Sawyer Squeeze Filter
Source: bought it new
The Sawyer Squeeze filter system is a lightweight and effective alternative to traditional pump filters. It works well for long distance hikers or anyone wanting to reduce their pack weight and traveling in areas where filtering is desired (and sufficient).
While caution is required to avoid contaminating clean containers, it has worked well for me on several one to four-night trips as well as a 30-day trip in the Sierra Nevada of California. I recommend this system for those taking similar trips.
- Lightweight compared to pump filters
- Compact compared to pump filters
- Quick operation
- Bags have a short lifespan and are subject to leaking and breakage
- Practically speaking, the system requires an additional container to fill the bags under some conditions
- Unresponsive Customer Support
This review covers my experience with the Sawyer Squeeze filtration system, and does not cover the larger topic of of water treatment. For a thorough study of that topic I refer you to an excellent four-part series by Bill S.
Years ago in the White Mountains of New Hampshire I drank freely from creeks and lakes while hiking and backpacking. Many people still do that in some areas including the Sierra Nevada where I do most of my hiking now. However given the risks involved with the seemly ever-increasing backcountry usage and potential contamination of water sources, I choose to be safe & filter my water.
Up until recently I used an MSR Miniworks. It weighs in at roughly a pound, and it works well in its own right. However I always found it heavy and bulky in my pack, and it seemed like it took forever to pump a liter of water.
About a year ago while preparing for a 30-day John Muir Trail through-hike, I learned of the Sawyer Squeeze system. It is advertised as having a field weight of 3 ounces and taking "virtually no space in your bag". While these claims don't exactly match my experience, they come pretty close.
In reality, when factoring in spare bags, the cleaning syringe, and water inside the filter on the trail, the whole kit weighs in at about 7.25 ounces. The filter itself weighs 3.65 oz (wet). Each 2L bag weighs 1.1 oz including its plastic cap. If one chooses to omit the extra bags and syringe, they could get close to the advertised weight and size. With everything below included, it fits nicely in a bag measuring approximately 9" x 6" x 2" (though rolling the bags around the filter might be more efficient, the flatter form factor fits well in the back pocket on my pack).
The Sawyer Squeeze consists of a small tubular filter in a plastic enclosure, and one or more heavy plastic bags used to hold the unfiltered water. They are sold in multiple packaging configurations including various combinations of bags and adapters (for attaching the filter to various kinds of containers). It also includes a plastic syringe used to backwash the filter (using clean filtered water!) to push out contaminants which may clog it, and a spare washer for the filter.
The kit I carry includes the following:
- the filter
- three 2L bags
- the syringe
- a spare washer for the filter
- a spare bag cap
- a lightweight bag to hold everything
I have used this system in a variety of water sources ranging from minuscule slow-moving creeks, to larger fast-moving creeks, to small lakes (all of which were in the Sierra Nevada and Trinity Alps of California). While some users suggest pre-filtering the water using a bandana or other means, I haven't found it necessary. This may be beneficial if filtering from murky water.
With the exception of a second or two of cloudy water at the beginning of each filtering session (which I assume has to do with something in the filter accumulating in the water between uses) the water comes out clean and clear. The system adds no taste to the water as one would get with a treatment system (as opposed to a filter system like this one).
The filter is advertised to provide "0.1 absolute micron biological filtration, removing 7 log (99.99999%) of all bacteria...". I don't have any way to validate these claims.
Speed & Efficiency, Ease of Use
Compared to my old Miniworks, I subjectively find the Squeeze to be very quick (I haven't actually timed the Miniworks). The actual speed of filtration does vary depending on how long you've been out on the trail using it without a backwash session, as well as the state of the water being filtered, and of course how hard you squeeze the bags.
With my usage in the Sierra, I find it helpful to backfush the filter every few days. It could go longer, but I get spoiled by the quick operation of the system when it's clean. When it is freshly backwashed, it takes me about 40 seconds to fill a 1 liter bottle using city tap water. That is achieved by using two hands to hold a 2L bag and squeezing with what I consider to be moderate pressure.
One concern with this system is around filling the bags with water to be filtered. If you're lucky, you're in a spot where there's falling water — like a small waterfall, a creek on a steep slope, a creek with water rushing between large rocks, etc. The bags fill very easily under these conditions. However if you are someplace where the water is either moving slowly (like a small shallow creek) or if it's still - either a large slow river or a lake - the bags would be very difficult to fill.
