It's About Time

Hikers Can Now Buy a Hydration Breakthrough the Military Has Used for Over a Decade


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Key Specs:
Brand: MSR
Model: Thru-Link Inline Microfilter
Price: $40
Availability: Spring 2020
Unique Features: splices into hydration bladder systems to filter water while drinking, instead of at the stream

Upshot: Filters offer a more palatable alternative to water treatment products like iodine and chlorine, but they can be bulky, and they add an extra step — pumping — to the process of wilderness hydration. MSR’s recently released Thru-Link Inline Microfilter simplifies filtration: the 2.5-ounce, two-stage system splices into hydration systems (like those made by CamelBak and HydraPak) between the hose and bladder to filter water as a user drinks.

Who It’s For: Hikers and backpackers who use hydration reservoirs instead of bottles.

Insight: In a way, the Thru-Link Inline Microfilter isn’t new at all; the US military has been using it since 2006. Backpackers will find the same utility in it as soldiers have over the past decade: by eliminating the physical action of filtration — for example, by pumping or squeezing — they can fill up at a stream and continue traveling without a break. The one downside to the Thru-Link is that it’s specific to hydration bladder systems, so bottle-users still have to use other methods to procure potable water. However, the Thru-link does also work as a gravity filtration system with hydration reservoirs, so an entire group can drink clean water at camp. (That’s right, everyone doesn’t have to suck from backpack hoses all night long.)

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Tanner Bowden

Tanner Bowden is a staff writer at Gear Patrol covering all things outdoors and fitness. He is a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School and a former wilderness educator. He lives in Brooklyn but will always identify as a Vermonter.

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