Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter System

Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter System

Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter System

I have been testing out the new Sawyer Squeeze Water Filtration System for the past few weeks and I like it better (with a few caveats, see below) than the Aqua Mira Frontier Pro that I’ve been using for the past 2 years. Priced at $50, the Squeeze includes several different sized water reservoir bottles and a screw on filter threaded for a soda-bottle sized cap. The filter has a pop-up cap that you can drink directly from or you can use it in more of a gravity filter mode to squeeze “dirty” water from the water reservoirs into “clean” bottles that you can drink from. I’ve clocked it at 4 cups in 3 minutes, which is very fast!

What’s Included

The Squeeze Water filter system comes with a screw-on filter, 4 plastic reservoir bottles sized 64 , 32, 16, and 12 ounces, and a syringe for back-flushing the filter for when the flow rate starts to drop. The filter weighs 2.4 ounces when dry and 4.0 ounces when saturated. The screw-on end is compatible with the included reservoirs, Platypus reservoirs and most plastic soda and water bottles.

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 backcountry use in the Continental US, Canada, and the UK and I’d use it without reservation in those regions. It will not remove viruses which are considerably smaller in size and should not be used in developing countries where viruses are known to contaminate water supplies.

The hollow tube filtering technology used in the Squeeze is not new and has been already used for several years in past Sawyer products. What is new, is the packaging of the filter as a screw-on bottle attachment with a pop-up top that you can drink from. I expect that this and and the inclusion of roll-up hydration reservoirs will make this product very attractive to day hikers, as well as backpackers.

Pop-up Top vs Gravity Style Filtration

There are two ways to use the Squeeze filter:  you can drink directly from it by removing the external plastic cap, popping up the top spout or you can use it to filter a larger quantity of water in more of a batch mode by squeezing it from a “dirty” bottle to a “clean” one.

The problem with drinking the water directly from the filter is that it’s really easy to lose the external plastic cap when you are backpacking (it happened to me), and from then on, you can’t really trust the cleanliness of the pop-up spout if you’re trying to avoid bacteria, protozoa, and cysts. The danger of cross-contamination (you put your hands in a “dirty” stream and touch the spout) is simply too great on a multi-day backpacking trip to chance it.

From Dirty Bag to Clean Bottle in Gravity Filter Mode

From Dirty Bag to Clean Bottle in Gravity Filter Mode

A better way to use this filter is to use it like a gravity filter, where you have a dirty water bag containing unfiltered water, and a clean water bag or bottles containing filtered water which you know if safe to drink. When I run out of clean water, I fill the dirty reservoir with fresh water and Squeeze it through the filter and into my clean bottles again. That way, I know that my bottles and their top threads are always clean, and I don’t have to worry about the outside cleanliness of the filter’s popup top.

Pre-Filter Modification

When I tested the Squeeze filter on overnight backpacking trips,  I found that it is incredibly easy for sand and grit to get into the screw-on end of the filter when you put it on the ground. There is also no pre-filter on the Squeeze which can remove suspended solids in turbid water and prevent the filter from clogging up.

One way to remedy both of these problems is to attach a pre-filter to the Squeeze filter module. To do this, I scavenged the pre-filter element from an old Aqua-Mira Frontier Pro filter and screwed it to the base of the Squeeze. This prevents sand and grit from getting into the business end of the Squeeze and still lets you attach it to a soda bottle, on of the included Sawyer reservoirs or a Platypus reservoir.

Sawyer Water Reservoirs

There are a couple of things I don’t like about the Sawyer water reservoirs included with the Squeeze filtration system. The first is that they’re not transparent, so you can’t really see how much water you have left by looking at them. The second is that they don’t really hold of amount of water they say they do. For example, the 32 ounce reservoir only holds 28.3 ounces. That kind of thing bothers me because I use my reservoirs to measure out water quantities for cooking and drinking during the day: an 15% error rate is simply not acceptable for me.

While I can understand the economy and convenience of using the included reservoirs, my preference is to use the Squeeze with the transparent 3 liter platypus reservoir and the soda-bottles I use for hiking with today.

No Break-in Period

One of things I really like about the Squeeze is that there is no break-in period. You can literally fill one of the included water reservoirs with water, screw the Squeeze filter onto it, and start drinking. There’s no activated charcoal to flush out of the filter and there’s no priming required. The first sips don’t have any particulate solids suspended in them and the water tastes clean. This is a problem with the Aqua Mira Frontier Pro which has an activated charcoal filter element.

Overall Recommendation

The Sawyer Squeeze is an excellent water filtration system if you’re looking for an easy and fast way to rehydrate on day hikes or backpacking trips, regardless if you use the reservoirs included with the system, or your own small mouth, soda-bottle compatible containers. It is also provides an extremely fast way to filter a large amount of water very quickly for small groups because it has such a fast flow rate or for individual use at the end of the day when you want to cook and get your water prepped for the next morning. The Squeeze filter and is the lightest weight, most economical (sawyer claims 1 million gallons) filtering solution I know of today for backcountry water filtration and I have already added it to to my 3 season day hiking and backpacking gear list.

Disclosure: SectionHiker received a complementary Sawyer Squeeze Filtration System for testing.

The following online retailers sell this product:

 

Most Popular Searches

  • sawyer water filter review
  • Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter
  • sawyer squeeze

,

82 Responses to Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter System

  1. PaulO October 3, 2011 at 5:00 am #

    This summer I picked up another of Sawyer's products. Their inline filter for a water bottle (from Walmart). It's the same concept as the filter in the squeeze system. I really thing sawyer has got it right. I put a sawyer filter inline in one of my hydration reservoirs and it works like a charm!

    I second the recommendation. Sawyer Filters are some of the best!

