The Katadyn Vario 8014931 Camping Filter combines individual performance with utmost ease of use and compares to the MSR Miniworks EX camping fiter system. Most backcountry water filters rely on either ceramic filtration or pleated fiber filtration; ceramic filters have a long lifespan and can be repeatedly cleaned if they become clogged, but have a slow flow rate and can be difficult to pump. Pleated fiber filters do the same job with a faster flow rate, but they can become clogged with silt and other solids and are not cleanable. The Vario contains three distinct filtering elements: 1) 1.0 micron Ceramic disc prefilter that can be adjusted. 2) Pleated high performance 0.3 micron glass fiber filter. 3) Replaceable activated carbon for eliminating odors. To easily switch between modes, unscrew the top of the pump to reveal the ceramic disk housing. A twist of the housing switches between longer life and faster flow with mode names molded into the plastic housing and the selected mode is visible through a cutout in the filter body. In both modes, the water also passes through the Katadyn Varios carbon stage.
The Vario has a couple other innovative design features, most notably a dual-piston pump design which moves water through the filter on both the up and down strokes, providing increased flow into the filter and a smooth, consistent pumping action. The piston and handle assembly breaks down easily for cleaning. Use the glass fiber and active carbon filter for up to two liters of drinking water per minute. If the water is extremely cloudy, the ceramic prefilter can be fitted in a moment in order to extend the service life of the glass fiber filter. The Katadyn Vario is comparable with standard Nalgene outdoor bottles and hydration bladders. The Katadyn Vario water filter combines the benefits of a ceramic filter with those of a pleated filter by allowing you to choose whichever filtering mode is best for the water you're treating. When filtering dirty or silty water, the ceramic filter can be engaged, slowing the flow rate of the filter, but lengthening the effective life of the primary pleated filter. In longer life mode, water passes through all three filter elements at a rate of up to 1 liter per minute. As the name implies, this mode lengthens the effective life of the pleated filter by first forcing water through the ceramic prefilter. When used in dirty water, the ceramic filter catches the worst of the contaminants. The idea is that this prefiltering will keep the pleated filter from clogging prematurely. In faster flow mode, the Katadyn Vario can treat up to 2 liters per minute, bypassing the ceramic prefilter and relying on the pleated filter. In areas where the water is mostly free of suspended solids, the pleated filter can work quickly without fear of clogging.