MSR Auto Flow vs. Sawyer 2 liter system?

4:04 p.m. on January 1, 2014 (EST)
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It is time for me to get a lightweight water filter. I currently have two pump filters that work fine but I need something substantially lighter.

After looking at everything available I have decided that a gravity filter with a reservoir you hang is what I need. I do not want the Sawyer squeeze, nor do I want a simple in line filter, or a filtered water bottle.

I already have a two liter camelback for clean water storage (I hang this in my camp kitchen and it's what I like to use) so I do not want a double reservoir filter system.

I have narrowed it down to two systems:

1. The MSR Auto Flow  

    4 liter resevoir

    Weight 13.8 oz.

    Filter media-Hollow Fiber

    Filter pore size 0.2 microns  (doesn't say Absolute or Nominal)

    Flow (L/min)1.75 liters per min

    Cartridge life~1500 liters

    Field cleanable-Yes

    Field maintainable-Yes



2. The Sawyer 2 liter system using the Point 1 filter (if using the link scroll down to the 12th product on the page)

    2 liter resevoir

     Weight 12 oz.

    Filter media-Hollow Fiber

    Filter pore size 0.10 Absolute

    Flow (L/min) 2 liters in 1.5 minutes

    Cartridge life - 1 million gallons guaranteed

    Field cleanable - can be back washed


So I'm leaning towards the Sawyer just due to pore size of 0.10 Absolute, but I've never used either product and would like some feedback from you guys.

What do you think?



5:03 p.m. on January 1, 2014 (EST)
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The sawyer you linked is for all intensive purposes the exact same thing as the squeeze, just with a slightly different external look. The inards are exactly the same.

I use my squeeze the same way you describe, connected to my camelbak bladder as a gravity system. Works like a champ. You can obviously connected any style of bladder you want, alot of people use the platypus big zip this way with the hose attachment.

So if you looking to save a few bucks(well quite a bit actually since this one is $98 and the squeeze is $30) you could buy the squeeze and use the included dirty side adaptor to put in a bladder hose to use as a gravity filter.

In camp i use my 3 liter camelbak bladder connected to my sawyer squeeze as a gravity filter and i can filter all 3 liters in about 2.5-3 minutes. But during the day while i am out and moving i use it as a squeeze filter, same on day trips too.

So i guess i am saying i would go sawyer =P

6:27 p.m. on January 1, 2014 (EST)
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Yes they use the same 0.10 micron Point 1 filter. I like the specs on it.

I looked at the Squeeze very hard, it is certainly compact & light.

After giving it a lot of thought I would rather have the tougher 2 liter nylon bladder (dirty side), although you can buy that separately too.  

I do like the versatility of the squeeze (and the point 1 filter in general).

I've had bad experiences with thinner bladders and containers in general partially due to my handling, and also because I'm usually in an environment with lots of stickers, spines, and such. 


5:10 p.m. on January 3, 2014 (EST)
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85 forum posts

I second the sawyer, as i have had no problems with mine, although i've only had it a short time. 

8:56 p.m. on January 3, 2014 (EST)
Bill S
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6,037 forum posts

Over time, I have acquired a huge number of water treatment devices and methods. The gravity-fed ones (and yes, the Sawyer squeeze) are pretty convenient, light, fast, and effective. The one I have begun to use the most is the Platypus GravityWorks I reviewed for the Gear Review Corps. It, the Sawyer, and MSR are pretty much equal in most respects in my experience. But the Platypus is the one I prefer and recommend for a couple reasons:

1. The "pore size" (effective pore, since it, like the others is actually long fiber) is 0.2 micron

2. Most important, the bags are both clear. Emotionally, I feel some comfort watching the obviously dirty filter in the "dirty bag" draining and the hose to the "clean" bag and the "clean bag" itself filling with beautiful clear water. I feel a bit uncomfortable not seeing the clear water through the covered hose and opaque "clean" bag of the Sawyer (I have the 2-bag version, plus a Squeeze).

OK, the Sawyer has an 0.1 micron pore size, which is half the Platypus diameter. But when you are down in that range, the only critters getting through BOTH those filters are viruses, which are pretty rare in the water we encounter in the hills and woods. If I were in an area where there is a high risk of viruses (e.g., some of the 3rd world countries where I venture) I would apply the "belt and suspenders" approach of running the filtered water through a UV treatment (Camelbak AllClear is my present preference for effectiveness and portability) or boiling.

You said you feel more comfortable with the nylon bladder. So far I have had no hint of problems with the Platypus plastic, even with my rough treatment. Although, I have had some problems with Platypus foldable water "bottles". As Rambler noted, you can (and I often do) use your regular hydration bladder - you do not have to use the second "clean" bladder (although I sometimes use it when I need to carry extra water for some reason).

Remember, though, none of the filters (or UV treatments, or chemical treatments, or boiling) will do anything for agricultural runoff (pesticides, fertilizers), industrial runoff, heavy metals, mining runoff, or chemical contaminants. There are some filters and filter accessories (activated carbon) that will remove SOME (but no all) of these. Barb picked up some literature from a company at last summer's OR Show that claims to remove a number of such contaminants. I have not yet seen any certifications from registered labs on their claims, though.

8:54 p.m. on January 8, 2014 (EST)
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Thanks guys, I really appreciate the input.

I'm going to think about this some more, I'll post a photo of my new filter when I get it.

6:57 p.m. on January 9, 2014 (EST)
Alicia MacLeay @Alicia
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4,632 forum posts

I don't have a gravity filter, so no personal experience to offer on either of these. Plus, you got a load of helpful advice above already.

On the off-chance you didn't see them, there are several reviews of the MSR AutoFlow on Trailspace:

and of the Sawyer 2 Liter:

Good luck, Mike, and let us know how whichever one you get works out.

7:15 p.m. on January 9, 2014 (EST)
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I use Sawyer Squeeze Fiter as a gravity system with Platypus drinking system. This bcame an ultralight system. Please see my site: //

July 9, 2020
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