Filthy Water, Clean Filter

Last summer I set out on an insane solo backcountry adventure. After renting a kayak from MEC and then setting off to a small provincial park north of Kingston, ON; I was completely on my own. No family members to help me. No friends to join me in the adventure. Just me, the water and the haunting calls of the common loon.

To the passerby, that solo would be nothing special, except that I had never done a solo, a backcountry or kayak trip before. I checked off all three on the life achievement list in one fell swoop. I could add kayaking by moonlight on a calm-as-glass lake, but that’d be pushing it.

One of the biggest pieces of equipment that helped me get through that weekend, was an MSR Miniworks EX. I didn’t know what to expect from this device, except that I had heard it does a good job. Thanks to a 37mm threading on the output, I found it worked well with wide mouth Nalgenes (and eventually similar other water bottles). It kept me hydrated through that weekend. Being a cautious one, I had opted for a dry top to kayak with. Staying hydrated was a huge plus as I had sweat like crazy in that jacket.

Naturally, after relying on that water filter so much, I decided that I had to get one. Somewhere along the way, I would end up acquiring a second one. The second one had been used, but not much. It was just in need of a little bit of maintenance.

That’s when I opened the manual and began reading. I’m not sure if many are aware that it requires maintenance beyond the initial pump and purge. To keep it working optimally, you need to occasionally give it a wipe, and every so often, bring it to the kitchen for a soak and boiling.

This is a fairly easy thing to do, but it has its cavaets.
1) it requires patience
2) it requires a pot you don’t care about or,
3) can waste time scrubbing clean

All you need to do this spot of maintenance is time, patience and possibly an SOS scrubbing pad.


Step 1 – get Miniworks EX out for cleaning


2 – remove pump


3 – remove bottom cap


4a) pump removed, filter looks like so from the top


4a) bottom of filter


5) push from bottom, to eject filter


6) remove filter red O-ring


6a) Miniworks dissassembled


7) prepare large pot, fill with water to cover miniworks


8) set to high (to boil)


9) Bring to boil, boil for 5min. Allow water and filter to return to cool temperature


10) Break out the SOS scrubber, because you just ruined your pot!

And there you have it. After the boil is done, set the filter aside on the counter to dry out. This will take 3-5 days.

The turnaround time on this maintenance was about 1hour for dissassembly, boil and cool down. While you’re waiting for the filter to dry out, you can reassemble the rest of the pump. Don’t forget to put the red rubber O-ring back on the filter. After the filter dries out, you can push it back into the body and put it back in storage.


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