Open main menu

Katadyn Hiker

rated 4.0 of 5 stars
photo: Katadyn Hiker pump/gravity water filter

A good alternative to treatment pills.


  • Fills liter bottles quickly
  • The filter cartridge lasts a long time
  • Outlet fits neck of large and small liter bottle
  • 1 lb. total weight not too bad
  • Carry sack has been very durable


  • Properly hold the handle to avoid breakage

I have used the older PUR version of this filter for the past 20+ years to purify all our drinking and cooking water each hiking day. Find a flowing water source if possible, they say 20 feet of tumbling water is somewhat clean. I would not expect this filter to clean water from a stagnant pond that horses use. 

I have tried treatment pills, but don't like the idea.

I cover the inlet filter screen with a double paper coffee filter held in place by a rubber band. This keeps sediment out of the filter screen. I also keep the inlet and outlet each in their own ziplock bag so they do not cross contaminate each other. All of this fits easily into the carry sack, which by the way has held up very well for all this use over the years. The pump has been very durable, no breakage or problems of any kind period.

To use: Sitting down close to the source of water, with the inlet floating above any mud or silt by using the attached float on the inlet tube. The fill bottle is propped upright off to one side. Hold the pump housing between your feet, then lightly push the outlet end onto the water bottle, this is a friction fit that seals with no problems. Hold the hand pump handle close to the shaft of the pump to not put bending pressure on the pump shaft. Start slowly pumping, not a vigorous action, but relaxed and enjoy where your at in mind and body. Each liter bottle fills in less than two minutes.

I clean the filter housing and tubes at the end of each season. Take everything apart. Rinse out and disinfect, but no bleach. Gently slide the mesh and cover off the filter cartridge to clean the outside of the filter element. Let everything dry a week or so until completely dry, then reassemble and back in to the pack it goes for the next year's travels.


This filter has gone on every backpack trip, for at least the last 20 years. Cleaning all the water that we drink and cook with. That is countless times of use. Outlet tube end fitting fits Nalgene, REI, Moosely Seconds, and every other liter bottle I have carried, both large and small neck. Change the filter cartridge every few years, never had one clog or go bad.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: So long ago do not remember

When the Katadyn Hiker works, it does a great job of filtering water into various water containers for 2-3 people. Just be prepared with a backup plan for when it breaks unexpectedly.


  • Can use with multiple water sources
  • Can use with multiple water storage containers
  • Can filter enough water for 1-3 people relatively quickly


  • Can be bulky for one-person backcountry use
  • Managing the feeder and output tubes while pumping can be tricky for one person
  • Feeder tube nipple known to break

I've used the Katadyn Hiker the past 5 years on multiple backpacking trips to filter water in streams, creeks, and springs. According to Katadyn, this filter removes bacteria, protozoa, cysts, algae, spores, and sediments. It also reduces bad tastes and odors.

In the past 5 years, I've never experienced sickness or bad tasting water when using this filter. Each trip the filter worked great and quickly provided water for 2-3 people (approx 9-12 liters) each time it was used. Our group of backpackers used different hydration reservoirs and bottles (e.g. Platypus, Camelbak, Nalgene), but that wasn't a problem at all.

Katadyn claims that the filter outputs about 1 liter / minute and that was my experience as well. Just place the feeder tube into the water source, the output tube into the water container and pump away. Because I was backpacking in a group, I'd usually have one person manage the water container and the output tube while I pumped. If I were using this filter by myself, managing the water container and the output tube while using the pump could be a bit of a challenge. For solo hikers / backpackers, you'd probably want to use something smaller and more compact (e.g. I saw a lot of AT thru hikers using the Sawyer Squeeze).

I recently completed a backpacking trip with two others on a section of the AT and used the Katadyn Hiker until it broke on the third day of the trip. While disassembling the unit after use, I was pulling off the feeder tube when the feeder tube nipple broke off the pump. This is a common occurrence based on other reviews I've read online. Consequently, we used our backup, Aquamira, the rest of the trip.

If the Katadyn Hiker had not broken on this last trip I would give it 4+ stars. However, reliability and durability are extremely important when it comes to filtering/purifying drinking water in the back country. I would recommend this water filter for groups of 2-3 people, but with the condition that they also carry a backup plan in case the filter breaks unexpectedly.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $70

A quality water filter by a reputable company. Always works and has some versatility. A little bulky if you are trying to travel slick and light.


  • Dependable
  • Well-made
  • Can be used a variety of ways


  • Has some bulk and weight

I have been using this filter for about 9 or 10 years. I have two of them and they both have worked quite well over the years. I have not had any issues with them being dependable. I really like that this setup comes with a handy storage bag, and there is a long hose provided to enable an easy reach to the water source. The hose floats to keep the hose out of the muck, and thus your incoming water cleaner, is very handy.

