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Reviews > Water Treatment > Filters > Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter > Owner Review by Marina Batzke

November 23, 2013


NAME: Marina Batzke
EMAIL: mbbp2013 (at) hotmail (dot) com
AGE: 53
LOCATION: Los Angeles County, California, USA
HEIGHT: 5' 5" (1.65 m)
WEIGHT: 130 lb (59.00 kg)

I converted from day hiking and car camping to backpacking in Spring 2013. I borrowed various supplies for my first backpacking trip and that experience sparked my interest in testing backpacking gear. I always hike with a group and I like the gear talk when in camp. I am a tent camper looking for ways to lighten my pack. My backpacking trips are currently weekend excursions in Southern California, USA. If my business travel allows me to get away, I try to backpack one or two weekends a month.


Manufacturer: Sawyer Products, Inc.
Year of Purchase: 2013
Manufacturer's Website:
MSRP: US$49.99
Squeeze Filter Model Number: SP129
Pouch Water Holding Capacity: 32 oz (0.95 L)
Listed Total Field Weight: 3 oz (85 g)
Measured Filter-Only Weight: 3.2 oz (91 g)
Empty Pouch with its closing cap: 1 oz (28.4 g)
Pop-up Drinking Spout with its translucent cap: 0.2 oz (5.7 g)
Syringe: 1.1 oz (31.2 g)
Pouch with cap + Water Filter + Pop-up Spout + Syringe: 5.6 oz (159 g) Total Kit Trail Weight

Measured Filter Size: 5 in (13 cm) tall x 1.75 in (4.5 cm) diameter
Measured Flat Pouch Dimensions: 11 in (28 cm) tall x 6 in (15 cm) wide
Total Kit Trail Dimensions rolled up to fit into my backpack: 6 in (15 cm) x 4 in (10 cm) x 3.5 in (8.9 cm)
Trail Kit Length

Trail Kit Width


The SP129 cardboard box packing unit contains
- one 32 oz (0.95 L) pouch,
- the Sawyer screw on/off Water Filter,
- a pop-up drinking spout,
- a cleaning syringe,
- cleaning/ maintenance instructions.
Packing Unit Contents

The water filter is dark brown hard plastic with a blue sticker wrapped all around that shows the water "flow" direction and manufacturer contact information. On its bottom end, the filter opening has an inside thread that is used to screw-attach a pouch or bottle. Inside this filter bottom opening, I see a white rubber washer with a hole in its center to allow water to flow into the filter. On its top end, the filter has an outside thread to screw-attach the white pop-up drinking spout. Inside this filter top opening, I see a round brown tube-looking opening that the filtered water comes out of.

The pouch is made of firm, semi-stiff yet bendable plastic and imprinted with a blue / black color theme plus white descriptive text in English language. One pouch side shows the "how to use" instructions, the other pouch side explains the backwashing process after use and the storage recommendations. At its bottom, the pouch has a fold that expands when filled with water which allows the full pouch to easily stand upright. All around, the pouch has a 0.38 in (1 cm) sealed edge where both pouch plastic sides are press-laminated together. A white threaded opening is at the top end of the pouch. I can either screw on the water filter or close the pouch using its flat white screw-on plastic cap.
Water-filled Pouch stands upright on its own

Part of the packing unit is also a translucent plastic syringe, provided for backwashing (filter cleaning). It has a black scale imprinted on one side, indicating "2 oz = 60 CC" fill capacity and "SINGLE USE ONLY".


The Sawyer Squeeze Walter Filtration System turns water from creeks, streams, lakes, rivers and more into safe drinking water. This filter system does NOT involve any chemicals or pumping.
Inside the dark brown plastic water filter is the Sawyer Hollow Fiber Membrane, lots of tiny "U" shaped micro-tubes that allow water to enter into their core through tiny micro-pores. They remove Bacteria (such as Salmonella, Cholera, and e.Coli) and Protozoa (such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia) without adding harmful chemicals to the water. The Sawyer Biological Filter removes 7 log (99.99999%) of all bacteria and 6 log (99.9999%) of all protozoa. Sawyer provides further technical details on their website at
This filtration system does not remove viruses from water.


Sawyer indicates a filter life expectancy of 1 Million Gallons of water filtering guaranteed. Basically Sawyer guarantees the filter for life as long as the user follows the simple care and use instructions.
The reusable firm, semi-stiff yet bendable plastic pouch can be used hundreds of times. It is durable, yet not unbreakable. Pouches broken due to user error are not covered under the manufacturer warranty.
The manufacturer does not cover a frozen filter under its warranty.


