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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You must get one of these, September 12, 2010
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This review is from: MSR Autoflow Gravity Filter (Sports)
I picked up the MSR Autoflow Gravity filter before leaving on a backpacking trip to Colorado. You must get one of these if you do extended backpacking trips. I filtered water for 5 people for a three day trip with no problems. You just scoop up the water in the bag and hang it in a tree and gravity does the rest. It is much better than sitting with the mosquitos and pumping one liter at a time. One thing to note, make sure the line is primed all the way to the filter. If you have a bubble in the line it will filter very slowly or not at all. That goes for the backflush too. Oh, which is the best part. After about 8 liters filtered you just disconnect from the bag and turn a clean bottle of water upside down and backflush the filter. Then start filtering again. Get one, you won't be disappointed.

Update: I have been using the gravity filter for two years now on several backpacking trips out West and in the Smokies. I am still extremely happy with this set up. I have not not had any issues with it at all and have used it extensively on all of my trips filtering water for several people. I have seen reviews where folks have noticed a problem with a plastic taste and have not experienced this myself. I do always use the MSR Sweetwater Purifier Solution (5 drops per liter in the Nalgene bottle before I filter) and this gives a slight chlorine taste to the water so this may be why. I know this ruins the fresh clean taste of the mountain water, but the 0.2 micron filter does not catch all of the nasty viruses out in the wild. I can tell you I have never had anyone get sick on my trips with this combination.

I would also like to comment on Cascade Designs, the company that brings us all of these great MSR products. They absolutely stand behind all of their products. I had an issue with my Hubba Hubba tent and I was very happy with their customer service response. You cannot go wrong with any of the MSR or Therm-A- Rest products. Trust me when I say you want great gear you can rely on when you are 20 miles out in the back country.

One last thing, when above the tree line and you do not have a tree to hang the bag from. We lashed three hiking poles together (extend them to max height) and wrap the hanging strap really tight around the handle and this gives you enough room to get the proper flow.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars works surprisingly well but plastic taste, February 10, 2012
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This review is from: MSR Autoflow Gravity Filter (Sports)
After pumping water through filters for 30 years, and trusting my ceramic MSR filter over faster filters (doesn't that mean it's letting more stuff through?), I was skeptical when my camping buddy said he had a gravity system that filtered an entire gallon in four minutes! But when I saw the MSR brand, I instantly had a high confidence in its quality. I liked his so much I bought my own.

PROS:
It really does filter a gallon in about 4 minutes, at least for the clean water I've used so far. I haven't tried really dirty water.

It eliminates the need to sit or squat next to a wet stream or lake, pumping forever to fill a few bottles. You fill the bag and carry it back to camp. Hang it up and, if you also have an MSR dromedary bag, you sit back while gravity does the work!

The red bag can double as a dromedary in a way: we fill all our bottles and then refill the red bag again and leave it on the tree, where it is ready any time you need some more water. Just open the clamp and in one minute, you have another liter ready!

My nephew, who is an engineer for a municipal water filtration system, says this uses the same hollow fiber technology, which gave me further confidence that this is a tried and tested system.

CONS:
One big disappointment is the plastic taste of the filtered water, which comes from the filter itself. (I tried tasting water from the bag alone, but it was fine.) When you're drinking pure mountain stream water, and especially if you're used to clean pump-filtered water, this plastic taste is a real letdown. Of course, it doesn't matter for cooking or mixing Gatorade, but so far, I haven't been able to rid my filter of that aftertaste. I did seem to have some success backflushing at home with about three gallons of clean water. The taste diminished, but only for the first gallon. After that, it returns. If anyone knows how to solve this, I'd love to know.

You don't always camp where there are trees for hanging. At the base of Longs Peak, we took turns "being the tree" and holding the bag. We also found it worked okay--maybe a bit slower--to lay it on a large sloping boulder. Likewise above timberline at Ice Lakes, all we had was one large boulder. But if you lay the red bag flat on the boulder, you lose the water pressure, so I did the human tree. It was only for four minutes.

If you don't have access to large body of water or decent sized stream, it can be a challenge to fill the bag. At Longs Peak, camping on the boulderfield, the water was under the boulders. This worked for pumps with long plastic tubes, but not for us. We used an empty bottle, which we were able to dip into a small pocket of water. It was rather slow to collect a gallon, but it worked. Lesson: bring a dipping bottle if you're camping on a boulderfield, etc.!

Getting the air bubbles out is essential to proper flow (or any flow, for that matter). It takes some practice to raise the hose and filter above the bag to get rid of bubbles.

NOTES:
When backflushing, it works much better if you leave the entire hose full of water and then reverse everything. Namely, if you use a dromedary bag (with clean water) you make sure the hose and filter are saturated, and then raise the clean bag above the dirty bag, letting clean water flow backwards through the filter. If there are air bubbles, you absolutely cannot backflush. In fact, the instructions state that if you can blow air backwards, you have a problem!

I thought this system would be lighter than my MSR Miniworks. Nope. As measured on my own scales:

MSR Autoflow Gravity Filter ... 14.1 oz.
MSR Miniworks EX pump ....... 14.4 oz.

