The MSR Trailshot arrived with quite a fanfare in 2017. A completely new style of water filter designed for when you’re on the move, allowing the user to drink directly from the water source or fill containers. When MSR heard that I was heading to the Highlands they very kindly offered to let me try one of their Trailshot water filters. I’ll be honest, I’ve always been bit slack at filtering or treating water if I know I’m well away from human habitation. With the increase of some parasitic infections like Giardia, which can be very unpleasant, I decided it was time to be more sensible.
The Trailshot will filter particulates and most of the potential bacteria and protozoa etc that you might find in wilderness type situations. It won’t filter viruses and Leptospira bacteria (the one that causes Weil’s Disease) but given that I’d be miles from human habitation and would be sourcing water from fast flowing streams and rivers this didn’t worry me.
The Trailshot is very simple to use. Simply pump it like a ‘stress ball’ and it squirts water either straight into your mouth or a bottle. It will pump up to 1 litre of water per minute so it didn’t take long to fill a couple of water bottles in use. If you notice the flow dropping off there is no need for back flushing. Instead, fill the filter with water and give it a vigorous shake. You can then remove the intake tube from the bottom of the filter and squirt out the content. I did this into a clear glass when I got back and was shocked at how much had been filtered out of what looked like beautifully clear streams and that was only the particles big enough to see with the human eye!!
The Trailshot is light, easy to use and performed exactly as I’d hoped. I’ll be taking one on all my future backpacking, bikepacking and mountain biking trips as it’s so convenient to pop in a stuff pocket.