Pros and Cons
Filed under:Accessories, Gear reviews, Water Purification, BeFree, Katadyn, soft flask, water filter, water filtration
Amanda Travis tries out a lightweight and easy-to-use water filter
The new Katadyn BeFree is a combined soft flask and filter – you simply fill up the flask, put the cap (which contains the filter) back on, and away you go. The hollow fibre filter filters to 0.1 microns, removing protozoa, bacteria, cysts and sediment. We’ve been trying out the 0.6L version, but it also comes in a 1L version (or a 3L reservoir version that you can either hang or drink from directly) for those who need to carry a bit more water.
We’ve found this bottle to be perfect in places where water sources are plentiful and, luckily for us, around the Alps they tend to be. It’s perfect for running and cycling, weighing in at just 59g, but also for certain treks (such as the Tour de Mont Blanc) where you tend to cross streams or other water sources regularly and never seem to empty that 1L Nalgene before finding a place to refill. The BeFree is super quick as you don’t need to stop and filter the water – in a couple of seconds you can fill the flask, and then it simply filters as you drink from it. The 2L per minute flow rate is adequate as it feels just like drinking from a regular bottle.
Katadyn say that the filter itself will last for up to 1,000L, but if and when it comes to the end of its life it can be easily replaced. Cleaning the BeFree couldn’t be simpler – either fill the flask and shake and empty, or swish the filter around in clear water to remove any debris. The lid on the drink nozzle keeps dirt off, but does feel slightly on the flimsy side – a bit like a cap on a disposable water bottle. That said, it has held up for us so far, so who know if this might be a problem with extended use. There are a couple of things to consider before purchasing a BeFree: the 0.6L bottle is intended for solo use so would not be an appropriate choice if filterering water for large groups; also, the wide 42mm opening makes filling easy, but is not standard so needs to be used with the provided flask, so if water sources are scarce or needing to filter for more than one person then you may want to consider the 3L BeFree reservoir or another option.