There is some bulk to the system and it isn't the lightest choice out there. But having said that, we have many good choices these days for any type of gear and water filters are no different. You make a choice for certain uses and if you want to be ultralight, choose something else.

This Katadyn Hiker is a great camping filter, base camp filter, multiple people backpacking trip filter, etc. When I started using my first Hiker, I don't remember the small Sawyer products really being available, and the Hiker was my go-to filtration system for several years and many adventures. I always felt confident carrying it and that if I needed to get clean water I had more than enough capability to handle a variety of situations if necessary. 

These days I mostly backpack with the Sawyer Minis and Sawyer Squeeze, but the Hiker still always has several opportunities for adventures, car camping, etc. and lives in my truck all summer just in case. I have even used this system during several power outages at my house and when we travel and the water is questionable or just plain nasty.

If there was something I would like to improve about the Hiker, it would be to add a smaller bottle adapter to pump into bottles that are not the large mouth Nalgene bottles. The rubber stopper that comes with the filter works fine, but I am not a big Nalgene bottle guy and sometimes getting water pumped into a small bottle that doesn't have the weight to stay upright can be a hassle. You just have to get creative. If there was a cap or stopper included to fit the small bottles, that would be really convenient and appreciated.


I have used this filter system quite a bit over numerous adventures, climate, and water conditions.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $65

Reliable and easy to use.


  • Very reliable
  • Easy to use


  • Replacement filters are expensive
  • Outlet tubes only seem to fit Nalgene bottles.

I bought one of these water filters about 10 years ago. It was PUR brand but is exactly like the Katadyn Hiker version. They must be made by the same company. It is a very basic filter and doesn't have any fancy features.  

I have used this filter close to a hundred times over the past 10 years on backcountry trips. It has never failed me at all.  It always works great and provides purified, great tasting drinking water.  I have never fell ill from any of the water I filtered from this pump.  That tells me that it is doing its job.  

It is fairly easy to use. It can be difficult to hold the filter and a water bottle and make sure to get the outlet tube fed into a water bottle but you find clever ways to make it work like holding the bottle between your feet.  I used to use Nalgene widemouth bottles and the outlet accessory worked great for those water bottles.  However, I use Sigg water bottles now and just have to put the tube into the bottle to fill it.  Ideally a partner makes the process much easier, but doing it alone is definitely not a problem.  I can typically fill 3 1-liter water bottles from a creek in around 10 minutes by myself.  

I service it every year. I basically lube up the O-rings for service. That is about all that is required.

I replace the filter about every 3 years depending on how much I use it. The replacement filters are nearly the cost of the whole unit. I usually shop around to get a good deal on one.  

It is important to take the filter out of the pump housing after every trip and let it dry really well.  If you leave the filter in the housing without drying it out, it will mildew and ruin the filter.  I learned this the hard way the first year I had the filter.  

Overall this is a very good filter and like I said I have used mine for over 10 years and it still works just like I took it out of the box.  I don't go on a backcountry trip without this filter in my gear.  I highly recommend it!!  

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $70

The Katadyn Hiker Water Filter is a portable water filter suitable for extended outings in the wilderness. It is rated to filter out 99.9+% of harmful bacteria and chemicals present in water. It is also sold under the PUR brand name.

The Hiker Water Filter is very solid. I have dropped it on rocks by accident several times and it has held up well. The polymer construction is very durable yet weighs only 11 oz. The unit has a pump built into the side with a handle that rotates in to save space. There are two silicone hoses, one to draw water from any source, and one that outputs the purified water.

The rubber intake unit sinks several inches so it will draw water below the surface, which is cleaner. There is a foam float several inches up, and the silicone hoses float as well.

To use the Katadyn (PUR) Hiker, you insert the output hose at the top, and insert the input hose at the bottom of the pump. The output hose has an adapter that will fit into a Nalgene or other similar bottle. Pump the handle and water will begin to come out.

The Katadyn (PUR) Hiker is a great unit. It is compact and easily carried, and very durable too. The filter is designed to filter 200 gallons. Replacement filters are available, but I am still on the first one after several years.

The Hiker is very easy to use and gives you peace of mind during extended outings. I have had no problems with the Hiker Water Filter.

Price Paid: $49.99

I can pump a sizable amount of water with this filter. The water from it is clean and taste fairly good. It is fairly expensive but not so much it will break the bank (and mine is fairly small).


