Platypus Quickdraw Microfilter System Review

Platypus Quickdraw Microfilter System Review

The QuickDraw Microfilter System is a squeeze-style backcountry water filter kit that’s compatible with Platypus soft bottles and reservoirs, SmartWater Bottles, and bottles with a standard 28 mm opening. It comes with a transparent 1L soft bottle but is also available by itself (QuickDraw Water Filter) if you’d rather supply your own compatible “dirty” bottle or reservoir.

The QuickDraw Microfilter System, reviewed here, comes with a 1L transparent soft bottle and has a fast 3L per minute flow rate. You can use it to decant clean water into water bottles or drink directly from the filter, which has caps to keep the ends clean and prevent them from leaking water all of your gear between uses. The QuickDraw is also field-cleanable without having to carry a cleaning syringe or any special equipment.

Specs at a Glance

  • Weight:
    • QuickDraw Filter: 2.2 oz
    • 1L Softbottle: 1.2 oz
  • Filter type: Squeeze
  • Filer medium: Hollow fiber
  • Removes: Protozoa (99.9%), Bacteria (99.9999%)
  • Output: 3L per minute
  • Cartridge Life: 1000L
  • Compatible with:
  • Field cleanable: Yes
  • Dimensions: 2 x 5
  • Soft Bottle: 1L, Included
The QuickDraw filter comes with a 1L transparent bottle for collecting water. The bottle and the filter have end caps to prevent leaks between uses.
The QuickDraw comes with a 1L transparent bottle for collecting water. The bottle and the filter have end caps to prevent leaks between uses.

The QuickDraw is a hollow fiber squeeze-style water filter that includes a transparent 1L water bottle for collecting water to filter. It has an oversized wide mouth to make it easier to collect water, with a built-in soft handle to scoop it up. The QuickDraw can also filter water from other Platypus Bottles and Reservoirs, smartWater Bottles, and common 28 mm PET soda/water bottles.

The QuickDraw filter has two end caps so it can be sealed up after use and carried in a backpack without leaking over everything you own and making it wet. The top cap, which is the clean end, has an attached flip-up lid so it can’t be lost or contaminated between uses. This is handy if you like to drink directly from the filter by squirting water into your mouth, which is what many hikers do with the Sawyer Squeeze Filter or Sawyer Mini. I’ve never been a fan of this practice with the Sawyer filters because they don’t provide a cap that’s attached to the filter to keep it clean.

If you don’t want to keep track of the caps between uses, you can just keep the filter attached to the soft bottle.
If you don’t want to keep track of the caps between uses, you can just keep the filter attached to the soft bottle and roll them up together for easy storage.

A bottom cap is included with the filter to prevent water from draining from the bottom of the filter between uses. A cap is also included for the bottle. If you like you can also keep the filter attached to the soft bottle if you don’t want to keep track of the caps between uses.

Filtering water is easy. You just squeeze the soft bottle and direct the output to a different container or directly into your mouth.
Filtering water is easy. You just squeeze the soft bottle and direct the output to a different container or directly into your mouth.

The filter has a very fast 3L per minute flow rate so you can use it to refill clean water bottles easily. It uses a hollow fiber filter medium that is individually tested before being sold, like Sawyer filters. It removes Protozoa (99.9%), Bacteria (99.9999%) but is a filter, not a water purifier, so it doesn’t remove viruses.

The QuickDraw is compatible with pre-existing Platypus bottles and reservoirs like the 2L bottle, shown here.
The QuickDraw is compatible with pre-existing Platypus bottles and reservoirs like the 2L bottle, shown here.

The QuickDraw water filter is also compatible with pre-existing 1 and 2L Platypus bottles (the ones with gusseted bottoms) or Platypus Reservoirs, smartWater bottles, or other PET soda/water bottles from Coke, Pepsi, etc., giving you a lot of flexibility of use. The QuickDraw filter forms a tight and watertight connection with these bottles, so you don’t have to worry about cross-contamination from water dripping out of the connection and into your clean water bottles.

If you prefer using a gravity configuration over squeezing water through the filter, you can attach a large Platypus reservoir to the “dirty” end of the bottle QuickDraw filter and let water flow through the filter, although there is no way to connect the clean end to a hose, reservoir, or bottle at the clean end, even if you unscrew the top cap. Frankly, we think the QuickDraw is really best used in its squeeze configuration for personal use because its flow rate is so darn fast, rather than as a group filtration solution.

The QuickDraw water filter forms a tight seal with smartWater bottles, but has an attached mouthpiece cap.
The QuickDraw water filter forms a tight seal with smartWater bottles, but has permanently attached mouthpiece cap.

