Let's talk about the Sawyer Squeeze system

Let's talk about the Sawyer Squeeze system

This is a discussion on Let's talk about the Sawyer Squeeze system within the Bushcraft - Primitive Skills - Survival Skills - Camping forums, part of the Related Topics category; As I think I mentioned in the sleeping bag thread, I had the chance to take a bit of a break from my studies and ...

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Thread: Let's talk about the Sawyer Squeeze system

  1. #1
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    Let's talk about the Sawyer Squeeze system

    As I think I mentioned in the sleeping bag thread, I had the chance to take a bit of a break from my studies and do some backpacking last week. I was toting along my MSR miniworks micro water system, while my fellow hiker brought along his Sawyer Squeeze. According to some people, the Sawyer seems to be the best thing since sliced bread, and while I agree it does have some benefits, there were some downsides too.

    First of all, weight is one area where the Sawyer does exceptional, coming in at 3-8 ounces depending on the size bag, the MSR weighs in at about a pound, and definitely takes up more space in the pack.

    Neither filters out viruses, the Sawyer says it filters down to .1 micron, the MSR .3.

    I am having trouble finding expected filter life for the Sawyer (I understand the backwashing aspect of this), the MSR says 2000L.

    In my experience, the MSR seemed less "picky" about the watersource. Unless the streams were flowing quickly, the Sawyer bag seemed to have difficulties filling completely. The MSR needs less depth for the "probe end" (for lack of the technical term) in order to get water. As long as the probe is completely submerged, no problems getting water.

    The MSR has more moving parts, which in theory makes it more prone to failure. I did wonder about the durability of the sawyer bags, but wasn't out long enough to really test that.

    It seemed to take more effort to get water with the MSR than the sawyer, as well as more time. According to the manufacturer, it takes 80-90 pumps, to get 1 liter of water from the MSR. With a 32 ounce or 64 ounce bag, it would take fairly little time to fill up a liter bottle.

    All of that being said, the Sawyer certainly seems like it has the upper hand, but, the last part was my main issue with the Sawyer:

    My MSR system screws onto the top of my nalgene bottles, making it pretty hard for any un-purified water to find its way into my drinking source through this system. Since the top part never goes in the water, I would have to do something stupid in order to allow dirty water into the bottle. With the Sawyer, you submerge the bag into the water source, and then screw the filter onto the bag. You are then supposed to wipe off any excess water from the outside of the bag, before holding the bag over the bottle, and squeezing or rolling the bag in order to push water through the filter. Id you are not very diligent in your wiping off stage, it would be extremely possible for dirty water to find its way down the bag/filter combo, and into the bottle (say, from your hands that you were just using to hold the bag in the water to fill it, and then screwing the filter on with).

    The Sawyer just seemed to me to be a bit more prone to contaminating the water source, and if that happens, why waste the effort to filter the water to begin with?

    These are just some of my observations on the two systems based off of one trip. Does anyone else have some experience with the Sawyer that you would like to throw in here?
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    Never used either one, would like to learn more..
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    Sawyer:

    Amazon.com: Sawyer Products SP128 Mini Water Filtration System: Sports & Outdoors

    MSR:

    Amazon.com: MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter: Sports & Outdoors

    And Katadyn:

    Amazon.com: katadyn water filters: Sports & Outdoors

    The Katadyn will

    •Filter's silver-impregnated ceramic element is effective against bacteria and protozoa
    •Filters all microorganisms larger than 0.2 microns to produce clear, drinkable water
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    Probably your greatest chance of viral contamination in the Ohio woods would be from an infected individual crapping nearby to (or in) your water source upstream.
    Possibly with a Norwalk virus infection ~ not fatal but, it will (for certain) take you out of the game for a few days with cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, etc.

    You can pop a tablet (Chlorine Dioxide) into your water after you filter and that will kill viruses and anything not physically filtered out of your water source.

    ~~~> 4 Hour treatment time though which may or may not work out for you.
    Ideally you will want to have two water containers. One ready and one for drinking 4 hours later.



    or the POTABLE AQUA tablets are Iodine based and will also kill viruses.
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    I use a katadyn pump filter system. Have not tried the sawyer or msr. However I will say be sure of the area as much as possible. Years ago we kayak/camped a river that was treated that week with a poison for lamprey eels. We did not filter water from the river due to this , but were planning too before learning they added the poison.
    Another trip we found a dead deer floating near the bottom of a river. We were glad to have filters for this trip.
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    Quote Originally Posted by QKShooter View Post
    Probably your greatest chance of viral contamination in the Ohio woods would be from an infected individual crapping nearby to (or in) your water source upstream.
    Possibly with a Norwalk virus infection ~ not fatal but, it will (for certain) take you out of the game for a few days with cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, etc.

    You can pop a tablet (Chlorine Dioxide) into your water after you filter and that will kill viruses and anything not physically filtered out of your water source.

    ~~~> 4 Hour treatment time though which may or may not work out for you.
    Ideally you will want to have two water containers. One ready and one for drinking 4 hours later.



    or the POTABLE AQUA tablets are Iodine based and will also kill viruses.