  2. Mark Roberts October 3, 2011 at 5:05 am #

    While I like the Squeeze, I prefer using one of their filters in a gravity setup. It's the same filter, same weight. but you can adapt it to fit any system. The thing with those squeeze bags is that the neck is small compared to say a widemouth nalgene or one of the nylon platypus canteens. They are so much easier to fill.

    But in general, I think Sawyer filters are great – they're fast, cheap, lightweight, long lasting, easy to clean, provide safer filtration than things like the Frontier Pro, and don't require batteries like the SteriPens (and thus can't fail in the field so easily). I'm really surprised more people don't use them.

    • Ben August 5, 2013 at 11:31 am #

      Have you ever had problems with clogging – I got a sawyer inline filter 4L three years ago and it was the best thing EVER – then it clogged. I didn’t know about backflushing but learned when I got home. So I did it in the sink and it never really had a high flow rate again. Brought it back to REI got a brand new one and tested it ONCE at home using faucet water, worked GREAT. First time I tried to use it on the trail – trickle trickle trickle – NOTHING!! Backflow in the field did nothing and couldn’t get it to backflow at home either. Gonna bring it back (again) but want to know what to get this time.

      Don’t know if I should try a platypus or is it basically the same thing?

      Used with perfectly clear VT mountain stream water.

  3. Earlylite October 3, 2011 at 5:11 am #

    Two things…

    Why do you say they're safer than the Aqua Mira Frontier Pro? They're both rated as Filters by the EPA and remove the same organisms. Micron pore size is not directly correlated with filter effectiveness. Filter flow complexity and the size of the bugs you are filtering matter just as much.

    The reason more people don't use Sawyer products is 1) they have lousy distribution in the US, and 2) they have a terrible customer service record. I do think they'll have some success with this product because it's much easier to use than their previous attempts to be a consumer company.

  4. Mark Roberts October 3, 2011 at 5:30 am #

    Well, I'm responding to a comment I can't see oline, but I got via email subscription…

    "Why do you say they're safer than the Aqua Mira Frontier Pro? They're both rated as Filters by the EPA and remove the same organisms. Micron pore size is not directly correlated with filter effectiveness. Filter flow complexity and the size of the bugs you are filtering matter just as much."

    The Frontier Pro is recognized as not being a totally reliable filter. It's designed as an emergency filter, and used by Ultralighters. Many people using one carry aqua mira drops and use them in parallel with the Frontier Pro. It also only filters 50 gallons, while the Sawyer is guaranteed for 1 million. It only filters to 3 microns, the Sawyer filters to 0.02 microns. When you get down to micron level, that's huge.

    "The reason more people don't use Sawyer products is 1) they have lousy distribution in the US, and 2) they have a terrible customer service record. I do think they'll have some success with this product because it's much easier to use than their previous attempts to be a consumer company."

    They are available in REI, Walmart and Amazon.com! You can't get much better distribution than that!

    • Jeff May 30, 2012 at 9:35 pm #

      They are also in Bass Pro Shop and Cabela’s as well as many other small outdoor stores. I believe Walmart just picked up the SP131 model and will have it in the stores sometime in 2013.

  5. Ray October 3, 2011 at 5:33 am #

    I, too, am a sawyerite believer. i own the 2L gravity version and the new squeeze filter. Thanks for the great review. I had some of the same findings…great filter, normal price, and no more pumping. I have used mine on the AT in the Smokies and on weekend hike here in Louisiana (as I am sure you can imagine water filtering is important down here). The gravity feed system has been amazing for small groups, while the smaller squeeze has been perfectly sized for solo hiking. Give it a look.

  6. Earlylite October 3, 2011 at 6:49 am #

    Mark – I can see it online…

    We can argue about this all day, so I'll just stick to the facts (as I know them). I'm not defending the Aqua Mira Pro, just saying that your comparison is inaccurate and somewhat incomplete.

    1) You are talking about a different Sawyer product than the one I reviewed here. The one you are talking about is a purifier. This is a filter. The difference has nothing to do with the physical characteristics of the filter or micron size, but EPA test standards. Purifiers remove viruses, in addition to protozoa, bacteria, and cysts. Filters only remove protozoa, bacteria, and cysts, but not viruses.

    For those of you interested in digging deeper into this area, and who want to cut through the marketing bullshit, I refer you to the following articles:

    http://www.rei.com/expertadvice/articles/water+trhttp://www.rei.com/expertadvice/articles/water+trhttp://aquamira.com/a_word_about_filter_ratings.p

    2) The Aquamira Pro does have a prefilter and is not prone to clogging or tearing of the filter element. If your hollow tube filter (which is made out of paper) tears, you are SOL. A pre-filter is a handy addition to this system and one that should not be passed over lightly. That's why I includes a video about the modification in this review. The Sawyer Filter is admittedly pretty good, but it's not perfect.

    3) The 1,000,000 gallon from Sawyer is absolute marketing bullshit. Honestly, can't everyone see right through that? 99.999% of the people who use this filter will never use it for more than 50 gallons anyway. Sawyer can claim this guarantee, but they'll never have to honor it.

    4) The Sawyer Product I reviewed here is not available at Walmart (US) or REI. They do carry other Sawyer products, but not this one.

  7. Mark Roberts October 3, 2011 at 7:12 am #

    Yes – you're right, sorry, I was looking at the purifier – I forgot they made on of those too. I meant to refer to this one:
    http://www.rei.com/product/801824/sawyer-3-way-in

    This is the one I use. It filters to 0.1 microns – still a lot more than the Frontier Pro. Sure the 1 million thing is bullshit (and the ones in Walmart are limited to 500,000. who knows why) but I honestly can't see why someone would choose the Frontier over the Sawyer. Sure it has a pre-filter, and it makes sense to pre filter major gunk first which you can do in any way you choose, but to say that the hollow type filter is paper and might tear… have you opened one up and looked inside? I did – they're pretty tough – all incoming water hits an initial 'flat' almost resinous barrier where it accumulates. Certainly nothing that could teat the filter could get through, and when you back flush it's all washed out.

