User Review: Sawyer Complete Water Filtration System 2 Liter
Price Paid: Free sample from Sawyer
Alright, I'll preface this by saying that I work for Bass Pro Shops and was given this filter (and a replacement filter) for free by a representative from Sawyer. Basically, he played this filter up to saying nothing short of the work of God himself. Basically, the claim he made that seemed so outrageous to me was that the filter got practically everything out of the water, and that it was guaranteed to last a ONE MILLION GALLONS.
I was pretty skeptical that it would live up to the reputation he put up before me and in seeing that, he gave me one to use myself for free so that I'd have personal experience and be able to give any asking customers a little more in depth information. Anywho, without further ado, here we go:
When opening the box, you get a few different pieces:
1. greywater/nonpotable bladder
2. clean/potable bladder
4.clean water line
5. nite-ize s biner with a nylon strap
6. grey water line
7. faucet hookup thingy (<-- definitely technical jargon)
(mine also came with a second filter, which I believe was an accident but I'm not complaining.)
HOW IT WORKS
Basically, the filter is just a good ol' gravity feeding one, so it's naturally not going to move the two liters in a minute.
You put your nasty water into the grey bladder. Using the quick-link system (Katadyn makes replacements and they're compatible with all the newer Camelbak brand antidote bladders) you hook the filter directly to the grey bag (grey side of the filter to the grey bag obviously), hook the filter to the tube and then the tube to the blue bladder and after a good 5-30 minutes (has varied based on water quality) you'll have clean, fresh-tasting water in the blue bladder.
There's apparently a network of hollow fibers inside the filter that let the water pass through but little else, (including dirt, which I'll get to in the test section down there.)
Couple of things: the bladders are of very high quality. They aren't plastic-y or rubbery feeling at all. They feel like water repellent nylon or canvas, which was strange to me. Also, with 10 seconds of work and $8 you can make it so it will gravity feed clean water directly into your hydration carrier (which I thought was very convenient).
So the representative told me that I could grab water from literally anywhere and it would render it safe to drink. Naturally, not wanting to die, I decided to try from a pool of sources before trying anything out in any of the rivers around here (Missouri, Little Sioux, Boyer).
The first one that I tried out was just some of the water from a standing horse tank. For those of you who don't know, what I'm referring to is just a large aluminum or tin water tank that is used to water livestock. This water was just a weebit murky and had some mosquito larvae in it.
After putting a few cups in the bladder and letting it go through the filter (maybe 16oz in about... 2 minutes?), I was greeted on the blue bag end with clean, non-murky, fresh clean tasting water. The verdict of this first test? Success!
Okay, so maybe I'm easily impressed. It was only stock water after all. Definitely not something I'd be drinking out of, but the first was alright, so feeling a little bit easier about it, I decided to try water from a farm pond.
Again, just got about a half liter of water into the grey bag and after a few minutes I was again, met with clean nice water. This was water you couldn't see more than maybe... 3 feet down into. A little bit murkier than the horse tank and it definitely had all sorts of critters in it. I was pretty darn impressed with it still. Again, success!
Feeling brave, I finally took it out to a river. I'm not stupid, so definitely not the Missouri, so instead I decided to go to the river that runs right along my property: The Boyer. Here's where things got a little bit more interesting. The Boyer River is pretty murky. It's fed by all the farms and feeds all the irrigation ditches in the area. Its only about five feet deep where I pulled the water out, but even so you can shine a spotlight into the water and still not be able to see more than a foot.
So long story short, this water is nasty, full of dirt and mud, obviously full of little critters you can't see, and its pretty much in no way, shape, or form fit for human consumption in any capacity. I filled the grey bladder up to the top with this stuff just to see how well this would do.
After about ten minutes of flowing, I noticed that the flow of water was slowly diminishing. All the dirt was clogging my filter and if you've ever been on trail and had a filter clog, you know that it absolutely sucks to have to take it all apart and clean it out to start going again. After about 15 minutes, the flow had turned into a puny little trickle.
Was I worried? Not at all. Here's the kicker and something I didn't mention above. The reason these are guaranteed to a million gallons is the fact that you can wash them out extremely easily. How do you do that? Literally, all you have to do with this one is take the blue bag, flip it over so it's feeding the opposite way, and squeeze some of your clean water back through and after a few seconds a little gross clog of disgusting stuff that was clogging your filter shoots back into the grey bladder and the waterflow resumes at it's full pace again, shooting a stream of clear water bag in.
After letting it sit for 30ish minutes and backwashing this twice. I got the water I was expecting to get and it was refreshing and clear, from a disgusting source. That faucet hookup is to clean it when you're done by shooting water back through it in the same way.
If you can find this filter in a store ANYWHERE, buy it if it's under $120 on the spot. I have called a lot of the other stores to see if anyone in this area carries them and no one seems to. I had to order a second one for my family and the only places I could find them were on Ebay and on Amazon. To get one of these is seriously a no-brainer whether it be for hiking/camping in an area where the water is questionable, or even for just emergency preparedness in your home. Buy it.
- Worked great for terrible quality water
- Down to .1 micron filtering, MSR is down to .2 and Katadyn is usually .3
- Great value for the price (usually about $89-$120 if you can find it)
- Guaranteed TO, not up to, but TO 1 Muillion gallons by Sawyer, Inc.
- Can be hard to find one to purchase
- Was hard to find a case that I was satisfied to carry it in, but that's my own problem.
In short: Buy this. You won't be disappointed.