For this reason I carry a 1.5L SmartWater bottle as an accessory to the Sawyer system. I've been able to fill this bottle under all conditions I've encountered (though even this can be challenging in a tiny creek). I then stand up the bags and fill them with water from the bottle. This approach has the added benefit of giving me a 1.5L supply of unfiltered water at my campsite for washing (and I've used it to put out the remains of campfires others had left unattended when breaking camp). One should just be careful to wipe any spilled water from the outside of the bag before using the filter near a clean container (to avoid dripping into the container).
There is one feature I wished for on several occasions. It seemed like if there was a way to hang the bags, then it could also be used as a gravity driven filtration system. Perhaps some strong grommets at the bottom of the bags would enable this. This isn't a big issue, though, since the filter works quickly anyway. It would just be useful to enable filtering of the last remaining water from each bag (more on this later).
The bags come in .5L, 1L, and 2L sizes. I find the 2L size about right for my usage. There's a certain amount of water you can't reasonably use from each bag since Sawyer recommends that users not wring the bags, but instead just squeeze them. I haven't tried the smaller bags so I can't comment on them.
Since I carry three of the 2L bags, I can fill them all once when I first set up camp, and that's enough water for my dinner and breakfast, as well as to top off the water bladder in my pack — so I only make one trip to the water source. This enables me to avoid trampling water-side vegetation, and minimizes time spent at the water where insects tend to swarm.
Construction & Durability
So far I've used this system for roughly 40 days of backpacking. The filter itself hasn't shown any signs of deterioration.
The bags, however, are a concern. I've had 2 bags spring leaks near the top where the plastic spout attaches. One bag broke, but only because I dropped it while it was full. I try to treat the bags with the utmost of care, since a broken (or leaking) bag could contaminate a clean container (like a water bladder) that would be difficult at best to clean again in the backcountry.
While on my 30 day trip I had 5 stops to re-supply. I had shipped a new spare bag in each re-supply, so at each stop I cycled out and discarded one of the old bags. As a result I only had one minor leak during the trip. I did have a more major leak on a later trip.
As mentioned previously (but worth repeating), Sawyer does recommend that users only squeeze the bags and that they avoid wringing them. Apparently the wringing action is more likely than squeezing to cause bag breakage.
The bottom line is if you're careful (don't drop the bags, don't wring them, don't hold them by the spout when they're full, roll/fold them carefully) they should last for numerous filter sessions. Sawyer advertises them to be "re-usable hundreds of times". In my use I don't find that to be an accurate statement, and I consider them disposable. I do also suggest being very careful when filtering into difficult-to-clean containers. I have seen accounts from others of bags actually bursting in use (even when new). Fortunately I have not experienced this (yet?).
Some users report using alternatives to the Sawyer bags. Apparently some types of Platypus bags will work. I have not tried any of these so can't comment on them.
One final comment I will add is in regards to Sawyer customer support. I had some questions about the system after I bought it. I sent an email to the listed support address and there was no response. I find this unacceptable and this is reflected in my rating of the item.
In spite of the concerns mentioned, I have had mostly good experience with the Sawyer Squeeze filter system, and still rate it highly. I do recommend it for others looking for a lightweight and compact system to filter water.
Here's the filter itself:
Filter attached to a full 2L bag (1L Nalgene bottle for scale)
Here's the kit all packed up and ready to go. The Nalgene bottle just happens to be on the scale.
If all backpacking equipment could be simplified and lightened with the excellent results Sawyer has achieved with the filter itself, people could "float" down the trail. The bag failure is the only reason I scored it down.
- Quick to use
- No moving parts
- Easy care
- The bags are not durable
- Bags prone to failure
- Bags are hard to use
I got around the fill problem by using a plastic water bottle that fit the threads. The bottle was much more controllable, including not suffering from floppage and slippage when trying to fill other vessels.
I also figured out right away to keep my water filter clean, and keep water out of my pack from leakage, I just blew the water out from the clean side. It helped to "backwash" the filter, and left little water to drip.
A bit of advice I got was in very cold temps to be sure to toss the filter into your sleeping bag, and to keep the filter from freezing so it doesn't split it open.
