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
- 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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.SectionHiker is reader-supported. We independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our affiliate links. Help us continue to test and write unsponsored and independent gear reviews, beginner FAQs, and free hiking guides.