The First Need Water Purifier is one of the few filters on the market today that filters down to 2 microns. This means the it filters out all viruses, crypto, and protozoa without the need for additional purification tablets like Chlorine Dioxide. The only downside to this filter is that it weights 15 oz, which is heavy for you ultralight backpackers. Besides that, this filter is just exceptional. The filter itself is a glass matrix and will last for 200 gallons or more. I own this filter and often take it on trips: it produces water which tastes fantastic. I love it.
Check the specs on your existing filter. Chances are that it is only capturing beasties that are larger than 3 microns. If this is the case, you need to rethink your filtering strategy and add a purification step using Chlorine. While drinkable, chlorinated water tastes chlorinated and kind of ruins that backcountry experience.
The First Need has a very long hose as you can see in the picture above. This makes it easy to pump from streams that have rocky banks. The tip contains a fine mesh screen, called a pre-filter, that screens out suspended solids. A first need pouch can be used to carry the filter or as a water bag for gravity based filtering. Normally, I leave this bag at home and just carry the filter in one of the mesh pockets on the outside of my pack where it can drip dry.
Water is pushed through the filter by pumping the handle. It is possible to backwash the filter in order to clear the glass matrix if it becomes clogged. There are a variety of extra attachments that you can add to the outflow point of the filter that let you marry it to CamelBak and Platypus hydration reservoirs, or Nalgene bottles. I use the Platypus attachment myself. There also is a self sealing cap that covers the outflow point of the filter making it virtually impossible to cross contaminate your input tube and output flow. I haven’t seen anything this clever on any other filter.
Disclosure: The author owns the First Need Water Filter reviewed here and purchased it using their own funds.
Written 2008. Updated 2015.
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