- Nov 11, 2017 at 8:03 pm #3501657
Matt SwiderBPL Member
@sbsliderLocale: Santa Barbara
I believe a smart water bottle flip cap works as wellNov 12, 2017 at 2:57 am #3501721
Philip TschersichBPL Member
@philip-akLocale: Kodiak Alaska
“The Platy alternative works fine.”
I tried one, and the seal between the Platypus push-pull cap and the BeFree bottle filter was not a good seal at all. Are you using the rubber washer from some other product (like the Sawyer adapters)?Dec 11, 2017 at 3:39 pm #3506875
Ken LarsonBPL Member
@kenlarsonLocale: Western Michigan
This is an update from my inquiring into the issue Daryl and Dary had experienced in his 5Nov2017 posting above.
Thanks for your message and we apologies for the delayed response. We wanted to share your communications with our Product Management Team in Switzerland to hear their input into the issues. Their response includes “We checked the tolerance of the filter material for vinegar and found out that the potting (the top part of the filter cartridge in which the hollow fibers are held together) does not react well. We therefore strongly advise not to use any vinegar to treat the filter element because the intolerance of the potting can be the reason of failing the integrity test.”
The team had also wanted to have generally-mention that anytime the Integrity Test is performed, it should be done with a wet filter element, not a dry one. This has caused some confusion in the past, and end-users have mistakenly concluded that their filter is non-functioning. We hope this has brought some clarification. We want to thank you once again for your patience.
Katadyn North AmericaDec 12, 2017 at 12:07 am #3506966
Thanks for posting up the response from the manufacture.
Good to know….now I have to wonder if I damaged my filter with the vinegar.
No such thing as a perfect filter.
Really hope that Version 2.0 of the BeFree filter allows for a forcefull way to back flush the filter in the field.
TonyDec 16, 2017 at 1:37 am #3507726
Kurt SuttellBPL Member
I have started to store my filter on the soft bottle filled with water. This has help considerably to prevent it from drying out and clogging up. Since I started doing this it has almost started working better than new. FYI my filter was working about at half speed when I started this method.Dec 16, 2017 at 3:27 am #3507733
Maybe store it in the soft bottle with a few drops of bleach? Do the instructions discuss cleaning and storage? Too lazy to pull them out now. :)Dec 16, 2017 at 5:33 am #3507746
@ryanLocale: Northern Rocky Mountains
I think there’s some merit to storing the filter with a full bottle filled with (chlorinated) tap water / water with a few drops of bleach.
If you store the filter “dry”(ish) what may happen is that you get a wet filter element, that contains some bacteria on it, and a damp, highly oxygenated environment (oxygenated due to the high air:moisture ratio). This causes rapid growth of bacteria into a “film” (biofilm). When bacteria “go into this type of growth mode” they exude copious amounts of sticky polymer-like crud that then plugs up the filter pores.
I haven’t seen this in the BeFree specifically, but have seen this exact thing happen in microporous ceramic elements on a consistent basis, back when I was doing this research at a university in the late 90s and early 00s. I’ve seen it so often that I’m willing to wager that biofilm growth on filter elements is as much of a culprit for filter failure as actual clogging by silt. Silt can be backflushed. Biofilm can’t. You gotta stop biofilm from growing or you’re toast.
Store your filter in a solution of chlorinated water, and you might be surprised about how it performs more consistently.
A good combination of water treatment is using some type of chemical treatment in the dirty water side of the bottle in addition to filtering. I recommend this in particular for immune-compromised people, and this strategy results in increased filter life, “generally”.Dec 16, 2017 at 12:42 pm #3507803
James MarcoBPL Member
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
Thanks, Ryan. A good summery of how to store water bottles in general, not just filters. As with many combination type approaches, bleach in the dirty water and filter the mix for example, generally, the speed/efficacy of the entire process is somewhat enhanced. I wonder if a couple drops of bleach would enhance the UV methode, decreasing the exposure time required?Dec 16, 2017 at 7:25 pm #3507846
“Store your filter in a solution of chlorinated water, and you might be surprised about how it performs more consistently.”
