The Aquamira Frontier Pro water filter is an exceptionally lightweight 2 oz. alternative to the more bulky water filters and water purifiers available on the market to day. In comparison, my First Need filter weighs a hefty 15.9 oz.
The Frontier Pro connects to platypus bladders or plastic bottles. To get water, you suck on a nipple, shown in black in the picture below. There is a built-in cap that stretches over the nipple, which works exceptionally well, and keeps the mouthpiece clean of debris. You can also invert the bottle and filter, and use gravity to pull water through the system in order to fill a cooking pot.
The product literature claims that the Frontier Pro is compatible with hydration hoses, but I certainly wouldn’t trust the connection and think this is just wishful thinking on the part of the manufacturer. Personally, I think the filter works best with 32 oz. soda bottles. This probably limits it’s use to warmer weather when there is less danger of your bottle openings freezing over at night. On the flip side, it is certainly easier to sleep with the tiny Frontier Pro in your sleeping bag to keep it from freezing than a pump based filter.
The Frontier Pro uses a two-stage filtration system. A pre-filter removes larger particles before the water flows into the main compartment where an activated carbon filter removes 99.9% of Cryptosporidium, Giardia, and other beasties down to 3 microns in size. This is not sufficient for virus protection, so if this is a concern you should pre-treat with chlorine dioxide tablets for at least 15 minutes beforehand and even longer in cold or turbulent water.
The Frontier Pro uses a porous plastic filter that looks like a cotton ball as its pre-filter. You insert it between the filter and the bottle adapter as shown above. The Frontier Pro comes with 5 pre-filters and they are not sold separately. However, resupply should not be an issue because the Frontier Pro’s activated carbon filter only has a 50 gallon (200 L) lifespan. That’s a little short of one month for me, at about 5-6 L/day.
Personally, I have mixed feelings about this filter and for now I still use my old fashioned pump purifier that I rationalize as a luxury item. For one, I don’t like the fact that the Frontier Pro lasts only 50 gallons and then must be completely disposed of. The environmental consequences of this bother me. I also have found it impossible to stay adequately hydrated without a drinking hose. I hate stopping for breaks, and a hose lets me drink on the go. Those two factors prevent me from switching.
The Frontier Pro retails for about $20.
Disclosure: The author owns this product and purchased it using their own funds.
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