Good flavored water. Take all of the typical precautions of keeping the water filter clean (prefiltering murky water, letting the water settle, and use a dip cup to fill the bag or bottle to filter) and the filter should give you years of good service.
I used this for a party of four on Mt. Rainer, and found it to be adequate to handle our water needs.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: bought at retail from REI
Good water flow, probably the best of all the many water filters I have used. I filtered 6 liters of water, every day for about 15 days. With other filter devices, I would filter for immediate needs, and use pills to treat most of the water (about 4 liters). It takes some patience tp filter that amount of water, but faster than anything else. It takes some care to avoid getting wet while using.
- Takes more strength to squeeze than expected
- Soft bag, so requires a cup to fill in still water or small sources
- I've heard that squeeze bag will leak, but no problem in 15 days
It is a soft bag, similar to a Platypus. I used only the 2 liter size though they included smaller sized. Fast enough to filter 6 liters in about 20 to 30 minutes. You have to fill the bag. In still water, the soft bag collapses. I cut off the bottom of a 20 oz. Coke or Pepsi bottle and use that to fill when I don't have a small waterfall to fill it.
Easy to use, but the squeezing takes more strength than expected. Since you are either dipping bag in stream, or filling by pouring in water, bag external is wet, and it requires some care to avoid getting your legs wet when filling your own water bottles.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $51.70
I don't know why you would use a pump filter anymore with how easy Sawyer has made this process.
- Fast and simple
- Bag failure is an option
I've used various pump filters on multi-day backpacking trips, I was always looking for the next lightest/easiest to use filter when this Sawyer filter started gaining popularity. For the price it was a no brainer to pick up and give a shot.
WOW am I glad I did. This is easily my favorite bang for the buck item.
Flow rate is excellent, I've yet to have any clogging or slow flow issues after 60+ days of use for 2-3 people.
It's super fast to setup and produce clean water. Fill a bag full of water, screw it to the filter and turn it upside down.
One of my favorite features of the bag/filter design is that it makes it so easy to fill up a bladder or two and actually filter the water away from the water source if it's more convenient (in mosquito land it typically is).
My only complaint/issue and reason I didn't give 5 stars was for the potential for the bags provided to fail. If you don't have a bag (or back up 20oz soda bottle) you're in trouble. I eventually had a bag failure on my original (first run) Sawyer bag...I've since upgraded to the new (stronger) bags so we'll see how it holds out. The good news is that 20oz soda bottles fit the filter perfectly so worst case scenario you use one of those, I brought one along on my trips as a backup.
In summary, an incredible piece of equipment.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $49
Great filter, Works fast and with the million gallon guarantee I look forward to not buying another filter again! The bags seem cheap but I have yet to have one break on me. I also like that it can attach to a standard bottle.
- Quick filtering
- Long life
- Easy use
- Seemingly cheap bags
This is a great water filter. I have used it a few times the last six months and it has yet to fail me. I love the lifespan of this filter! 0.1Micron filtration so it filters pretty much everything! The bags are foiley and seem hard to use but I don't have any leaks as of yet.
It's got the speed of the pump and the ease of a gravity filter. Not to mention you can use it as a gravity filter with a little bit of ingenuity.
I would recommend this to my friends and family.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $46
The Sawyer PointOne Squeeze Water Filter System is taking the hiking world by storm as more and more hikers are beginning to realize that for potentially the first time ever, a hollow fiber membrane filter has been developed that offers an excellent weight level and a 1.0 Micron Absolute filter. It has faults with the bags, and the attachment points do not play nice with most other popular bags, so I removed one star for those two issue.
- 63.25 grams / 2.231 ounces!
- 1.0 Micron Absolute!
- Indestructible (unless you let it get frozen)
- The attachment points use an off-sized threading make it hard to use other popular water bags
- Many people have discovered that the included bags are not very durable
- Cannot buy just the filter — they force you to buy the bags
A lot of hikers place a lot of value in making sure that their water is filtered, and rightly so.
I have gone through a lot of different water filters, like most of us have I suspect, trying to find one that works for me. Forget trying to find “that perfect one”… these days I just try to find one that makes me happy and feel safe and does not weigh a lot.
