There’s a lot to love about the MSR Trailshot.
It seems that every year we see a different take on portable water filters. And let’s be honest, they’re all great at filtering water. For the most part, they all take out the same nasty things so you can drink safely in the outdoors. What sets them apart is the implementation of the tool itself. Some are straws you stick into the water, some are straws in water bottles, and some are hand pumps. Some work well and some don’t.
I judge water filters by two factors: 1) how easy it is to use, and 2) the flow rate. I like straw style water filters because they’re simple, but I don’t always like laying on the ground so I can get it into the water. I also like water bottle filters, but many that I’ve tried require a ridiculous amount of effort to suck the water through the filter. The MSR Trailshot doesn’t have either of these problems.
The hose is 17 inches long, and the filter itself is about five inches long, which gives you almost two feet between your face and the water. I like this a lot. If the edge of the water is muddy or unstable, you have some room to deal with, and it makes it a lot easier to use.
The other thing I like about the MSR Trailshot is the flow rate. The hand pump works well, and you can fill up a one-liter bottle in a minute. It’s easy to pump, and the silicone material is comfortable. It’s also easy to detach the hose and connect it to your hydration pack – another feature that I liked.
Oh yes – the weight! The fact that it’s only five ounces is impressive. I’m not a trail runner, so the ultralight factor was less important to me, but on a day hike, it’s nice to know that you’re hardly adding any weight at all with this little guy.
Is it worth $50? I think so. It just does everything it’s supposed to do so well. If you’re hiking in an area where you know there is water I guarantee that you’ll be loving this little 5 oz filter vs hauling a full hydration pack all day.