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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by madgoat View Post
    I bought the BeFree replacement filter and a 2L Hydraflask Seeker. Used it a few times and like it quite a bit.

    The flow rate is very fast, so I just fill up the seeker at a water source and filter into my 1L water bottle from it. I can carry 2L dirty in the seeker, and 1L clean in my water bottle.

    Word of warning #1. When the filter media dries out, it will not flow water through it. On the day before your trip, fill up your seeker and screw in your BeFree and let it soak overnight or you may be left without water when you need it.

    Word of warning #2. The Hydrapak seeker imparts an unpleasant plastic taste in your water. This fades with a few uses. Or you can use Hydrapak's method from their website which is to fill the bladder with water and juice from a lemon and freeze it. When thawed, the taste is gone.

    Pros
    -fast flow rate
    -easy to clean filter
    -seeker has wide mouth and is very flexible so it makes it very easy to fill at creeks and springs
    -outlet side of BeFree filter is threaded like standard water bottles so all your female sawyer adapters work with it (so you can make it a gravity filter or an inline filter if you want to)
    -the included flip cap can be replaced with a smartwater flip cap if necessary since they are threaded the same

    Cons
    -much lower life expectancy than the sawyer (1000gal befree vs 100,000gal sawyer)
    -only works with 0.6L bottle included with the filter or 1L, 2L, 3L Hydrapak Seeker. Some of the Hydrapak softflasks are the same size opening, but I got a 750ml and it leaked all over the place
    So another quick question:
    If you do any winter hiking (or on the AT in mid March of 2017 ), how do you keep the BeFree from freezing? The Squeeze you can throw in your pocket to keep it warm, and since it's not a primary cap for your bottle it's no big deal. If you use a BeFree for your softflask lid, I'm guessing you would need to carry an extra lid for those situations?

  2. #22
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    Venchka,
    The 750 softflask that I had leaked like crazy around the threading when trying to filter. I have heard from others that it works fine for them. So it appears that "variations in manufacture" cause this problem. The threading for the softflask 750 were softer plastic, while the threading for the Seekers is made of a harder plastic. That may be the difference.

    TX Aggie,
    I haven't had mine out in freezing weather yet. But that is something I will have to think of if I go when it is colder.

  3. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by madgoat View Post
    Venchka,
    The 750 softflask that I had leaked like crazy around the threading when trying to filter. I have heard from others that it works fine for them. So it appears that "variations in manufacture" cause this problem. The threading for the softflask 750 were softer plastic, while the threading for the Seekers is made of a harder plastic. That may be the difference.

    TX Aggie,
    I haven't had mine out in freezing weather yet. But that is something I will have to think of if I go when it is colder.
    I am betting you could wrap it up in any extra clothes/layers and bury it in your pack and it wouldn't freeze if the temp was around freezing. For a hard freeze, you could either take the filter out, put it in a baggie and snuggle with it (bringing along the original bladder cap), or snuggle with the bladder if it is empty, or maybe add some hot water to it, to either snuggle with or leave wrapped up in spare gear.


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  4. #24
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    I'm thinking that the filter could live in a couple Ziploc bags in the foot of my sleeping bag with my eye drops that I would prefer not freeze. Thanks for bringing that to my attention. I knew that the Sawyer filters couldn't freeze. Figured the BeFree was similar.
    The order is standing by for the coupon on Friday.
    Wayne


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    "Lately it occurs to me What a long, strange trip it's been." Grateful Dead

  5. #25
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    I read a lot of positive reviews on BE FREE filter on REI, BPL, Amazon etc. BUT most appeared to be reviews after relatively short term use- i.e.. not thru hiking reviews.
    There was a NEGATIVE REI review of a PCT thru hiker who reported that after initial high flow rates the filter slowed dramatically after 2 weeks of use. Not sure if this was the sole water purification system that was used but that gives me a big pause.
    Im sure by the end of this summer we'll have a better picture of its usefulness for long distance hiking.

    Its interesting but I'm leaning toward the Sawyer for my AT trip.