But hey, you get an extra gallon water storage unit! (Of course, the system is useless without the bag.)
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fast!, October 31, 2011
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This review is from: MSR Autoflow Gravity Filter (Sports)
This is a good filter; the speed is what I really love about it. I also like that you can essentially "set it and forget it" by hanging it on a branch to filter your water while you go about setting up camp. It packs down to a good size.

If you decide to buy this filter -- WASH the water bag before use, otherwise you'll end up with some nasty, plastic-tasting water for your first few filters.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than a pump!, November 17, 2010
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This review is from: MSR Autoflow Gravity Filter (Sports)
I recently took this bag on a 4 day hike along the AT. Previously I have used the MSR Miniworks, and have found it to be quite adequate.
I purchased the AutoFlow Gravity Filter to see if it could best the pump and it absolutely does!
I believe the bag is lighter than the MiniWorks - not by much though. You don't get the filter clogged like on the MiniWorks because you are not disturbing so much sediment. I was amazed at how fast the Gravity Filter filtered, and no tiring out after filling 3L of water! I also was able to just scoop up water in the bag and bring it to the campsite for later use. I will not go back to the pump again!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for back country expeditions, April 5, 2011
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This review is from: MSR Autoflow Gravity Filter (Sports)
This is a great low commplexity filter for backpacking. No pumping and it filters quickly. Field servicing (backflushing) is simple although you do need to have a flexible container to backflush from. We tried backflushing from a nalgeen bottle and it took forever.

MSR customer service was great as well. Had a minor issue with the filter cartridge on return from the first trip and they sent a replacment out imediately no questions asked.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gravity v. Pump, November 27, 2010
This review is from: MSR Autoflow Gravity Filter (Sports)
I've used my gravity filter for one season and I've decided I like it. The most attractive feature is the "set it and forget it" aspect. For the first time, I can multi-task why filtering water. No more pumping. One drawback, I did have the system air lock a couple of times and had to fiddle with quite a bit to solve the problem.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars REALLY CLEAN DRINKING WATER, May 17, 2011
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This review is from: MSR Autoflow Gravity Filter (Sports)
A group of four of us camped out in The Sylvania Wilderness Area in upper Michigan for 10 days last june. Our only source of clean,pure drinking water was lake water that we ran through this MSR AutoFlow Gravity Filter. The water was clean, pure, and delicious. Quite frankly, we all thought it would have a funny taste and perhaps be discolored. Not so. It was our only source of good water for the entire trip. It was excellent, and easy to use.
I highly recommend the MSR unit on any ocassion, be it camping, on vaction, or if your home water is a problem.

Galen Higdon
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for traveling, September 11, 2009
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This review is from: MSR Autoflow Gravity Filter (Sports)
I got this filter for traveling to areas where the water quality is unknown or known to be questionable. I have had Giardisis in the past, and I have since become extremely careful about drinking water when I don't know its origin. This fits the bill for me as it is small, easy to use, filters quickly, and can filter out most any parasite you have to worry about. The other thing is that it can filter a lot of water before the filter has to be changed, a big plus for me. One thing to not is that it does not remove any tastes from the water. If you have funky tasting water due to mineral content, this will not help with that, however there are plenty of powders on the market to mask funky taste in water.

The concise version: If you travel and are unsure of the water quality, get this, it's small and easy to use to be sure the water you are drinking won't make you sick.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worked great on round-the-world trip, May 12, 2012
This review is from: MSR Autoflow Gravity Filter (Sports)
My wife and I took nine months to travel "around the world"... from the U.S. to India and Southeast Asia then to China and Japan and over to Europe then to the Middle East and stopping in Central America before returning to the U.S. WE DID NOT BUY/ DRINK ANY BOTTLED WATER ON THIS TRIP. This was a decision to avoid contributing to the plastic bottle trash that plagues both rich and poor countries. Unlike most other travelers we met, WE PURIFIED OUR OWN WATER AVAILABLE FROM THE LOCAL TAPS. It was an easy and manageable system. The MSR filter and the Steripen [SteriPen Classic Safe Water System] UV water sterilizer was a great combination. Neither of us were sick even once on our trip. The gravity-flow MSR filter was easy to maintain... just backflow the filter every other week or so. Carried a small (~3.5oz) bottle of bleach along to sterilize the MSR filter occasionally. Part of my nightly ritual before bed was to process about 4 liters of water using the system for storage in a 3L platypus pouch and our Sigg bottle. It maybe took 5 minutes per liter... no pumping required! Just stand there while the water flows through the filter and think about the events of the previous day.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple miraculous, December 8, 2013
This review is from: MSR Autoflow Gravity Filter (Sports)
It doesn't really save you any time - at first, you just stand there, staring at it in awe as you recall all the lakes and rivers you squatted besides, vigorously pumping. Later, you'll spend the time saved telling other people about it. Just get it. This is the one you want.
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MSR AutoFlow Gravity Filter
$99.95 $92.21
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