    But I still pre-filter anyway. And the one I opened, incidentally, was broken – through my own fault. I snapped the "in" nozzle on a previous model trying to get the tube off.

    I had a Frontier Pro too at one point, and to be honest, while it's perfectly OK, I feel much more confident in the Sawyer filter – especially for use up in the BWCWA. I always had a feeling with the Frontier of "Well, I hope this works…"

    I think the reason the squeeze filter isn't available at REI yet is simply because it's fairly new. No doubt they'll get it at some point. Midwest Mountaineering had it, so it's filtering through (ho ho ho).

  8. Earlylite October 3, 2011 at 7:18 am #

    Yep agree with you, though it you read the operating instructions for the Sawyer filter they make a point of saying you should let turbid water stand for 24 hours before filtering, or find some way to pre-filter it. I have a half dozen unused Frontier Pro pre-filters now, so what better use than to cannibalize them!

    I only used the Frontier Pro because it was the only thing out there that worked for me. I did previous tests on the Sawyer purifier a few years ago, but the flow rate was abysmal. They seem to have fixed that, so I'm a happy camper.

  9. oscar lazaro October 3, 2011 at 9:30 am #

    I just ordered one…my old Katadyn system needed to be replaced…trying out in two weeks…

    do you use something to act as filter as you collect water? and if so what? I have used very fine medical gauze before and I think I can hold with a rubber band on the receptacle of the squeeze bottle.

    great review and comments

  10. Earlylite October 3, 2011 at 11:41 am #

    Oscar – that's essentially what I'm doing when I screw the pre-filter from the Frontier Pro onto the "dirty" end of the Squeeze. That pref-filter is really just a glorified cotton ball that strains the suspended crud out of the water. Your gauze idea would also work. What about just draping it over the dirty bottle and screwing the Squeeze onto it so that although it'd be a little bit of a hassle to deal with the wet gauze afterwards.

  11. highwater October 3, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

    Great article. I like how you cannibalized your Frontier to add a pre-filter.

    I had not heard the criticism about the pouches not holding the full amount. That is odd. I will have to find out what is up with that. And good point about the pouches not being clear so you can see the amount of liquid inside.

    One correction though. The current SP131 has just 3 pouches: 16 oz., 32 oz. and 64 oz. They added the larger one for a while to the earlier model that had a 12 oz pouch. But they discontinued the 12 oz one now.

    I don't think that Sawyer distribution is that bad. You can find all their products at my webstore. Sawyer also sells them on their website and they have quite a few brick and mortar and online resellers. Amazon usually undersells everyone but have just become too big. i call them the "Walmart of the Web." lol.

    Sawyer does seem to have some problems with customer service but I've been pretty pleased with them as a reseller. I have yet to get one complaint about a Sawyer product from any customer. They have all seemed pleased.

    Don't forget that they are made in the USA. This is a big plus in my book.

    Thanks for the article earlylite, even if you got a freebie. :)

    P.S. Are you an amazon affiliate?

    • Jeff May 30, 2012 at 9:47 pm #

      They are made in the USA in Safety Harbor, FL.

  12. Earlylite October 3, 2011 at 1:52 pm #

    Yep, I am an amazon affiliate and I stand to make a few cents if you buy this product from them. But they really are one of the only other web sites I've found selling this product online (other than yours), and they provide good prices. I like buying stuff from them that's one year old (and out of fashion) because the vendors like to dump it at a discount there.

    Made in the USA is good. I like that too.

  13. highwater October 3, 2011 at 2:37 pm #

    Earlylite, I just tested all the pouches in the SP131 and they all surpassed the amounts of their capacity by a cup or more. I think you got an older model Squeeze as your "freebie". Sawyer may have increased the size of all of them.

  14. Mike T October 4, 2011 at 10:10 am #

    I have played around with a lot of filtration options and finally came up with the platypus gravity system. After the filter was saturated I am coming in at 11oz for my complete set-up. This gives me 280oz of water carrying capability (really nice for camp). If you think about it you will be carring the containers anyway even if you do chemicals, so the only real weight is the 4oz filter. The most convinent thing is you can filter 140oz at the source and bring another 140oz of dirty with you (filter later) for dinner, breakfast and the next days hiking. One trip to the source! So in all your sacrificing 2.5oz for water with no chemicals. I have customized with camelback quick disconnects to allow me to switch the clean resevoir from filtration mode to a drinking tube, but had most of the stuff laying around anyway. It's also very convient to hang a reservoir from a tree as a portable sink if you will. Just my two cents, might be worth a review down the road.

  15. Earlylite October 4, 2011 at 10:24 am #

    I haven't used to Platypus gravity system, but I get my water in a similar way as you. The first thing I do when I get to camp to refill my 2 one liter water bottles and my 3 L platypus reservoir. That holds me through dinner, the evening, through breakfast, and I can still leave camp with 2 liters of water. I'll still use this storage system, just with the Sawyer instead of Chlorine dioxide which is what I've used to purify the the platy in the past.

    If you want to write a guest post about the Platy Gravity System, I'd be happy to publish it here.

