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Nobody’s ever said water duty is their favorite part of hiking. With the Platypus QuickDraw Microfilter System ($45), though, the task just got a whole lot easier.
This affordable, compact, 3.3-ounce kit comes with two components: a durable, one-liter soft-sided reservoir—helpfully labeled “dirty”—and a hollow-fiber filter that’s small enough to fit inside a toilet-paper roll. To get clean water, simply fill the reservoir (a hard plastic handle helps with skimming it through streams and lakes), screw the filter onto the top, and squeeze. The QuickDraw’s 0.2-micron pores sift out bacteria and protozoa (but not viruses, which are removed only by purifiers). And believe us, this thing is fast: by applying constant pressure on the reservoir, we filled a one-liter Nalgene in about 20 seconds—the fastest rate on the market for something this light and inexpensive. “Even when I was hiking with groups, I brought this filter rather than a larger gravity model,” one editor said. “It’s so small that it can fit in a hipbelt pocket, and it’s the most efficient filtration system I’ve ever used.”
The filter itself rests inside a durable ABS-plastic housing, so dropping it won’t destroy the sensitive fibers inside. The dirty-water reservoir is built to last thanks to its thick plastic construction, and we haven’t seen any holes in ours after a full season of use, a far cry from other, flimsier reservoirs.
Screw threads lock the filter onto the reservoir as well as other Platypus products, Smartwater bottles, and 28-millimeter plastic bottles. (You can also drink straight from the clean-water side of the filter.) Our test unit slowed down only once, and a simple backflush returned it to its regular flow. With the QuickDraw, filtering water is over in a blink, and you can get back to what you’re out there for: enjoying your hike.