Open main menu

Calling All Sawyer Squeeze Owners!

I went to Backpacker's Get Out More Tour (hosted by Sheri and Randy Propster) in Columbia, SC last week. Of course they had all kinds of wonderful new gear that I drooled over, but one very small and inexpensive item caught my eye. Sawyer now makes a Fast Fill Adaptor that allows you to not have to take your bladder out of your pack to filter water into it. It works for my husband and I because we both have Platypus Big Zips, which the bite valve snaps in and out, so no cutting of the bladder tube is neccessary.  When you are done, just pull the adaptor out snap the bite valve back on. It would work for one person or multiple people. I am aware of the innovative Inline Fitler Adaptor that they make as well, but I share my filter, so that would not work for me. 

Here is a picture to demonstrate: 

I will do a gear review later, once I have actually tested it in the field.

That looks convenient, but I add a few drops of chlorine to my water after it is in the bladder.  Filling it through the hose would allow any viruses to attach to the inside of the hose, then hitch a ride into my stomach when I sucked out the water because the chlorine would ot have had a chance to do its magic on the viruses in the hose.

Before I started using the Sawyer Squeeze I had the same issue with the adapter for an MSR sweeetwater

I just use the adaptor included with the squeeze. I simply pull my bite valve out of the tube and put the hose barb end of the adaptor in the bladder hose. This gray adaptor piece has always been shipped with the squeeze, so i am always puzzled as to why people havn't used it before?

 The adaptor shipped with a piece of plastic over the hose barb so maybe people just think its a blank/cover and just throw it away?


I am not sure I noticed them in my package. They may still be in my box, lol! Either way, it is worth the $8 I paid for them. Apparently the one that I bought was recently released.

Mine look like this. Except they are both grey.

I know 4 people that have a sawyer squeeze, and all of them came with these two pieces. Not exactly the same obviously, but accomplishes the same function.  I bought my squeeze maybe 6 months ago or so. These were in the box with the squeeze with a black plastic cover piece over the barb ends.

You can set up the squeeze as an inline filter, to fill a bladder, or as a gravity filter with them.

Rambler, this is the one I am talking about:

I have the adapters for the inline, but that won't work for me because I share my filter.

looks like two different ways of accomplishing the same thing...

The CDC Guide to Drinking Water Treatment and Sanitation for Backcountry & Travel Use:

  • Viruses -  (for example, enterovirus, hepatitis A, norovirus, rotavirus)
    • Potential health effects from ingestion of water contaminated with viruses are:
      • Gastrointestinal illness (for example, diarrhea, vomiting, cramps), hepatitis, meningitis.
    • Sources of viruses in drinking water are:
      • Human and animal fecal waste.
    • Methods that may remove some or all of viruses from drinking water are:
      • Boiling (Rolling boil for 1 minute minimum) has a very high effectiveness in killing viruses;
      • Filtration is not effective in removing viruses;
      • Disinfection with iodine or chlorine has a high effectiveness in killing viruses;
      • Disinfection with chlorine dioxide has a high effectiveness in killing viruses;
      • Disinfection has a high effectiveness in killing viruses when used with iodine, chlorine, or chlorine dioxide.

The Sawyer and most other filters do not filter viruses - you need to boil or treat with chemicals.  If you pump the filtered but untreated water through your drink tube then you are contaminating the drink tube.

Convenient yes.  Safe, no.

I guess that one just saves you from having to get a hose barb in the tube, which really isnt all that hard. I share my filter as well, and use it to fill bladders all the time, and as a gravity filter, and as the normal squeeze fashion. Like trailjester said, looks like two ways of accomplishing the same thing.


Hardly any viruses are present in north american water supplies, excluding mexico, and areas that have had some sort of accident such as sewage leakage etc.

That being said, despite all the warnings out there saying filters are not effective against viruses... well that isn't exactly true. Viruses in water are almost always bonded to other bacteria, debris etc in water and ARE removed by many  filters due to this. A study by the DoD found this to be in true in 95 out of 100 water samples that were contaminated with viruses and other varying contaminats.

It is true that if a viruses is "free" in a body of water then your average filter will not remove them.

Since 1971(when the records starting being kept), there have only been 1,922 cases of waternborn virus infections in the USA, and 75% of those were from housholds with a septic system and a well where the leach field drainage contaminated the ground water supply.

You probably have a better chance of getting hit by an asteroid...twice, then contracting a waterborn virus.

It is still theoretically possible to contract a waterborn virus, so if you feel the need to further treat your water with chemicals etc then please do.

Personally, i do not treat further unless the water is from a very stagnant, disgusting water source, or otherwise appears "unsafe" for normal means. I fear the injestion of all of those treatment chemicals more than a virus.