  16. Dave Cutherell October 4, 2011 at 11:22 am #

    I like the comments above about the million gallons. I am wondering how they tested that claim. I did some figuring, to put it in perspective 1,000,000 gallons. You would have to hook that little device up to my house, and let it run for 4 years. That includes my automated sprinkler system, my showers, my dish washing, car washing, etc. And I live in Texas where we unfortunately have to water our lawns alot. Kinda does seem like bullshit to think that any backpacker would ever use that amount. However, as far as usefulness, I agree with the above, after using it at Yosemite for a 4 day outing, that thing is really handy!

    • Jeff May 30, 2012 at 9:50 pm #

      I believe it was proved in a village in Kenya. The whole village was using the one filter to filter their water.

  17. Mike T October 4, 2011 at 11:26 am #

    I may take you up on that, but would like to get some miles on the filter first, I can't speak for the durability yet. The bladders themselves are already pretty proven. BTW, love the website I have been lurking for a while and felt inspired to chime in on this one. I hope I didn't detract from the actual product being reviewed.

  18. Earlylite October 4, 2011 at 11:27 am #

    It's be a little more believable if they guaranteed to pay for your medical bills and reimburse your missed pay if you came down with a waterborne bug instead of just replacing the filter!

  19. highwater October 4, 2011 at 11:41 am #

    They state that they haven't actually tested the filter for a million gallons but they believe in their product so much that they are willing to offer essentially a lifetime guarantee.

  20. oscar lazaro October 23, 2011 at 2:42 pm #

    so had a great weekend doing the unknown pond trail to Mt. Cabot – wearing my red cap cause it's moose hunting season…anyway…used the sawyer system – and interestingly…I had a very hard time actually collecting water in the pouch…I was trying to get water out of the pond. At most I got the bladder to fill about 1/3rd of the way – and I tried everything…it worked great BUT for the bladder…any thoughts?

  21. Earlylite October 23, 2011 at 6:58 pm #

    Oscar – Jason Klass taught me a neat trick which I still use. Cut a used platypus in half and use it as a scoop to collect water like a cup and pour it into an unaltered Platypus reservoir. I remember collecting rain water running down the Cabot trail that way when I climbed it. I used the sawyer system myself this weekend too, the same way in Western MA.

  22. Mtn Man Mike October 30, 2011 at 5:54 pm #

    I picked up one of these, but have yet to use it. It's very light and the price was right. I believe this would only be a 3 season filter because it cannot be allowed to freeze…which I suspect would destroy the device.

  23. Philip Werner October 30, 2011 at 6:51 pm #

    Definitely 3 season only – I used mine last weekend for water on a real trip. Worked great.

    • John February 20, 2012 at 11:40 pm #

      This part does worry me the most. I don’t often hike in the coldest months, but if I did I would be concerned with this part. I have a Sawyer Squeeze and have made a kit to adapt it to my needs. The included bladders are cheesy but light, and are painful to fill from a water source that is very shallow or slow moving like a submerged spring. The scooping motion that you have to do with the bag stirs up all of the grimies at the bottom and necessitates quicker backflushing. A few quick DIY adapters let you squeeze the water right from the dirty bag into your packed bladder right down the drinking tube.

      I wonder how freeze resistant it would be if the filter were shaken out after use and packed deep in the pack? Should you also sleep with your filter kit stuffed into your sleeping bag? That sounds a little silly if you ask me!

      • Earlylite February 20, 2012 at 11:48 pm #

        yep, you need to sleep with it or it will crack.

        • John March 7, 2012 at 11:57 pm #

          One other thought: would a ceramic filter not also have the same problems? I’m coming from an MSR Miniworks filter which uses a ceramic filter element… don’t they have the same problem with cracking during a subzero night?

          • Earlylite March 8, 2012 at 10:29 am #

            yep.

          • Mike March 20, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

            I have an MSR Sweetwater filter and have carried it and used it in 20 degree weather with no problems. I know that its filter is not the same as the ones in the Miniworks or the Squeeze, but I just thought I’d throw that in.

      • highwater March 8, 2012 at 10:39 am #

        Not silly at all. Think about it? How else are you going to prevent it from freezing in the backcountry?

        I’m surprised some innovative soul hasn’t invented a battery powered filter heater. I wouldn’t use it due to the added weight, however. I’ll go with silly. :)

        It’s a great time to buy a Sawyer Squeeze.

  24. Jesse January 11, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

    Now I know what I’m buying for my first day of Spring celebration.
    Love the videos! Thanks!

  25. Josh March 17, 2012 at 5:00 am #

    Earlylite great review. I like your tip about the pre filter. Although I’m usually near clear running water (in Northern California) I would still like to find one of these. Beyond straining with a hanky or something similar, any ideas on where to get one, that screws on, like the frontier without actually buying the frontier? I’m thinking I may never need it with running water everywhere, but you never know. Also, where do you find caps that close up a 3liter platypus bladder?

  26. Earlylite March 18, 2012 at 9:16 am #

    I guess you could stuff a piece of cotton into the intake. That’d probably work. That’s what the frontier pre-filter is, actually. As for platy caps, you can buy them, or try regular soda water caps. They’re close to the same size. Hope that helps!

  27. Mike March 20, 2012 at 9:28 pm #

    I wondered what the filter fibers are made of, and if it could be damaged by freezing (which I believe it can.) I also wondered why no pre-filter. So I wrote to Sawyer. Here’s their response:

    “The fibers are a polyphonic extrusion. Something in the nylon type family. We don’t know what happens when the fibers freeze so we recommend that they not be frozen and doing so voids the warranty.

    We don’t include a pre-filter because the filter is so easily and quickly cleaned. However simple t-shirts or nylon types clothes are easy enough for the bigger stuff. Otherwise just clean often. Remember it is a 20:1 ratio of surface area versus a ceramic filter. When you have to clean the ceramic filter for the 20th time it will be the Sawyer filters first necessary cleaning. However cleaning it more often makes it easier to use.”

