Last Updated on 05/03/2022
Survivor Filter Pro Review as a personal water filter for hiking, camping, and general use in both urban and wilderness environments.
The Survivor Filter Pro is a pump action filter which makes it super fast to process larger volumes of water, especially when compared with some of smaller filters on the market.
The Survivor Filter Pro is a water filter that has already made its mark in the outdoor industry by going where no personal water filter has ever gone before, 0.01-micron filtration! Its triple level filtration allows particles to be removed in three separate stages and gives you greater reassurance that your water is safe to drink than any other personal water filter available in the world!
Water is an essential daily need that can be taken for granted in today’s western world however when you are far out in the wilderness and there are no taps or bottled water to rely on, what do you do? Risk getting sick from drinking contaminated water? Or carry the necessary tools required to process it?
Having the means to process and purify dirty water into clean drinking water is essential if you are planning any multi-day hike into the wilderness. That might mean taking a pot/pan and having the skills to light a fire so you can boil water. Or it might mean keeping a pack of chemical purification tablets in your pack. But the best way to filter water into great tasting H2O on the move is by using a portable water filter like the Survivor Filter Pro.
The benefits of using a water filter like the Survivor Filter PRO -LE is that it does not use foul tasting chemicals, can be reused over and over again, is lightweight, compact, and very reliable in the field. The Survivor Filter Pro is a pump action filter which makes it super fast to process larger volumes of water for your personal needs as well as small groups. Pumping water through 3 separate filtration barriers, leaves you with extra clean and refreshing H2O that tastes great.
Related: See where the Survivor PRO-LE ranked on our Top 10 Best Backpacking Water Filters
- 1 x main body pump action filter with cup container
- 1 x external pre-filter with floats and intake tubing
- 1 x internal Carbon filter
- 1 x internal ultrafilter
- 1 x output tubing with attachment clip
- 1 x storage bag and instruction manual
The main filter body houses both a carbon filter and an ultrafilter while the tubes and external ultrafilter come in sealable plastic bags. All of this can be kept nicely in the waterproof bag (provided) so that it doesn’t leak water into your backpack or pocket after use. You can also get Survivor Filter Collapsible Canteens (sold separately) which if you don’t have water storage already, are worth adding.
Survivor Filter PRO Features
- Triple Level Filtration down to 0.01 microns.
- Weighs just 11.2 oz with all the bits (when dry).
- Filters 17 ounces (500 ml) per minute.
- Removes 99.9% of all bacteria.
- Replaceable Ultra Filters (Pre-Filter and Internal Filter) can be re-used up to 100,000 Liters before replacing.
- Replaceable Carbon Filter lasts up to 2,000 Liters.
- Outer Shell Made of Military Grade BPA Free ABS Material with metal reinforcement in the shaft.
Triple Level Filtration
External Ultra Filter
The 0.1-micron pre-filter blocks any particles from reaching the carbon filter inside as well as blocking any bacteria and protozoa at the first point of entry. It works using a spool of micro tubes for the intake nozzle, which is contained in a small tube and should be fully submerged fully in water for best results (not partially as seen in the images ;)). Try and avoid dunking the filter into the mud or sediment in shallow water as this can block the micro holes and slow down flow rate. Instead dig a small hole and let the dirt settle. You can stabilize the intake nozzle/ultrafilter in deep water using the adjustable flotation disc made of a dense foam type material.
The carbon filter is the second barrier to anything nasty that might have gotten past the external pre-filter. Carbon Filters are reliable, long lasting, and cheap to replace. The carbon filter is very effective at reducing chemicals, heavy metals, bad tastes, and other pollutants that made it through level 1. Good for around 2,000 liters or 528 Gallons, the carbon inserts can be used hard all year round and the replacements are small, lightweight, and cheap. Get Survivor Filter Carbon Replacements here.
Internal Ultra Filter
Like the External pre-filter, the internal ultrafilter has a spool of micro tubes with lots of tiny micro pores that only allow particles of a certain size to pass through. On the Survivor Filter Pro Internal Ultrafilter, the size of those micropores is a tiny 0.01 microns which is only achievable by using water that has already been double filtered. Almost 20 x more powerful than most popular filters out there today, the Survivor Filter Pro has been shown to massively reduce the amount of heavy metals, chemicals, and virus in water.
What 0.01 Microns Actually Means
Now before you get too excited thinking about how this is 20 times better filtration than your average 0.2-micron water filter, there are a few things you should know about pathogens and their size in terms of microns. Protozoa, Bacteria, and Viruses all vary in size with Protozoa being the largest and Virus’s being the smallest. Here is a chart to explain why no water filter is able to block all viruses:
So while the Survivor Filter Pro 0.01-micron filtration is removing far more than your average 0.2-micron filter, the only way to be sure you remove any threat of virus from water is to boil it or use chemicals. It is worth knowing that while bacteria and protozoa are not uncommon in many waterways, viruses in the water are rare in most countries. The reason being is that in order to catch a virus from drinking water, the water must first be contaminated by somebody with the virus before you drink it (i.e somebody with a virus peeing or pooping in the water upstream etc…).
The advertised flow rate of 500ml per minute is definitely on the conservative side as I was able to get close double that without breaking much of a sweat. After plunging the intake filter into the water it takes a few pumps before you see anything happening and then as the air is replaced with water you get a generous flow of water with every pump. It should be said that there really is no need to go too hard on the pump handle unless you are in some kind of race against time.
