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OR - MSR Ex Miniworks - Michael Dax

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  • Michael Dax
    http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/OWNER%20REVIEWS/OR%20-%20MSR%20Ex%20Miniworks%20-%20Michael%20Dax/ MSR MINIWORKS EX MICROFILTER BY MICHAEL DAX OR
    Message 1 of 3 , Jun 4, 2010
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      http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/OWNER%20REVIEWS/OR%20-%20MSR%20Ex%20Miniworks%20-%20Michael%20Dax/


      MSR MINIWORKS EX MICROFILTER
      BY MICHAEL DAX
      OR
      June 12, 2010

      TESTER INFORMATION

      NAME: Michael Dax
      EMAIL: mjdax30@...
      AGE: 23
      LOCATION: Old Faithful, WY
      GENDER: M
      HEIGHT: 6' 3" (1.91 m)
      WEIGHT: 210 lb (95.30 kg)

      I grew up hiking, backpacking, and cross country skiing in the Northeast
      including New York, New Hampshire and Maine. I have been hiking for about
      18 years and have been backpacking for about 10 years. I have lived at the
      Grand Canyon and I now live in Yellowstone. In all these experiences, I
      have slept on a tarp and in a tent, worn hightop boots and lightweight
      shoes, carried an external-frame pack and an ultralight internal-frame
      pack. Most of my hikes are about 8 to 15 miles (12-24 km). I am not
      fanatical about light weight gear, but I am starting to be more mindful.

      PRODUCT INFORMATION

      Manufacturer: MSR
      Manufacturer's Website: <<HYPERLINK GOES HERE - "http://www.msrcorp.com"
      LINK TEXT = "Mountain Safety Research">>
      MSRP: $89.95 (US)
      Listed Weight: 16 oz (454 g)
      Measured Weight: 16 oz (454 g)
      Listed Height: 7.5 inches (19 cm)
      Listed Width: 2.75 inches (7 cm)

      <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 3">>


      The main shaft of the filter is translucent grey plastic through which the
      user can see the ceramic element, which I will discuss in a later
      paragraph. At the bottom of the filter, there is a cap that crews on to the
      part where the clean water is expelled. The screws of the filter are made
      to will fit onto a nalgene. On the screw cap is a piece of red plastic that
      is in a crescent shape which is used for measuring the wear on the ceramic
      element. Moving up the filter is the red translucent plastic piece into
      which water is initially pumped before it is pushed through the ceramic
      element and filtered. There is a chamber that is cylindrical and about an
      inch and half (3.75 cm) by an inch (2.5 cm ) in this section. In this
      chamber is a round piece with a rubber seal which moves in the chamber and
      is controlled by the pump handle. The pump handle is a black plastic piece
      and is almost as long as the filer itself. At the end of the handle is a
      hook for securing the hose while the filter is stored. The hose runs from
      the red plastic piece of the filter. It is about 48 inches (122 cm) long.
      Towards the end of the hose is a grey rubber piece of foam which serves as a
      float. At the end of the hose is a metal coil that serves to protect the
      intake valve. The intake valve is a black plastic piece connected to the
      hose. It has three openings. One is where it connects to the hose and the
      other two are on the sides where it draws water into the hose. Through the
      two holes is a piece of a grey porous sponge meant for filtering out large
      debris.

      The user can screw off the red plastic piece from the main shaft. After
      doing so, the ceramic element can be popped out of the grey plastic shaft.
      The element is pale orange in color. On the current models, the elements
      are ceramic, but they used to be carbon. The element can be touched, but is
      very delicate. It is the main filtering piece of the unit. It can be
      cleaned in the field and eventually replaced. Both of its ends are hard
      plastic. One end has a rubber O-ring and spout which is where the filtered
      water comes out. The other end has three points that allow three spaces for
      water to go into the element from the cylindrical chamber. Once the water
      is pumped into the element, it is filtered through the element and
      eventually comes out through the spout at the bottom. The crescent shaped
      plastic piece discussed above can be put around the ceramic element to
      measure how much the element has worn. If the crescent shape piece can
      slide easily on the shaft, the shaft should be replaced.

      All of the dimensions, both weight, height, and width are true to the listed
      dimensions. With the carrying case and srubbing pad, the filter weighs 17
      oz (482 g).

      FIELD USE

      I have owned my MSR Ex Miniworks water filter for about two years. I first
      bought it when I moved to the Grand Canyon in the summer of 2008. The first
      time I used the filter, I was pumping water that came from a seep spring on
      the east side of Horseshoe Mesa off the Grandview trail called the Miner's
      Spring. The spring collected in a pool after it had made its way through a
      couple thousand feet of sandstone. If I filled my bottle right from the
      seep, I would not have needed to filter it at all. However, I was excited
      to use my new filter and because I took the water from the pool rather than
      the seep, I probably needed to use it. The main point I am making is that
      the water was very clear and probably clean. Even though this was the first
      time I used the filter, I would not describe the flow as "fast". It was not
      slow either, but rather steady. MSR claims that the filter pumps 1 liter
      per minute, and from the start, I found that this was not true. With this
      first use, I would say the flow was closer to 1 liter per 90 seconds. MSR
      says it takes about 70-80 pumps per liter, and although I was not counting,
      I would say this is fairly accurate. Despite the fact that the filter was a
      little slower than advertised, it still pumped water at a fine rate, and the
      water tasted great.

