The Katadyn BeFree Water Filter is now available with three different soft bottle capacities: 0.6L (20 oz.), 1.0L (33.8 oz.), and the latest, a 3.0L (101 oz.) bottle. I think the 3.0L size is perfect for backpacking because it can be used to haul additional water for camping or to get through an area where water is scarce. I always like to have a 5 liter maximum water carrying capacity when I backpack for this purpose. The smaller size bottles are better for trail running or day hiking when you don’t usually need to haul extra water or filter for a group.
Specs at a Glance
- Filtration speed: up to 2 liters per minute
- Filter size: 0.1-micron microfilter is tested to remove protozoa (99.99%) and bacteria (99.9999%)
- Weight: 3.4 oz dry, 4.6 oz. wet
- Lifetime: 1,000 liters
If you’re not familiar with the BeFree Water Filter, it’s a 0.1 micron hollow-fiber style filter that filters up to 2 liters per minute, over twice as fast as the Sawyer Squeeze. It also doesn’t require backflushing with a syringe to clean. Instead, you just shake it while attached to a partially filled soft bottle. While it does have a proprietary-sized soft bottle that can only be used with the BeFree Filter, the speed of the filtering makes that an easy limitation to ignore.
The new 3.0L soft bottle included with the Gravity Filter version has graduated markings printed on the outside of the bag as well as a plastic grey handle at the threaded end which makes it easy to scoop water from a stream or pond. The other end of the bag has a blue handle, as well as holes, so you can attach cord if you want to hang it from a tree. When not needed, the entire unit rolls up and is easy to tuck away, and won’t leak in your pack if the flip top cap. If you ever lose that cap or it breaks, a regular soda bottle cap fits the same threads and will seal the top.
While Katadyn calls the 3.0L BeFree a gravity filter, I think it’s more convenient to hold horizontally and squeeze to force water through the filter, like the Sawyer Squeeze. While you could suspend the bottle from a tree with cord, the BeFree filters water so fast that there’s simply no need to do this. You’ll also have a hard time controlling the flow if you do hang it since there’s no stopcock mechanism to regulate the flow of water, a feature found on other gravity filter products like the 10L Katadyn Base Camp Pro or the 12L Lifestraw Mission Gravity Filter, which are designed for filtering water in basecamp for larger groups of people. There’s also no way to add water to the top of the BeFree 3.0L bottle (when it’s hanging), so you don’t have to take it down each time you want to refill it.
Whichever way you do decide to orient it, vertically or sideways, there’s no denying that the 3.0L version of the BeFree Water Filter system is super fast and convenient to use. Capable of filtering up to 1000 liters of water, it filters out particles down to .1 microns in size with a protozoa removal rate of 99.99% and a bacteria removal rate of 99.9999% when tested with EPAs water filter standards.
This one is a keeper. Highly recommended.
- Katadyn BeFree Water Filter Review – 0.6 liter size.
- Sawyer Mini or Sawyer Squeeze Water Filters: How to Choose
- Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter System Review
- Hydrapak Seeker 3L Soft Water Bottle Review
Disclosure: Katadyn provided the author with a sample product for this review.Editor's note: 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 SectionHiker's unsponsored gear reviews, articles, and hiking guides.
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