I have bought the Sawyer Three-way filter, but it was way bigger than what I expected it to be and thus it never made it into my backpack. Plus I almost never drink directly from a storage bag and I am just not a fan of the whole gravity system. Nothing against those methods, I just do not care to go down those roads, done them both and just do not like either of them.
I have bought the SteriPen Adventurer Opti and really do love it. It has never failed me, something I hear happens to people here and there. It is also something that I do not have to worry about freezing in sub freezing conditions. If you have ever woken up and realized that your standard membrane filter is frozen and totally unusable, you know what I mean. Yes it requires batteries, but I do not care about that. It is really no different from carrying fuel for your stove, its just a necessary part of your overall total backpack weight.
Awhile back Sawyer released their “Sawyer PointOne Squeeze Water Filter System” which at first I neglected to take a close look at, but here a few weeks ago I came across it again and took a serious look at its technical specs and it jumped out at me as something that could be the finest – and lightest weight – membrane filter system available for hikers.
Filter Weight: 63.25 grams / 2.231 ounces (filter by itself without cap nor blue instructions label)
Cap Weight: 5.78 grams / 0.204 ounces (would be completely unnecessary if all you plan to do is filter water and than store the filter in a bag)
Filter Weight After Use: 82.26 grams / 2.90 ounces (filter by itself without cap nor blue instructions label, shaken and blown out as best as I can)
2 Liter Bag: 29.42 grams / 1.03 ounces (compare that to 36 grams / 1.269 for a standard 2 liter Platy bag)
1 Liter Bag: 22.4 grams / 0.79 ounces
0.5 Liter Bag: 17.98 grams / 0.63 ounces (I personally feel this size is pretty much worthless for any long distance hiker – but this could be very sweet for trail and endurance runners or a quick XUL overnight hike)
It takes me exactly 1 minute and 10 seconds to filter a full 2 liter bag.
This is without the white bottle cap on the outlet. With the white bottle cap on the filter it takes me 1 minute and 50 seconds. As I do not carry the white bottle cap it does not make any difference to me. But still, under two minutes to treat two liters of water, that is pretty much untouchable by any other method out there.
Compare this to the SteriPen Adventurer Opti which takes takes three minutes to filter 2 liters of water.
Compare that to hours and hours for tablets and liquid chemicals. Read a great discussion talking about these two types of treatments.
How I Use It:
I typically carry no more than three liters of water, however some times a fourth liter of water just becomes necessary. That is maximum water carried. Realistically I tend to carry one liter of water, whatever my bottle holds. Again this is due to living in a wet/raining environment. Your situations may be different of course.
So for me what I have started to do is to carry my standard one liter bottle and than carry the 2 liter Sawyer bag and the Sawyer Squeeze Filter.
The total weight for the filter and the bag are 92.77 grams / 3.27 ounces.
My SteriPen Opti Adventure is exactly 100 grams / 3.52 ounces.
So by switching over to the Sawyer PointOne Squeeze Water Filter System I am able to save 7.23 grams / 0.255 ounces when the unit is fully dry. Not a whole lot of weight for a UL hiker but a worth wild amount for any SUL/XUL hikers to consider.
Now I am fully aware that the Aquamira Frontier Pro is much lighter than this at 57 grams / 2.0 ounces. However – and this is a big however – it only filters down to 3 micron. The CDC confirms that in order to properly filter Cryptosporidium, Giardia (the two biggest issues we face as hikers) you must have a filter that can do at least 1.0 Micron Absolute. Therefore the Aquamira Frontier Pro is realistically not even a viable single-treatment option for hikers. It is very important to understand the difference between Nominal Microns and Absoulte Microns.
There is a lot of talk on the internet about how durable the bags themselves will be — and rightly so. Given that the idea of this whole system is that you have to actually squeeze and crunch and abuse the bags, hopefully Sawyer had the foresight to actually make them tough enough to handle a thru-hike.
Given the fact that you can buy three of the 2-liter bags for around $10 bucks, whereas a 2 liter Platy bag usually costs around $12 bucks for one, if the bags are just as durable that will be very sweet, as they would thus be both less expensive and lighter weight than the 2 liter platy, which has become a mainstay in nearly every backpack these days.
