MSR HyperFlow™ Microfilter: Behind the Gear

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MSR Category Director Chris Barchet answers a few questions about the design and performance of the MSR HyperFlow microfilter.

Who was the HyperFlow microfilter engineered for and why?

Today’s outdoor adventurers are going faster and farther. They need solutions that increase their speed and efficiency in the mountains. So the design goals of the HyperFlow were very simple: It needed to be light and it needed to be fast. Most pump filters weigh about a pound and produce around 1 liter of water per minute. The HyperFlow comes in under 8 ounces and delivers 3 liters of clean water per minute. It’s the lightest and fastest pump available. We engineered it for anyone who needs a reliable supply of clean water on adventures where weight or speed is a priority.

What makes the HyperFlow design unique in the wide landscape of filters?

Beyond its ultralight design, it uses hollow fiber technology to deliver water 3 times faster than most other filters. Also, the Quick-Connect cap makes a fast connection to any widemouth bottle, making it very versatile.

What exactly is hollow fiber technology?

Hollow fiber was developed in the medical industry to separate particles in blood and other fluids. It’s effective for water filtration because the fibers’ pore sizes can be controlled to allow water to pass through but not harmful microbes.

The filter consists of a bundle of these fibers. Each fiber looks more like a straw, with a hollow center. The walls of the fibers have those microscopic pores. Water enters the fiber and the force of the pump pushes it through the pores. The harmful microbes and particulates are trapped inside the fibers until the filter is backflushed. Read More →

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MSR Winter Backcountry Poles: Behind the Gear

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©Earl HarperMSR Senior Design Engineer Blake Andersen answers a few questions about the design and performance of MSR Backcountry Poles.

Who were MSR Backcountry Poles engineered for?

MSR Backcountry Poles are designed for winter backcountry travelers who want a high performance adjustable pole that won’t slip, and makes no compromises in weight, stability or ease of adjustment. That could be mountaineers, skiers, snowshoers, or splitboarders who rely on their poles for efficiency and safety through many types of terrain.

The inspiration came from our president who walks an impressive distance every day with poles. He recognized the need for lightweight, positive-locking poles that were easy to adjust. After finding the current offerings lacking, he asked me to come up with a better solution.

What were your design goals with the Backcountry Poles?

The primary driver for this line of poles was the refusal to compromise—in user experience and the poles’ reliability. The winter backcountry is an often unpredictable place and the last thing you want to worry about is whether you can trust your poles—your support tools. So we worked hard to make sure the solutions we created for the easy-adjusting locking mechanism didn’t compromise the performance, strength and durability of the poles. We focused on those areas because that’s where we saw user frustrations with others on the market.

What makes their locking design unique?

The SureLock System is different in that it doesn’t use a friction-based mechanism to fix the sections together, like a flip- or twist-lock. Instead, it employs a lockpin-and-hole design for “positive-locking performance.” In other words, your poles can’t slip. The length that you set them is the length that they will remain. When you put weight on them while bootpacking or crossing slick logs, they won’t collapse beneath you; you won’t get to camp and realize that one of your poles is an inch shorter than the other.

To refine the design, we made the pole shafts tri-lobe shaped so the sections wouldn’t rotate while you’re adjusting, allowing consistent alignment.

Why did you add a Trigger Release on certain models?

The Trigger Release is unique. It allows users to easily adjust the length of their poles on the fly—without really changing their hand position. It’s typical for a backcountry user to “choke up” on poles with each switchback, or to make them shorter on steep bootpacks or longer on the flats. But it would be impractical to stop and adjust poles that often. This seemed like a compromise to us. If the pole was so easy to adjust that the user didn’t have to stop or change hand position, it would be a game-changer. After countless brainstorms and prototypes, the Trigger Release system was finally born.

What materials make up the pole shafts?

The aluminum that we use for the pole shafts is a custom blended high-strength aluminum exclusively developed by our supplier. It has a higher yield strength than most “aircraft-grade” aluminum used by other companies.

What other unique design elements went into the poles?

If I had to pick a favorite design challenge, it would be the releasing strap. The idea that a user should be able to adjust their poles without compromising their hand position got us thinking about backcountry skiing. Typically, skiers take their hands out of their straps when they head into the trees. That sounded like a compromise. Skiers do it for safety: if a pole gets caught, it can yank you hard enough to cause injury.  If we could make the strap in such a way that it could never yank you hard enough to hurt you, you wouldn’t have to take your hands out of the straps. The releasable strap is the first step in the disassembly of your poles for maintenance—and allows you to ski without compromise.

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MSR Folding Utensils – Behind the Gear

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Product Manager Steve Grind answers a few questions about the design and performance of MSR’s Folding Utensils.

What is the advantage of a folding spoon, fork or spork?

Folding utensils are popular because they collapse into a much smaller configuration for packing, and often provide an overall longer utensil that is more suitable for use with pouch-cook meals. And utensil length is important if you’re a freeze dried food aficionado, assuming you’d prefer not to spend your after dinner time cleaning stroganoff from your knuckles. Some people prefer rigid utensils for their simplicity and ease of cleaning—and there are some good, long, single-piece utensils available. I tend to take folding utensils on most trips, though, since I can pack each color-coded utensil inside its matching mug, thereby keeping the kitchen kit more organized and easier to use. Read More →

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