No but I have used the Katadyn Base Camp with the pleated filter, as well the Katadyn gravity ceramic, and both work good. This looks like a good unit to me. Large canister (much bigger than Katadyn gravity units) means it will flow better, and 25 gph sounds pretty OK. We've also had great luck with using the alum to clarify the water before filtering, so all in all I think I like this thing. Price seems right too. Fill bucket, open beer, wait awhile, fill bucket again, open another beer. I can see it happening!
1 micron is small enough for giardia, but not all bacteria and viruses, thus the need for a few drops of chlorine. The Vital Water website has a chart with the EPA and CDC minimum specifations for removal of different organisms with and without chlorine. The Kaytadn Base Camp filter is .3 microns, just small enough to be called safe without chlorine. But it is much slower (maybe 6 gallons/hour) than this Vital Water unit (25 gallons/hour). For many years we've been using a Katadyn Expedition, with the ceramic filter (.2 micron), but it requires both time and exercise to fill a few 5 gallon jugs. So the ease of a relatively quick-flow gravity system has to be weighed against the necessity of using a few drops of chlorine. Granted, if too much chlorine goes in, the water doesn't taste good, but this is controllable. This Vital Water gravity system still looks like a pretty good unit for the size, capacity and price, but does require chlorine drops.
Glad someone is focused on the technical side of this because I admit I'm only dumping out things learned from experience but haven't looked into it that closely. But here's what I know about chlorine - - it only takes a few DROPS. The Vital Water site has attached to it some CDC and EPA recommendations on this, as well as filter size micron minimums, etc. Seems like NPS, BLM, etc., may also have some recommendations, but those are coming from guys who probably get their info like we do - - by reference to something else. Awhile back we (the group I boat with) made a point of cutting back on what we use in dishwater, because it was getting sloppy. A capful for a 4 gallon chicky pail or bail buckety is plenty. For drinking water, however, I'm confident that it is measured in DROPS, not ounces, to get the job done. We haven't been doing it that way so I don't know the ratio. These days I carry only a pint or so of chlorine for a 4-6 day trip and it is plenty to handle dishwater needs. Again, if you go with a ceramic filter or anything with .3 microns or smaller, chlorine isn't necessary, but a good gravity system that flows relatively quickly but just requires a few drops of chlorine back up seems OK to me. The Katadyn KFT Expetition pump requires a bit of effort (good exercise) but is not very "quick" if you know what I mean. My recollection is it can take 20-30 minutes or longer to fill a 5 gallon jug. If several jugs are needed, plan on an hour or two of laborious pumping. I'm getting lazy.
I would be happy to answer any questions about the vital water filter or chorine. In response to the question about dossage, typically a couple of drops per gallon will provide enough chlorine to do the job. The amount needed varies a bit with temperature and water chemistry. If you need more specific info let me know!
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