  6. #26
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirty Paws View Post
    I read a lot of positive reviews on BE FREE filter on REI, BPL, Amazon etc. BUT most appeared to be reviews after relatively short term use- i.e.. not thru hiking reviews.
    There was a NEGATIVE REI review of a PCT thru hiker who reported that after initial high flow rates the filter slowed dramatically after 2 weeks of use. Not sure if this was the sole water purification system that was used but that gives me a big pause.
    Im sure by the end of this summer we'll have a better picture of its usefulness for long distance hiking.

    Its interesting but I'm leaning toward the Sawyer for my AT trip.
    When I read online "reviews" I always factor in operator error and whining.
    Have you read reports on Backpacking Light or Section Hiker? I got the impression that the flow reduction merely indicated that it was time to flush the filter after which flow was back to normal.
    On the other hand, the Sawyer Squeeze, NOT the Mini, for $30 at Walmart is hard to pass up.
    No worries. The Squeeze will always be at Walmart while REI gives me a year of field testing to make sure that the BeFree works as claimed.
    Wayne


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  7. #27
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    BeFree filter & 2 liter Seeker on the way. Should arrive Thursday.
    I think I will test it under extreme conditions. The creek in my backyard.
    Wayne
    Deep in the East Texas Rainforest.
    "Lately it occurs to me What a long, strange trip it's been." Grateful Dead

  8. #28
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    I used my BeFree in a nasty, murky green, still pond in Texas last weekend. Water came out clear, and oder and taste free, and we were able to filter 7L of water in just a few minutes. Loving it so far. I got the 3L Hydrapack Seeker after the trip. It has attachment points on the top, side, and bottom. It also works as gravity filter with no additional adaptors.

    One question for those using the Seeker: Are you using the Seeker as dirty water storage, or clean? If clean, what are you using for dirty? Just the .6L that comes with the filter?

  9. #29

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    I'm using the seeker as a dirty water container. I filter into 1L Gatorade bottles, I think the wide mouths make filling even easier.


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  10. #30
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    I bought the replacement filter and 2 liter Seeker. I guess that means I'm using the 2 liter container for dirty water. And drinking from it. And cooking water.
    One less thing to keep track of.
    Wayne


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    "Lately it occurs to me What a long, strange trip it's been." Grateful Dead

  11. #31
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    I use the 2L seeker for dirty water storage, and a 1L aquafina bottle for clean water drinking.

  12. #32
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by madgoat View Post
    I use the 2L seeker for dirty water storage, and a 1L aquafina bottle for clean water drinking.
    If I think I'm in an area where I might be 3-4 miles between water I'll probably fill up a 1 liter Platypus with hose for use on the trail. The Seeker is always available for drinking from. Water coming from the filter is not supposed to be dirty. Right?
    Wayne


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  13. #33
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    They're here!
    BeFree filter and Seeker 2 liter water bottle.
    Out of the box impressions:
    Seeker = 2.60 ounces
    BeFree filter = 1.22 ounces
    Weight reduction replacing MSR Waterworks = 1 pound. YAY!!!!!
    Water flow through filter with a bit of pressure on the flexible Seeker is quite adequate for drinking. Filling a 1 liter Platypus soft bottle will not be annoying. Certainly faster and less work than pumping the Waterworks.
    Fitting store water bottle caps to the BeFree filter:
    Volvic 1 liter: NOT! The cap diameter is too large.
    SmartWater 1 liter cap: Screws on. Won't seal. Drips when inverted.
    alo 1.5 liter cap: Seals tightly. No drips. Love it.
    Essentia Push-Pull Sport Cap: Fits perfectly. Hallelujah!
    So far, my opinion is: Winner! Winner! Chicken dinner!
    The best use of my REI dividend ever!
    Wayne
    ps: The very faint plastic taste from the Seeker didn't bother me. I will squirt some lemon juice in the bottle as I use it around the house and see what happens. I'm not going to fool with the lemon juice & freezing cure just yet.
    Deep in the East Texas Rainforest.
    "Lately it occurs to me What a long, strange trip it's been." Grateful Dead