  28. eddie s April 11, 2012 at 5:31 pm #

    Just viewed a useless Video over at that Backpacking website which told the viewer absolutely nothing about the unit other than “fill & Squeeze” so I was very happy to see a good decent honest review of this item..thanks

    Unitl it removes viruses I will just stick with my pokey ole 1st Need Deluxe which I have been using since it was brought out on the market with absolutely no water borne illnesess for what 20 or or more years…Plus when in need the Kathydn (sp?) Tablets..

    thanks for a good solid review…

    • Earlylite April 11, 2012 at 9:13 pm #

      I think there another model called the Point One that does viruses. but I’ve still hung onto my trusty first need XL too even though I’ve switched to lighter methods. For example, whenever there’s a water main break, you can always count on your first need.

      • highwater May 30, 2012 at 9:48 pm #

        That would be the Sawyer Point Zero Two SP191 :)

  29. Mike April 12, 2012 at 9:57 am #

    I’ve been using filter (MSR) for 30+ years here in the Northwest (and the Rockies/Canada/Sierras) and have never had an illness. I’m told that in all these waters it’s not worth worrying about viruses, but that they’re a concern along the southern fringes of the USA. Do any of you have contrary evidence from the western USA/Canada?

    • highwater May 30, 2012 at 9:49 pm #

      This is true, however we really don’t know what the future holds. Viruses could be our number one threat sometime in the future. But for now, I wouldn’t be too worried about picking up viruses in water here in the US

  30. Dok June 14, 2012 at 6:56 am #

    I finally received this in the mail yesterday. Seems to work as advertised and looking forward to using it in the field this weekend. Thanks for the good review as that helped make my decision going with this filter.

  31. eddie s June 14, 2012 at 8:25 am #

    Since the EPA only rates it as a Filter I’ll keep using my First Need which the EPA rates as a Purifier…

    • pinkdolphi April 13, 2014 at 6:04 am #

      Are EPA ratings available online? After extensive googling, I don’t see any EPA official ‘ratings’ lists.

      • Philip Werner April 13, 2014 at 8:37 am #

        The manufacturers have to pay for the testing at a laboratory accredited by the EPA so they own the reports and not the EPA. I suggest you call Sawyer and simply ask for a copy. The EPA doesn’t list them. Some manufacturers list them on their web sites but many don’t. They still have to be tested by US law.

  32. Chris July 1, 2012 at 5:15 am #

    Have used the Sawyer Squeeze for 3 months on a thru hike of the PCT. I like the simplicity and ready to go out of the box nature of the filter. I think it may partly be my impatience, but we have killed four bladders/reservoirs that have cracked under the pressure of squeezing day after day (sawyer, platypus, and evernew). Have tried both the prefilter suggestion and frequent back-flushing and can’t keep the filter flowing strong. Might come back to it at some point, but I have become tired of squeezing for now and going to give a Steripen classic and chemical Aquamira as a back-up a try for now. Do you use just the syringe to backflush and find that adequate? Haven’t found the syringe to be very effective. Here’s hoping that Sawyer’s guarantee isn’t hype — I recommend purchasing this product at REI in case your unsure about the longevity of the filter.

    • Earlylite July 1, 2012 at 12:55 pm #

      Sadly – the guarantee is hype. Most people are not thru-hikers and will never use the filter as much. Are you sure you want to use a Steripen though. If the filter is clogging up, it sounds like you have water that has a lot of particulates in it. That will make a Sterpien far less effective, unless you buy the prefilter they sell to clear it before blasting it with UV light.

  33. Mike July 1, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

    I work for REI and Sawyer gave us a Squeeze that we can check out and use in the field. I’ll take it with me next time. My wild guess is that it’ll work great at first and then the problems you name will crop up. My old MSR Sweetwater seems to always work and will be along as a backup. I don’t like chemicals and don’t trust things with bulbs and batteries.
    Thanks for the update.

  34. Chris July 1, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

    Well, good questions. We are deep into the Sierras now so the water is plentiful, cold, and clear. I am not a huge fan of “bulbs and batteries” either, but we had a Classic pen sitting at home as back-up and have reached our wits end with the squeeze. We’ve seen a lot of pens on the trail and that bolstered our confidence in trying it. Particulates will not be as much of an issue now, but they were in Southern California. We would backflush the Squeeze every 4 to 5 days, but it never seemed to help keep the flow up. I think So Cal took its toll on both the filter and our patience. Although we were good about using the prefilter rig you suggested in silty conditions and we have also held the filter up to many a sink for a more forceful backflush, it hasn’t seemed to help and we have been reduced to squeezing for 5 minutes for a liter. We also tried going to bottles to squeeze as we have 4 platy/reservoir casualties, but that seems to tear up the threads on the filter housing and potentially compromise the gasket. We have Aqua Mira as back-up as I am a little concerned with the Steripen’s performance in very cold water and we’ll try a coffee filter or bandana for those particulates. Thanks for any more feedback or suggestions as your Squeeze experience seems more positive. Have you tried to return a filter and that is how you know the guarantee is hype? Cheers.

    • Earlylite July 1, 2012 at 11:07 pm #

      I heard or read somewhere that they’ve only tested it to 100,000 gallons and tacked on the extra 900,000 to round out the number. Can’t remember my source through.No matter, if you bought it at REI they’ll refund your money no problem, whether the product is defective or not.