Field Cleaning

There are two ways to clean the QuickDraw Microfilter System filter in the field if the flow rate begins to drop. The first requires filling the 1L soft bottle included with the unit, screwing on the water filter, and shaking the two together. This loosens and removes the sediment and particulates that collect at the dirty end and is usually quite effective. You can also backflush the Quickdraw water filter by placing a full 28 mm PET soda/water bottle over the clean end’s mouthpiece and forcing water back through the filter.

Recommendation

The Platypus QuickDraw MicroFilter Water System is a high throughput squeeze style water filter with a flow rate of 3L per minute. We really like the fact that it’s compatible with pre-existing Platypus soft bottles which we prefer to use on backpacking trips because they have gusseted bottoms that stand up on their own making them easier to use in camp. We also appreciate the fact that Platypus has taken a standards-based approach to inter-brand compatibility by supporting rigid 28 mm bottles from SmartWater and others, and not locking you into a proprietary bottle size like the Katadyn BeFree.

If you don’t own any 1L, 2L, or 3L Platy bottles or reservoirs already (I have a drawer full), it makes some sense to buy the QuickDraw Microfilter Water System which comes with a 1L soft bottle to use a durable “dirty” bottle.  Otherwise, purchasing the standalone Platypus QuickDraw Water Filter is less expensive and makes use of water containers/bottle that you already own.

Platypus Quickdraw Microfilter

Reliability
Weight
Treatment Capacity
Speed
Ease of Use

Platypus Bottle Compatible

The Platypus QuickDraw MicroFilter Water System is a high throughput squeeze style water filter with a flow rate of 3L per minute. We really like the fact that it's compatible with pre-existing Platypus soft bottles which we prefer to use on backpacking trips because they have gusseted bottoms that stand up on their own making them easier to use in camp.

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Comparison with Other Products

The Platypus QuickDraw water filter is based on the same hollow filter technology as other popular squeeze filters including the Sawyer Squeeze, the Sawyer Mini, the Katadyn BeFree, and the HydroBlu Versa Filters which are all popular with hikers and backpackers.

Cartridge Lifetime

The Platypus QuickDraw water filter has a cartridge lifetime of 1000L, which is relatively short compared to the most popular filter on the market, the Sawyer Squeeze, which is rated for 100,000L. The Katadyn BeFree filter is also rated for 1000L, the Sawyer Mini Filter also for 100,000L, and the Hydroblu Versa for 100,000 gallons or approximately 400,000L. All of these expected lifetime specs should be taken with a grain of salt because the testing is done with perfectly clean water under ideal test conditions. Many people, including myself, replace their filters when they begin to run slow, and cleaning them has little effect.

Silty and Dirty Water Performance

All of these water filters are best used with very clear water that does not have suspended particulates or colored tannins, which will both significantly reduce the lifetime of the filter by clogging it up. If you have to filter such water, we’d encourage you to use a pump filter that has a very fine pre-filter element at the end of a hose to remove these impurities. Some hikers also use a coffee filter or bandana to remove the silt beforehand or let the water stand overnight in a bucket to let the particulates or suspended sand settle out (See our FAQ on Desert Water Purification). Frequent cleaning of the filter is also recommended. We have found that the two cleaning methods supported by the QuickDraw – shaking and backflushing work well to remove mud and muck from the filter, but it’d be hard to quantify their impact in any reproducible way. In other words, your mileage may vary.

Integrity Testing

There are certain conditions such as freezing that can destroy a hollow tube water filter. (See our FAQ: Can you use a water filter after it’s been frozen?) When this happens, the safest thing to do is to throw the filter away and replace it because you can’t rely on its integrity anymore. Unlike other filters, the Platypus QuickDraw has an integrity test that you can use to check to make sure that the filter is still working properly after accidental freezing. The Sawyer Squeeze, Sawyer Mini, Katadyn BeFree, and HydroBlu Versa lack this capability.

QuickDraw Squeeze Bottle

The QuickDraw Squeeze Bottle included in the Quickdraw Microfilter System has a wide mouth opening that is the same size as the bottles included with the various models of Katadyn BeFree water filter, although the BeFree filter is not compatible with it because it uses an incompatible threading system. The openings on the bottle included with the Sawyer Squeeze are much smaller. Despite these differences, none of these soft bottles are easy to fill with the still water found in a pond or lake and you’ll want to use some kind of scoop like a cookpot, a cold soak jar, or a Ziploc baggie to collect water and pour it into the bottles. All of these bottles are easy to fill with stream water if you position the opening under a pour-over or alongside a rock where the current is faster (See our FAQ: How to Fill a Water Bottle from a Shallow Stream or Spring).

CNOC Bottle Compatibility

We tried several of the CNOC reservoirs and bottles we own to see if they are compatible as dirty water bottles with the QuickDraw water filter with mixed results. The Platypus QuickDraw works best with bottles that have rigid 28 mm openings. We found that some of our CNOC bottles form a tight connection with the QuickDraw and others leak. It’s hard to pin down which models work and which don’t because CNOC has sold multiple generations of bottles over the years and we haven’t keep track of which model years we own.

