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Thread: Katadyn Vario water filter failure

  1. #1
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Default Katadyn Vario water filter failure

    An equipment report for my fellow forum users on the Katadyn Vario, which completely failed me on it's 2nd outing. For reference, this is the filter I'm talking about.

    I've had this pump for about 2 years, but have only taken it to the field twice. The first was a backpacking trip to Spencer Glacier and it worked just fine. The second was an ATV hunting trip off the Denali highway last week. The pump was packed in my "kitchen kit" bag, and also in the little nylon bag that came with the pump. I cleaned and checked out the pump prior to packing it and all was well.

    We setup camp and I went up to a clear-water creek and filled a raw water jug to bring back and use the pump to purify as we needed it. Upon removing the pump from the bag, I found the inlet hose barb was broken off the side of the pump body. This 1/4" hose barb is made of plastic and appears to be glued to the side of the pump during manufacture. It is the only way to get raw water into the pump. Behind the glued on barb is a small rectangular hole that feeds the 2 pump inlet chambers. Due to the rectangular shape, you can't put a hose or tap a new barb into that manifold. The barb broke off flush with the body and there is absolutely no way to jimmy-rig a means of feeding water into the pump after it breaks. There is also no way to repair or replace the fitting. The whole pump is junk when this one little fragile part breaks. The placement of the barb, sticking out on the side of the pump body, just presents a perfect opportunity for it to get knocked off during handling of the pump. It's a piss-poor design of a critical component.

    In looking around at other water filters this week, I think I'm going to replace this pump with the MSR MiniWorks pump.
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

  2. #2
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    Default Katadyn Vario water filter failure

    Why not get the MSR sweetwater??? Much better handle design, having used both.

    Unless you are pumping a lot of water, like guiding trips with it, a reusable
    filter just isn't a big perk, and it's heavy.


    Appreciate the heads up on the crappy design. It's another reason I prefer products from MSR, OR, etc.

  3. #3
    Member Frostbitten's Avatar
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    Default

    +1 on the Sweetwater. I had a similar problem with a Sweetwater in that the inlet hose barb was cracked and I couldn't get it to prime itself, but I was able to do an in-the-field repair using electrical tape. I agree with JOAT in that I would rather the critical components were more made of aluminum, or at least something more durable than plastic.

  4. #4
    Member mod elan's Avatar
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    Could you submerge the raw water intake and use it that way?

  5. #5
    Member akshootnscoot's Avatar
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    Default Katadyn Vario water filter failure

    I had the exact same problem with my Katadyn filter on a moose hunt this fall. We taped a rag over the inlet to keep the big nasties out and submerged the bottom half of the pump. It worked, but was a pain. I'll be looking for a different pump for next season.

  6. #6
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    I haven't looked at the MSR sweetwater in person, but looking at the miniworks down at SW a few days ago was all it took to sell me on that brand/model. The case is clearly better built and the inlet barb is not only threaded on, but it has guard flanges around it for protection. Will have to see a sweetwater in person before I would commit to it, but looking at photos online, I already don't like it. The handle looks too bulky and there is a hose barb sticking out the side of the body. That's exactly the problem that the Katadyn has... an unprotected critical component sticking out the side. Besides, the MiniWorks model consistently has higher user ratings on the major outdoors shopping sites.

    Anyone want to buy a busted Kadadyn for parts? j/k
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

  7. #7
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    Default Katadyn Vario water filter failure

    The sweetwater handle folds away when not in use, it's smaller, lighter, and pumps water faster. I bring it in the field and a katadyn base camp bag in camp (just fill up the bag and hang it, no pumping) and that combo is hard to beat.

    I'm sure either Msr model will work well, but are you sure you want to trust people's reviews on the Internet?

  8. #8

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    New kid on the block is the Sawyer Squeeze filter only weighs 3 ounces for you back packers.http://www.sawyer.com/water.html

  9. #9
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andweav View Post
    I'm sure either Msr model will work well, but are you sure you want to trust people's reviews on the Internet?
    Absolutely! When you go to Cabela's, REI, Bass Pro, Amazon, etc and look at the user reviews, you are seeing hundreds of reports from people who own the item and have used it. The 5-star rating systems average everyone, so that eliminates the few false good/bad entries. The key is to average the reviews across multiple sites. For example, the MSR MiniWorks is running about 4.5 star average while the SweetWater is running 4.

    No different than people reading my personal experience with the Vario filter in this thread (or where I posted the same review on some of the aforementioned sites).
    Winter is Coming...

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