Katadyn Pocket Review: Hands On with this Premium Portable Survival Water Filter

The Katadyn Pocket is a premium water filter that has what it takes to get you and your family through a long emergency or crisis.

When you first pick up this filter you will notice that it is made of some sturdy and premium components. The pump mechanism is high grade stainless steel and provides a smooth action that gets you fresh and pure water faster than you might have imagined.

My Experience with the Katadyn

Katadyn Pocket Water FilterThe Katadyn was actually a gift/investment in our emergency supplies courtesy of my father. Dad was in heavy jungle combat in Vietnam and often mentions the importance of water. He had some very tough times and extreme survival situations so water security was always something on his mind.

His experience had a major impact on how seriously I took putting back and being prepared over the years. He wanted the best filter we could get with a large capacity just in case we were all without power to our well or just if water supplies became contaminated.

After a lot of research we settled on the Katadyn and also purchased a replacement filter at the same time. That gave us 26000 gallons of filtration capacity.  I have to say that after it arrived and we took a look, it was amazing that such a small thing could do so much and last so long. The whole filter only measures 1.5 x 5.43 x 2.56 inches and weights just under 8 ounces. This size is an amazing accomplishment of Swiss design and engineering. If you are not buying US made products then the Swiss are one of your best bets for quality products.

The ceramic filter is impregnated with silver which has long been known for its amazing antimicrobial properties and no doubt this is part of what you are paying for.

Good Attention To Quality & Comfort When Pumping

You can tell that a lot of engineering and time went into making this pump operate smoothly. Just the rounded pump handle itself is enough to sell me on the Katadyn over other hand held water pumps. There is no uncomfortable digging in or rawness if you have to pump a lot of water at once and unlike cheaper pumps where you have to swivel handles and attach pins, you are ready to pump when you take it out of the pouch.

My husband and I took this filter out on a few camping trips and once to the beach where the tap water was awful and we were very impressed with how fast this filter gave us water. I wish we had been using this filter back when we were in college and could get away for a week long backpacking trip over rough terrain.

You don’t need a large water source to draw enough into the intake to get some fabulous water to drink. Like any filter you are better off finding the clearest nearby source you can as far as filter life goes. At the same time this is a filter that is capable of filtering some very dirty water.

In a survival situation where I had no idea when society would be back to some semblance of normal I would take the time to either let water settle out or pre-filter it with a relatively clean piece of cloth. In an End Of The World As We Know It Situation, anything you can do to ensure your filter lasts longer is a positive thing.

Could Be Used By A Group In A Long Emergency Or Survival Situation

This filter is rated for 2-3 people but it could definitely be used for a group by pumping water into larger bags, bottles, etc making it a stand out filter for its size and price range. 13000 gallons is a lot of water and to be honest with you I imagine you can stretch your filter life as much as a 1,000 gallons if you clean the ceramic element often and don’t drop it when it is apart and drying.

Of course make sure to have the maintenance kit described below if you plan on this being your main filter. Although it is not likely you will have to replace anything for a very long time, for a long emergency it pays to be prepared. A lost O ring or screw dropping out doesn’t have to have the impact it might if you invest the $20 in a kit.

After Market Accessories and Replacements

KatadynPocket Water Filter Replacement CartridgeKatadyn Pocket Replacement Filter

Price Range: $135.00-$199 (check here for latest)

Amazon has the best deal on the replacement filter. Simply drop this in the housing, screw it down, and you are good to go for another 13,000 gallons! The MSRP is $199 and a lot of places are trying to get that but take advantage of Amazon’s low price and discounts.

Katadyn Pocket Maintainance Kit

Price Range: $19.95 (check here for latest)

This convenient kit has all the essentials you need to keep your pump going. Here is what you get

  • 1 o-ring check valve
  • 2 ball
  • 1 capscrew, socket head
  • 4 gasket
  • 2 cylinder screw
  • 1 pin
  • 3 o-rings pump tappet
  • 1 measuring gauge
  • 1 hose clip
  • 1 silicone lubricant

It pays to be prepared. It is annoying to lose one tiny little part and have a pump that is working. A small screw or an O ring can make all the difference in the performance of your pump.

Katadyn Carbon Cartridge

KatadynPocket Water Filter Carbon CartridgePrice Range: $19.95 (check here for latest) 

I personally have never used this carbon filter because the water in my area has never tasted bad after being filtered. At the same time this handy filter attaches to most water bottles and produces cleaner and fresher tasting water. If you are in an area where you think you will be pumping lake water or other water that tends to be murkier or more stagnant, you may want this refillable carbon filter for a more satisfying taste.

