One 5-day trip around Apache Lake and my Hiker was barely taxed. I was able to use that same element on a number of trips and was months later before I bought a replacement filter.
BUT, one weekend on Sahuaro Lake did the job. Although I chose the cleanest water and prefiltered it, after two days, the filter was done! Stuff I could not see had clogged my filter even through my prefilter system. I suppose that had I not used the prefilter, the filter would have clogged the first day which made me glad I used the prefilter and the water filter!
The point here is that sometimes, muck you cannot see will clog your filter on some lakes so use a filter system and always prefilter your water. This applies to any and all water filters.
The next weekend I did another overnighter on Lake Pleasant for an Eagle Watch trip so epoxied the valve on but that failed in the field so I resorted to my back-up filter. When I returned home, I found the new body in my mailbox. NO CHARGE!
You have to LOVE a company that puts so much effort into that kind of customer service.
NOTE: when iread other reviews for the Katadyn, all complain about the filter clogging. Yet, when I re-read the reviews carefully, it is clear that the owner is trying to filter mud! So long as I try to filter clear water I have no problem and if I cannot find clear water, I pour dirty water through a coffee filter into a bucket into which I put my intake tube and have never had any problem.
Would I recommend the Katadyn to everyone? YES!
Would I buy another? I did! I now own two Katadyn Hikers so I will always have a back-up or a loaner.
Normally, I carry a gallon of water in my boat for day trips (two gallons for summer paddling) but this time we planned a 3-day campout. About halfway to the campsite, Joann fell apart so I took from her 45# of her drinking water, then an hour later, another 15# of her water. Thus lightening her boat but overloading mine. THAT is when I decided to test my Katadyn.
I found a clear place on the lake, poured water through a handkerchief to filter most of the gunk (why stress the katadyn filter?) then tossed the filter that comes with the filter into the 'clean' bucket and pumped water into my drinking bottle. I then refilled my 'clean' bucket as needed.
The filter was simple to use, easy to use, filled my drinking bottle within seconds and I never got sick. One suggestion though... it is important to NEVER switch the intake with the out-flo hoses. So as soon as I got home, I took my sharpie and wrote on both ends of both hoses "intake" and "outflo" so I would never mix them up. I figure that a combination of this plus a UV Steripen would be the best solution to the problem of drinking water.