Forgot to add, that that number of infections was in what is designated at "noncommunity" areas, i.e rural houses and the backcountry.

For those out there that haven't had the chance to read it(or know about it) I would highly recommend reading the 4 part water treatment article(s) by our very own OGBO(Bill S)

Backcountry Water Treatment:

  1. Proper Hydration
  2. Keeping Your Water Supply Safe
  3. What is in Backcountry Water
  4. Methods for Making Water Safe

Thanks for sharing those links Rick. I'm looking forward to a review on that filter Ashleigh.  I've been curious about that for a while!

First comment - trailhead surveys of people coming off the trail from multi-day backpacks in the US show that the vast majority of sickness are from poor sanitation (not washing your hands before handling food by either or both the cook and/or the food eater and utensils that were not sterilized by dipping in boiling water), not from contaminated water. Sanitizing hand cleaners like Purell are cheap insurance and compact enough to keep a small container in your pocket at all times you are in the backcountry..

Second comment - Barb (the OGBO's better half and constant hiking companion) found that WallyWorld is selling the Sawyer Squeeze with 4 bottles (the folding squeezers) for about the same price as REI is selling a single bottle kit.

WallyWorld is selling the Sawyer Squeeze with 4 bottles (the folding squeezers) for about the same price as REI is selling a single bottle kit.

Hurray.  Walmart is much closer to my house than REI.

I'll be there tonight for milk and to check out some boots and a tent for my trip to Camp Muir next month ;)

Three years ago while hiking up Algonquin Mountauin in the Adirondacks we passed people refilling water bottles and bladders from a small stream of water running down the side of the slide which was really noting more than a small drainage running off the mountain.  About a 1/4 mile up the trail we came upon human excrement along side the edge of that drainage.  

A recent study, published in the May 17, 2013 CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, found that more than half of the 161 public pool samples had sufficient E. coli to infect a person from just one mouth full of water.

Drinking unfiltered water in the backcountry is like playing Russian Roulette.  I don't care how many times you have done it and not gotten sick.

Filter your water and treat it for viruses.  

You don't know who or what took a dump just yards upstream from your location.

Bill S said:

First comment - trailhead surveys of people coming off the trail from multi-day backpacks in the US show that the vast majority of sickness are from poor sanitation [...]  and utensils that were not sterilized by dipping in boiling water), 

I've been a little worried about this since my trip this weekend.  I use unfiltered water to wash my utensils & pan.  I have pretty-much set a ritual where I dip the spoon into boiling water before using it.  During one meal this weekend I missed that step and hungrily stuck the spoon into my mouth.

Hopefully there weren't enough creepy crawlies on the spoon that day to wreak havoc on on my innards :(.  It was a lame move (hunger trumped ritual), especially seeing as I learned that trick (dipping the spoon in boiling water) from  The OGBO himself.  

Anyway, back to the OP topic, I've been using a Squeeze since last summer and can't imagine going back to a bulky heavy pump filter again.  Plus I love having the 2L bags (I carry 3 of them giving me a plentiful water supply in my campsite).   I'm not sure I have that little adapter mentioned, but I guess i'll dig out the package and check again :).  Thanks for sharing!

WAIT! Slight miscommunication here. I decided to go to Wallyworld and see the Sawyer squeeze to check out the boxes. 

There are 3 optional squeeze bottles - 0.5, 1, and 2 liters (that's where the "3 bottles" came into the discussion). There is only one in the box. I had wondered about how the backflushing would be done, so at Barb's insistence, we added a 1-liter Squeeze kit to our huge collection of water treatment methods. The box says something about "one million gallons", though I don't think that means this is the filter life. Maybe?

The box also contains a syringe of 60 ml capacity. To backflush the filter when it gets clogged (actually, you should do it BEFORE it gets clogged), you fill the syringe with clean water, then connect it to the outlet of the filter and squeeze the plunger down forcefully. This clears all the filter pores at once, rather than creating "paths of least resistance", as the directions on the squeeze bottle put it. There is also a caution about not squeezing the bottle too forcefully or wringing it - this voids the warranty if you pop the bottle.

The syringe doesn't exactly fit the exit of the filter where it should for backflushing, though a little playing around with it seems to work. I look forward to Ashleigh's complete review.

The kit I got does not include either the adapters that Ashleigh or Rambler link to. (grumble - guess this means a trip to REI to spend more money to get the adapters, since I didn't see anything on the Wally rack that looked like adapters).