Should you puncture a bag and you do not have another bag, you can always screw it onto the top of most plastic bottles out there that use a standard top connector, such as a 2 liter bottle that you can pick up from just about any trail town. It also fits on a few 1 liter bottles that I have tried, but I am not going to start listing each and every freaking 1 liter bottle and whether it fits on them or not, so do your own home work on this ;)
I cannot remember exactly when they came out, but it seems like it was the end of 2011 (Octoberish?), which means that the 2012 thru-hiking crowd will be the first group of thru-hikers able to really put them through the test, so if you are out there hiking in the 2012 season I would love to have you jump back to my website after your hike and share how they work out!!
Playing Nice With Other Bags By Using Alternative Washers:
One of the key issues facing all of us as hikers these days is that there are only a small handful of water bag containers out there – Platyus, Camelbak, and Hydrapak being the big three. So we would expect that when a water filter manufacturer releases a new product it will play nice with both of the big two companies that make water hydration bags.
For the most part the the Sawyer PointOne Squeeze Water Filter works not only on the provided Sawyer water bags, but they also work on most of the Platyus and Camelbak hydration water bags. There have been reports by some that a bag here or there does not properly seal – which is bad, as it could allow dirty water to drip down into your clean water.
The filter itself does fit onto a Platy 2 liter bag, with rare situations where it does not work, and for those situations it has been discovered that a simple garden hose washer totally solves the problem. ref
I have also been told by a hiker (Thumper) within the pct-l mailing list that Sawyer has released “a new adapter set that allows the Sawyer PointOne Squeeze Water Filter System (SP-131) to be used in-line with Camelbak by attaching the filter inline with the bladder and drinking tube inside the pack… the adapter set is SP-110 and costs $6.99 plus shipping“ ref
So this will be awesome for those that like to go the route of a double bag gravity system and would like to go with this lighter weight filter rather than the heavier Three-way filter. This new adapter could (maybe?) also be used in a few different situations… such as doing a system such as hydration bag -> filter -> new adapter -> standard hose with bite-valve. It will be interesting to see if that combination could work out, and how much force it would take to pull water through the filter, I suspect it would not work all that well, but if somebody out there buys ones of these new adapters and tries this, please stop back by here and post whether or not this works!
The Sawyer bags are lighter and less expensive — if they prove to be just as durable, or even nearly as durable, it could be illogical to go with a more expensive and heavier water hydration bag.
I have tested the Sawyer PointOne Squeeze Water Filter on my 2 liter platy bag and can confirm that it does not work – the filter will not properly screw onto the bag, which kind of sucks that Sawyer was not willing to play-nice with the Platy bag.
I do not have a CamelBak hydration bag to test it on so I am unable to provide any solid and reliable personal details on how the two play nice with each other.
I received an email yesterday from a hiker by the trailname of “SomeGuy” who after reading this article he went to a local big-box-store and purchased both a 1/16th washer (think a washer for your garden hose) and while he was there he also picked up a couple of these to try. This second one could sort of be kind of neat if you are going to be somewhere that there will be a lot of small sticks and mud chunks and other debris in your dirty water source.
I myself have swapped out the original washer for a 1/16th and can confirm that it works perfectly on both the 2l platy bag and the original Sawyer bags. So for $0.49 cents, just go buy one of the 1/16th washers and throw it in there (replacing the original), as than should you find yourself needing to use a platy you will not have to wonder if it is going to work or not.
I have had a few people message me about backflushing/backwashing this filter and if that crazy huge and heavy syringe is something all of us are going to have to lug around.
I had to go on a hunt to find some exact figures on how often Sawyer recommends you backwash this filter and they recommend doing so every 5 through 10 gallons of water. Many thru-hikers consider the 8 liter mark the mark to shoot for when it comes to water consumption per day (especially in desert regions) so that means that every 4 or 5 days you should consider backwashing it. That is perfect for those who use a bounce box from town to town. If you are not up for using a bounce box and want to carry the syringe, I just threw it onto my scale and the syringe is 33.34 grams (1.176 ounces).
This is the official promo video for the filter. It does not really highlight anything special for this filter, but I felt like I should include it within this review.
Here are some stock photographs of the Sawyer PointOne Squeeze Water Filter System.
Until something lighter comes along that provides full 0.10 Micron Absolute level filter that does not involve waiting hours and hours to have drinkable water, and is under the 2 ounce mark, the Sawyer PointOne Squeeze Water Filter System is going to be the only filter making it into my backpack.
