Guest - Not logged in 

Reviews > Health & Safety > First Aid Kits > Sawyer The Extractor Pump Kit > Owner Review by Jennifer Koles

Sawyer Extractor Snake Bite Kit
Owner Review
Jennifer Koles
9, 2007

Personal Information

Name:  Jennifer Koles
Age:  32
Gender:  Female
Height:  5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
Weight: 140 lb (64 kg)
Email address: jennksnowy at yahoo dot com
City, State, and Country:  Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

Backpacking Background

I started taking overnight backpacking trips four years ago in the Uinta Mountain Range in Utah. I found myself taking entirely too much gear. I am finding out slowly how to minimize my needs and not require extra luxuries. My previous outdoor experiences consisted of 4-wheel-drive camping in primitive areas and day hiking. I use a four season convertible tent or a three season tent for my shelter. I plan to take more trips, increase my duration, and reduce my two to three day backpack base weight from 17 lb (8 kg).

Product Information

Manufacturer: Sawyer
Year of Manufacture: 2000 (still manufactured)
Model: Sawyer Extractor Snake Bite Kit
Manufacturer Website:
Colors Available and Reviewed: Yellow
Manufacturer's Listed Measurements: None listed
Actual Measurements: 4.72 in x 2.95 in x 1.38 in (12 cm x 7.5 cm x 3.5 cm). The height is measured at the highest point.
Manufacturer's Stated Weight: Not indicated on website.
Measured Weight: 4.10 oz (116 g)
Warranty: None indicated.
MSRP: Not indicated on website.

Extractor Kit

Product Description

The Sawyer Extractor Snake Bite Kit is designed as a first aid treatment kit for snake and insect bites.

The kit contains the Extractor pump, four different sized plastic suction cups (to be used for different sized stings and bites), four alcohol prep pads, three 1 in x 3 in (2.5 cm x 7.5 cm) adhesive bandages, 2 Sting Care pads (a topical wipe for sting relief from mosquitoes and other bug bites), a disposable razor (for hair removal to increase suction), and "The Complete Bite & Sting Book".

The kit itself is a rectangular plastic case with a lid that snaps closed. There are four raised plastic pieces inside the kit to place the suction cups on for storage. This is to secure them in place and to prevent them from rolling around inside the case. All the contents fit nicely into the plastic protective case. The case is marked on the lid with the Sawyer brand name and the words "First Aid Kit".

The Sting Care wipes are a product by Sawyer. The wipes contain benzocaine, isopropanol, and menthol. The booklet with the kit indicates that the wipes give instant pain relief.

The Extractor pump is designed to create a strong vacuum (750 millibars) to suction out poisons and other foreign fluids, thus diminishing pain, itching, swelling, and a reduction in risks of more serious reactions. There is no need to cut or use a scalpel in order to use the Extractor device.

The Extractor pump is a plastic device that has a plunger. The different sized suction cups attach to the end of the pump. No twisting is necessary to place the cups on the pump. I pushed them on to the end of the plunger with no force or difficulty. The smallest suction cup can be placed on the end of the plunger on either side.

The instruction booklet contains information on how to use the Extractor plunger for snake and insect bites. The booklet is very detailed on the treatment of various bites that may or may not need treatment with the Extractor. Some of the treatments suggest using other Sawyer products that are not included in this kit. The brochure also lists information on the prevention of bites, poison control numbers, care of the Extractor, sun block and insect repellent information. I found that the information in the brochure definitely increased my knowledge and understanding of snake, spider, insect, and marine creature bites and stings.

Field Use

I will admit I do not like snakes, spiders, bugs, or just about anything else that bites. I purchased this snake bite kit seven years ago after I was rock climbing and I had a rattlesnake fall from a rock above me. I have carried this kit with me off and on over the years. I had people tell me that the Extractor would not work and that the kit is very heavy. Some of the locations that I carried the kit in my pack include: Utah (Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Escalante Grand Staircase area, Zion National Park, Wasatch Mountain Range, and American Fork Canyon); Wyoming (Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks); Pennsylvania on the Appalachian Trail. I think that about sums up all the locations it has been carried in. The elevations ranged from 480 ft to 13,770 ft (146 m to 4,197 m). The temperatures have been below freezing to above 100 F (38 C). I did put a few extra first aid items into the protective case such as: poison ivy cream, burn cream, iodine, and extra bandages. This is not included in the above stated weight.

Just like all first aid products that I carry I had hopes of never using the contents of this kit. I did use some of the adhesive bandages for cuts, a few of the alcohol prep pads, and one of the Sting Care wipes while on the trail. I used the Sting Care wipe specifically for a bee sting, but I did not need to use the Extractor. I found that the Sting Care wipe dulled the pain from the sting. I did not have any adverse reaction to using the wipe. However, I still had to take an oral antihistamine after I was stung just so I did not end up with a severe allergic reaction.

So after carrying the kit for seven years I finally used the extractor on a snake bite. I accidentally stepped on a Great Basin Rattlesnake and it bit me in the ankle. It was almost dusk when I was bit and I was almost to the trail head. I was able to recall how to use the Extractor from reading the instructions and I used the bite and sting booklet for reference. The manufacturer suggests to improve suction the user should remove any hair with the razor. My ankle was not hairy so I skipped this step. I placed a suction cup that I thought would be ideal to extract the venom out of the bite on the end of the Extractor. Then I pulled the trigger of the plunger out and placed the suction cup with the Extractor attached to one of the bite holes. One handed, I pushed the plunger in with the thumb of my right hand. I felt the suction when the plunger was pushed in. The manufacturer suggests in the bite and sting book that the snake bite should be treated within 5 minutes. I think I began treatment within that timeframe. I alternated every two minutes between fang holes for about 10 minutes. I was still noticing fluid on my skin that I wiped off with water and an alcohol pad. I did not have any swelling at this point. After walking to the trail head I noticed that my ankle became swollen and I noticed slight bruising.

I then decided to drive to the local hospital. It took me about 45 minutes to reach the emergency room where I received treatment. They still had to give me an antivenin. The hospital staff educated me on the future treatment of a snake bite. They suggested to clean the wound and apply a sterile dressing (not a pressure bandage), do not use a tourniquet, do not cut the skin in the area of the bite, do not elevate my heart rate, and remain calm. They did not state if the Extractor was effective in the treatment of my bite.

Both the suction cups and the Extractor are reusable. However. the manufacturer warns not to wash or get the pump wet. The suction cups can be washed or treated with alcohol.

Things I Like:

  • The sense of security I received from carrying the kit.
  • The protective kit.
  • Ease of use.
  • The detailed bite and sting booklet

Things That Are So So:

  • I don't know how well it worked. I still needed antivenin.
  • The kit is on the heavy side.


So after using the Extractor pump I am uncertain if I will continue to carry it. I do not know how effective it actually was. I did manage to get some fluid out of the bite holes. But, apparently not enough since I still received antivenin. The Extractor was very easy to use and there are not parts that can get lost easily. I do like the convenience of the kit and the sense of security it gives me. I definitely felt more secure when I had the kit with me in my pack.


Read more reviews of Sawyer Products gear
Read more gear reviews by Jennifer Koles

Reviews > Health & Safety > First Aid Kits > Sawyer The Extractor Pump Kit > Owner Review by Jennifer Koles

Product tested and reviewed in each Formal Test Report has been provided free of charge by the manufacturer to Upon completion of the Test Series the writer is permitted to keep the product. Owner Reviews are based on product owned by the reviewer personally unless otherwise noted.

All material on this site is the exclusive property of
BackpackGearTest software copyright David Anderson