I’m always looking for a better way to filter water in the bush, and I’ve tried it all. I started with iodine pills, bought various pumps, tried electronic filters, tried hanging filters, chemicals and boiling. I didn’t think that there was anything that I hadn’t tried until I saw Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter System. When offered, I jumped at the chance to review the filter and the Fast Fill Adapter for Hydration Packs, and I couldn’t believe my luck that it was offered just as I was about to buy one.
First, I’ll put my biases out there. I used to sell Sawyer’s products when I worked in retail, and I love their bug spray. The controlled released bug lotion is the best I’ve ever used and it lasts a long time. I’ve always like the way that Sawyer has innovated, so when I heard that they were doing a filter, I was onboard.
Unless it didn’t work as claimed…
The Sawyer Squeeze Filter is a simple idea. Take Sawyer’s hollow fiber membrane filters stuff them into a lightweight plastic cylinder that can connect to tubes, bottles or a push-pull cap. The system that I got came with three Platy-like flexible water bottle/bags, a replaceable pop-up drinking spout, a cleaning syringe and the PointONE™ Biological Filter, which has a removal rate of 0.10 micron absolute. To use it, you fill a bag up, connect it to the filter and then squeeze the bag. You can squeeze it directly into your mouth using the included push-pull cap or squeeze it into another container. When researching this product, I read several reviews about how the bags weren’t durable enough. I haven’t experienced this problem over the months of testing that I’ve done on it. My minor nitpick with the water bags are that they are hard to fill. Even in deep water, it’s hard to get a complete fill. A bag with a zip closure similar to Platypus’ Water Tank would be welcome.
The system itself is light. The filter with the push pull cap weighs 3.6 ounces, the Fast Fill Adapter weighs 1 ounce, the syringe is 1.4 ounces and the 64 ounce water bottle/bag is 1.4 ounces. All together it weighs 7.4 ounces. On a shorter trip, you could probably leave behind the syringe. If you don’t use a hydration pack, the total weight for a trip could be as low as 5 ounces. That’s about 6 ounces lighter than one of the lightest (and fastest) pump filters, the Katadyn Hiker.
Does it Work?
Yes. I love it so much that it has revolutionized the way that I filter water. I can’t imagine ever going back to pumping water, because the squeeze system is so easy to use. Fill the bag, squeeze and you have water. When the filter gets hard to squeeze, you backflush it. To backflush, use the included syringe and potable water to reverse the flow through the filter until clean. Sawyer claims that it will filter 1 million gallons, so this thing will effectively last forever for most people.
The Sawyer Squeeze Filter Gets Better
The filter gets better in a couple of ways. First, it can be used as a gravity filter just by connecting it to two water bags with a simple tube. The easiest way to do this is to buy the Sawyer Inline Hydration Pack Adapters and use those to hook up your bags. Hang one bag and it will gravity filter your water into the other bag. The other way it gets better is if you use a hydration pack, which I do. If you buy the inline adapters, then you can just splice the filter into your hose and suck. I found the flow rate with the filter slower than I was used to and slower than I wanted, so I was happier with the Fast Fill Hydration Pack Adapter.
Sawyer Fast Fill Hydration Pack Adapter
To use the Fast Fill Hydration Pack Adapter, you splice a quick connect system into your hydration pack and connect the fast fill adapter to the filter in place of the push pull cap. When you want to filter, you disconnect the two parts of the quick connect system and connect the fast fill adapter. Then you squeeze and fill up the hydration pack.
This worked well for me, because I was able to use my hydration pack as normal. The water in my hydration pack was potable and the flow rate was the same as I was used to. The only downside to the Fast Fill Hydration Pack Adapter is that you have to remove the fast fill adapter from the filter after each use because there’s no way to cover the output, which could result in cross-contamination. Cross-contamination happens when dirty water drips into clean water or comes in contact with the clean side of the filter. If Sawyer included an output cover, they would solve this small annoyance.
Overall, I highly recommend the Sawyer Squeeze Filter, and if you use a hydration pack, then the Fast Fill Hydration Pack Adapter is a must buy accessory. Get this filter, set it up as gravity filter, use it as a squeeze bag and revolutionize the way that you filter water.
Disclosure of Material Connection: PaddlingLight received a Sawyer Squeeze Filter and Fast Fill Hydration Pack Adapter for free from Sawyer Products as coordinated by Deep Creek PR an Outdoor Industry Public Relations Company.