It is fast enough for my needs, is light enough to justify carrying in those situations where I know I will need a filter, and while it is a bit expensive, it is far cheaper than a UV filtering system and far less expensive than buying the other filters out there that do not have a total gallons rating that this does. Every way I look at it, this is the winner in every category when it comes to a water filter for hikers.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $50
It's an easy, small, and light filter that can be taken on any hiking/backpacking trip. A necessity if you're going to be traveling near water and don't want to carry all that weight.
- Only for individual use (output is small)
- Squeeze pouches suck
- Threading on filter worries me
This water filter was the 2012 choice for backpacking, and it simply is a great filter. At 50$ approximately, it runs fairly cheaper than most, and is easier to use compared to pump filters.
With a squeeze pouch or any standard water/soda bottle, the filter threads over the end and is ready to use. It is reasonably fast for individual use, and the pore size is small enough for even the most questionable of waters. It can squeeze out around 500 ml in about a minute, which isn't too bad, but the bags have their limits. Do not squeeze or the pouches may break.
I have used it a few times in Yosemite and have not had any problems yet. It supposedly can filter 1 million gallons without needing to be replaced, but I would assume other parts of the filter will break before the actual filter. The threading of the filter fits on most bottles, but after some use, it definitely shows wearing, so I would be wary as it may not form a tight seal eventually.
I would not use in heavily silty water, let your silt and sand sit before filtering to lengthen the lifespan. The backcountry cleanability of this filter is also impressive — simply backwash and it is ready to go again.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $55
This product has been great for my camping and kayaking trips. I feel comfortable pulling water right out of the river and pushing it through this filter. I have also used it quite a lot overseas in some pretty turbid water. Never gotten sick. It packs away easy to and doesn't take up any space in your pack.
- Easy to pack
- Light weight
- Bag may puncture easy
This product works exactly as it says it does. I have never had any issues with it. It flows out pretty quick, depending on how much debris is in the water. I also found it can take out some bad tastes as well, which a lot of other filters miss.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $50
This is a great lightweight option for weight conscious backpackers. It is portable enough to carry as a "just in case" filter on a day hike, while it is also substantial enough to use for 1-2 people on multi-day backpacking trips. There is a lot of versatility that can be adapted to most any hiker's needs.
- Long life
- Fragile water bags
I have been looking for a lightweight water filter option for my long distance solo hikes that isn't overkill for one person. Previously I had been using the Platypus Gravityworks filter (which I still love for group camping).
The Sawyer Squeeze filter meets my versatility needs. The filter can be used with the included .5L, 1L, and 2L bags, or really any other drinking bottle with a standard size screw top. An added advantage is that you can drink directly from the filter's pop-up cap. This allows further cutting of weight since you don't necessarily need another container to filter into and drink from.
The filter is very simple to use. I strongly suggest rolling the bags instead of squeezing or crumpling them. From other users I have heard that this very quickly diminishes the life and water holding ability of the bags. There are other after market bags that Sawyer has produced since receiving input on the weakness of the included bags. Other accessories are also available such as an inline conversion adapter for hydration packs and a mesh pouch to use in gravity mode.
With a price tag around $50 and a guaranteed life of 1 million gallons, it does not lack appeal. The total field weight is listed at 3 oz. In my opinion, the included syringe for back flushing the filter is something that I'll likely to continue to leave at home and use between outings.
Other specs include:
- 0.1 Micron Absolute filter removes bacterica (Salmonella, Cholera, E. coli), protozoa (Cryptosporidium, Giardia), and cysts
- Fast flow hollow fiber membrane
- Exceeds EPA recommendations for removal rates
For any packrafters or fisherman out there...This is a great thing to have out on the water with you. An endless supply of filtered water in a compact package.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $40
Great idea and application. Simple 99.999999% water filtration with lots of usage options. 1 million gallon lifetime.
- Easy to use
- Add ons
- Won't fit my brand of water bottle
After reading reviews and watching YouTube videos of this product, I finally got one. I got the latest version with the upgraded bags as I heard the first bags were prone to breakage. This came with only one bag instead of 3, but it costs less, too.
In the package was the filter (no moving parts), the squeeze bag and a syringe to backflush the filter with.
