On any hike longer than 7 miles, I usually have to ration my water intake on the uphill, and as soon as I start the descent, the flood gates open. Drinking lots of water is how I avoid getting headaches at altitude and muscle cramps from dehydration. But a love for water can also be a curse, because when your backpack is full and your pack-weight matters (at the beginning of a hike), fluids are freaking heavy.
To put things in perspective, most of my hiking buddies typically carry a standard 100-ounce hydration reservoir and have a few sips to spare at the end of a long hike. I, on the other hand, carry 100 ounces of water, 32 ounces of a powdered sports drink mix, and I always — I mean always — run out of fluids. I’d carry more, but an extra 32-ounce water bottle weighs more than 2 pounds and takes up valuable pack space.
MSR’s Thru-Link In-Line Microfilter is the answer to all my hiking and backpacking hydration problems. It’s a tiny, portable water filter that snaps into place between the reservoir outlet and the drinking tube on the hydration reservoirs (or bladders, as we’ve come to call them) in your hiking or backpacking packs. Simply scoop your reservoir in the stream, attach the filter, and suck — your water is instantly filtered to be safe for drinking. Check out this video to see how it works:
The Thru-Link microfilter has a two-stage filtration chamber that makes fresh water from streams and lakes potable, meeting both EPA and NSF standards and protocols. The first chamber uses hollow fibers to remove water-borne pathogens like bacteria, protozoa, viruses, and multicellular parasites so you don’t come down with giardia, E. coli, or something else that is sure to ruin your time outside. It also removes dirt, dust, sand, and other floaters, and even removes microplastics! The second chamber uses activated carbon to remove chemicals, odors, and improve the taste of your water.
With this filter, most water in the U.S. would be safe to drink. And for international travel or for extra piece of mind, adding a chlorine tablet to the reservoir before filtering will remove other viruses.