      <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 2" IMAGE CAPTION = "Miner's Spring">>

      I continued to use the filter over the next couple months about one to two
      times a month for a one to two days each time. I was hiking in the Grand
      Canyon, so whenever I was using it, I was pumping a lot of water per day.
      Usually, I was carrying about 4 liters per day.

      At the beginning of August, I did a trip down the Tanner trail with a
      friend, and the Colorado River was our main water source. Two days
      previous, the Grand Canyon received its largest monsoon storm of the season
      which lasted about an hour. For those people that are not aware of
      Arizona's monsoon season, it is no joke. It receives heavy (and I mean
      heavy) rainstorms that come from India during the summer months, which cause
      frequent flash floods. What this meant for our trip was that the Colorado
      River was filled with an extremely high level of silt and debris that was
      washed into it by the heavy rainstorm and was very muddy brown in color. I
      was prepared for it and brought a bucket to fill with water so the silt
      could settle to the bottom before I would attempt to filter it. I knew that
      if I tried to dip my filter straight into the river, I would have no chance
      at successfully filtering the necessary amount of water without clogging my
      filter. After allowing the water to settle for two to three hours, I tried
      to filter some. Within a liter, I could feel that pumping had become much
      harder and that the filter's flow had dropped considerably. After filling
      my first liter, I popped the ceramic element out of the main shaft to look
      at it. It was noticeably covered with a layer a fine brown silt. Although
      the filter can be field cleaned, it is not always a convenient process. The
      Miniworks comes with a green scrub pad which is meant for cleaning it.
      However, to use it properly, the filter must be cleaned with pure, filtered,
      water while it is being scrubbed. Considering how silty the Colorado River
      was that day, I did not have a lot of confidence that I would be able to
      clean the filter to the point where it would continue to be useful. In
      short, the clean water I had already pumped was too valuable to waste on
      cleaning the filter which would become clogged as soon as I started
      filtering again. I lamely tried to clean the filter, but I did not get
      another full liter out of it.

      <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 1" IMAGE CAPTION = "Water that had
      been settling for about 4 hours">>

      My friend had another brand of filter which was able to get us through the
      weekend. However, our routine for the weekend consisted of filling the
      bucket with water, waiting four hours, covering the intake valve with a
      bandanna, filtering about two to three liters before starting over again,
      and remaining very dehydrated. Although the Miniworks failed on this trip,
      I do not place a lot of fault on the filter as the conditions were extreme.

      When I got home, I thoroughly cleaned it where good water was plentiful.
      MSR recommends boiling the element to fully sterilize it. Also, after
      boiling it or using it for any extended period, MSR recommends letting the
      filter dry for a full three to five days. I have not always been
      disciplined about doing this, but I have been better in the past year than I
      was in the first.

      Since my experience on the Colorado River, I have continued to use the
      Miniworks and have good experiences with it. Most of the other times I have
      used the filter have been on clear streams that do not carry much silt. For
      the most part it has continued to operate on the same level that it did when
      I first used it at the seep spring meaning about 90 seconds per liter. In
      one instance, it plugged up on a reasonably clear stream, but in this case I
      was able to clean it in the field and continue using it throughout the
      trip. On another hike, I returned to the Colorado River. I still used a
      bucket to let the water settle, but it was not nearly as silty, and the
      filter held up reasonably well. Its flow was definitely slower, but I was
      able to spend four days on the river without any issues.

      In my experience, the pump handle for the Miniworks is overall very
      comfortable and ergonomic. the handle moves towards and away from the main
      shaft horizontally. It is a mostly natural movement that has allowed me to
      pump up to four liters at a time comfortably. Usually, I will hold my
      nalgene in between my knees, while I hold the shaft with one hand and pump
      with the other. Also, the pump handle has held up well in addition to the
      rest of the mechanical parts of the filter. Nothing has broken. MSR sells
      replacement elements for the Miniworks, and although I probably should buy a
      new one, I have yet to do so. I still have the original ceramic element
      that is about two years old now.

      <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 4">>

      One of the other things that I have enjoyed about the Miniworks is the ease
      of troubleshooting. There are a couple ways of examining the filter while
      in use to determine why it might not be working optimally. The main way of
      telling is the cylindrical chamber into which water is initially pumped.
      When the filter is operating properly, this chamber should fill almost
      completely just leaving a small air bubble at the top. If it is not filling
      properly, either the intake hose is not fully submerged, or the filter is
      clogging. Another way of detecting if the filter is clogging is through the
      pump handle. If pumping becomes noticeably harder, the filter may be
      clogging. On the other side, if the pump is snapping back to the body of
      the filter without any force, the intake hose may be twisted and airflow cut
      off. Another nice feature of the filter is the translucent shaft. Through
      this plastic, the user can detect the height of the water level. If the
      water level is staying high without dropping, the pump may be clogging from
      the element. Although I have had a number of experiences with the Miniworks
      clogging while in the backcountry, I very much enjoy that I have always been
      able to detect the problem and that the problems have alwasy been simple and
      fixable ones.