On nogods comments on viruses - the Sawyer Squeeze, as well as the Sawyer gravity-fed and the Platypus GravityWorks that I recently reviewed, have 0.1 or 0.2 micron absolute pore size. While they do catch some of the larger viruses, there are a number of very nasty viruses that will get through, such as polio (0.027 micron) and Hepatitis B (0.042 microns). As nogods notes, halogens do inactivate the viruses, but note that Chlorine dioxide takes 4 hours or more, depending on water temperature, with sodium hypochlorite and iodine (which has its own side-effects) also require long times to be effective (you can't just drop a pill into the Nalgene and drink the water right away). UV treatments (SteriPen and AllClear, for example) only require 60 seconds per liter of water to inactivate the viruses. So my choice would be a combination of filtration with a fine filter, followed by a UV treatment in terms of speed. Of course, industrial, mining, and agricultural runoff will still get through the filters, boiling, UV, and halogen treatments.

I've been meaning to write up a review of this too ... but figured being a water filter, to write a "killer" review I need to include the filter rate ... both when the filter has been fully backflushed (and then again after some usage).  I haven't gotten around to performing these measurements so my review is on hold :).

I agree you never know if your water supply is contaminated . But it is an unfair comparison to compare public pool water and backcountry water sources. A virus needs a host to reproduce itself, so even if there is some fecal matter in a water source does not mean the source is contaminated. It takes ALOT to actually contaminate a water source. That is why viruses are not common in the backcountry, but have a much higher chance closer to civilization etc where sewage etc has a higher potential to leak into sources.

One persons waste will not contaminate anything because there is not enough quantity and the virus will die off before it find enough hosts to reproduce and spread back into the same source(it can't reproduce in the water under most conditions). Whereas if say 100 gallons of sewage leaked into the same source the contamination rate is astronomically higher.

no filter is going to take care of viruses. you have to either boil or treat chemically. I prefer boiling. just bring extra stove fuel.

Thanks all, for all of the information and concerns! I am not touching the virus argument with a 10 foot pole. I read on the box that it does not block viruses, so I just believed it and went on with my day.


I went back and checked my box. It did not list the small gray adaptor on the box, but I do have that piece, so I am assuming that it was included (unless it was part of the inline kit). I will test it out to see if I can try your method as well. If there is a noticeable difference, I will let you know!


Thanks again for posting Bill's informative articles. I think everyone should take a look at them at some point.

@ Bill,

Your articles were great! I am glad to see you are going to try out the Squeeze too. I think it is awesome. You'll have to let us know what you think after you've tried it. That is very interesting that Wal-Mart is carrying these now. I may just have to check out their camping section when I go today. They have definitely stepped up their game in the camping department.


I agree with you on the Squeeze being awesome compared to bulky filters. I have a Katadyn Vario (that I love), but I would go on a lot of hikes and leave it at home and just make sure that I had enough water because it was so heavy. The Squeeze now goes on every trip with me. The only complaint that I have is that it is super annoying getting water into those little bags. What I do now is take a large Ziploc bag (that of course I keep separated from everything) and fill it with water, then carefully pour it into the bag that I am using (I use a Platypus bag instead of the Sawyer bags).

Ashleigh, I've been using a 1.5L Smartwater bottle (like the one shown here).  It weighs ~a couple ounces (I can confirm if you'd like) and is easy to fill from any kind of water source including standing water in lakes (where those Sawyer bags are nearly impossible to fill).  The bonus is having the Smartwater bottle gives me a "bucket" of unfiltered water to use in my campsite for washing & such.

I've had a couple of the Sawyer bags leak, but no actual bursts (except when I dropped a full one :-O).  

I always use the 2L Sawyer bags, finding the 1L bags too small to be useful.

That is a great idea, Bill. I'll probably start using that method myself. Thanks!

I stopped by Wal mart last week before my trip and found the Sawyer squeeze bottle. I had not yet seen any reviews and decided to grab it and leave my old pur / katydin pump at home. I kept the iodine tablets in my pack just in case. I love the lightweight design and the immediacy of being able to drink straight from the straw. However the issue I am not a fan of is that when squeezing the bottle the filter inside the bottle is of a size which actually limits the "Squeeze" and makes the work put in vs the water output a little less than fulfilling. Yes this method will work at any time and certainly works on the go. However I worked out a little different system.

I usually carry a replacement hose and a water bag to dip into the creek so I can allow the sediment to settle before filtration. The bag is a 6 Liter clear plastic Platypus which has a large opening on top and two nylon handles to hang it in a tree, it also stands up well by itself but to be safe lean it up against a rock or log if you are not hanging it. Anyway I filled it with water added a long hose to the exit port of the filter and placed the filter in the bag and hung the bag on the highest branch I would reach comfortably. I hung my water bladder on a lower branch, created some suction and dropped the hose into the bladder. The gravity system worked great and filled two 100 oz bladders and a water bottle I carry for sweet drinks in just a few minutes and I drank the remaining water before my hike. This is sufficient for a long day of hiking and I was impressed that unlike the pump or squeeze methods I wasted no "work" and allowed gravity to do the labor while I packed up camp.

