Everyday MTB

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Mountain Biking with the Katadyn BeFree Water Filter

One of the biggest advantages of carrying a water filter is that it allows you to travel much lighter when you know you have water sources available. You can leave behind large water storage and just refill the storage you have along the way. This is especially helpful when you are figuring out he logistics on a long ride. Today we’ll be looking at the $50 Katadyn BeFree water filter.


The BeFree is very compact and can fit in a small hip pack, making it easy to carry around. The filter uses the flexible water bottle / bag as the method of driving water through the filter. Squeeze the bag, and filter water. The bottle has a wide mouth for filling, which makes it easy to fill up from streams or lakes.

The 0.1-micron filter is tested to protect against harmful organisms, removing protozoa (99.99%) and bacteria (99.9999%) to EPA standards. Additionally, the bottle allows you to drink right out of the filter, which adds to its convenience.

In Use

Carrying a water filter, like the Katadyn BeFree, allows you to travel much lighter when you know you have water sources available. This means you can leave behind large water storage and just refill the storage you have along the way. I found that instead of carrying a backpack based hydration pack, I was able to embark on much longer rides with only a hip pack. It really was a huge quality of life improvement to not have to worry about if on bottle, or two bottles was enough.

As mentioned, when in use the Katadyn BeFree features a wide mouthed soft bottle made by Hydrapak. This make filing the bottle for filtering the easiest of any water filter system I’ve used. Once water is in the bottle a squeeze filters the water. When the filter is clean a whole liter bottle can be filtered in about 1 minute easily.

Filling the Katadyn BeFree from a stream on the Colorado Trail

Because of this high flow rate though, the filter does tend to clog relatively quickly, especially if you have a silty or high particle water source. Thankfully filter is relatively easy to clean, by swishing and rinsing it in clean water. If you are planning on mainly using this filter for day-long rides, I don’t think it would be a noticeable issue.

A Leak

The one issue I ran across while testing was that the bottle can puncture. I had this issue with mine. Fortunately, the bottle is made by Hydrapak, and they have a lifetime warranty that they honored without any problem. They sent me a new bottle right away with very little hassle. In the end encountering this issue and having Hydrapak honor their warranty easily made me want to use more of their products.


I’ve been very impressed Katadyn BeFree water filter. It has changed the way that I plan my riding kit. At $50, I would call it a really good value. It’s a slicker, more compact system than some of the other options on the market. While it does have the potential drawback of clogging, this is not necessarily a downside if you are mainly using it for day-long rides. Carrying a water filter allows you to travel lighter and is also a safety device. Having peace of mind about my water source allows me to enjoy backcounty trails even more.


  • Fast filtering
  • Packs down small.
  • Great warranty.


  • Filter bag leaked.
  • Need a water source for it to be useful.
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Matt Stenson

I'm a mountain biker currently residing in Montrose, Colorado. I love riding bikes with my family and friends, race casually and am plain crazy about bikes.

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