  35. Dave July 19, 2012 at 10:18 pm #

    I bought one of the squeeze systems last fall and finally got to take it out into the field this past week. Worked fine, though the bag has developed a leak right around where the plastic adaptor is glued/bonded to the bag material. It has good flow, so I’m not squeezing like a neanderthal or anything. I’ve sent Sawyer an email, so I suppose I will find out how good their customer service is…..
    I’ve also had difficulty filling the bags at sources, since the bag collapses when placed beneath the surface of the water. I’ll try using a small plastic water bottle to fill the bag and that will be designated as a “never use for drinking water” bottle. Not a huge deal, but slightly annoying. Overall, I like this system, so long as this leak thing is not a nagging issue.

    • Earlylite July 19, 2012 at 10:20 pm #

      I don’t use the bags. Can’t see how much water is left in them. I use a platypus or a coke bottle. Try wrapping the threads using plumbers tape to get a good fit.

  36. Mike July 20, 2012 at 12:06 am #

    I work for REI and we have a new, tester Sawyer Squeeze. I took it out on a short backpack last week. It’s lightweight. It filters water. That’s about it. The bags are hard to fill without some sort of a “dirty” cup or canteen. We’re required to return tester gear dry and clean. The bags have no built-in loops or whatever on the bottom that would allow them to easily hang upside-down. I’ll stick with my MSR Sweetwater.

    • Earlylite August 22, 2012 at 6:37 pm #

      99% of the AT thru-hikers I’ve seen this year (dozens) are using the Sawyer filter. It appears to be a hit. I’ve been using mine all summer and it works great with a platy.

  37. Dave July 20, 2012 at 8:56 am #

    Well, Sawyer’s rep got back to me and tells me I squeezed too hard and therefore the damage is not covered by warranty. Seems poor business to me. For probably less than a dollar they could have replaced it. The bigger concern is that this was a filter that had only been “tested” in my kitchen with tap water once before I took it out in the field and the rep’s response was that I need to backwash the filter more often(??!!). My experience is that the bond between the bag and the adaptor is inadequate. If they do not remedy this flaw ASAP they will crash and burn as backpackers need tough, reliable equipment, particularly when it comes to filtration. At the very least I believe Sawyer should be more forthright in disclosing the weak link in their system, and give consumers a sense of the appropriate pressure the bag can withstand.

    • Earlylite July 20, 2012 at 9:11 am #

      Next time, I recommend you buy your gear from someone like REI where you can return it for a full refund. Manufacturer warranties are often bullshit.

    • Highwater Filters July 20, 2012 at 10:39 am #

      Dave, I appreciate hearing your feedback on the Squeeze bags. I will make a point of emphasizing this to my customers. I haven’t had any complaints about the bags from my customers, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have them. I’ve only been selling them for about a year. But I sell a lot, especially the Squeeze.

      I’d make sure I carried multiple bags if going on an extended trip. Or better yet, go with the Platypus.

      Then there is always the inline filter if you use a hydration bag.

      I personally guarantee satisfaction on my products. You are right. I think taking a loss can be much better than having a dissatisfied customer. I just had a customer return the Sawyer SP194 purifier because he said it didn’t work. The flow rate was low. He said water just dripped out. This wasn’t exactly accurate as I tested it and there was a steady flow, although quite the stream was very thin. I got 1.5 quarts in 15 minutes. This is quite a bit slower than Sawyer claims it will do but they told him it was normal. I tested another one and got similar results. This was without squeezing the bags.

    • Mike July 20, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

      Hmmm…. Well, I recommend and sell water filters so this bit of non-support will be mentioned often. That’s way too bad. Most outdoor equipment manufacturers will back their products all the way. And no piece of outdoor gear should be that delicate.

    • Jon August 22, 2012 at 6:32 pm #

      Dave
      I got the same results as you with the leaking through the seal of the bag near the adaptor threads.
      Before I purchased the Sawyer I had read yours and many other’s reviews and knew that the bags were extremely delicate. Therefore I was treating it VERY carefully and being patient when filtering water. On the third day of a five day hike the seam busted out.
      I was getting my water from streams coming directing from snow fields with nothing above me to contaminate the water so not a big deal for this trip.
      This was a test to see if I could get it to hold up for my 2013 PCT thru hike ….. the bags do not pass the test ….. I’m looking for a platy bag to use instead.

  38. eddie s July 20, 2012 at 10:31 am #

    You “squeezed to hard!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” You got to be kidding me! How did they test it with 1st graders or a bunch of marketing weenies with no strength in there arms? Oh man, this takes the cake….This will be spread throughout the Backpacking world and I will see to that…..well at least 150 people on my list….

    Be AWARE!!!! WARNING!!!! RED ALERT!!!!! and as some people are finding out via severe episodes of the backwood Trots, Beaver Fever, Montuzuma’s Revenge etc. etc. etc……

    Those O.R .water devices at Walmart in the BLUE AND ORANGE PACKAGING in the Camping, Hunting and Hiking Section at Walmart ……DO NOT CLEAN DIRTY WATER OR MAKE THE WATER BIOLOGICALLY SAFE!!!!!! They are to be used for making bad tasting TAP WATER not WILD WATER taste good…….Read the Label….Same with the Squeeze Bottles they are selling,,,they do not clean Wild WATER only TAP WATER!!!!

    • Highwater Filters July 20, 2012 at 10:43 am #

      This is not accurate at all. Carbon filters are for removing chlorine from tap water. I am not sure what filters from Wally world you mean. I think perhaps the Frontier? The Sawyer Squeeze is not for tap water. It will filter out bacteria in the wild.

      And it is true that squeezing too hard can cause leaks. It isn’t that shocking. I think you are way overreacting.

      Please don’t spread misinformation. Take a few deep breaths. Do a little research.