The box I bought from wal mart seemed like it had been opened and did not come with anything other than the bottle, filter, and a couple of short straws. It was the only one on the shelf and it seemed lighter than my pump so I grabbed it and took off.

Overall I was pleased. Of course the water here with the spring snow runoff it usually pretty good without being filtered but this was a great solution to put my mind at ease. I do recommend it.


so you're using it like a gravity/inline filter. that's good to know. I'm debating weather or not to get one.

The sawyer squeeze works great as is, as an in line, or as a gravity filter. Very versatile, lightweight at 3oz wet, and guaranteed for 1 million gallons. No idea why I didn't get one earlier.

Ashleigh said:

That is a great idea, Bill. I'll probably start using that method myself. Thanks!

 Ashleigh, just to clarify - I think some people use these alternative bottles directly on the Squeeze filter.  Instead, I use the alternative bottle to fill the Sawyer bags.  So I use the Sawyer 2L bags, and fill them using the Smartwater bottle.  It works great for me.

I am very pleased with the results using a gravity feed. Get it started then leave alone till you have to make it stop, it will keep going till the water bag is empty.

After stopping in to my neighborhood REI, I see that there are at least 4 different Sawyer Squeeze filter packages -

1. The one I picked up at WalMart with a 1 liter squeeze bottle, the filter element, and the backflush syringe $29.95

2. similar to #1, but with the adapters included  $39.95

3. similar to #2, with all 3 squeeze bottles included - 0.5, 1, and 2 liter $49.95

4. Similar to #3, but with a slew of additional adapters, including a bucket adapter $69.95

Then there are the 2 liter and 4 liter full gravity filter kits.

What is described on the REI website and what I observed in the store don't quite match up, though.

With the now available plethora of squeeze and gravity filters that have 0.1 micron filters and the lightness, compactness, and ease of use, I can't see getting any of the pump filters, except for some pumps that incorporate carbon elements that help somewhat with the runoff contamination (note that there are NO STANDARDS for removal of runoff contamination) and foul tastes and smells, or iodine matrix sections that help inactivate most viruses. You still have the contamination problem for industrial, mining, and agricultural runoff, and you have the low temperature problem of damage to filter elements due to freezing. The virus problem is solved by subjecting the filtered water to halogen treatment (though this requires several hours wait for the viruses to be inactivated, plus long term use of iodine has undesirable side effects), or use of UV treatment (SteriPen or Camelbak's AllClear), or just plain boiling.

Well I just spent a bunch of time yesterday working on this, and it has almost scrolled away off the front page already, so here's a link to my review of the Sawyer Squeeze. I hope it's helpful.

So I have been thinking about one of these systems and I guess I am still a little confused, if you'll all please bare with me....

So if I understand how these work;

1. You fill one bag / bladder with dirty water, always keeping that as the dirty bag I would guess. :) 

2. Hook up the small filter to the bottom.

3. Hook a clean bag /bladder to that and let gravity do the work or apply pressure to it to make it go faster.  (First bladder)

So this brings up some questions.  Which may have been what the adapters were about. 

1)  Is it easy to get the dirty water in the bag?  It looks like a small opening.

2)  So even though it says a 2L system, your really working with one 1L of water at a time?  Or what ever size bags you are using. 

3)  If you have "Clear good tasting water" would it be easier to just use a UV treatment and skip the filter?  Of is the filter doing something the UV can't.  Never was clear on that. 

4) How often do the filters clog?  Now I know this is a VERY subjective questions and a million + things can and do change the results.  But for me, West Coast Hiker, the biggest issue I have with filters it the tannins in the water.  This is one of the reasons I have stuck with the MSR Miniworks, it is easy to field clean the filter.  Tannins tend to clog filters in my experience.

And Finally, my current, non coast, water system is a 3L bladder that I fill at night add bleach, let sit over night and then I have water for the trail the next day.  Camp and cooking water is usually from a 1L bottle that I use for that, not for drinking.  Water for food is boiled so I am not worried about it.   The only time I have had issues with this is if I am drinking more then 3L a day, then it kinda sucks, because I have to refill the bladder, add the bleach and then wait 4+ hours.  The water is from mountain streams so it is COLD and takes a while to warm.

Wolfman, and Thanks for you time! :)

December 3, 2020
Quick Reply

Please sign in to reply