  • Good carry bag
  • Good water
  • Simple
  • Long filter life


  • In dirty water the check valve will sometimes get stuck

I have used this filter several times with minimal complaint. The water that comes from it actually tastes pretty good. I use it to fill my collapsible water storage that I keep at camp and fill my water bottles from that before taking off for the next day.

This filter makes it fairly easy to keep enough potable water for cooking, cleaning, personal hygiene and bottle refills at camp. I have not had the trouble of breaking I have read about. However in cold weather I pull out the plunger and filter so any water that is inside has room to expand without cracking the casing.

It overall seems fairly durable. I cram it in my pack with everything else and no sign of trouble yet, I will keep my fingers crossed.

The down side, IMO is common with anything that pumps water, is when using in dirty water the check valve inside may get stuck. It is the part that directs water into and through the pump. Not too hard to fix, just time consuming, which is a pain when you're trying to get water in the mountains.

I would recommend this product to others with a caution, especially for those less mechanically inclined to figure out this little problem and have a plan to fix it before you need it. It sucks when you are pumping and have only a little water then it starts pushing the water back out the inlet and not through the filter. I think from reading other reviews that this has happened to several people just not many diagnosing the problem. This is listed in the manual, just not always as easy to fix as sounds.

Overall good product for the price.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: around $65 $70

I have used this water filter for about 4 years now. It has held up fairly well. Recently the intake valve broke and the company replaced the outer body as soon as I brought the problem to their attention.


  • It's very durable, light and compact.
  • It works well for most any kind of water source treatment.


  • The body could be more easily held or stood on one end when pumping.

I have had my Hiker since the spring of 2009. I use it a lot here in northern Arizona and in southern Utah. I find it simple to use and it pumps so easily, pumping 1 liter of water in about 20 seconds. It even makes my home tap water "taste" better.

I definitely recommend it to others. It even connects to my CamelBak drink tube to make filling it much easier than adding the water at the top.

Recently the intake valve broke and after emailing the company they gladly replaced the outer body (where the part was that broke) in a few days via the mail after I emailed them about it and my immediate need to get it fixed of replaced. I had no original reciept.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $60?

Got it for a 7-day trip through the North Dakota Grasslands/Badlands. Was very excited when I bought it because iodine just gets old after a while. Fortunately I had the sense to buy a bottle of the ol' style pills.

When the Hiker worked it worked amazing. Had to use it in a lake populated with all sorts of nasty growth, sediment, little bugs... etc... The water it produced from these dubious sources tasted better than my tap water.

The problem came after about 8 liters of water when the pump just broke. Every bit of water that was pulled in by the pump was immediately pushed out the same as it came in. Result? No clean water made it to my bottles. Aaargh! Iodine again.

I trouble shot the problem for over four hours trying to fix it, I even had brought the manual with me. But to no avail. I think the two way check valve somehow completly failed. I was able to return it thank goodness. Will be more careful in what I buy next time.

Summarize: Complete failure after only 8 liters. While slightly difficult to pump, produced great tasting and clear and clean water. The hoses were long enough and the bottle adapter worked perfectly. Was very disappointed.

Update: May 15, 2006

Addition to the previous review. Contacted Katadyn and got a response within 30 minutes. Apparently some lakes in the upper midwest carry certain tannins that promote protein growth which then kills the filter. The Gentleman apologized and threw in a pack of their Micropur pills for good measure. He recommended the Hiker Pro as its 10micron filter for the filter and the ability to field clean it would prevent this. He also went on to assure me that pump failures are extremely rare and the Pro improves upon the old Hiker. Even though the Hiker broke on me Katadyn's customer service is so good that I will consider purchasing the PRO.

Price Paid: $69

On our second filter replacement, but this Katadyn (PUR) Hiker pump is still going strong after more than 20 years and dozens of trips.


  • Easy to use
  • Fast
  • Works

This filter just works! No fuss, it just keeps ticking. After dozens of multi-day backpacking trips in the mountains of central Idaho, it finally started to slow down a bit to the point that the input hose would crimp at the point of entry into the filter body. So, we replaced the filter and lubed the seals and plunger, and it felt like new and just kept on chugging.

Our pump is the old PUR branded pump (before Katadyn purchased the PUR water filters), and we've had it at least since the mid '90s (so now in 2018 it is at least 20 years old). But, it is exactly the same design as the Katadyn Hiker, and we were able to use the Katadyn Hiker replacement filter.

It seems to pump a little more than 1 liter per minute without problem. We look forward to continuing to use this filter for another couple of decades.

This little filter works great, and I have gotten a lot of purified water out of it that tasted great. However, one time it got really hard to pump, then out of nowhere the side just cracked. It was useless after that. The store I got it from was real nice in replacing it, they gave me a new one straight up.

