, after having filtered about 50L of water through mine. HydroBlu claims that, with regular backwashing, a single filter can be used indefinitely. I do backwash mine after every trip.
The weight of the filter itself was appealing to me, but an additional draw was its ability to mate with lightweight water bottles (e.g., Smartwater bottles) without any adapters. As I've been working to lighten my pack weight, I've transitioned to re-using Smartwater bottles in place of traditional options like Nalgene bottles (1.3oz vs 6.2oz), so this feature was important to me.
I've used it to treat water for up to three people, though I think it's ideal for an individual in the way that I use it. For more than one person, I think one of their optional gravity solutions would be more efficient.
I've been using one of their collapsible water flasks for collecting "dirty" water, which I then squeeze to force the water through the filter more quickly. This has worked reasonably well, but during my last trip, I discovered a pinhole leak near the top of the flask. It still functioned, but I was losing water as I filtered. I'm currently considering whether to get another one or search for a better alternative.
The filter has performed as I've expected without any surprises. Once you get the "dirty" bag filled, the filter is easy to use. With shallow water sources, I have had some difficulty getting the collapsible flask filled, but that's not really a function of the filter, and there are a variety of solutions to that problem.
Since there aren't any moving parts, I expect this to be the last water filter I'll need for backpacking; Especially if it indeed can be used indefinitely with regular backwashing.
In the past, I've used a Katadyn Hiker Pro filter, which weighs more, takes up more pack space, and requires more energy to operate. The only advantage of that filter is the inlet tube, which makes it easier to collect water from shallow sources.
I've filtered about 50 liters of water with this thus far, during 3-season backpacking trips. I don't know how it would perform in freezing temperatures.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $19.95