Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sawyer Squeeze Filter - Review

Sawyer Squeeze Filtration System
Water is heavy to carry, but it is a necessity when backpacking.  What's worse than carrying the weight of water, is also carrying a heavy water filtration system.  And it's even worse than that it you can't rely on that filter.  Many backpacking water filtration systems have moving parts, levers, or cranks; or several o-rings, all of which can fail on you at the most inopportune of times.

So, some may opt for chemical treatments; but then you run the risk of running out; and you have to put up with the taste - and the inconvenience of waiting 30-minutes for the chemicals to do their job.  You could go with UV sterilization; but then you always wonder about effectiveness in cloudy water (and UV does not get rid of that cloudiness).
No Moving Parts

"Okay, smart guy, what filtration system do you use?", you may ask.  Well, that would be the Sawyer Squeeze filtration system.  It functions much like the traditional hand-pump filters, using a nano-filtration membrane (hollow fiber type) to filter out debris, bacteria, and protozoa (e.g., giardia and cryptosporidium).  However, the Sawyer Squeeze has no moving parts.  The Sawyer is a lightweight (3.0 oz) ABS plastic filter housing, about 2" x 5", that has a pull-spout on one end (like a water bottle), and a water bottle cap thread on the other end.  The Squeeze system comes with three soft-sided water collection pouches (think Platypus bottles) - in 0.5 L, 1.0 L, and 2.0 L sizes.  Simply fill the pouch with 'dirty' water, screw on the filter housing, and squeeze the water through the filter and into your 'clean' water receptacle.

The nice thing about the threaded end of the filter is that it fits standard water bottles (like Aquifina) or Platypus soft bottles; so, it's easy to find something to grab water in if your original squeeze pouches are not handy (or break).  I did happen to pop the seam on my original 2L squeeze pouch after a full season of heavy use, including letting the pouch freeze a couple of times; but I was able to use a 1L Platypus that I had with me on that trip, and then bought a new 2L Platypus to replace it (Sawyer also sells replacement pouches).
Fold it up and stick it in you pack, or pocket

The Sawyer Squeeze will last for years and years with little maintenance.  They are easy to clean and sterilize between trips; and when using you do not need to worry about chemical taste or cloudiness either.  (Although iron-rich water with a metallic taste will still taste like pennies, yuck).  Best of all, it is so small, it takes up no room in your pack.  It's well worth the very competitive expense.

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