Gear Review: MSR Trail Base Gravity Filter System

A trusty water filtration system is crucial to any backpacking trip and the MSR Trail Base Gravity Filter is a great addition to any pack. When I first bought this, I was skeptical of the gravity filter part, as it was relatively new to the market.

However, let me tell you, the gravity system is the way to go. It’s quick, easy, and convenient.

Initial Thoughts

I went with the MSR Trail Base for a couple of reasons. First, it filters out both bacteria and protozoa. If the trail doesn’t kill me, I’m sure as hell not letting some sort of virus or bacteria take me out. Second, the dual features of the Trail Shot and the gravity filter makes for a really nice combo. The Trail Shot is detachable from the larger filter, which lets you quickly fill up your water bottle at a stream or lake if you quickly need a drink.

The Trail Shot is a hand pump system so it will take maybe a minute or two to fill up a 32 oz bottle.

What I didn’t know until I used it was how I would like the gravity system as a whole. While it’s not good for speed, letting the gravity filter do its thing while you tend to other matters around camp is incredible. It’s working while you’re working (or sitting and eating).

How it works

Scoop up water in the “dirty” bag, lock it shut, and hang it from a tree or just lay in on the ground. Then, connect it to the “clean” bag, and wa-la, let gravity do its thing. It’s about the easiest thing in the world to do. I’ve never timed the time it takes from fill up to clean, but it probably takes no more than 10 minutes.

Cleaning the filter

This is also pretty straight forward. It comes with directions on how to test the purification system before your trip and how to clean the filter afterward. It doesn’t take more than 30 minutes in all – which includes the filtration system drying.


Until next time adventurers, take care and be safe.

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