Weight and Size
At just over 11 oz with all the extra bits included, it weighs a fraction less than average when compared to similar filters, but also includes an innovative cup in the storage (which others don’t). If you are conscious about every gram in your backpack then it is worth taking into account that if the filter has been used recently, the excess water it holds inside will add an extra few ounces unless dried out. The filter fits nicely in your hand while the tubes add some lightweight bulk to the overall packed dimensions. Once inside the storage bag included, it fits nicely in your backpack pockets, however, it would be cool to see a larger container cup which would house the tubes and external filter inside for a more compact size.
Check out our review of the Survivor Filter Original for a small and more compact water filter.
The best advice I can give with this filter is to take it apart when you get it and learn what each piece is responsible for doing, and how to clean maintain its function – it’s pretty simple and takes less than 30 seconds. This way you are able to notice any potential breaches or changes that could compromise your safety down the road. The external ultrafilter can be cleaned by switching it from the inlet hose to the outlet hose and pumping fresh, clean water through it for a minute or 2. Everything else should be rinsed and thoroughly dried after use (at the end of a multiday trip is fine). The instructions also recommend soaking the ultrafilters and tubing in vinegar for a short period of time before rinsing and occasionally making sure the plunger is lubed or oiled.
The external ultrafilter can be cleaned by switching it from the inlet hose to the outlet hose and pumping fresh, clean water through it for a minute or 2. Everything else should be rinsed and thoroughly dried after every use (at the end of a long trip is fine). The instructions also recommend soaking the ultrafilters and tubing in vinegar for a short period of time before rinsing and occasionally making sure the plunger is lubed or oiled.
Ease of Use
While there are a few of moving parts to come to come to terms with, the Survivor Filter Pro is very easy to use and holds together surprisingly well under pressure. The pump comes pre-lubed but can feel a little stiff at first, this isn’t a problem though as it ensures a water tight seal on the piston. Once you have attached the inlet and outlet tubes you should adjust the float above the pre-filter to allow it to fully submerge. There will be some air to pump out at first but the tubes will soon start filling with water to provide a steady stream of hydration.
It really is as simple as attaching the inlet and output tubes, dunking the prefilter into some fresh water, and pumping until you see some water flowing. The handy little clip on the output hose will attach to most bottles and hydration packs to make filling them up a little bit easier. Overall plenty of nice touches to make the filter function better.
Is the Survivor Filter PRO have metal reinforcement in the pump handle?
When trying to find out what kind of reinforcement was inside the handle if any, I reached out to @SurvivorFilter who had this to say,
“I can confirm that there IS a metal piece under the Survivor Filter PRO-LE. This is something that is important to us because we want to make sure that our product is durable. It does not fully continue until the tip of the handle, but it does continue into the base of the handle and a little bit outward.
In addition to this, the product itself is made out of ABS plastic (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acrylonitrile_butadiene_styrene). This is a very strong, but lightweight polymer that is used in applications like bumpers on cars and space suits. The handle breaking was a big concern for our team and we wanted to make sure that the product could really be pumped the 100K Liters like we advertise it.
We are very proud to say that we have only ever had 1 person report to us that their handle broke. This was out of 15, 000 + that we have sold in the USA and Canada so far. We really do believe in our product and stand behind its lifetime warranty and would always replace this issue if it ever happened.” Mike @SurvivorFilter
With such a fantastic response to our question, I think this gives you a good example of the kind of company Survivor Filter are and the kind of customer support you can expect.
Is It Worth Buying for Everyday Use?
If you prefer your water untainted and without the bitter taste of heavy metal or chemicals, then absolutely yes, buy one and use it every day! You will definitely get your monies worth and not regret it, especially if you live in a city where the tap water is not great. Use it every day for a year instead of buying bottled money and you will have saved a small fortune before you even need to think about replacing the carbon insert.
Is It a Good Filter for Hiking and Backpacking?
Yes, it is. The level of filtration is unmatched in any other personal water filter on the market and has proven to be reliable in our tests.
One major plus point of using the Survivor Filter Pro that is noticeable straight away is the way the water tastes after being filtered. Those earthy tones you expect from most ground water are faint if any at all and the water tastes refreshingly pure. The added protection that each subsequent filter offers grants you extra piece of mind, especially when the water source you are filtering from is not great to start with. The downside to having multiple components and filters is that there are more things to break or lose.
The flow rate is very impressive and easy to increase with more pumps per minute. After putting the Survivor Filter Pro to the test by pumping it as fast as I can for 2 – 3 minutes, I have not seen any signs of weakness. The functional and innovative design includes a small cup which if it was made larger could possibly house the tubes and prefilter in one self-containing unit.
As for the level of filtration, it is unmatched in the industry and only bettered by industrial UV treatment, chemical treatment, or boiling water. Having looked briefly into the micron size of some different chemicals, metals, and even virus’s, I would definitely feel safer drinking through the Survivor Filter Pro as opposed to a lesser microfiltration level. At the end of the day, the Survivor Filter Pro is not 100% effective against all virus’s, but it gets closer than any other portable water filter has before. By quite a long way.
How much is it?
Survivor Filter money-back guarantees and lifetime warranty mean that if you don’t love your Survivor Filter Pro-LE, you can simply return it for a full refund.