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MSR TrailShot Water Filter Review

MSR TrailShot Water Filter
Brand and Model MSR TrailShot Water Filter
Pros Versatile and Quick Deploy
Cons Hands get tired
Best Uses Day Hiking, General Outdoor

1TrailShot Water Filter Overview

The MSR TrailShot Water Filter is small and simple portable water filter. Like the LifeStraw, the TrailShot allows you drink directly from natural water sources like creeks, rivers or ponds with the confidence that the water has been safely treated.

It is a hand pump filter appropriate for trail runners as well as for ultralight backpackers. In the coming lines, we list the TrailShot Water Filter features and performances like effectiveness, capacity, weight etc.


The MSR TrailShot features hollow-fiber technology with 0.2 micron filter. As a result, the TrailShot protects you from protozoa and bacteria like cryptosporidium, giardia and particulates common in the backcountry of the US and Canada.

In contrast, the TrailShot does not protect you from viruses. So, if you are hiking on some areas where the water sources may contain harmful viruses, you’ll need to carry additional water purification tablets.


This water filter device is quite versatile and easy to use. In fact, you can drink directly from the source via the long and skinny tube. Also, you can fill up your water bottle which is not available in LifeStraw.

Simply place the bottom of the plastic hose into water and squeeze the soft pump by your fingers. Here, the water will pull through the filter to the water chamber.

4Treatment Capacity

In terms of treatment capacity and storing, the TrailShot allows filling up other vessels, but it is not as fast as a gravity filter system like the Platypus GravityWorks 4L which can filter up to four liters of water within five minutes. The main difference between the TrailShot and any other gravity filter is that the effort you should do for every one liter of clean water. Whereas, the Platypus GravityWorks, for example, you need only to wait.


The TrailShot has a flow rate of 1 liter per minute which is great, if you keep squeezing your hand quickly without tiring. But, in reality, the progress will get slower after each liter as your hands tire. While you’re squeezing your hand, you may think having a much smaller quantity of water, but when you start filling a bottle it goes fast. So, you can get back on the trail quickly.

6Weight and Packability

At just 5 oz., the TrailShot water filter is easy to hide in stash pockets or in any side pouches of your backpack. Really, it is a very light and compact device better than other heavy pump water filter system.

7Durability and Maintenance

In terms of durability, The MSR TrailShot treats up to 2000 liters, before needing to be replaced, which is pretty great for something so small like the TrailShot — the LifeStraw have a cartridge life of 1000 liters.

It is easily cleaned without any need for tools or chemicals. To clean the filter inside the squeeze bulb, pump it full of water and shake it hardly. Then remove the tube and let the water pour out.

8Pros and Cons


  • Versatile
  • Easy to use

  • Hands get tired


  • Weight: 5 oz.
  • Filter Pore Size: 0.2 microns
  • Filter Media: Hollow Fiber
  • Flow Rate: 1 L/minute
  • Cartridge Life: 2000 Liters
  • Effective against Protozoa, Bacteria and Particulates
  • Ineffective against Chemicals/Toxins, Viruses


The MSR TrailShot is lightweight and easy to use but it is slightly lower in the treatment capacity and speed. Besides, it requires strength hand to get your water bottle filled.

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