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MSR Trail Base Gravity Water Filter System Review

MSR Trail Base
Brand and Model MSR Trail Base Gravity Water Filter System
Pros Versatile
Cons Heavy
Best Uses Hiking, General Outdoor

1MSR Tral Base Overview

The MSR Trail Base features high performances and includes a lot of the components needed – bladders and TrailShot Filter – to use gravity as water filter system. In deed, the Trail Base can filter 4L of water in 5 minutes.

It’s easy to use, versatile, effortless and time saver. In fact, the Trail Base lasts a long time before replacement. So, the Trail Base could be a nice choice as a gravity filter system regardless the weight.


Featuring 0.2-micron hollow fiber filter, The MSR Trail Base filter is effective against protozoa including Giardia and Cryptosporidium, but not viruses. As a result, it is a perfect option for North America backcountries, but you’ll face issues elsewhere especially in super turbid water.


The MSR Trail Base is a versatile filtration system, fast, and easy to use. The filling can be difficult in some water sources, but the flexibility of the bag provides easy way to scoop water. Moreover, the hand pump makes it super easy to grab water from hard to reach sources.


The MSR Trail Base Water Filter has a slow flow rate in gravity mode, but it filters water quite quickly and without a whole lot of effort. Besides, where the gravity filter is lined up, the speed of flow increases to get one liter of water in an average of 69 seconds (0.87 L/min), but still slower than the Platypus GravityWorks 4L (1.75 L/min).

5Weight and Packability

At 19.6 oz, the Trail Base isn’t top choice for a lightweight backpacking trip, but has far more uses. In reality, the MSR Trail Base is among the heaviest gravity filtration systems, heaviest than the Platypus GravityWorks 4L (11.5 oz). In terms of packability, the kit is quite packable, and the reservoirs both offer high storage capacity and versatility.

6Durability and Maintenance

As MSR claims, the Trail Base can be used with up to 1500 liters, which is the same for the Platypus GravityWorks 4L. About maintenance, the Trail Base filter is easy to backflush in the backcountry.

7Pros and Cons


  • Easy to use
  • Versatile

  • Heavy
  • Expensive


  • Weight: 19.6 oz.
  • Dimensions: 11 x 7 x 3
  • Filter Cartridge Life: 1500 Liters
  • Filter Media: Hollow Fiber
  • Flow Rate: 0.86 L/minute
  • Effective against Protozoa, Bacteria and Particulates
  • Ineffective against Chemicals/Toxins, Viruses
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