MSR Sweetwater Water Filter backpacker review

Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 18 November 2014

Sweetwater was bought by MSR which was eaten up by Cascade Designs.

MSR Sweetwater Water Filter

The new MSR Sweetwater is a different design of the same engineering principals as the orignal white housing Sweetwater Filters, as far as I can tell. 

I used the original white housing with red trim Sweetwater Filter in the early 1990s, until frustration drove me to the Hiker Pur, which I've used religiously ever since.

I gave the MSR miniworks a few pumpstrokes over a couple of backpacking trips, but found it as inefficient and frustrating as the Sweetwater Filter, so resumed use of the Pur Hiker.

The basic difference between the Sweetwater and Miniworks Vs. the Pur Hiker are the "hard" filters in the MSR and Sweetwater Vs. the "Soft" paper filter in the Hiker.

"Hard" filters are harder to pump that paper when clean, and become progressively worse with hard or thick water. By "thick" I mean with a high percentage of dissolved solids, such as "cow water."

The Sweetwater uses what looks like a plastic composite material they call "Silica Depth." It is cleaned in the field with a bristle brush. I always wanted to overclean it to make it pump faster...

Both the Sweetwater and Miniworks are decent filters. But they are difficult and slow compared to the Katadyn-Pur Hiker.

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