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

The military has employed this handy product since 2006.


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.)

Buy Now: $40

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