Water filters are indispensable if you’re going out in the wild, as you’ll need them to turn any water you take from streams, lakes, and other backcountry water sources into potable refreshment. If you’re looking for the lightest, most compact filter for your next backcountry adventure, then you’ll want to check out MSR’s Trailshot, a water filter that fits conveniently in your pocket.
Designed for trail runners, hikers, and other backcountry adventurers looking to pack light, the rig weighs a mere five ounces, ensuring you can keep it in a any pocket on your pants, jacket, or backpack without any discomfort. Even better, the tube is designed to siphon water via simple one-handed operation, making it very convenient to quench your thirst from any available water source.
The MSR Trailshot consists of a tube with a pre-filter on one end for drawing water and a drinking spout attached to a hand pump on the other. Unlike straw-based filters, you won’t need to manually suck in water on the spout, with the hand pump doing the job of drawing the water up the tube. As such, you can use it to not just drink water straight out of a stream, but also fill up any container, whether it’s a small canteen you hang on your waist, the hydration bladder on your backpack (or your forearm), or a small jug you keep around at camp. All the parts can easily snap off, by the way, making the whole thing extremely easy to clean with no need for specialized tools of any sort.
With continuous pumping, the rig can draw up a full liter of water in 60 seconds, allowing you to fill up even large containers in mere minutes. For something this small, that just sounds incredible. Even better, the pump can draw in water from the shallowest sources, ensuring there’s no need to scoop out water at any point.
The MSR Trailshot’s filter can remove 99.9999 percent of bacteria, 99.9 percent of protozoa, and particulates, so as long as there are no viruses mired in the water, you should be safe drinking directly from it. It’s rated to filter up to 2000 liters before needing a replacement, so this should last you a whole lot of hikes, camping trips, and other adventures. Since it has a pre-filter, there’s no need for a dirty bag, simplifying your gear while making it easier to use. For backwashing, you squeeze until the pump area is half-full, cap the spout, shake water around, remove the tube, and squeeze water out the back, so there’s no need for a syringe or any additional tool.
The tube, by the way, measures just 15.6 inches long, so you’ll have to get pretty close to the water when drinking. Chances are, you’ll either have to squat, kneel, or plop down on the ground to actually get water whether straight to your mouth or to fill up your water bottle. According to MSR, that length ensures a both a high flow rate and a compact size when packed down, so you compromise some convenience for both.