MSR Trailshot

8.5 score
[Editors rating (8.5)] = (TheGearHunt) score (8.5)/10

Editor rating: 8.5 / 10
User's rating: based on 0 user ratings
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MSR Trailshot Review Facts

When you are out hunting, camping, or hiking, water is one of the most important things you can have as a necessity. What if you can’t carry enough water, or an emergency happens, and you don’t have the water supply for it? That’s where having a travel-along water filter system can truly come in handy.

There are a few of them out there, but the MSR Trailshot deserved extra attention and we knew you would like to be informed on this product. What exactly can or does it do? Well, we went into research mode to find out and bring you the best and worst aspects we could find so that when you consider your purchase you have all the information you need to make the best decision.

Editor's Pros & Cons

Storage area for water

Drink from the source

Easy to use

Cleaner/no contamination to self

Cleans on the trail

No setup

Great flow rate



No carbon filter


Many water filtration systems for on-the-go use do not keep you out of the water source, or even the nozzle. The scenes pictured look great, but when you actually think about what you are seeing you realize that the filtration can’t be that great and you can’t actually collect water using them because you’d end up getting unfiltered water in your bottle or water bag. This particular model eliminates that kind of contamination.

You don’t need to get right up into the water because the filter actually has a tube you run out away from the spout and into the water. This means you, including your hands, and the spout remains free of contamination from the source of the water you are collecting. It also means you can actually collect the water into something like a bottle or water bag to take with you as you move away from the source.

This feature alone makes this water filter a great way and one of the safest ways to collect water while out in the wild. You are ready for everything, and it cleans easily to as we will point out later in the article.


Most of the accessories offered for this particular model are important replacement parts. You can replace everything including the filter, hose, attachment points, caps, and even the ceramic fillings. As additional supplies, you can get testing strips, bottles, maintenance kits, silt filters, prefilters, brushes, and a community chlorine maker kit to take out the bacterial and viral issues a water supply might have.

Having extra supplies to replace or clean your filtration system or Camelbak is always a good plan. If you are already trying to be prepared for running out of the water or being able to simply get your water from natural sources, taking the extra step to keep that system going may make an even bigger difference should an emergency arise. Having a water bladder or bottle to fill up as well is never a bad thing either, just in case staying near your water source is not an option.


This is honestly one of the best designs on the market from what owners have discussed. As mentioned earlier, many other water filter systems can place you in the source for your water, and if you are trying to filter your water, this is contradictive to its purpose. To point an example: sticking your hands into boiling water with ice cubes in your fists is not going to stop you from getting burned.

This system keeps you out of the wands you are trying to get clean so you can drink it so that neither you nor the nozzle ends up simply getting the dirty water on you. This means your hands won’t contaminate what you are drinking, nor will the nozzle of your drinking filter. It’s also extremely easy to use.

Ease of Use

This comes with an easily used hand pump and a long tube that extends out to the water source. A few squeezes and the water is drawn up and through the filters to the nozzle where you can either choose to drink directly from the filter or pump it into the purifying container of your choice. Some feel that the tube still could be a little longer, but when one considers the speed of a hand pump and the pressure required to pull the water to where it can be used it might not be very feasible.

The filters are inside the main hand pump, so you do not have to do anything beyond pump it to get it working. There is no need for electricity of any source, not even batteries. It can’t really get much easier to run a water filtering system, especially when it comes to getting it while on the go. It’s also easy to clean up or fix.

The supplies for replacing anything that gets broken or too dirty to clean are easily purchased and taking it apart to get it all fixed up is as simple as spin and click parts, so you can even work with that aspect without a lot of effort. Reading the manual as well as looking up videos will easily have you prepared for working with every part of this filter.


Surprisingly, this water filter system is very durable when handled right and cared for properly. In fact, many have found that it lasts years and doesn’t require much upkeep at all, just a little cleaning and an occasional filter change, all of which are simple enough things to see to. Because it is so easy to use and stays free of contamination, for the most part, there is very little to actually cause damage.

The filters are both easy to replace and easy to clean which means you won’t have to worry about not being able to take care of everything. Since it can be as easily cleaned on the go as it can be used, this makes for a much longer-lasting and much more reliable water filter to take with you. Plus, it can be used to store water as well which means you won’t need to put it through as much either!


