When you start looking into your options for water treatment in the backcountry, you’ll find that there are many different ways that you can go. On the very top level, there are two major different categories of water treatment. One is pump mechanisms where you actually pump the water through and mechanically remove those microscopic pathogens that could get you sick. On the other level is the addition of chemicals or U.V. light to the water to kill and deactivate those microscopic pathogens. For the intent of this discussion we are going to focus in on water with a mechanical means and look at the MSR offerings for water treatment. MSR uses three different filter technologies, or media, in their different mechanical water treatment devices. The first and most basic is called Borosilicate. Borosilicate is basically layers of fiberglass paper that are layered overtop one another in a depth labyrinth configuration. What that means is that the surface layer does not do 100% of the work. The actual depth and thickness of the filter media is what removes the pathogens as they pass through it. The longest lived is the Ceramic filter cartridge. This filter cartridge, which is a full ceramic filter cartridge with a solid carbon core, will last about 2000 liters which in average user terms is a lifetime. And last but not least, Hollow Fiber technology which is great for that fast and light user. Hollow Fiber is basically what the name sounds like. Hundreds of little hollow fibers that have a porous wall are folder over and potted at one end so that when water is forced in over the folded end it has to go through the wall of the porous tubes and the clean water can flow out the inside of the tubes on the potted end of the clean spout.
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