    I keep a small bottle of tablets in the pouch own my canteen cover. Also, a bottle of Iodine in my First Aid Kit. Remember how that stuff stings and burns? You don't want to get a scratch or cut around me!!..../:)
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    Interesting, I've just been looking at a Sawyer Complete Water Filter, which filters to 0.1µ (so, no virus filtering) and just happens to fit within the price range of an REI gift card I received a while back and seems worth purchasing from them - I love how they stand behind what they sell. I've been looking for a water filter for medium-term camping/BOB use (I currently use purifier tablets on water filtered through a shemagh, settled out & decanted) and it seems to fit the bill. Since we're talking about Sawyer products, does anybody have thoughts on that one too?

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    http://www.rei.com/product/786393/sa...system-2-liter

    This Sawyer Complete water filter system comes with a Million Gallon Guarantee, essentially eliminating the need to ever have to replace the filter cartridge


    I am just finding it pretty incredible that any filter cartridge that small is capable of filtering one Million gallons of water?

    I think a phone call to that company is in order. Any takers on making a phone call?
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    Quote Originally Posted by QKShooter View Post
    Sawyer Complete Water Filter System - 2 Liter - Free Shipping at REI.com

    This Sawyer Complete water filter system comes with a Million Gallon Guarantee, essentially eliminating the need to ever have to replace the filter cartridge


    I am just finding it pretty incredible that any filter cartridge that small is capable of filtering one Million gallons of water?

    I think a phone call to that company is in order. Any takers on making a phone call?
    I would imagine that you have to backwash it every so often in order for it to work for that long of a time.

    As far as viruses, I usually have tablets with me too for that issue.
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    Quote Originally Posted by QKShooter View Post
    Sawyer Complete Water Filter System - 2 Liter - Free Shipping at REI.com

    This Sawyer Complete water filter system comes with a Million Gallon Guarantee, essentially eliminating the need to ever have to replace the filter cartridge


    I am just finding it pretty incredible that any filter cartridge that small is capable of filtering one Million gallons of water?

    I think a phone call to that company is in order. Any takers on making a phone call?
    I'll give 'em a ring Monday morning, see what they have to say. At least from REI's online reviews people assert that Sawyer stands behind their claim, and the nice thing about buying from REI is they stand behind what they sell even if the manufacturer won't. I can't often afford to buy from them, but when I can they've always done right by me. First experience I had with their customer service was taking in a six-month-owned North Face rain jacket with a faulty zipper and asking how much they would charge to repair. The response was: "oh, I think we still have those in stock...go ahead and just take one off the rack."
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    PUR used to make a big one (.5 gal/min) with a platinum filter that works well. It's triple the size of the MSR, but still portable. They no longer make hand filters. I have one at the cabin, and the MSR in my get out of Dodge bag. Really, it's for streams and lake water that you could probably drink from anyway. If something is really contaminated the only option and the only way to be sure is distillation, which you can set up pretty cheaply but it doesn't travel. Out in the bush I pump, and the drop an iodine tablet. I've never had a problem.
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  12. #12
    VIP Member Array Jaeger's Avatar
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    IMO, shelter may be first on the list, but without water you die almost as fast as from exposure. I think it's more important to have your water worked out than anything else.
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    +1 on the chlorine tablets. You can get them at an Army Surplus store really cheap.

    When I was backpacking in the Rahwah Wilderness Area, I camped by a lake above the tree line. I had a collapsible water jug that I filled with lake water and popped in a couple of chlorine tablets.

    I never got sick from drinking the water.

    When I walked around to the other side of the lake, I saw a dead deer in the water.
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    Quote Originally Posted by buckeye .45 View Post
    I would imagine that you have to backwash it every so often in order for it to work for that long of a time.

    As far as viruses, I usually have tablets with me too for that issue.
    Yeah, backwashing is the key to the 1,000,000 gallon guarantee thing. The Squeeze comes with a large 60cc syringe for that purpose. I own the Squeeze, the Just Drink water bottle, and the 2 liter gravity filter. All are designed to be backwashed by one method or other. Which one I carry depends on where and how far I'm hiking, basically.

    One of the great things about the Squeeze system is that, while the bag it comes with can be difficult to fill and will wear out, the filter will fit any store-bought water bottle with standard threads. It will also fit the threads on those large 2 liter soda bottles, and Platypus bags as well. I've personally ditched the Sawyer bag and gone with the Platypus when I carry the Squeeze.

    The Squeeze can also be modified for use as an inline filter for Camelbaks, etc.

    Another useful mod is to remove the washer from the Squeeze filter and replace it with a standard garden hose pre-filter. That will help keep sediments and other junk out of the filter and help reduce the need for backwashing.

    As for viruses, if you're really worried about them, Sawyer makes an anti-viral filter as well.
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    I'd never heard of the Sawyer method till an hour ago. I have a First Need that IIRC I got at REI. When I was a kid I grew up in Seattle so I was going to REI when the first store was in a basement downtown there. I've been a member there since before I joined the Service. I waited to join thinking spending a dollar was a gyp. When they went to $2 to join I figured I better before they upped it to $5. It's 10 or 20 now so for once I was smart. REI has always stood behind their stuff and I still have a 100% wool balaclava I paid just $5 for 30+ years ago.

    I use that Aqua stuff and before that Halazone tabs. If all you have is plain old household type chlorine (of the non flavored variety-I don't know how to phrase it right now.) Two drops per quart-4 drops if water is cloudy shake vigorously and wait 30 minutes works fine.
    I drank some untreated water from a creek in Texas once. I had to go on sick call and I was given some teeny weeny white pills and was all better in 3 days. I NEVER drank untreated water again or since. Jaeger is right: water-shelter-fire in that order.
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