Is there a time limit to the storage with this method? I can go a couple months, sometimes more, between trips. Is this method still okay for longer term storage, or should I change out the water periodically (and if so, how often)?Dec 22, 2017 at 7:02 am #3508768
Andre BuhotBPL Member
Just a heads up to anyone who’s interested. The befree filter fits on the HydraPak stash 750ml. Advertised weight is 84gDec 24, 2017 at 4:00 am #3509137
84 g is way too heavy in my opinion. That’s basically 3 oz. That’s more than the whole Befree system. I think it’s around 70 g including the flask and the filter. I’ll stick to the original flask. I do hope they come out with an improved flask next year.Dec 24, 2017 at 7:49 am #3509174
Rex SandersBPL Member
@rexLocale: Central California Coast
Agree with David, especially since the 2 liter Hydrapak Seeker is BeFree-compatible and 2.7 ounces / 77 grams. Or you could carry an entire spare BeFree 1 liter system for 2.3 ounces / 65 grams.
Hydrapak’s web site shows the 750 ml Stash at 2.5 ounces / 72 grams. The Stash is more “bottle-y” and could be lightened by removing the cap made redundant by the BeFree filter. The Seeker could be lightened that way, too.
— RexDec 24, 2017 at 4:13 pm #3509201
W I S N E R !BPL Member
“Is there a time limit to the storage with this method?”
+1 I’d like to know….Dec 24, 2017 at 4:39 pm #3509208
Ken T.BPL Member
And wouldn’t distilled water be best for storage?Dec 26, 2017 at 12:49 am #3509436
Dale WambaughBPL Member
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
Interesting to note sitting around the fire trying to force water through a filter. Why not boil water? It is a very effective backup method for a filter and kills ever and easy with a campfire already established.
I would consider using coffee filters to pre-treat water that has a lot of organic matter or glacial flour in it. I carry Micropur tablets in foil packs taped to my reservoir as a backup.Jan 2, 2018 at 1:04 am #3510413
Drew SmithBPL Member
@drewsmithLocale: Colorado Rockies
I took a 1L BeFree with me on the northern leg of my AZT flip-flop this October – what I would consider to be the ultimate test of its ability to filter skanky water. (You can read about the hike itself here ),
Cow tanks are virtually the only water source on the Kaibab and Coconino Plateaus, and in the fall they are not a pretty sight. Here is a typical pond:
I filtered as much as 6L at a time of green scummy water, pre-filtering with a bandanna, and it was a chore. I’d say 6-8 minutes per liter, squeezing as hard as I could. But it did filter, and the bag didn’t break, although I feared it would. The cap definitely leaked, and I had to tilt it so that the unfiltered water would not go into my water bottles. Treating post-filtration with AquaMira reduced (but did not eliminate) cow shit flavor. I didn’t get sick, so I guess this worked.
Stopping to shake/swirl the water helped somewhat with the flow, but not a lot. I soaked it and swirled it repeatedly at town stops, which were really the only sources of clean water. This helped a fair amount.
Bottom line is that it worked in pretty much a worst-case scenario but was a pain. If I were to hike the AZT again, I’d go back to using aluminum sulfate flocculation followed by bandanna filtering and Aqua Mira treatment – this is what I used in the southern half of the AZT. It’s slower (takes about an hour) but is WAY less work.
Before hiking the AZT I tested it on a fall section hike of the CT (Bailey to Copper Mtn), and there it worked fine. But I rarely treat water in the high Rockies or Sierra, and so wouldn’t bring it.
The BeFree is a nice idea, and if you really feel the need to filter clean water then it will do the job for you. But I will stick with Aqua Mira as my go-to purification method in the high country.Jan 2, 2018 at 9:54 pm #3510512
Thanks for sharing your extreme torture test of the BeFree filter.
6-8 minutes of squeezing hard for 1 L of water is the definition of frustration and survival.
Your situation seems to highlight the limitation/failure of the BeFree system when compared to the Sawyer Squeeze or Mini.
The mere fact that the Sawyer filters can be back flushed to pretty much its original state is an invaluable benefit.
Yes, the BeFree is light(er) and faster filtering water out of the box, but that does not help when confronted with a situation like this where the filter is barely functioning at 6-8 minutes to filter for one liter.
As I have said before….the BeFree is promising, but needs refinements….with the ability to be back flushed the number ONE issue that needs to be addressed.