It works fine with soda bottles, but my Ice Mountain water bottles won't fit, that's the only com.
All in all a great product.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $45
I own most of the water purification methods that exist. This is by far the easiest to use and the lightest (ignoring bad-tasting pills).
- Robust (nothing to break)
- No batteries! (they never work when you REALLY need them)
- No bad taste (chlorine dioxide, Miox taste yukky)
- No iodine (can't tolerate iodine for medical reasons)
- Must not allow to freeze
- Should carry a bottle/cup of some sort to fill the squeeze bladder
I own far too many water purifiers and have used them for everything from third-world travel to backpacking and very-long day hikes. I have tried pumps, purifier bottles, MSR Miox, the Steripen, Aqua Mira and chlorine dioxide pills. The Sawyer Squeeze is my favorite due to its extremely light weight and ease of use.
No batteries, no chemicals. I see reports that the included bags are fragile, but that has not been a concern for me. I generally use a 1.5 or 2L plastic bottle (usually I recycle a water bottle), though I also have used a Platypus zip-opening bladder. The Platypus is very light and the zip opening makes it easier to fill from a shallow body of water. I also use non-zip Platypus bladders--a 3 liter bag is often my favorite. These are extremely light and very durable.
I heartily recommend this product.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: Aprox $35
Best ultralight water filter.
- Good for a million gallions
- Will filter better than many municipal water systems
- Mine is only 3.5 oz. with modifications
- See review
I have used a variety of filters/chemicals for decades. This is the best I have ever used!
I have added a connector to prevent spillage of unfiltered water. I took two soda bottle caps, bored them out, used plumbers glue and glued them top to top then taped them together, kept the gaskets in the caps. I fill the unfiltered water into the larger black Mylar bag that comes with the kit; I screw on the filter and remove the push-pull cap and screw on my connector. I screw on the bladder/water bottle and squeeze! There is no leakage! Refill the black bag as often as needed.
I marked the black water bag cap with black paint so I won't mix the good water cap with the black. I keep the connector in a small zip-lock bag, keep the push-pull cap on the filter and the black cap on the black bag.
Total weight for filter with push-pull cap, connector in a small zip-lock bag, the large black water bag with cap on all in a small bag is: 3.5 ounces.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $45
Lightweight, versatile, and fast.
- Collapsible bags can be hard to fill
Sawyer does make several attachments that allow the system to be used with traditional bladders, and can be easily used in a gravity feed set up. I think Sawyer even sells this now in a gravity feed setup.
I do keep a small lightweight liquid measure cup in my pack that I use for filling the collapsible bags, which can be hard to fill sometimes (the water pressure keeps them from expanding). If you don't like the bags, the filter can be screwed directly to any generic plastic bottle.
This sytem is lighter, less bulky, and easier to use then hand pump style filters. And unless you are burning wood to boil water, the weight of extra fuel required to boil all your water can really add up on extended trips.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $29.99
Can drink any water and it will not kill you or make you sick!
- Lifetime filter
- Filters everything
I was a little skeptical at first but figured what the heck, I better try this thing out before my life depends on it. So I found some standing water that looked kinda iffy and filtered it, still alive and kicking! Then I found some water that contained Giardia and it filtered that too!
Well this piece of equipment is lightweight and I would trust it with my life. It only works as fast as you can squeeze it and the water bag is adequate but you can buy bigger ones. This is a cleanable filter so it will last a lifetime if properly maintained and stored.
I will always carry this with me!
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: 59.95 US
This filter works very well for 1 or 2 hikers, is incredibly light, and reasonably priced. At 3.5 oz you can't beat the weight.
To operate this filter you must fill the water container, attach the filter, and, as the product title implies squeeze. Operation is simple, and the process only requires seconds. You can drink directly from the outflow end of the filter. I would not recommend this as there is too much opportunity for cross contamination. If you squeeze in a second clean bottle or bag you will be safe from this sort of contamination risk.
The Squeeze filter uses a hollow tube technology that has been tested using EPA protocols to 0.1 microns and will remove bacteria, protozoa, and cysts including giardia and cryptosporidium. This is generally sufficient for back country use in the Continental US, Canada, and the UK. I use it with confidence on all of my trips in the US.
