Katadyn Vario filter

My wife and I are planning a 9 day, mid June canoe/camp trip to the Turtle Flambeau Flowage in WI. I am thinking about giving the Vario filter a shot on this trip and was wondering if anyone has any thoughts on this filter. We have used a Base Camp filter on previous trip and it clogged after a short time. Looks like the Vario has a ceramic pre-filter element that may help keep the water flowing thru it. Will bring purification tablets along for back-up. Hate to spend $90 bucks on something that isn’t reliable. Other option would be to make a 5-6 mile round trip water run back to the car I suppose.


I used one up in the porcupine mountains north of there and it worked just fine. I’m thinking of getting one for my self for paddling and hiking.


purification tablets
No data on the Vario.

I’m taking a K. Hiker filter for water on a rivertrip in a couple weeks, and plan to bring chemical treatment for backup. My current tablets are vintage 2000 and I’m thinking I ought to replace them. What have you used for tablets? Cost / source?

Thanks for any info.


I use the Katadyn Micropur tablets. They don’t leave any taste but the downside is that they need 4 hours to do their thing. 1 tablet treats 1 litre, 30 tabs in a package, about $12 at Gander.

A friend of mine has had good luck with the Hiker filter. He used it on an extended hiking trip and said that it worked fine. I think it uses the same filter cartridge as the Base Camp which I was not happy with.

Maybe I will just go with the Micropur tabs as they will kill viruses, bacteria, giardia, and cryptosporidium and the filters will not. Easier to pack too.


I’ve had
I’ve had great luck with Aquamira. Stronger than iodine, with none of the nasty taste.

unlikely improvement
First, when you mentioned the Base Camp filter, I assume you mean the Katadyn model?

If so, getting a Vario may not be much improvement, if any.

The pre filter is only 1 micron, the main filter of both Base Camp and Vario is .3 micron. The Base Camp uses the same filter as the Hiker/Hiker Pro, which seems to be one of the more clog resistant filter elements. If you are clogging the Base Camp, you will be taking your Vario apart very frequently to clean it!

A more common and cheaper prefilter in conditions that have proven to quickly clog filters, is to use a tightly wovern t-shirt, or bandanna. This can be a very effective prefilter when there is a lot of sediment or other larger particles in the water. I find gravity feed filters to be slightly easier to do this with- pump filters mean you have to first scoop water with a cloth lined pot, then slowly lift out the cloth before filtering the water into another container. For a bag filter, I sewed a tightly woven poplin shirt into a bag that dropped down into my filter bag.

BTW, Aqua Mira and Micropur are very similar in chemical action. The reason that Micropur says to sit for 4 hours, is due to the fact that it has passed EPA certification. That test is in extremely dirty water! Aqua Mira is no different, if you are putting into water that is close to mud, it must also sit for 4 hours. In clear water, 20-30 minutes is enough for Micropur. They are just required by law to make that claim, so as to be able to claim being “EPA certified”.


Same thoughts Otterslide
Yes, I am talking about the Katadyn Base Camp filter. Wasn’t sure how much would be gained with the ceramic pre-filter. I did use a cotton sock to filter the water before it went into the Base Camp even though the water quality was pretty good to begin with. I showed the clogged filter to a friend who had the K Hiker and he saw no visible reason it should be clogged - quite clean in appearance.

I just had someone at work pretty much say the same thing about the time needed with the tablets. I will skip the filter and just use the tabs.



I use the Katadyn Hiker
and I find that my best bet is to NOT make the filter work harder than it must.

Two cheap folding plastic bags from the dollar store and an old t-shirt or coffee filter.

Bucket #1 brings the cleanest water I can find from the river to pour THROUGH the t-shirt into bucket #2.

This traps most of the sediment.

Then drop the Katadyn pre-filter into Bucket #2 and filter that water into my drinking bottle.

It works well. More work but reduces stress on the $40 filter in my Katadyn.