      SUMMARY

      If slow and steady wins the race, the MSR Ex Miniworks is a great filter. I
      have used other filters that have pumped faster, but the MSR Miniworks has
      many other features that make it very user friendly. Unlike other filters
      that I have owned, no piece of it has yet to break. All of its valves and
      plastic extremities have proven to be very durable. Also, it is field
      cleanable, which I like a lot. It needs water to be cleaned, so the one
      time I found myself in a situation in which I knew resistance was going to
      be futile, this was not particularly helpful. However, as stated above,
      this was an extreme situation. Not only is it field cleanable, but it is
      easy to figure out what the exact problem is. All the problems that I have
      experienced with the filter have been relatively simple to determine and
      fix. I have used other filters in which I have had to spend hours trying to
      figure out what was causing any particular problem, which I found extremely
      frustrating. All the water I have ever drank from the filter has tasted
      great. I have owned the filter for two years and filtered many many liters
      with it. It has continued to work well. It definitely requires proper
      care, which I have recently started giving it, but for someone who is
      willing to put in the effort and is slightly mechanically inclined, I
      recommend it highly.

      THINGS I LIKE

      Durable
      Field Cleanable
      Easy Troubleshooting
      Simple Construction
      Easy-to-work Pump Handle
      Good tasting water
      Screws onto Nalgene Bottle

      THINGS I DON'T LIKE

      Slow
      Clogs in Silty Water

      SIGNATURE

      Michael Dax



      This report was created with the BGT Report Generator.
      Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • chcoa
      PLEASE READ THIS EMAIL IN FULL. IT IS MOST IMPORTANT! Thanks for your Owner s Review. It has been added to the Owner Review Queue and will be picked up by an
      Message 2 of 3 , Jun 5, 2010
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        PLEASE READ THIS EMAIL IN FULL. IT IS MOST IMPORTANT!

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      • Ray
        Hi Michael, Nice job on this review. Here are your edits. Once made please repost here and update the HTML version too. Ray ***LOCATION: Old Faithful, WY EDIT:
        Message 3 of 3 , Jun 12, 2010
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          Hi Michael,

          Nice job on this review. Here are your edits. Once made please repost here and update the HTML version too.

          Ray



          ***LOCATION: Old Faithful, WY

          EDIT: please spell out the name of the state and ad "USA" for the benefit of our international readers.

          Also, I am sorry to say but your bio is over the 100 word limit. Can you please shorten it a bit?



          ***Manufacturer: MSR

          EDIT: please spell it out the first time at least putting the (MSR) in parenthesis. Then you can use MSR for the rest of the review




          ***Manufacturer's Website: Mountain Safety Research

          EDIT: the URL needs to be the actual address, not just hyperlinked



          ***Listed Height: 7.5 inches (19 cm)
          ***Listed Width: 2.75 inches (7 cm)

          EDIT: what are the actual measurements?




          *** At the bottom of the filter, there is a cap that crews on to the part

          EDIT: a cap that "screws"




          *** The screws of the filter are made to will fit onto a nalgene.

          EDITS: The "threads" of the filter are made to will fit onto a "Nalgene" (proper name)




          *** There is a chamber that is cylindrical and about an inch and half (3.75 cm) by an inch (2.5 cm )

          EDIT: delete extra space in parenthesis



          *** The other end has three points that allow three spaces for water to go into the element from the cylindrical chamber. Once the water is pumped into the element, it is filtered through the element and eventually comes out through the spout at the bottom.

          Comment: are you sure about this? I believe that the water is forced through the sides of the ceramic element where the filtered water runs out through the bottom valve. The umbrella valve lets water into the main housing correct? This should be why you clean the filter by scrubbing the outside of the element. If it filtered through the center as you describe the element would need to be scrubbed inside.



          *** With the carrying case and srubbing pad

          EDIT: scrubbing



          ***I have owned my MSR Ex Miniworks

          MSR MiniWorks EX



          ***It was noticeably covered with a layer a fine brown silt

          EDIT: a layer "of" fine brown silt



          *** The Miniworks comes with a green scrub pad

          EDIT: MiniWorks please look for all instances of this


          ***In my experience, the pump handle for the Miniworks is overall very comfortable and ergonomic. the handle moves

          EDIT: capitalize The




          ***Usually, I will hold my nalgene in between my knees

          EDIT: Nalgene



          *** I very much enjoy that I have always been able to detect the problem and that the problems have alwasy been simple

          EDIT: "always" been simple
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