• Weight 70 grams
  • Filtration size 200 microns
  • Cost $109.99

MSR Thru-Link Water Filter



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 for just on a year now. 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 it 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 around AUD $110 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.

We like

  • Very easy to use up particularly if you have one of the newer Osprey Bladders 
  • 200 micron filters out almost all micro organisms including bacteria, parasites, and particulates (but not viruses)
  • Quick to filter when being used as a personal filter. Unlike some inline filters you don’t really know its there as the water flow is unimpeded
  • Can be easily used as a gravity filter at the end of the day when in camp
  • Durable which is why its used by the US military
  • One of the lighter physical filters on the market
  • No aftertaste that can be present with chemical water treatments

We don't like

  • Not the cheapest option for filtration but good value
  • If the water contains high amounts of particulates then use a pre-filter to prevent clogging (this is a criticism of most water filtration systems)

Best Uses

  • Great for solo hikers travelling light or for group use as a gravity filter

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

Buy One

You can purchase the MSR Thru-Link Water Filter online from the Wild Earth

Disclosure:  We may earn a small commission, at no additional expense to you, if you click through and make a purchase. Please note that our affiliations do not influence, in any way, the independence of our reviews. If we don’t like a product, you’ll hear about it from us!


AUD $109.99 RRP

Other Versions

MSR produce a wide range of water filters including:


This review was done with product provided by the Australian supplier for testing

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