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18 comments

  1. I generally enjoy your reviews. But honestly, aside from the last two paragraphs, this reads more like product literature than a review.

    How does this product compare with similar filters on the market such as the Squeeze, Squeeze Mini, Squeeze Micro, and Katadyn BeFree in terms of features, cost, weight, flow rate, versatility, etc? How much time was spent in the field testing it? Was any testing done with the filter in high silt situations or with water containing significant amounts of glacial till? Did you notice any noticeable slowdown in flow rate after extended use? Can the product be adapted to be used as an inline filter or as a gravity filter like the Squeeze products can? How easy was it to fill the wider-mouthed Platypus bag compared to the narrower-mouthed bags that Sawyer ships with their filters when you’re at a lake or pond? How many gallons of filter is this rated for, and how does that compare to the other products on the market?

  2. How is the flow rate compared to the BeFree?

    • The manufacturer specs say the BeFree is 2L per minute and the Platy is 3L. I have both filters and I think the platy is a bit faster but it really just depends on how hard you squeeze. :-)

  3. Csn it be used as a hanging filter? If not, I wonder why Sawyer didn’t include that capability?

  4. Bill in Roswell GA

    Phillip, thanks for field testing this filter. Ive been curious about it. The flow rate is outstanding and flipcap is nice. On the outlet end, can I screw on a bottle or attach a hose to setup a drip system? Does the CNOC Vecto bag fit the Quickdraw threads? (It should but Ive stopped taking threaded things for granted). I see Quickdraw filter life is only 1000 liters (much like the BeFree). It is a nice fast flow filter, but you still have to keep up with bottle caps. I think I’ll keep my Hydroblu-Vecto bag setup for now. 100,000 gallon filter life, caps with leash and ability to attach a clean water bag offset the flow difference for me. The Quickdraw flow rate is appealing for day hikes and overnight trips. For longer trips I prefer my 3 liter bag/filter drip setup.

    • You can discard the extra caps (the one on the bag and the one of the bottom of the filter) if you keep the filter and bag connected between uses. CNOC compatibility varies – its hard to pin down because they have different bottles with the same name from different years. Some work, some leak. It’s also not good for gravity filter setup. See above comments.

    • I also use a Vecto/Hydroblu setup. I’ve taken the Quickdraw on a couple of trips, and noticed all the things you mention, plus the easier scoop-to-fill feature, that you mentioned. They make me prefer the Vecto/Hydroblu setup even though the Quickdraw system (plus a couple of Platypus Duolock bottles) weighs almost 4 ounces less. For me, the additional functionality of the Vecto/Hydroblu is worth far more than the few extra ounces.

  5. Gaah. I got and I don’t like it. I hate that the clean side is not threaded. I hate it. That means you have to squeeze with one hand and hold a clean reservoir with your second and roll the soft container with your third hand. Not having the output threaded means there is no good way to back flush and I don’t care what they say. I’ve used it and I don’t recommend it.

    • I can see why that’s a problem. I drink clean water out of hard-sided bottles or platy’s which are gusseted on the bottom and stand up so they’re easy to aim the output at.

  6. It’s great to have another option on the market for sure! I got myself a new Sawyer Squeeze this year and they updated their cap to something closer to the Smartwater 700ml bottle sport cap with an attached cover so the quickdraw cap may only be an advantage for folks using older Sawyers. I used to just use a Smartwater sport cap on the end of my old sawyer to get around this but it would sometimes leak.

  7. Wondering if anyone has actually tried back flushing with a bottle from the clean end. I am curious if the seal between the a bottle and the end of the filter is sufficient so water is not leaking out between the bottle and filter cap once pressure is applied. This was one of the things I liked about the Sawyer squeeze where you could use a Smart bottle flip cap, screwed on the end of a Sawyer or Evernew bag and the top of the Smart bottle flip cap snapped onto the filter. I never had a leak once pressure was applied to the clean water bag.

  8. Just for fun, I took a ride in the Wayback Machine today. I dug out my “obsolete” Platypus GravityWorks 2L water filter (which got very good reviews here before the Sawyer, VersaFlow, and Quickdraw came along.) I cut the hoses down to about 6″ each (which is really plenty, if you’re a minimalist) and excluded the carrying pouch. The weight of the filter, 2L dirty reservoir (with its zip-lock bottom, similar to the Vecto), and 1L Platy bottle was 4 ounces. The weight of the Quickdraw with a 1L reservoir (no zip bottom) and a 1L Platy duolock was also 4 ounces. Sometimes, the more things change, the more they stay the same…

  9. I apologize – they both weighed 6 ounces, not 4 (my digital scale said “.4 pounds.”)

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