User Review: Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter
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.