I am still a little wary though, I just can't trust a filter that has broken on me like that. Who knows the importance of the situation it might break in next? I am still using it, and usually have a back up like Iodine. This was an amazing bargin, but I think I would have been better off paying more and getting MSR's Miniworks. Oh well.

Overall: It might just be one defect that I got, and for the most part it works well. I just can't put good word behind something that failed me so bad.

Price Paid: $35

I have the Hiker model which I bought 4 years ago when the Hiker Pro was not available. The only difference that I know of is the quick disconnect fittings. After extended use, I have mostly positive thoughts about the product. It is very simple to use and has few parts. It does have some drawbacks though.

It is inconvenient to have to clean the filter with a chlorine solution after each trip (this is not necessary with a ceramic filter). Also, the output hose exits the top of the filter, usually resulting in a kink in the hose as it runs to your reservoir; not ergonomically friendly). Finally, I have not had good luck with filter life as the prefilter tends to work somewhat poorly in the sediment rich waters of the eastern creeks and streams.

Overall a good buy but I would prefer something with more convenience and filter life.

Price Paid: $60

I bought this filter 10 years ago. I am still using it. It has been dropped stepped on, pumped thousands of times, filtered hundreds of gallons of water. In fact this is labeled as the PUR water filter not the Katadyn, but essentially the same design.

I have looked at other filters and considered many times an alternative, but there is actually no better alternative for the backpacker.

Chemicals are light, but do not do what the filter can and can not do it as reliably. Other filters require all kinds of maintenance, ie brushing and backwashing etc. The Katadyn Hiker requires NOTHING except the occasional lubrication, change of filter, and o-ring.

This filter is also light weight at 12 ounces. By and large, the BEST there is for the hiker. My only gripe is that it could be a little more compact.

Otherwise a nearly perfect design.

Price Paid: $59.95

I bought this filter based on Hiker magazine's recommendation. I go once a year with a group of guys (four total) and we only carry this filter. It has been on five trips so far and hasn't even given a hint of a problem so far. I have replaced the filter once just to be on the safe side. It is light, reliable and durable. I highly recommend it.

I have only given it 4 stars because I don't have anything to compare it to. Also, since we started using the filter, we haven't used purification tablets and haven't had a bit of problem (do this at your own risk). As far as I can tell there isn't enough reason to spend more on a filter that does the same thing as this one.

Price Paid: $60

Nice filter.


  • Lightweight
  • Easy to assemble in field


  • Needs micro filter for intake hose

I love it, but it takes some effort to pump. Leaks a little at intake hose attachment point when pumping, so be prepared to get a little wet.

Used it in shallow creek in Harriman State Park in N.Y., and the the pump filled with dirt. Assume it shortened the life of the filter cartridge. Rinsed the filter well when I got back, and since I was returning to the same shelter area of Harriman the following weekend, I tied a piece of old t-shirt material on the pre-filter and that seems to have prevented further clogging.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $60

Seven of us were on a 10-day hiking trip in a remote area (no humans in several kilometers around) of an island off the Pacific coast of Panama. The Katadyn filter was the only device that procured us with drinking water, which after filtering still kept a slightly yellowish color (iron? -we were around a fault line and parts of the nearby beach had sections of black sand).

I didn't have any problems with it, except that by the 5th day it became harder to pump. We pumped over 6 gal of water every day from a streak of water running over a bed of igneous rock. The filter now has an overall brownish tint. How do you know when you need to change your filter?

I got this water filter back in 2005. I have used it exclusively up until last year. It has worked very well for my water filtration needs. It came with accessories and adapters. One in particular allowed me to filter water right into a bladder. I have provided regular maintenance on it and thus it never failed, fouled, or clogged.

The filter itself will eventually need replacement. The negative that I found for this water filter is that replacement price of the filter itself costs almost as much as another entire Katadyn Hiker Water Filter System. Otherwise, that is the only negative I have for this filter.

I would highly recommend this product.

Price Paid: $45

The Hiker Pro was solid on my first canoe trip, and handled water for 4 people, 4 nights, with ease. On the second trip we were three days and several lakes "out" (2 people) and the case split wide open along the pump piston, leaving it inoperable. When back in town I returned the pump and purchased a more expensive model (I just can't trust the Hiker case anymore).

Note: This did not split along a was a failure of the side of the piston wall. Very odd, and seems like a serious design issue.

On the positive note, when the pump worked it worked fine and provided good sweet water.

