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Sawyer Cleaning Coupling

photo: Sawyer Cleaning Coupling water filter accessory


Price MSRP: $8.61
Reviewers Paid: $8.61
Weight 0.2 oz


1 review
5-star:   0
4-star:   1
3-star:   0
2-star:   0
1-star:   0
Version reviewed: SP150

A simple and brilliant accessory for the Sawyer Squeeze filter that allows one to improve back-flushing success with a device that is smaller and weighs less than the syringe provided for this purpose with this filter. At a price just south of USD $9, it's doubtless overpriced but still well worth it for any Squeeze users.


  • Small in size
  • Light in weight
  • Highly effective


  • Overpriced for a small piece of plastic


Sometimes less is more, and sometimes experience allows one to "smooth it" in the woods, to borrow a phrase from nineteenth century outdoorsman and conservationist George Washington Sears.

My long quest for the perfect water filtration device has led me through many devices and brands over the years in search of a fast, reliable, and simple water purification solution. At present I carry a Sawyer Squeeze filter attached to a dirty water bag with a hose. This allows the Squeeze to be used as a gravity filter. I simply fill the dirty water bag, hang it on a tree, and relax—smoothing it!—while gravity does the work of pulling water through the filter.

Since I carry my water in recyclable 1L plastic bottles, I tell myself the weight I save from not carrying a Nalgene evens out with the modestly greater weight of this filter as opposed to other, lighter options. In any case, it works for me at present.


Until it doesn't work, or more accurately, until the water filtration rate slows due to a buildup of contaminants in the filter. However, as this filter comes with Sawyer's "Lifetime Warranty and is allegedly capable of filtering thousands of gallons of water in its lifetime, this slowdown is just a momentary obstacle. It can be resolved by simply back-flushing the filter with clean water to remove the buildup.

Provided with the Squeeze is a fat syringe that stretches 6 in/15.24 cm in length, has a girth of 1.25 in/3.18 cm, and a weight of 1.06 oz/30 g. This filter can be filled with clean water and used to back-flush the Squeeze. The syringe isn’t exactly a huge burden, but it is bulky and a little finicky to use: one must draw clean water into the syringe, then align it with the filter's clean water outlet, inject it through the filter, and then repeat until the Squeeze runs clean.

Sawyer’s new offering—shown below, compared to the syringe—replaces the back-flush syringe with a lighter, smaller, and better functioning device.



Cleaning Coupling Explained

Less is definitely more with the Sawyer Cleaning Coupling (SP150), a small, innocuous-looking blue plastic ring with knurled exterior and threaded interior. This tiny piece of kit—3/4 in/1.9 cm long, 1.25 in/3.18 cm in diameter, and a mere .22 oz/ 30g—attaches in place of the clean water tip of the Squeeze when one needs to back-flush the filter. In my case, it replaces the short piece of hose with a hose clamp that allows me to control the flow of clean water from the filter.

Directions for use are simple.

Screwing the coupling device onto the filter uses exactly half of the threads provided; the remaining threads allow one to attach a standard drink bottle filled with clean water to the filter. In other words, one can use one’s regular water bottle to back-flush the Squeeze without having to carry the syringe.


In use, I found the SP150 to work simply and flawlessly. The plastic itself seems durable. The knurled exterior allowed me to twist the cleaning coupling on securely, and the threaded interior gripped both filter and water bottle securely without leakage. Indeed, I had to loosen the fittings periodically to let air back into the bottle to continue the flushing.


Moreover, the back-flushing system created by this device is more secure than poking the syringe onto the outlet of the Squeeze. This greater security translates into one being able to exert more pressure when back-flushing, and that in turn means one can remove more matter from the filter during a back-flush.

This point was driven home to me when I first used the cleaning coupling. I generally back-flush the Squeeze after each outing prior to storage. When I used the cleaning coupling for the first time, I thought I was using a “clean” filter since I had assiduously back-flushed it with the syringe previously. However, after filtering only a liter of water, I back-flushed the filter with the cleaning coupling and was surprised to see how much dirt came out, much more than had been in the unfiltered liter I had just passed through the filter.

Obviously, my ability to force a higher volume of water through the filter at a higher pressure than before when I had used the syringe meant that I was better able to clean the filter using the smaller and lighter cleaning coupling. Bye bye, syringe!


If you use the Sawyer Squeeze, you will want this.

It is the ultimate sort of upgrade—simple in design, easy to use, and an improvement in functionality—all for less than USD $10.

Let me set my enthusiasm aside for a moment: at USD $8.61, this mere piece of plastic is doubtless overpriced. I imagine an enterprising DIYer could locate a PVC coupling or some such tubing and cut a length that might serve in the same capacity for less money. I can’t give this product an unreserved 5 stars because yes, it is a bit pricy for a piece of threaded plastic.

For me, though, I was happy to pay the price, especially when I saw how well it worked and how much of an improvement it was over the syringe. Sometimes simpler is better, too.


Source: bought it new
Price Paid: USD $8.61


Nice review, Bentbrook! Thanks for the recommendation for other Squeeze users. I can see how the price would be off-putting, but then if it works, it works. By the way, I want to start using "smooth it" in more conversation!

5 years ago

Thanks for finding this - I am going to get one ASAP as I really don't like the syringe. Great review!

5 years ago

Thanks, Alicia! George Washington Sears (aka Nessmuk) was a fascinating man, as you may well know. I love Nessmuk's idea of "smoothing it," though for him it meant not only living a simpler life in communion with nature, but also shedding the hassles of day-to-day life. His full quote from Woodcraft (1884) elaborates on this when he challenges the then-prevalent notion of camping as "roughing it": "We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks anywhere that we may be placed—with the necessity always present of being on time and up to our work; of providing for the dependent ones; of keeping up, catching up, or getting left." Wise man, Nessmuk!

5 years ago

Phil, thanks, and go for it. So simple and yet such an improvement over the clunky syringe!

5 years ago

Thanks for that review I had no idea this existed! I will definitely get one because I also hate the syringe.

5 years ago

That is an excellent quote, Bentbrook!

5 years ago

Nessmuk - I recently saw that name. His books on woodcraft have been scanned and can be downloaded on The price of the coupling on Amazon seems to bounce around - I bought one in March for under $3. Some people use the Smartwater pull-top caps.

5 years ago

Just FYI, IMHO this product is very much overpriced for a piece of plastic as it is. Similar result can be achieved by using a widely available school supply product/toy the "Tornado tube". The original product one can be found in many different stores, and there is plenty of Chinese knock-out versions available too.

5 years ago

In addition to using it for back-flushing the coupling or the Tornado Tube toy can be used to assemble a gravity water filter with any two thread-compatible water containers and the filter in between.

5 years ago

Tornado tubes!!!! Great idea thanks Alex! I saw a 4 pack on Amazon for $4.39 + free shipping! Anyone wanna split it 4 ways hahahaha!!!!

5 years ago

I remember tornado tubes from our science fun with the kids a decade or so ago...sounds like a decent option. However you may get what you pah for...the ones we had did not have threads and probably would not seal well to the filter under pressure of a back flush. I think I would rather trust the threads that match the Sawyer for the price of one lunch.

5 years ago
denis daly

Ha I just saw this review,.I be adding this..I'll pay the price to use something so simple and useful...Thanks for the review...

5 years ago

Lucky you in the States, but check this one and you'll understand Canadian ingenuity.

5 years ago

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