TonyJan 4, 2018 at 3:43 am #3510773
I’d be interested to see how the Sawyer and Mini performs with this kind of water. I suspect not well. But maybe you can hike back to this pond and test all three and make a youtube video of it? :)Jan 4, 2018 at 3:55 am #3510775
David K.BPL Member
@dkny2laLocale: Los Angeles
Correct me if I’m wrong but haven’t several people now reported that they have successfully backflushed the BeFree filter?Jan 4, 2018 at 8:52 pm #3510867
I was able to back flush at home with warm/hot water and vinegar.
Wouldn’t have been able to do that in the field quickly.
On the trip where my BeFree failed, I did have my mini with me and had to resort to using it for the 5 of us.
The mini clogged up too and required multiple back flushings with a syringe.
So the water that I was using was bad.
The difference was that the mini COULD be back flushed to keep it going.
Had I only had the BeFree, I would have been in trouble.
Anyway, this topic has been beat to death and I am not here to say that the BeFree is a terrible product….I WANT it to be a great product.
With any luck, this can be constructive feedback for the manufacture for improvements in the future.
I had emailed copies of my 1st positive review and this review to the manufacture.
To their credit, the 1st review resulted in a nice email reply where they appreciated the feedback and promised to forward it to their headquarters.
Would love to hear about other people’s experiences here with the BeFree….especially any tips for cleaning in the field or at home.
Last comment that I heard here that I found interesting was that the manufacture was not in favor of using vinegar, as it likely would damage the membrane in the filter.
TonyJan 5, 2018 at 12:47 am #3510904
Jim CBPL Member
@jimothyLocale: Georgia, USA
I’ve backflushed my BeFree using the syringe that came with my Sawyer Mini. Just keep the flip cap on, and force the water through the same way you would with a Sawyer.
Granted, my filter never got as clogged as Tony’s or Drew’s, and beyond the breath test, I don’t have a way to verify my flushing did no harm, but it seems effective so far.Jun 28, 2018 at 8:39 am #3544218
Justin AndersonBPL Member
My Befree tested fine at home. Dried it out and a few weeks later took it on its first trip. When I went to filter, not a single drop would squeeze through the befree filter. I tried everything from squeezing to sucking and eventually just left it hanging overnight with 3 liters in the seeker hoping it would saturate and begin to flow. Next morning, still not a single drop. Luckily my buddy had a sawyer. Emailed Katadyn twice and never got a response so the filter was returned and I’ve happily stuck with my sawyers. Major fail and zero explanation makes the befree becrap.Jun 28, 2018 at 2:02 pm #3544242
Todd TBPL Member
@texasbbLocale: Pacific Northwest
I had a similar experience recently. The same filter has always required re-wetting after being stored for a while, typically needing 15 to 30 minutes before being ready to filter. But on my first trip this year, the third season with this filter IIRC, even overnight re-wetting didn’t do the trick. With time and effort I was able to dribble enough water through it to finish my overnighter, but I had to break out a new one for my next trip. Not sure yet whether I’ll switch back to Sawyer or just consider the BeFree a two-season disposable from now on. Hmm.Jun 28, 2018 at 4:54 pm #3544273
I just replaced my BeFree filter. I’m thinking about them as a disposable item now. I don’t feel good about that but I’ll pay $25 to have fast/convenient for a season.
I’m also going to follow Ryan’s storage suggestion. Both of my BeFrees are filtering extremely slowly (worse than a clogged Sawyer Mini) after soaking for a couple days. I also tried soaking in vinegar…Jun 28, 2018 at 8:33 pm #3544317
John VanceBPL Member
@servingkoLocale: Intermountain West
I took my dry filter out in May and couldn’t get it to flow after soaking 48hrs in water, then water and vinegar, and then finally straight vinegar for 24hrs. Still nothing but a small flow, maybe a liter every 10 min. I then soaked in 1 part CLR to 2 parts water for a couple of hours with no change. Figuring it was a throw away item now and in a last ditch effort, I dumped the CLR mixture into an ultrasonic cleaner with the filter and ran it through 4, 30 second cycles and it works perfectly. I performed the tests recommended to detect a failure in the integrity of the filter medium and it passed. I am currently storing it in tap water with a couple drops of bleach. As always, YMMV.
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