Katadyn Be Free Filter Bottle Review

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Photo by Louis Cahill

By Louis Cahill

The Katadyn Be Free is the best water filtration system I have ever used.

I think the two most miserable experiences you can have while fishing are being dehydrated and carrying water. Nothing seems more pointless than carrying a lot of extra water weight, while you’re standing knee deep in the stuff. You have to hydrate some how, and that’s why I’ve been a big fan of filter bottles since they first appeared on the market.

I’ve carried Katadyn filter bottles for a long time and always been extremely happy with their performance. That is to say that I have never been sick from drinking filtered water from one. That has pretty much been where the satisfaction bar has been set, until recently. When I discovered the Be Free, that all changed.

The Be Free still meets the “no sick” standard but it makes a couple of huge improvements that i know can’t imagine living without.

The biggest and most immediately recognizable difference between the Be Free and other filter bottles is it isn’t actually a bottle. It’s a filter attached to a flexible bladder. That means that, when it’s empty, you can crush it and stick it anywhere. A pocket, a fishing pack, or just down your waders. It weighs just about nothing.

The Be Free also has the most efficient flow rate of any filter I’ve used. This, combined with the fact that you can give the bladder a little squeeze when you drink means it’s about as efficient as drinking from a regular bottle. You can clean the filter by swishing it in the stream, or shaking it while full, which makes it incredibly easy to maintain.

Basically, stick it in your pack and forget about it until you’re thirsty.

The filter is 0.1 micron, which is fine enough to filter bacteria, cysts and sediment. The flow is about 2 liters per minute and it’s good for around 1000 liters. When empty it fits in the palm of your hand and does not feel bulky in a pocket.

The Be Free has been a lifesaver on the river. I never fish freshwater without it. You can get one for $37 on Amazon or at your local REI. 

Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
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5 thoughts on “Katadyn Be Free Filter Bottle Review

  1. I’ve carried a Grayl filter bottle for 2 seasons and I have complete confidence in it. Goes in the back of my vest. Anything that collapses like that and whose filter is rinsed off in the water that one is filtering, maybe not so much.

  2. Agreed, everything Katadyn makes is outstanding, but have you ever tried the saywer filter bottle, if so your thoughts? Thanks

  3. These things are incredible, I have two now and never leave my home without them close by. They are perfect for fly fishing. And I can attest to the flow rate on these, unlike any water filter I have used. Almost feels as if there is no filter at all! Nice review Louis.

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