As with most filtration systems it will not remove or disable viruses which are considerably smaller in size. If the presence of these viruses is probable then additional treatment will be needed. I also carry a Steripen in situations where there is a distinct possibility of water being contaminated with with viruses. Even adding a Steripen the total weight for my treatment system is less than half a pound, and requires only seconds more for complete treatment of water.
Here are some suggestions. When filtering fairly clear water use the Sawyer squeeze filter alone. If, on the other hand, the water is turbid with heavy particulates (muddy water) use a pre-filter. This will prevent the particles from clogging the filter tubes, making operation difficult or impossible. Just take along a coffee filter and used patches of that to cover the intake port for example.
Also, after every trip, remember to back flush. This will remove any particulates that do get into the filter tubes and could impair function the next time you use it. Also, there is no cap on the intake end of the filter. Because of this, if you use the filter and put it back in your bag water trapped in the filtration tubes will seep out and make things in the immediate vicinity damp. I made a simple plug from a small silicon suction cup that prevent this leakage.
Another one more thing, it can be difficult getting water into the "dirty" bag. If this proves too much of a challenge simply take an empty plastic soda bottle. Make sure the threads match, but they should on most pop bottle. The bottle is light, can be squeezed, and will probably capture water easier than the supplied Sawyer bag. There is an issue though, the soda bottle, although light, will not roll up to the compact size of the Sawyer bag.
Since I've only used it three times I am not sure how long it will last, but I can say at this point it is doing very well with no signs of damage and is functioning as well as when I purchased it. This particular model (the Squeeze) is fairly new and was made specifically for people who wanted a very light filtration system.
As is true with many light weight solutions there are minor annoyances (pointed out above), but for me, the positive features far outweigh these issues.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $70
It is a very compact, lightweight, easy to use, effective water filter system. It comes with 3 different sizes of compact water pouches, but it can also fit most plastic drink bottles. It has an easy to use cleaning / maintenance procedure. In the US, you will find it is effective at cleaning most backcountry water sources.
- Small and lightweight
- Compatible with most plastic drink bottles
- Trying to fill the small opening of the pouches can be difficult
It is recommended that the water be pre-screened to reduce debris so the filter element does not clog as quickly. If the filter becomes difficult to squeeze water through, the cleaning procedure is simple with the included syringe plunger. This filter creates drinkable water instantly (no waiting chemical treatments).
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $59.95
The water was clean, clear and tasted good. The bag definitely needs to be wiped off after filling and before squeezing...otherwise you will get unfiltered water in your bottle/bladder/etc.
Speed & Efficiency:
The water filter works pretty fast. It's best not to over squeeze as the bags don't seem very robust at all...but even squeezing slowly worked ok. However, filling up the bags is a different story. If you only have a pool of water or if the water is moving very slowly then good luck...it's going to be very difficult and time consuming to fill up. If you have fast moving water then it's a little bit easier but still no walk in the park. If you have falling water it's easiest to fill (but difficult to hold on to depending on how much force the water has). If you only will be filtering on standing water (lakes, ponds, pools, etc) then this filter is NOT FOR YOU.
The smallest bag is useless. The largest bag is cumbersome to pack but will shorten your fill times. None of the bags seem all that robust. Plan on purchasing replacements. If I were filtering water for a group I would definitely bring multiple bags (the largest one).
Ease of Use:
The learning curve for this filter was pretty short...it was pretty easy to figure out how to get the most out of it. Filtering into a Camelbak bladder was not easy. I never could get the entire 3L bladder completely full since you need 2 hands to squeeze and 2 hands to hold the bladder open. Maybe this is the case with most filters but if you use a bladder it will be easier to first filter the water into a bottle, then pour into the bladder.
I guess the main "feature" is the squeezability. Can't say that it lived up to expectation because I had none before using. I guess I hoped the bags would be sturdier and the whole operation to be a little more packable...but that's just me.
Construction & Durability:
It seems well built enough for a piece of plastic. But, Sawyer really dropped the ball in one area. After you filter water the filter WILL hold some water (seems untreated as well) that WILL leak. Sawyer could have easily included a screw in plug to remedy this situation but they didn't. SO, don't pack the filter near something you don't want to get wet. Wrap it up in a towel or hang it from your pack to drip dry.
I only used it a few times on day hikes. I imagine most of the issues I've noted will still be issues...only magnified...on longer hikes.