|Rating:||8.9 / 10|
|Value for Money||1.7 / 2|
|Ease of use||1.8 / 2|
|Weight||1.8 / 2|
|Speed||1.8 / 2|
|Durability||1.8 / 2|
In Australia we tend to assume that our natural sources of water are clean and uncontaminated, but that’s not always the case. On a hike from Kiandra to Canberra over Easter 2019 I was forced to use a water source that could only be described as ‘gelatinous’ and boy was I glad I had a water filter with me.
Over the past 5 years I’ve tried a number of different filter options and as someone trying to get as light as possible and become an ultralight hiker, my first filter of choice was the Saywer Mini. My main criticism of the Sawyer is that when used with a hydration bladder, getting water is like sucking through a straw so I moved away from using inline filters to using the Katadyn BeFree.
Fast forward to mid 2020 and the MSR Thru-Link, again an inline filter, becomes available and I’ve had the opportunity to give it a whorl over the last two months. It hasn’t failed to impress! The thing you need to know is that this filter was originally developed for the US military and has been in service since 2006. Given its military background you would expect it to perform well; and it does. It removes bacteria, it removes parasites, and out removes particulates. It doesn’t remove viruses as it is not a purifier.
First up this is a cigar shaped filter that connects inline to a hydration drinking bladder and is larger and heavier than the well known Saywer Mini but there is a reason for that. The inlet and outlet valve of this filter is noticebly larger and this is a big benefit. MSR quote the flow rate as being 1.5 litres per minute. In using it for a period of two months and the only time I have had to exert energy was when I first installed it and the filter unit needed to be wet which only took a few minutes.
Secondly this filter uses a male and female connector that just happens to come standard with the Osprey Water Bladders which makes connecting the filter to the bladder extremely easy. Don’t worry if you don’t use Osprey bladders as this filter comes with the connections that allow you to convert other brands of bladders. The other bonus of this connection system and the larger diameter is that at the end of the day you can hang the bladder up, disconnect the drinking tube section and use it as a gravity filter making this a very versatile filter option.
As always there are downsides to any filtration unit and in this case there are two. The first is one is generic to any filter system not just this one. If the water has a high level of particulates (dirt) then using a pre-filter will minimise any chance of clogging. The second negative is the cost as the MSR Thru-Link has a RRP of just over $100 in Australia. Mind you its not uncommon to find this unit on sale. As a hollow core filter unit it has a limited lifespan of approximately 1000 litres which for me will last around will last 3-4 years but should last a typical hiker much longer.
This is a great filter for both personal as well as group use that has found a permanent home attached to my water bladder so I use it on all hikes I do.
MSR Thru-Link as purchased. The adapter to connect a bladder is included
MSR Thru-Link, the bits in the box
Female connection on one end of the Thru-Link
MSR Thru-Link male connection
Osprey 3litre Bladder already comes with the connection fittings and will connect with the MSR Thru-Link straight out of the box
MSR Thru-Link all set up on an Osprey 3 litre bladder. Assembling the filter took me about 20 seconds; its that simple
You can purchase the MSR Thru-Link Water Filter online from Wild Earth
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$106.25 AUD RRP
MSR produce a wide range of water filters including:
MSR MiniWorks EX Filter
MSR Trail Base Water Filter Kit
MSR Guardian Water Purifier
This review was done with product provided by the Australian supplier for testing