Gear Archives: Trusted Source—The Evolution of the MiniWorks EX Microfilter

In 1991, MSR took the plunge into water products to answer the needs of backcountry travelers asking for more user-friendly and trustworthy solutions to gathering safe drinking water. One of these initial offerings was the MSR Dromedary™ Beverage Bag, a rugged, collapsible bag to tote your water as you roamed. The other was the now-legendary WaterWorks Total Filtration System—a highly engineered pump filter that was more effective than other filters of the day and so easy to use it changed how people filtered water. The MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter is its evolutionary descendent and remains the world’s favorite backcountry filter for its plain and simple workhorse reliability. Four Filters Are Better The WaterWorks filtration system was built with four progressively finer filters that delivered pharmaceutically sterile water, without chemicals. The…

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What Hikers Should Know About Toxic Algae Blooms

You may or may not have heard of toxic algae blooms. If you have, it may have been something related to local beaches, including warnings not to swim or harvest any shellfish. But these potentially deadly occurrences affect inland fresh water as well, including sources used by hikers for drinking. In 2022, Pacific Crest Trail thru-hikers may have been sickened by toxic cyanobacterial blooms. So how can you tell if a water source has been rendered dangerous by algae? And if it has, what, if anything, can you do about it? What are Toxic Algae Blooms? Also called blue-green algae, cyanobacteria are found in salt, fresh and brackish water. These simple, plantlike organisms aren’t always toxic, but under certain conditions, including abnormally warm weather or pollution, they can grow out…

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MSR Water Products & Treatment Systems Guide

Perhaps nothing is more important to a good time outdoors than having a handy supply of fresh, clean water. In fact, MSR’s very first stove—the Model 9—was built explicitly to improve the hydration, and thus the performance, of high-altitude mountaineers. No matter what your goals are, we know that hydration is a key element in reaching them. Over the years, MSR has built the most comprehensive and reliable assortment of water treatment and storage products available. From ultralight and portable solutions for trail ultras to basecamp and emergency purifiers for demanding high-capacity needs, we’ve got you covered. However, with many options come many choices, and that’s why you’re here. So let’s dive in with a comprehensive overview of what each water filter and water purifier was built for, so you…

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Water 101: Clean Water Solutions to Prepare for Emergencies

Water is our most important resource, but you never know when a disaster could compromise your local water supply. While the novel coronavirus has not been detected in drinking water supplies, according to the World Health Organization, many of you have reached out about emergency water filter options as you build out your disaster kits. We’ve put together the information you need on some clean water solutions to help ensure you have access to water that’s safe to drink during all kinds of emergencies. Clean Water Threats When drinking water is contaminated in municipal or developed areas, the immediate threat to human health is the introduction of waterborne pathogens—microscopic disease-causing bugs. These include bacteria, protozoa and viruses, all of which are normally removed by the city treatment center long before…

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MSR Dromedary Bags: My Guardian Angels For More Than 50 Expeditions

MSR Dromedary Bags have become my guardian angels, providing me life—yes, literally providing life—on more than 50 expeditions around the world to complete major athletic goals. From first desert crossings in China to climbing huge first ascents on vertical rock walls in Greenland, on every continent and beyond, they have kept me alive. Let me explain: Water. It is the sweet giver of life. This transparent fluid forms the world’s streams, lakes, oceans and rain, and is the major constituent of the fluids of living things. We are water and water is life. And, of course, life is sweet. My body is anywhere from 55% to 78% water, depending on the day or my activity. To function properly I need to drink between one and seven liters of water per…

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In Terms of Backcountry Water Treatment, When is Water Considered Safe to Drink?

Brown, silty streams, tea-colored rivulets, even clear, ice-cold lakes—any backcountry water source can serve up a cocktail of contaminants. But not everything that’s present in an undeveloped water source is necessarily harmful, and only some things pose an immediate threat to your health. In fact, it’s impractical and unnecessary to remove everything, all the time. So in terms of backcountry water treatment, when is water considered safe to drink? First, what’s commonly in backcountry water? The types of contaminants that make water “dirty” depend a lot on that source’s surrounding environment. But most contaminants can be placed into these categories: Microorganisms- Simply put: tiny bugs or germs. Microbes are the primary focus of treatment devices because of their immediate and potentially serious risk to your health. The pathogenic ones include…

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