Price Paid: $59.95

My Hiker is the original Pur model from a few years ago, before the name changed. I'm still on the original filter cartridge and it's never let me down, though it hasn't seen very heavy use, and all of my water sources have been quite clean.

I'm not crazy about the push-pull pumping lever (I think a lever-type handle would be more comfortable), and I ditched the big plastic Nalgene cap to save weight and bulk. My only other nitpick is that it won't filter viruses, but overall it's a solid, reliable piece of equipment which has been around a long time for a very good reason.

Price Paid: $60

Wish I would have known about this site before purchasing my Katadyn Hiker.  Maybe they've improved since 2006. 

Purchased mine in 2010 for a three day fishing trip (car camping) with our party of four and found it to perform great. It comes with a stuff sack, adapter for a water bottle and one for a hydration system. 

The only nit pic I have is that the zip-lock type bag that holds the outlet hose fell apart the first time out of the package.  

Beats the heck out of the one I had in 1996

Price Paid: $60

I have been using this filter on my bi-yearly canoe and backpacking trips, and I have yet to experience any problems with it in the 6 years I've had it. A dollop of silicone on the pump handle every now and then keeps the pump working smooth. It seems a bit more sturdy that the MSR filters although the filter isn't field cleanable, which isn't a problem if your picky about your water sources. Overall I'm very happy with it. Fun!

Price Paid: $69.99 federal reserve notes


  • Great filter. I've used it for many years.


  • Prone to getting a stuck check valve.

It's prone to a stuck check valve, but after much searching, I discovered a company, Smart Products, that has a simple and quick fix for the problem with the insertion of their double-barbed, one-way valve for 1/4' hose. 

Here’s the information:

Part number:     304304-0011S000-6019
Description:      1/4” Barb x 1/4” Barb CV Polypropylene Material
Price:        $6.50    

Source: bought it new

I have used this little pump all summer (5 weekend trips) and never had a problem. I am worried from some other reviews.  If it lasts all next summer then I will give it 5 stars. I mean for $60 it was worth not carrying nasty pills or big jugs of water.

It works instantly and the water tastes good. This is my first filter and it was liberating to bring just one 2L Camelbak. So far I Love it!

Price Paid: $60

Fast, easy, and DURABLE. Mine started leaking the first day I tried it in the sink... BECAUSE, I had it screwed too tight. If you over-tighten the filter cartridge the seal can become caught in the threads.

It's a good solid filter. Sketchy water has been through this many times and it's always proved trusty.

Price Paid: $45

This awkward pump is a real pain if you have more than one or two bottles to fill. Try filling a few more a day and you'll give this the heave-ho. Get a pump with a lever type handle for easier pumping.

Price Paid: $125

You want a candy water filter? Get this. Sure, it works. But it's durability is laughable. Like someone below noted, the seam on the pump shaft split and now water squirts out with every pump. Terrible build quality.

Price Paid: $60

Good all around filter. Lightwight, compact, and reilable. Sometimes the handle gets stuck and it is kind of hard to clean it, but the water tastes great -- no idione taste or smell. Nice filter.

I love this product, never gives up, never had any trouble with it. I got giardia while using chemicals so i decided to take the weight hit. I strongly recommend this to anyone.

Price Paid: $69

I love the filter and it works great, but I broke the pump handle and cannot find a replacement pump handle. Anyone know where I can purchase a pump handle?

Quick setup, easy operation. Gives what you need without the complications and maintenance.

Price Paid: $49

This lightweight water filter enabled my brother and I to turn the dirty, unfiltered river water into refreshing drinking water. It removes different kinds of bacteria by passing it through an active carbon core, providing 1 liter of water/minute with minimal effort. I would recommend it to hikers and backpackers due to its light weight; plus, it has a low maintenance cartridge, which does not need to be cleaned. This is one of the best water filters I have ever used.

Editor's Note: The reviewer represents an online retailer that carries this product and brand.

Price Paid: $58

After flushing the system with three liters of water. Put a webcol alcohol swab inside the exit tube to catch residue. Slowly pump 500ml and inspect the material. Carbon particles are found! Test this at the dealer before buying.

Price Paid: $60

Your Review

Where to Buy

Help support this site by making your next gear purchase through one of the links above. Click a link, buy what you need, and the seller will contribute a portion of the purchase price to support Trailspace's independent gear reviews.

You May Like


Price Current Retail: $79.95-$89.99
Historic Range: $44.93-$89.99
Reviewers Paid: $35.00-$125.00
Water Source clear water
Group Size 1
Output 1 L/minute
Treated Quantity 750 L
Effective Against microorganisms, bad taste, chemicals
Weight 310 g
Dimensions 76 x 165 x 61 mm
Product Details from Katadyn »