When it comes to portable water filters, Katadyn have been the market leaders for many years. We liked the sound of their new BeFree system, so we thought we would test it. Here at NLG, we don’t do things by halves, so we thought we would take it on a jungle trek to really put it through it’s paces!!
First thing we noticed when it arrived is that the packaging is simple, informative and very importantly fully recyclable. The material the product is made from is BPA free so it won’t slowly poison you either.
First impression, this thing is sooo light weight, 59G in total, that is ridiculous. We first thought it felt a bit flimsy, but it stood up to a month in the tropics no problem. It was taken in and out of rucksacks, bashed about and generally abused like outdoor kit often is on the trail, it looked as good at the end of our trip as at the beginning.
This is a point I feel needs emphasising, 59grams is almost nothing. No one could ever notice an extra 59grams in their pack. It is worth owning one and taking it as well as your normal water filter, as an emergency backup. We won’t be travelling without ours in the future.
Performance wise, Katadyn says the BeFree removes 99.999% of protozoa and bacteria, that’s science speak for 100% (you can’t actually prove 100% and so can’t actually claim 100%). Now, I have drank my fair share of jungle water in my time, but its always been put through our Katadyn Combi first (see our review here). We found it difficult to get used to putting dirty water straight into our water bottles. When first faced with the brown soupy concoction I had just got straight from the river, I hesitated and thought “do I really trust my life to this tiny lightweight flimsy feeling bottle?” but then you remember that it’s a Katadyn so the answer to that question is a clear yes, I do trust it with my life. The water didn’t taste great, the BeFree does not remove the taste of brown soupy water, but how could anyone expect it to? Its 59g for pitty’s sake.
The important thing is, that after drinking heavily contaminated water, on multiple occasions, we were both completely fine.
We tested the 0.6L version. Such a small capacity does not last long, especially in the tropics. We have just heard however that a 1litre and a 3litre version is soon to be released and we believe that these capacity’s will be much more useful. The top is 43mm wide for easy filling and you just give it a swish to clean it, no back flushing necessary.
The lifetime of BeFree is up to 1000litres. Ours is probably nearly dead because the water we filtered was filthy. We are unsure how to tell when it is no longer safe to use.
Our conclusion: If your after fresh water, wherever you go whenever you want it, BeFree is a great choice.
Value for money 10/10
Overall rating 9/10, Sheer genius, Love it!
To purchase through Amazon Click here