  39. eddie s July 20, 2012 at 11:35 am #

    Highwater…learn to read, I di dnot mention aything about Sawyer Squeeze…in my comments about the Walmart product in fact I identiried at the O.R. in the Orange and blue packaging…So who is spreading misinformation?

    • Highwater Filters July 20, 2012 at 11:45 am #

      Okay, eddie. Sorry if I misunderstood. I don’t know what O.R. filters are. Are they carbon filters? Activated carbon removes chlorine and other volatile organic chemicals.

      I wasn’t trying to spread misinformation. Just clarifying something. I’ll check out the O.R. filters.

      • eddie s July 21, 2012 at 8:28 am #

        All is forgiven, thanks for “Manning Up” usually not a something one sees from Marketing people..

        The O.R. Units are the same thing as putting one of those PUR Units in your Refrigerator or on your Faucet Sink outlet, it removes a lot of chemicals and bad tastes but does not PURIFY or make that water any safer from Pathogens than what the City system made it.

        The ONLY Water PURIFIER out there on the Market for Backpacking, and it is approved by the FDA or EPA I forget which right now, is the 1st Need Deluxe…All the rest are “Filters” and filter out a lot of bad bugs and and some Chemicals but 1st Need is the only one who makes water not only biologoically and Pathogen safe but Chemical as well…Been carrying one since they first came on the market that many years ago and have never suffered any ill effects from using it, whereas my buddies over the years have had some hit or miss episodes which made them wonder to where they also now carry the 1st Need Deluxe. And not I do not work for them or have any money invested in their company and am a just a end user of many years standing…

        • Highwater Filters July 21, 2012 at 10:41 am #

          Thanks eddie. I was definitely out of line with my first comment. I’m truly sorry about that.

          The First Need purifier is a tried and true product. It’s got a great rep. Sawyer does make a gravity drip purifier that is light enough for backpacking, the SP194. I have also started to see other purifiers pop up. I think they are made in China. There are ones called “Military Water Purifier” “Soldier Water Purifier” Pureeasy”. I wouldn’t trust them, but who knows? They are dirt cheap and may be effective. I haven’t seen any tests or reviews done on them.

          MSR also makes portable purifers.

          Have a great day!

  40. Highwater Filters July 20, 2012 at 11:55 am #

    eddie, I checked out the filter you are talking about. It looks like you are absolutely right. The Outdoor Recreation Squeeze bottle claims to filter out debris and improve taste. That would be a carbon filter, I think.

    Carbon filters are generally used for tap water but they are good to use in tandem with a microbial filter in the outdoors as well. Some carbon filters like carbon block filters can remove much more, including microbes.

    Here’s what activated carbon can remove: Bad tastes and odors, including chlorine. Standard 53-certified filters also can substantially reduce many hazardous contaminants, including heavy metals such as copper, lead and mercury; disinfection byproducts; parasites such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium ; pesticides; radon; and volatile organic chemicals such as methyl-tert-butyl ether (MTBE), dichlorobenzene and trichloroethylene (TCE).

  41. Dave July 20, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

    Thanks for the tips. By the way, I bought the filter online from Moontrail. I haven’t contacted them and don’t really care about the leaky bag anyway. The Coke bottle idea sounds worth a try as they’re pretty lightweight and will fill up underwater much easier than the bags do. I’d guess you fill the Coke bottle and squeeze out what you can, but will not be able to force all of the water from the bottle. So it may take a couple full Coke bottles to get one liter of filtered water? I assume the threaded connection between the bottle and filter
    cap is stronger than the bag is to its adaptor, but maybe not. I’ll find out soon enough…….

    The thing about the leaky bag that is a little concerning is that I did not notice it right away. While I’m squeezing I’ve got the bag directly above my clean water bottle, so the water that is leaking out is going straight into my clean water!

    Overall, I like this filter. I just have to work out the kinks.

    • Earlylite July 20, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

      Here’s what I do. I cut an old platy in half and use it to scoop water into a full platy. I attach the squeeze to the full platy. I filter the water into the coke bottles. This lets me drink from them directly because their threads are NOT contaminated with “dirty”water. The full platy rolls up when empty.

  42. Chris August 22, 2012 at 7:33 pm #

    Have seen a ton of these on PCT 2012 as well. We ditched ours, but was great for the first half of the trip. Honestly just got tired of squeezing. Have been using a Steripen classic for last month and it has been great. Although a lot of them are out there, I hope the product improves in future iterations (better back flushing system and better bags/bladders). At $50-ish and returnable at REI, great system to try.

    • Earlylite August 22, 2012 at 7:35 pm #

      I could definitely see why you would. It is a tiny bit annoying to have to wait for water to be ready, but it would get even more tiresome after a few months! LOL

  43. Sean November 24, 2012 at 2:34 am #

    In case people are wanting to use this and are curious if it’ll fit with the platy, the answer is apparently yes and no.

    Yes, I’ve heard of it fitting with a few folks, no in that the platy I bought doesn’t fit.

    You can tell easily however if the threads will match up with a platy or whatever… You’re looking for two sets of screw-grooves: this will mate with the sawyer. The platy I bought today only has one set of thread ridges. It gets about 60% into the sawyer and jumps threads.

    So check bottle heads for thread count. If you need a reference, it’s the same as a coke bottle.

  44. Lothar King of the Hill People June 7, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

    It was lightweight and easy to use. But after 5 days on the AT the 32 oz filter developed a leak. Sawyer customer service would not replace the bag. They said it had too much pressure applied to it. WRONG! Defective design and poor customer service.

  45. Earlylite June 7, 2013 at 6:05 pm #

    Broken record here – that’s why you should throw the bags away and use a platypus reservoir instead. The filter is what matters not the bags.

