Review: MSR Miniworks EX Microfilter
When describing myself and the backpacking I do, I rarely use adjectives such as, “Extreme,” “Ultra,” “Mega,” or “Super Long Distance.” Keep this in mind as you continue reading.
After collecting what I consider to be the essentials of backpacking gear, I realized that a lot of weight that I carried was due to the amount of water I packed. Now, like I said, I don’t consider myself an ultralight backpacker, but since I’m small and love gadgets, I tend to gravitate toward lightweight backpacking gear and I take pride in packing light—whether that be a trip to the mountains or a trip to Europe. So what was the next logical step? Hours of research and reading online reviews, articles, and forums to find the absolute perfect water filter manufactured. The grand conclusion of that time spent was that water filters are like stoves: There are tons of great ones out there, there are some average ones out there, there are some very niche ones out there, and everyone has their opinion of what the best one is. I don’t admit to being an expert. I’m just a normal person, (possibly) like you. So without further ado, here is my average-human’s opinion of the MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter.
Size and Weight
(1 lb / 456 g) and (2.75 in / 7 cm)
All the numbers can be found on MSR’s website, so I won’t repeat them here. What I have noticed with this filter is that sometimes I find it can be a bit bulky. The arm sticks out a bit and I worry about breaking it off. It never has, but I find myself packing it in such a way to protect it from bumping rocks or away from the sides so I don’t break it when I drop the pack on its side. I haven’t had issues yet, so maybe I’m just a worrier (That’s why my friends call me, “whiskers”). For what it’s capable of, I consider it very light, but for an ultra-lighter…well…I’m not even sure if they drink water, so they’re probably not even reading this.
Again, you can probably find numbers online for how many liters per minute this can pump, but unless you’re being chased by bears and zombies on a regular basis and find yourself needing to pump water at astonishing rates, then the exact number shouldn’t make that big of a difference for you. I’m usually pretty surprised at how quick it can fill up my Nalgene bottle. It’s easy, too! It doesn’t take Hulk arms to use. That reminds me, the threads link up to that common Nalgene water bottle thread, it definitely makes this filter much easier to use if you have a bottle you can screw the filter on to.
It should be noted that this filter does not filter out viruses. It covers protozoa, bacteria, chemicals and toxins, and particulates. This means that it will be perfect for most everywhere in North America. If you’re going somewhere where viruses are an issue, look for something a little more serious.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Now this part is pretty sweet. The whole thing is field strippable for cleaning and maintenance. It even comes with a scrubber pad. It’s a ceramic filter, so you need to be careful when handling it as it can chip and break. I haven’t had a problem yet, but I’ve read that some people like to buy an extra ceramic filter just in case something happens. Clean the filter after each trip and you should be good to go.
Personal Experience and Conclusion
Depending on the length of the trip and how much water I’ll be able to find, I usually just pack my 3L Camelbak, my 1L Nalgene, and this. I’m alive right now, which proves this system works. I’ve found this filter to be low-maintenance, easy to use, and it makes great tasting water. And I’ve filtered some pretty murky water.
Are there filters out there that are better? Probably. Are there cheaper filters out there? Yes. But if this is in your budget and you need a good, dependable, easy-to-use water filter, I’d highly recommend this one. The MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter
Do you have any questions about this filter? Did I miss a critical aspect of it? Do you disagree 100% with everything I said? Let’s hear it in the comments.