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My New Water System - Hydroblu Versa Flow Filter

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    • My New Water System - Hydroblu Versa Flow Filter

      I recently picked up a Versa Flow filter from Hydroblu and although I haven't had a chance to use it in the field yet, I'm really liking the tests I have done at home. I have not seen this filter discussed much but for me it has several advantages over some of the better-known filters, including the Sawyer Mini which is what it replaced in my kit. The Versa Flow's overall construction is like a Sawyer Mini or Squeeze. All have female threads on the dirty side you can attach a water bladder or bottle to the dirty side and squeeze water through. But unlike the Sawyer filters, the Versa Flow has female threads on the clean side (vs a hose connection on the Mini and male threads on the Squeeze) so you can attach a water bladder directly to the clean side for a closed system that can filter unattended with no adapters or tubing necessary. In my experience, the tubes used in gravity systems to get a more hydrostatic pressure (and thus increase flow rates) are unnecessary. If I want to filter faster, I squeeze the dirty water bladder to increase pressure. I gravity filter when I am off doing camp chores so much about flow rates. The filtering has always been done by the time I come back. I wanted a system that doesn't need adapters and tubing as they seemed to be more trouble than they were worth.

      The Versa Flow looks to be about the size of a Squeeze but shaped like a Mini (photo below). They are the same cost as a Mini ($19.95 from Hydroblu or Amazon - free shipping with Prime). I do believe the flow rate of the Versa Flow (like the Squeeze) is substantially faster than the Mini, although I can't do a side by side comparison as my Mini has bought the farm after several years of use. In a simple test of flow rate with the Versa Flow, I found it took 2 min and 45 sec to fill a 700 mL Smartwater Bottle by gravity flow from a filled 900 mL Evernew bladder and 2 min 10 sec from a filled 2 L CNOC bladder. On my crappy kitchen scale, the Versa Flow weighs 70 g (wet, but drained) vs 50 g for the Mini. But without the need for adaptors and hoses, the system weight of the Versa Flow is probably about the same or less. Also, when I hung a clean water bladder to the Mini with a hose and adapter, I have occasionally had the hose pull off the filter due to the weight of the water in the clean side bladder. This can't happen when the clean water bladder is threaded directly to the filter.

      With any new filter there is always the issue of thread compatibility. I have seen mixed reports online about which filters fit on which bottles. The Versa Flow has the same standard threads as the Mini, soda and Smartwater bottles, and some bladders (Sawyer, Evernew, and CNOC). I know there are others with compatible threads, but these are the only ones I have experience with. However, I did see one difference between my Versa Flow and the Mini. The Mini did not seal with my new CNOC bladder. The fact that both filters were compatible with all other threads lead me to think there was some other issue. What I concluded is that the threads on the CNOC bladder were shallower and made of a flexible plastic (vs the more rigid plastic on all the other bottles). Also, the Versa Flow had deeper threads and had a different style gasket at the base of the threads with a rim to seal against the mouth of the bottle like the lids of a soda or Smartwater bottle. The Mini seems to have shallower threads and a flat rubber gasket to make the seal. The fact that the Versa Flow worked with all bottles leads me to conclude that its connections are more compatible with various bottles and bladders.

      The Versa Flow also had rubber caps tethered to both sides for capping the filter on both sides which is handy. My Mini only had a cap on one side. The Versa Flow caps can be easily taken on and off in case a gram weenie does not want them. The only down side I see with my new system is that with the same threads on both sides of the filter, you must take care not to attach your dirty side bladder to the clean side of the filter and filter backwards (thus back flushing all the gunk from yesterday into your clean water bottle). The flow direction if marked on the side of the filter and the caps are color coded (grey=dirty, blue-clean). However, being able to thread a bladder on the clean side does make it easy to backflush with a bladder or soda bottle. For those who backflush by attaching the drinking spout of a 700 mL Smartwater bottle on the hose connector of your Sawyer, that also works on the Versa Flow.


      The post was edited 1 time, last by odd man out ().