    • Lothar June 7, 2013 at 6:10 pm #

      I was hoping that Sawyer would have upgraded their bags to a decent quality. And one might think they would have decent customer service as most outdoor companies do. Alas, wrong on both accounts.

      • Earlylite June 7, 2013 at 6:12 pm #

        They’ve always had the most horrible customer support. But you should return the product to the retailer you bought it from. Hopefully that wasn’t Sawyer.

  46. B K June 27, 2013 at 2:00 pm #

    Great discussions about the Sawyer. I’m still out in the woods with mine. I’m ready to stick with tablets & a bandanna crud filter. By the time I’m finished filling a 2 ltr bottle I may have well used the tablets.

    I will agree another method is needed to fill the bag. A soda bottle scoop & cyclone connector works great. I’ll store the Sawyer in the soda bottle when traveling.

    Also the original bags are weak at the seams. The 2013 bags I understand are an improvement over the 2012′s & earlier version. Do take care when squeezing and or rolling them. I find the current system makes one add their own weight for a scoop & any connector hoses to a bladder or bag. Is the system a true 4 oz or just a marketing ploy.

    Filling times do vary whether the filter is dry or already wet. If dry it takes a few minutes to wet the fibers before it reaches the advertised flow rate.

    My big concern is: what about the freezing factor. Sawyer does say if frozen the filter will be rendered useless. How does one know how dry a filter is before it is safe from freezing damage? How long can the filter be subject to temps hovering around freezing before freezing damages occurs? How about the same for Playtupus’s systems?

    I backpack into the Utah’s High Uinta’s where it’s likely to freeze over night any given time of the year & in the summer.

  47. Gandalf June 27, 2013 at 2:48 pm #

    I used the Sawyer squeeze this year for the first 260 miles of the PCT (Mexico to Big Bear).
    I use a Tornado adapter to connect the filter to pop bottles for back flushing…works great and weighs less that the Sawyer method to back flush.
    http://www.teachersource.com/product/vortex-bottle-connectors-tornado-in-a-bottle/air-pressure

    This year I used an older Sawyer bag for my squeeze bag and had no trouble….last year I used the old bag and busted out the bag in two days even though I was VERY careful with it.
    I now have an Evernew bag and carry the “new” Sawyer bags for added water and backup squeeze bags (I’ve had to carry up to 7 liters between water sources).
    This system is working great for me and is fast, safe, and light weight.

    One caution about using the different chemical treatments. Most of them will not kill Gardia and other cysts. The chemical drop/tablets will take upwards of 2+ hrs to make the water safe to drink at 70*. The shell on the cysts are just too tough. If you are one of the 50% that are carriers but do not get sick for Gardia then no problem but if you are like me where the ingestion of one or two live cysts will give you distress………
    Chem treatments do work great for viruses.

  48. Eddie s June 27, 2013 at 4:59 pm #

    How much weight savings are you experiencing via just carrying a Nalgene bottle and say Chlor-Floc?

    For that section of the PCT I carried Iodine for water purifiction and treatment and found out the hard way at Kitchen Creek I was allergic to Iodine. The Border Patrol Agent who drove me to the Hospital told me about Chlor-Floc and the FIrst Need Purifier they keep in their trucks. For those who do not know, the water above Kitchen Creek Campground and below the Campground should be treated because of the Illegals deficating everywhere as they do in the creek at the Scissors Crossing bridge. The First Need removes just about everything from Cysts to Viruses to Chemicals which was a problem in the High Sierras with the amount of desolved minerals in the water in some places and helped out my on and off hiking partner who develop stomach issues out of the Bishop basin with the Water. I now use the First Need exclusively with the Chemicals as a backup. My young Marine friends use Chlor-Floc in Afghanstan where human urine and defecation is a constant problem with the water over there.

    My big PCT hike was ten years ago, but I was just at Kitchen Creek Campground this past March 27th-28th and the water issue was the same, in fact the Fed’s are talking about installing a mini-chemical treatment plant to treat the Campground water which comes from a Well and not the creek itself.

    Do the Trail Angels still leave gallons of water above Scissors at the??

  49. mayake September 19, 2013 at 2:08 pm #

    Hy all,

    I just bought and received the SP129 the day (Yesterday) I received the mail for Pre-ordering, advertising this mini SP128. You can imagine how tough is my throat now.

    Nevertheless, I MYOGed an accessory to my big SP129 in order to replace the cleaning syringe I consider personaly as a piece of shit.
    It cost nothing, it is multiuse (backwash, straw, platypus or bottle connector …)
    · * the tube come frome a latex aerosol inflator for tires (http://www.competitivecyclist.com/hutchinson-fastair-latex-aerosol-inflator )
    · * the cap comes either from the bottle for dishwashing detergent (of this type http://www.makesfunofstuff.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Day-in-January-2012-105.jpg )- CocaCola or Platypus norms.
    · * or from a mineral water bottle with a sport popup cap like this one http://www.filtropure.fr/PBSCProduct.asp?ItmID=7166448

    Furthermore, I replaced the original Popup cap (which is leaky) by a regular popup cap from a detergent dishwahing bootle por exemple, much more safe and watertight.

    And that gives a result as this here … http://mayake.wordpress.com/2013/09/19/filtration-system-3m-sawyer-platypus/

    (HOPING IT WILL HELP)

    • Philip Werner September 19, 2013 at 5:13 pm #

      Piece of advice – buy sawyer products at places with a VERY good return policy.

  50. Wilderness Survival Dude April 2, 2014 at 8:39 am #

    I have just bought and tested the lifestraw water filter having used the squeeze filters before.

    and for pure taste quality, you can’t beat it.
    There’s less fiddling around, so worth a look if you’re after an alternative.

Leave a Reply