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Venchka View Post
    They're here!
    BeFree filter and Seeker 2 liter water bottle.
    Out of the box impressions:
    Seeker = 2.60 ounces
    BeFree filter = 1.22 ounces
    Weight reduction replacing MSR Waterworks = 1 pound. YAY!!!!!
    Water flow through filter with a bit of pressure on the flexible Seeker is quite adequate for drinking. Filling a 1 liter Platypus soft bottle will not be annoying. Certainly faster and less work than pumping the Waterworks.
    Fitting store water bottle caps to the BeFree filter:
    Volvic 1 liter: NOT! The cap diameter is too large.
    SmartWater 1 liter cap: Screws on. Won't seal. Drips when inverted.
    alo 1.5 liter cap: Seals tightly. No drips. Love it.
    Essentia Push-Pull Sport Cap: Fits perfectly. Hallelujah!
    So far, my opinion is: Winner! Winner! Chicken dinner!
    The best use of my REI dividend ever!
    Wayne
    ps: The very faint plastic taste from the Seeker didn't bother me. I will squirt some lemon juice in the bottle as I use it around the house and see what happens. I'm not going to fool with the lemon juice & freezing cure just yet.
    Thanks for the Intel. Do you know if there are any tubing caps (like from the Sawyer Squeeze for instance) that will screw on so you can set up like a gravity system?

  15. #35
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TX Aggie View Post
    Thanks for the Intel. Do you know if there are any tubing caps (like from the Sawyer Squeeze for instance) that will screw on so you can set up like a gravity system?
    I haven't dug that deep. Surely with all of the gizmos that Sawyer sells for their filters, there must be something that matches the SmartWater threads and would do what you want.
    The Seeker could easily be hung for the gravity arrangement.
    Wayne



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  16. #36
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    I couldn't quite juggle the 2 liter Seeker, an empty Nalgene bottle AND the stopwatch on my phone but I managed about 35 seconds for 1 liter of filtered water. The Section Hiker claimed 30 seconds. That's close enough for me.
    Wayne


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    "Lately it occurs to me What a long, strange trip it's been." Grateful Dead

  17. #37

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    I bought a pair of 3L Seeker bottles a couple months ago. I also bought a 42mm sport cap from Hydrapak. Once the box arrived, I learned that, white both are 42mm, they are threaded differently, and won't seal well. After searching high and low for a quick-disconnect cap or one with a hose Barb, I finally called Hydraflask. They do not currently make a cap of that style for the Seeker. At this point, I'm considering drilling the cap, and installing my own QD hose fitting. However, they also do not currently stock replacement caps for the Seeker. The customer service rep I was speaking to was very helpful, and from the sounds of it, they're aware of the need for more caps, and for caps with hose fittings for those of us who want to use the Seeker in a gravity system.
    Go afield with a good attitude, with respect for the wildlife you hunt, and the forest and field in which you walk. Immerse yourself in the outdoor experience. It will cleanse your soul.--Fred Bear

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  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maui Rhino View Post
    I bought a pair of 3L Seeker bottles a couple months ago. I also bought a 42mm sport cap from Hydrapak. Once the box arrived, I learned that, white both are 42mm, they are threaded differently, and won't seal well. After searching high and low for a quick-disconnect cap or one with a hose Barb, I finally called Hydraflask. They do not currently make a cap of that style for the Seeker. At this point, I'm considering drilling the cap, and installing my own QD hose fitting. However, they also do not currently stock replacement caps for the Seeker. The customer service rep I was speaking to was very helpful, and from the sounds of it, they're aware of the need for more caps, and for caps with hose fittings for those of us who want to use the Seeker in a gravity system.
    Since they promote the loops to hang the Seeker with, you'd think they would have thought of that.

    I wish the MSR Dromedary would have hit it off, they fit agains the front inside of your pack better than the seeker. That's really my only concern with the Seeker is its shape when filled.

  19. #39
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Disappointed: the 2 liter Seeker doesn't stand alone.
    My antique soft 1 L Platypus and 3 L Nalgene are winners in the stand alone category yet roll up flat and small.
    Wayne


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    "Lately it occurs to me What a long, strange trip it's been." Grateful Dead

  20. #40
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    The plastic's designers must get patent awards for coming up with a "new" thread design. Makes optimizing systems for different group sizes and trip environments agonizing.

    We need "open systems" for water filtration, where's Scott McNealy?

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