Katadyn BeFree 1.0L

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in Overland Journal’s Spring 2022 Issue.

Swiss maker Katadyn has been producing personal water treatment systems for over 90 years, and the brand is well-known in various outdoor segments. While the BeFree is not new, I recently found myself comparing water filters for an upcoming backpacking trip. In terms of ease of use and packability, it won hands down.

I purchased two BeFree filters in a pinch from Amazon, and when trying both out, found one to not work at all straight out of the box; the water would not squeeze out. This finding was consistent with a handful of reviews from other consumers with the same problem. But I was disappointed, thinking my odds were better than the few isolated incidents listed among so many positive reviews—it was far from an auspicious start. Luckily, the other one worked fine.


After that hurdle, all systems were go, though. Ultra-simplistic in form and function, the BeFree water filter is designed to be taken anywhere and intended for frequent use. The pour rate is especially pleasing at 2 liters per minute, and the collapsible flask is small enough to fit in a pocket, weighing a mere 2 ounces. The company suggests that it be used with clear to cloudy water sources, though I have seen people fill their BeFree reservoirs with muddy puddle water with positive results. A .1-micron pore size makes it suitable for removing protozoa (99.99 percent) and bacteria (99.9999 percent) to EPA standards but not viruses. Even “clean” stream water can be affected by hepatitis, norovirus, adenovirus, etc. I prefer to err on the side of caution, reserving my BeFree for drinking water emergencies, preferring instead to use it to filter my cooking water (which will then be boiled for over 1 minute, regardless). What can I say—I am a water wuss.


I do like the BeFree and am considering adding a SteriPen (owned by Katadyn since 2017) to my kit (also small and lightweight) to purify the filtered water of viruses. The BeFree’s hollow-fiber water filter is good for approximately 1,000 liters before a replacement is needed, and the instruction booklet indicates a field test to check your filter’s effectiveness. The wide-mouth opening makes it easy to clean, and the tight-seal snap cap keeps dirt and debris out should you choose to drink straight from the bottle. Consumer complaints also include that the filter clogs easily, and the output quickly becomes significantly reduced. My BeFree was used for five days (significant use as it was also used in multiple mock squirt-gun fights by my kid) in the field with no issues. Also available in .6L and 3L sizes.

$45 | katadyn.com

Read more: Water Treatment Solutions: The Mother of All Reviews

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A steadfast believer in the power of words, Tena can usually be found with her eyes turned toward some source of written knowledge, be it for pleasure, information, or planning her next adventure. Recognizing the value of the spoken word as well (unless it is coming from her GPS, in which case, she is perfectly capable of getting lost on her own), Tena finds there is no substitute for confabulation. Refuge from the monotony of the everyday is found by immersing herself in her surroundings—whether in an exotic locale or her backyard—and disconnecting from technology and seeking solace in the great outdoors is a cure well taken. While vehicles are a component for overlanding, she finds enthusiasm provides the only fuel required to get you there.