Katadyn BeFree vs Sawyer Mini water filter

The_John_Muir_Way

New member
I've bought both of these and my GF thinks I just like buying gear, which is true, but I was trying to tell her the differences. I thought I'd share some of my thoughts regarding the similarity and differences.


Similarities:

both lightweight
both are simple to use
.1 micron filter


Differences:

BeFree's flow rate is a lot faster. 2 liters per minute
Mini can filter 100,000 gallons vs BeFree's 264
Clean up is easier with BeFree just rinse it out, Mini can backflush
BeFree has a larger mouth (43mm) so filling it up is easier but is hard to find bag attachments. Hydropak makes a large one. Mini's mouth is smaller (28mm) but you can find lots of bottle attachments.
Mini comes with a straw, so in case you lose the bag or it gets damaged you can drink from the stream directly
Befree's filter fits inside the water reservoir, so you can pack it intact vs the Mini.


In summation, I told my GF is was necessary to buy the BeFree because it's great for day hikes- easy clean up, fast flow rate, easier to use. I still use the Mini, I like the straw attachment and the longer life- I plan on using it for long hikes and backpacking.


I made a video review comparing the two, in case you're interested:
 

Christophe Noel

Expedition Leader
Having used both, and tested dozens of filters over the last 2 years including a few days at the MSR water lab in Seattle, I'd chose their TrailShot over everything else for a compact personal filter. More utility. Second would be the Katadyn. Trailing would be the Sawyer just based on their hollow fiber filter sourcing.
 

The_John_Muir_Way

New member
I'm really intrigued by the TtailShot. Looks like a nice product. Maybe I can convince one of my friends to buy one so I can see what it's like. Thanks for sharing your insight.

Having used both, and tested dozens of filters over the last 2 years including a few days at the MSR water lab in Seattle, I'd chose their TrailShot over everything else for a compact personal filter. More utility. Second would be the Katadyn. Trailing would be the Sawyer just based on their hollow fiber filter sourcing.
 

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Christophe Noel

Expedition Leader
The bonus with the TrailShot is the ease in which you can either drink from it or fill other containers.

I also have to say, MSR's water lab in Seattle is one of the most incredible experiences I've had as a journalist. I assumed their lab included a couple dudes designing and testing water filters. Wrong. Their lab is the leading water lab in the country. There must have been a half dozen people with advanced degrees or doctorates in that lab and they were not making outdoor filters they were quite literally solving the world's clean water problems. Whether engineering advanced systems for the US Military, or complex UV systems for major hospitals, they were on it. They were even creating processes by which human waste could be made consumable in developing nations. Incredible work.

When I asked the lab manager, "It must have only taken you a week to design the TrailShot." He laughed and said, "Oh no...maybe a day." LOL.

So ya, I scrubbed my ambitions to scientifically test a dozen water systems. It was clear MSR is the industry leader and by a country mile. After several days talking to their lab gurus, I won't buy or use anything else. Never.
 

The_John_Muir_Way

New member
The bonus with the TrailShot is the ease in which you can either drink from it or fill other containers.

I also have to say, MSR's water lab in Seattle is one of the most incredible experiences I've had as a journalist. I assumed their lab included a couple dudes designing and testing water filters. Wrong. Their lab is the leading water lab in the country. There must have been a half dozen people with advanced degrees or doctorates in that lab and they were not making outdoor filters they were quite literally solving the world's clean water problems. Whether engineering advanced systems for the US Military, or complex UV systems for major hospitals, they were on it. They were even creating processes by which human waste could be made consumable in developing nations. Incredible work.

When I asked the lab manager, "It must have only taken you a week to design the TrailShot." He laughed and said, "Oh no...maybe a day." LOL.

So ya, I scrubbed my ambitions to scientifically test a dozen water systems. It was clear MSR is the industry leader and by a country mile. After several days talking to their lab gurus, I won't buy or use anything else. Never.
That's a great story, I can see where your insight comes from. It's very impressive. I really admire companies with a strong sense of passion and innovation. Thanks for sharing the story Christopher
 

Christophe Noel

Expedition Leader
That's a great story, I can see where your insight comes from. It's very impressive. I really admire companies with a strong sense of passion and innovation. Thanks for sharing the story Christopher
As it turns out, I was not the first journalist to visit the lab thinking I would write the ultimate water filer review. The problem is, it can't be done objectively. The single best lab in the business, in the world, is MSR's lab. In many cases they know more about other manufacture's water systems than they do.

So, the long story made very short is, the best filters come out of MSR's lab, and they're child's play compared to the solutions that team is creating on a daily basis. It was a fun visit. It's not often I get in a room with people so crazy smart I can't even form intelligent questions worthy of their time. I was literally dizzy when I left. LOL.
 
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