Final Word on the Katadyn Pocket

If you are serious about bugging out or having a serious filter for emergencies then this is one of the best you can get.  If you can wait awhile and save up a little extra to get this filter then it will give you a lot cheaper filtered watered costs than others that have less upfront expense. The housing of the filter and pump mechanism are made of better components than the mostly plastic traditional camp style backpacking filters you see out there.

Pros

  • Filters up to 13,000 gallons without replacing any filter elements
  • Filtration rate of 1 Liter per minute
  • 0.02 micron filtration
  • Low cost per gallon pumped. Just $0.018 per gallon initially.
  • Get replacement filters on Amazon. Water cost goes down to $0.01 per gallon!

Cons

  • High upfront cost: NOTE – Do not pay list price, check this listing for prices first.
  • Water must be pumped so it lacks the convenience of a gravity filter
  • Only suitable for 3-4 people at most
  • Ceramic element will crack if allowed to freeze
  • No indication it is effective against viruses

A Bit On Bugging Out, Bugging In, And Protecting Your Water Filtration Capabilities

If you are putting together a bug out bag then I recommend that you get this filter as well as a few Lifestraws for backup. Also keep in mind that this filter can get you through a lot but you don’t want to jeopardize it while doing certain activities.

LifeStraw Personal Water FilterIf you have to bug out you may want to stash this filter at base camp and take a Lifestraw with you or pack some water if just exploring the area a little bit. It can be hard or impossible to replace your main water filter in some survival type situations so use some common sense.

When carrying your filter make sure to pack it well with softer things around it just in case you fall or experience some type of impact.

If you use the Katadyn at home but need to go on a reconnaissance mission around the area then take a back up filter if you are not going to be gone long. The choice is yours but I definitely think it is worth thinking about the situations you put your filter in during a true survival situation or long emergency.

Be Aware Of Your Partners and Friends

A survival situation or long term crisis puts a lot of stress on people. Even those that would never dream of stealing or doing anything too reprehensible may be driven to it during a really trying situation.

Your water filter is your first line of survival so make sure to protect it from theft or abuse.

A stolen water filter can actually be a matter of life and death, especially if you do not have a back up you can get to.

That being said also make sure to plan for water filtration for everyone in your family. The Katadyn is great but if you have a really big family unit you may want some additional filtration capabilities.


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Looking for a good quality filter, but not sure if the Katadyn Pocket is worth the cost? Check out this review to get my full experience with it.

  1. I like that the author covered some serious realities of a disaster situation, both bugging out or hunkering down.

    I also like the the toolkit and replacement filters, and the carbon option all have links in the article.

    And also the Lifestraw has a link, and its possible purpose in relation to the Katadyn was described along with a link.

    I’ve been studying water filtration enough to know one is not enough and I like that this was stressed in the article

    This is a comprehensive article in that I can add the products to my shopping cart using the links and save up for them. I rarely buy anything from Amazon the day I learn about it, but eventually I do buy things.

    I’ve done enough prior research to trust Katadyn and Lifestraw, and the article filled in some big holes in my planning process. Thank you.

  2. My main comment is ABSOLUTELY! The Katadyn Pocket Filter is the best system for easy transportation, use, and amount of water filtered for the price. I have one, wrapped carefully, and carry it daily in my work vehicle backpack. Shelter and Water are the two most important survival items and are equal in importance for the most part. Good water is a priceless commodity when needed and the Katadyn Pocket Filter gives you that at a very fair price considering the amount of water it is capable of filtering. I also carry a Lifestraw product in my EDC bag that I throw in whatever vehicle I am in. Next to a good knife, a water filter is one of those things that should be within reach at all times as you never will know when you need it. For full disclosure, I prep both personally and professionally and have no financial interest in any of the items mentioned. I am only a very satisfied customer.

  3. I have mentioned this here before..

    The “Lifestraw concept” is deeply flawed..

    Cross contamination is quite easy.

    The requirement to be at a water site for it to work or to carry contaminated water with you… utter madness again do to the possibility of cross contamination.

    Katydyn makes excellent systems.. I have a couple MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter, Having used it for 6 months on one occasion.. Worked reliably.

    Really 6 of one half dozen of another only sleight differences between them.. There is a benefit to the leverage handle in the MSR and the ability to attach the Filter directly to the top of certain standardized bottles

    There are however real physical limitations on potential filtration from such systems..

    I suggest you break out your individual pump and make a couple gallons of water a day for each of the people you propose to provide water for. Say 10 gallons of water for a family of 4…It’s actually a lot of work..

    Keep in mind even with the MSR or Katadyn it is not a bad idea to carry water purification tablets with you as well.. Tastes not so hot..but increased safety..

    Also read up on how to detect a contaminated water source.. Don’t everyone use the same unknown source at once.. There are protocols for both water and food to be consumed by individuals and groups in survival situations. Learn them.

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