Msr Guardian Purifier Water Filter Review

MSR Guardian Purifier Review – Advanced Hollow Fiber Water Filtration

When it comes to the MSR Guardian Purifier, this essential piece of outdoor gear is truly the crème de la crème.

Yes, the price tag may be slightly intimidating for some, but when it comes to the MSR Guardian you really do get what you pay for.

As someone who invests in the best gear out possible, I can assure you that the MSR Guardian Purifier is worth every single penny and offers a ton of value for both beginners and experienced outdoorsmen alike. Now, I’ve had the opportunity to field test all sorts of water filters over the years, yet, none have left me as impressed as this one has.

Tested to military standards (NSF protocol P248), the MSR Guardian removes everything from viruses to bacteria, protozoa and sediment from “worst case” water. Thanks to a hollow fiber filter, there’s no need for chemicals, bulbs, batteries or waiting around in order to get viral protection from contaminated water sources.

With a 0.02 microns filter pore size, this purifier treats water exceptionally well, yet it does so in a manner that is extremely efficient. With an easy 4-pound pump force, each stroke produces 2.5 liters of clean, drinkable water per minute.

Before I dive into all of the details too quickly, go ahead and explore the unboxing first. Below, you’ll find my in-depth MSR Guardian Purifier review alongside field-testing and my impressions.


Quick Highlights:

Msr Guardian Purifier With Dirty Water Source

– Meets NSF protocol P248, military testing standard
– Removes viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and sediment from “worst-case” water conditions
– 4 pound pump force outputs a rapid 2.5 liters per minute
– Viral protection without the need for chemicals, bulbs, batteries, or waiting.
– Pump self-cleans on every stroke using 10% of water
– Hollow fiber cartridge treats up to 10,000+ liters
– Withstands heavy use, freezing, certain drops, and harsh environments.
– 0.02 microns filter pore size
– Field maintainable
– Water bottle adapter
– Available replacement MSR cartridges
– Weights 1lbs 1oz
– BPA free
– Cartridge life indicator


MSR Guardian Purifier Review

Msr Guardian Purifier Box Front

Msr Guardian Purifier Inside Box

Msr Guardian Purifier Tested To Military Standards

Msr Guardian Purifier Vs Microfilter

Msr Guardian Purifier Filters Lake Pond River And Stream Water

Military Grade Water Filter Msr Guardian Purifier Breakdown

Msr Guardian Purifier Advanced Hollow Fiber Membrane Details

Msr Guardian Purifier Inside Of Portable Storage Bag

Msr Guardian Purifier Top View

Msr Guardian Purifier Water Output Cover

Msr Guardian Purifier With Wrapped Hose For Storage

Clean Water Output Msr Guardian Purifier

Field Strip Msr Guardian Purifier Parts

Msr Guardian Purifier Adjustment Knob Pressure

Msr Guardian Purifier Floating Input Hose

Msr Guardian Purifier Front Of Filter

Msr Guardian Purifier Hollow Fiber Cartridge To Treat Water

Msr Guardian Purifier Instructions Manual

Msr Guardian Purifier Pre Filter Screen

Msr Guardian Purifier Pump Compressed

Msr Guardian Purifier Pump Open Uncompressed

Msr Guardian Purifier Removeable Advanced Hollow Fiber Filter Catridge

Msr Guardian Purifier Storage Bag Side

Nalgene Water Bottled Attached To Msr Guardian Purifier Bottom

Top View Msr Guardian Purifier Storage Bag With Zipper

While pumping, the MSR Guardian features a far more natural range of motion than the kind that I’ve experienced with other pump-style water filters. The handle is nice and long, making it easy to grab onto, while the base of the purifier is wide enough to let you grab on with a second hand. In terms of comfort and ease of use, the purifier isn’t awkward to hold or unstable to operate at all, in reality, it’s almost perfect.

In terms of operation, what I’ve also come to appreciate is the pump’s self-cleaning nature. Instead of having to back flush the pump, it automatically does all the cleaning for you by utilizing 10% of the water from every stroke.

Of course, MSR didn’t just stop there, instead, they made the Guardian purifier even easier to maintain. In just a few moments you can field service the entire purifier without needing any spare tools. Best of all, MSR replacement cartridges can be installed in pretty much the blink of an eye.


Msr Guardian Purifier Floating Output Hose In Dirty Creek Water

Msr Guardian Purifier Review Creek Water

Msr Guardian Purifier Pump Handle Closed

Msr Guardian Purifier Pump Handle Open

Testing Hollow Fiber Msr Guardian Purifier

Filtered Creek Water Nalgene Bottle Msr Guardian Purifier Review

Review Outdoor Field Test Msr Guardian Purifier

Water Filtration Testing Msr Guardian Purifier Creek

For the input water hose, MSR has included a foam end piece that floats on the top of the water to reduce sediment intake. While I personally like how MSR went about designing this, what I like even more is the hose length; it’s generous! I can literally throw this thing into any water source without having to risk falling in myself. On other water filters out there you really have to be on top of the water source in order to collect it.

When it comes to suction, the MSR Guardian is a master at sucking up water from even the shallowest of sources. The design profile really lets you extract as much water as possible regardless of the low depth.

For outputting the clean, treated water, the MSR Guardian has two solid options. The first is to use its water bottle adapter which is built onto the bottom of the purifier itself. To eliminate cross-contamination, there’s a red cap you can twist on or off to access this area. Should you not have a bottle handy, you can also hook up a hose to the barb in the middle of the purifier. For filling up virtually any container or bladder, the process is pain-free.


Contaminated Water Filteration With Msr Guardian Purifier Review

Treating Contaminated Water With Msr Guardian Purifier Outdoors

Msr Guardian Purifier Test Dirty Water

Removing Bacteria From Contaminated Water Msr Guardian Purifier Review

Msr Guardian Purifier Removes Viruses Bacteria Protozoa And Particulate Matter

Msr Guardian Purifier Review Pump Open Stroke

Review Msr Guardian Purifier Rapid Pump Closed

Self Cleaning Water Filter Msr Guardian Purifier

Msr Guardian Purifier Pumping Clean Water

Review Clean Filtered Water Msr Guardian Purifier

Results Crystal Clear Clean Filtered Water From Msr Guardian Purifier

While the design is primarily plastic, you might be glad to know that MSR has made the Guardian BPA free. Surprisingly, this purifier is as tough as nails and can really take a beating. Not only will it withstand certain drops and heavy use, but it also can handle freezing and harsh conditions like a champ.

At 1lbs 1oz some may consider this be on the heavier side, yet, it actually weighs close to the Katadyn pocket. For me personally, I don’t mind the weight in exchange for a piece of outdoor gear that I trust, not to mention, really enjoy using. When stored in the mesh zipper bag with the hose coiled around the base, the MSR Guardian has a rather compact profile. Sure, it takes up some space in my pack but it’s a reasonably small amount of space.

With that said, when it comes to treating water in the wild, the MSR Guardian is one of my all-time favorite pieces of gear.


MSR Guardian Military-Grade Water Purifier Pump for Backcountry, Global Travel, and Emergency Preparedness



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