The market is replete with backpacking filters of all kinds. Straw filters, squeeze filters, pump style, filters with UV and chemicals, and a whole lot of others.
If you have tried them all, or want something that beats them all at their game, well, this camping filter might just delight you.
And as always, we are here to guide you through the pros and cons, benefits, and shortcomings of the filter with this Platypus GravityWorks Review.
So, let’s get started!
Platypus GravityWorks Overview
Unless you are a human cactus that can self-hydrate for long durations, a reliable water filter is a must when you hit the trail in the backcountry.
If frequent water filtration annoys you during treks and hikes in the wilderness, this Platypus Filter might be the thing for you.
As the name suggests, the Platypus GravityWorks leverages gravity to filter water. Made in the USA, by a company that has been in the business of providing hydrations solutions for more than 20 years, the water filter comes in three variants – 6L, 4L, and 2L.
Each variant is as efficient as the other, with the only difference being the volume of the water reservoir.
However, even the 2L variant weighs close to 7 ounces. This filter is, therefore, not meant for the minimalist backpacker. But, it’s a must-have for trips where water is scarce or, needs to be filtered for a group, and not just an individual.
While the filter is loaded with bestselling features, the one that we find topping our list is the ease-of-setup and use.
Setting up the filtering apparatus requires no rocket science. It is largely intuitive. Further, the gravity enabled filtration makes it a hands-free process leaving you with time to relax between treks.
The 0.2-micron hollow fiber filter is not only efficient at keeping bacteria and protozoa out of your drinking water but is also super-fast at filtering it. While the advertised filtration rate is 1.75 l/min, the actual ones as reported by many reviewers is only a tad bit less than that.
On the whole, this is a hiking filter that will serve you 1500 liters of water outdoors (or, indoors) and must be considered for your next upgrade of outdoor filter.
Nevertheless, do consider some facts about this gravity-enabled wilderness filter before making the purchase.
While it is customary for us to give you a ‘few points to consider’ to complete the picture, honestly, there aren’t many.
This gravity backpacking filter offers benefits that, more than outweigh its drawbacks.
But, it’s good to know the shortcomings anyway.
- A Bit Bulky: If you are heading to the trails over the weekend and want to travel light, this isn’t the hiking filter for you. As we said, even the lightest variant is heavier than the ultra-light filters. So watch out if you want something as light as air.
- Water Collection:Now, this is not characteristic of Platypus GravityWorks but is true for all filters that come with a bag. The pouch poses a problem in water collection if all you have is a shallow puddle.
But, we firmly believe that the true connoisseur of backpacking filters will not be put off by these non-issues as there is a lot to gain from the filter.
The GravityWorks filter by Platypus rolls multiple benefits into one. It’s fast, easy to set up and use, saves time, and serves many people at a time.
But, to know a detailed, feature by feature, analysis, read on…
Setup and Filtration Rate
Trust us when we say this, you can set up the Platypus GravityWorks filter with your eyes closed. It’s that easy!
The two water bags come with clear labels; one each for dirty and filtered water. All you need to do is connect the two with the hose that’s included in the kit and hold or hang the dirty water at a height above the clear water bag.
Gravity will take on from there, as soon as you unclamp the hose, and clean water comes filtering down.
And the best part is that water flows fast. Though the advertised rate is 1.75 liters/min, it goes down to 1.50 liter/min with regular usage. Not much of a difference!
One of the easiest to maintain, all that the hollow fiber membrane demands is a regular backflush.
And, for this just reverse the positions of the clean and dirty water bags with the clean water bag still full. This forces the water through the filter and cleans it.
But if this reverse flow stops during backflushing, it’s an indication that the cartridge needs a replacement. The natural fibers get blocked with filtrate after repeated usage.
Therefore, it would be prudent not to use the filter in extremely silty water or, at least allow the silt to settle before filtering.
This is one feature of GravityWorks that can put a lot of its peers to shame. The bags are sturdy and durable and can withstand many years of usage.
The hollow membrane filter also parallels the bags in terms of durability. However, it is susceptible to freezing which renders it ineffective for further usage.
Apart from the bags that come with the Platypus GravityWorks kit, the hose can connect to a wide variety of bottles and bags.
The Universal Bottle Adapter (not included in the kit) allows the filter to attach to a wide range of hard bottles and hydration systems. It thus creates an efficient backup, when faced with a torn clean water bag to ensure that water storage goes unhindered.
Good for Groups
Platypus GravityWorks can accommodate the water needs of even a large group, or that of a family with ease. Firstly, it has a great flow rate, and secondly, it needs no manual labor like squeezing, pumping, or drawing water through a straw that makes filtering for large groups a tedious task.
Overall, if you can make a tiny little compromise of taking a bit of extra weight, the filter will secure the water needs of your group during the entire length of your hike.
Pros and Cons
We could have added many other benefits but we believe this review provides the necessary overview.
To further widen that perspective, here are some pros and cons collected from user reviews across the web.
+ Easy to use.
+ Sturdy bag.
– Design issue with the carry bag.
And now for the technical specs of the two best seller variants of the filter.
- Cartridge Media/ Life Span: Hollow Fiber / 1500 liters
- Flow Rate: 1.75 liters per minute
- Maintenance: Backflush for 4 seconds
- Filters: Bacteria, Protozoa
Here are the differences in weight and dimension for each model.
|GravityWorks 4L||GravityWorks 2L|
|Weight||11.5 ounces / 326 g||11.5 ounces / 325 g|
|Flow (L/min)||1.75 liters per minute||1.75 liters per minute|
|Length:||9.5 in / 24 cm||9 in / 23 cm|
|Width:||3.25 in / 8 cm||3 in / 8 cm|
Our Verdict: Recommended
If you are on the lookout for an outdoor filtration system that is fast, the Platypus GravityWorks could be the answer. Without a doubt, it is matchless when scored on the speed and ease of filtration.
When compared to a squeeze water filter or a pump style filter that calls for some herculean power. Or, a filter within a straw that demands some acrobatics to draw water from shallow streams, this is a simple yet effective filter.
As gravity plays its part, you will have plenty of time to stand and stare at the scenic beauty along the trail. The maintenance is also hassle-free. The only care that must be taken is that the water entering the filter should not be too high on sediments else it can permanently clog the pores.
The filter offers no protection against viruses. But, that’s hardly something to nitpick on. The filter is meant for the backcountry water needs in North America where viruses are not a threat.
All in all, it’s a great buy considering that it serves not just individual but group needs of water on hikes and treks.