There are two ways you could really look at this awesome little filter system when it comes to its capacity. One way is in how much it can filter in a short amount of time, and another is in how much it can store. While the latter depends on what size of the container you choose as much as the filter itself, the former is a concern for anyone wanting to use this as their main source of hydration.

The filter itself can pump safely at 1 liter a minute, which is actually a truly decent amount of water to be filtering so quickly. It can be drunk from directly and therefore allows you quick and easy hydration on the trail. The only downside is that we could not find how or if it can store water within itself.

The fact is, however, that it can easily be paired with other water storage devices and can easily fill a water hydration pack. This means you may have to buy a separate storage container, but you don’t have to be picky about what container you purchase.


The use of this item is actually pretty easy, whether you are cleaning it, filling a container, or drinking directly from the spout. You set the hose into the water source, and you pump it with your hand. The water travels up the hose from the water source and into the hose, passing through filters before coming out of the spigot.

Since the pump itself, as well as the user, never has to touch the water source it is safe to drink directly from as the water comes out the spigot. It’s like having your very own pocket water fountain and it can be used wherever there is a clean enough water source. Of course, it only has certain types of filters.

This should not be used in any source that is discolored or contaminants such as chemicals, harsher bacteria or viruses that are known to be in the area. It’s filters mainly seem to stop sediment and larger contaminants. It does stop some water-born bacteria but like most water filter systems, it has limits.

Another thing that should be noted is that it is meant to be used in freshwater only. This particular water filter cannot remove the salt from saltwater resources, and therefore should not be used in such a water source to try and attain clean drinking water.


For cleaning on the go, this little device has a pretty simple set of instructions. You simply get water up into the top area, shake it around and then undo the cap and pour it out. You’ll need to take it apart, however, to rinse off the filter that sits right before the hose, which can get clogged if you take from a lot of sources with sediment in them and don’t rinse it out.

Of course, the filter needs a thorough cleaning when it can be accomplished, either between trips or if you can find a clean water source. The instruction manual actually tells the user to make sure they clean the filter cartridge every 8 liters of water it is used to pump. You pump it till it is half full, shake for 20 seconds, remove the hose, squeeze till all of the water is out and reconnect the hose.

The pre-filter is as simple as swirling water until you dislodge whatever is clogging it and dump. Most of this can be done on the trail, but sterilizing the filters is a bit harder to do and requires that you actually have a sterilization kit, or at least the proper cleaning tools and chemicals. The biggest no-no for this particular model is to never put it in a dishwasher to attempt to clean it.

Not only is it not safe to clean the bottle in a dishwasher, but you could actually cause parts of it to melt since the whole thing is made of softer plastics and rubbers.

Pay close attention to the instructions on how to replace filters and when as well. Cleaning anything that has a filter can only keep the water you get from it clean enough to drink for so long, then it will need to be replaced. This is a good reason to bring along those extra parts we mentioned earlier.


There have been no complaints on performance, and that is for certain. Many water filters make bigger claims than they can follow through with, and thankfully this particular one doesn’t try to lay claim to the impossible. The selling points are based on the possible and so you can rely on what it says it can do.

It is very easy to use, and it even has instructions to test on the filter to assure it will work as can be expected right in the user’s manual. It also warns you where this filter will not be useful in attaining safe drinking water right off the bat. It can clean natural resource water but won’t stop problems in chemically treated/contaminated water nor stop microorganisms which can cause more harmful side effects to the body.

When used properly this tool can and does get you clean water on the go, and all of its users have been happy with the ease f the hand pump as well as the water they have gotten from it.

Key Features

-Hose to prevent contamination
-Easy to clean
-Easy to use
-Easy to replace parts/filters

Bottom Line

If you want something that will keep you hydrated on-the-go and want to have less of a risk of contamination, this is definitely one of the best on the market currently to give you such. It is easy to use, clean and fix even while on the trail making it one of the number one water filtration devices out there. Of course, if you need something that will clean water even better you may want to look into something else that has the ability to clean out chemicals and viruses out, which is likely to be heavier as well as harder to use.