The newly released MSR TrailShot is a 5 ounce (verified weight), fist sized water filter that is effective against bacteria, protozoa and particulates to EPA and NSF standards. The diminutive size and weight make it ideal for backcountry activities like trail running, mountain biking and fast packing, where carrying excessive water weight can be avoided by having a light and compact filtering solution instead.
The TrailShot uses a simple silicone bulb pump to force water through MSR’s proprietary Hollow Fiber filtration matrix, the same technology used in their Guardian purifier and HyperFlow microfilter. The filter is replaceable and can reportedly treat as many as 2000 liters of water.
The MSR TrailShot is simple to use: just drop the tiny prefilter into a moving water source and squeeze the unit for up to 1L per minute of clean water. You can choose to drink directly from the conical spout or direct it into the water container of your choice. The spout also matches most hydration bladder hose diameters, allowing direct fill without removing the bladder from the pack. Cleaning the filter is accomplished simply by vigorously shaking the unit.
I used the TrailShot in seasonal creeks in Central Texas for the purpose of this report. It is indeed capable of filtering 1L per minute of non-murky water. I didn’t use the filter in silty or stagnant conditions, so I can’t comment on efficiency or effectiveness in those situations, but those situations will usually challenge almost any filter. The hose was a little short for me to comfortably drink directly from the filter itself. Instead, I found it more efficient to pump into a container to lessen filtered water loss. Filtering directly into hydration bladders was very effective and avoided the time and hassle of dismantling my entire hydration system. I lessened the work against gravity by placing my hydration pack at a lower level than the pump. Shaking the unit did indeed restore pumping efficiency but at no point did I feel the pumping effort excessive.
Preparing for a mountain bike ride, trail run or planning for the day’s hike always involves estimating water needs. The MSR TrailShot provides an option to carry less water as long if there is a source available and lessens anxiety about depleting your water supply while on the trail. The light weight and pocketable size of this filter make it essential gear for nearly and backcountry outing. It not only lightens my water-carrying load but serves as a good backup as well.
They say that an adventure starts when something doesn’t go as planned and this microfilter will certainly aid in keeping those adventure level in the palatable range.
To find out more, visit msrgear.com. MSRP: 49.95 USD