Trip #1:
Location: Bridge to Nowhere, San Gabriel Mountains (northern Los Angeles County)
Elevation: 3000 ft (900 m)
Trip Duration: 2 days/ 1 night
Water Source: East Fork of San Gabriel River water
Temperatures: 63-80 F (18-27 C)

Trip #2:
Location: Third Stream Crossing Lytle Creek, San Bernardino National Forest, California, USA
Elevation: 4000 ft (1200 m)
Trip duration: 2 days/ 1 night
Water Source: Creek water
Temperatures: 60-80 F (16-27 C)

Trip #3:
Location: Henninger Flats, Angeles National Forest, California, USA
Elevation: 2600 ft (790 m)
Trip duration: 2 days/ 1 night
Water Source: Running water requiring filtering
Temperatures: 64-90 F (18-32 C)

Trip #4:
Location: Little Jimmy Campground, Angeles National Forest, California, USA
Elevation: 7500 ft (2290 m)
Trip duration: 2 days/ 1 night
Water Source: Spring water requiring treatment before use
Temperatures: 35-58 F (2-14 C)

Trip #5:
Location: Henninger Flats, Angeles National Forest, California, USA
Elevation: 2600 ft (790 m)
Trip duration: 2 days/ 1 night
Water Source: Running water requiring filtering
Temperatures: 64-90 F (18-32 C)


I started backpacking in the spring of 2013 and compared and used fellow backpackers' water pump systems on my initial trips before buying my own filtering solution. In comparison to pumping water, I am amazed by the ease to use the Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter System.

Right after purchase, I tried the Sawyer water filter system at home to get acquainted with it before field-use. I opened the cardboard packaging and, as water filtering is important for my health while in the back country, I was expecting a booklet with lengthy use instructions and warnings in multiple languages, yet found none. I then noticed that the use instructions plus backwashing/ storage instructions are imprinted on the water pouch itself. I really like this, as I can always read up on proper use, even while backpacking without having to carry an instructional booklet along. I bought the Sawyer water filter system in the USA and the entire text (on box, paper, filter and pouch) is in English language only.

To start my tryout at home, I filled the pouch with tap water, screwed on the water filter bottom end, then lifted the pouch upside down and after a couple of seconds with just a light squeezing, the water slowly flowed out of the filter top end. I repeated this step a couple of times and the water flowed more easily, as the filter fibers got moister. Pretty simple actually.

The whole system is ultralight at only 5.6 oz (159 g) total trail kit weight that I carry in my backpack. The kit packs down to a small bundle of 6 in x 4 in x 3.5 in (15 cm x 10 cm x 9 cm) after each use, easy to fit into my backpack. I roll the empty pouch (closed with its white screw-on cap) around the filter and syringe. I place this coil inside a plastic bag to contain any remnant water spills when hiking out.

During my first field-use, I found it a bit hard to get the 32 oz (0.95 L) pouch filled with water because the semi-stiff plastic pouch kept collapsing flat and I could not get a complete fill of water into it. I held the empty pouch more into the creek stream and with the force of the flowing water I was able to fill it completely. Now after multiple uses, the plastic has gotten used to being expanded and I do not notice this collapsing anymore.

After the pouch is filled, I attach the water filter without screwing the filter bottom end on too tightly, as that could damage or misalign the white rubber washer. Next I turn the pouch-filter set upside down and filtered water starts running into my cooking pot or my backpack's water bladder. While in camp, I often attach the drinking spout to the filter top end and I drink directly through the pop-up spout. I add a light squeeze to increase the water flow, yet I avoid too much squeezing pressure to not force the water past the filter too quickly and thereby reduce the time it may need to get filtered sufficiently. Because there are no chemicals involved, the filtered water taste is not changed. Throughout my excursions, I have used the filtered water for cooking (breakfast: hot oatmeal, coffee; dinner: hot soup) and the heated food tasted fine. And I have drunk the filtered water at water source temperature for my hydration and the water tasted fine.
Filtering into my cooking pot

Filtering into my backpack water bladder

I have seen fellow hikers tightly roll up and wring the pouch, or press really hard on it to force-squeeze water into their cooking pot to speed up the filtering process. I avoid this to not ruin the pouch, as this semi-stiff plastic could develop perforations or punctures if handled incorrectly. I have timed the filtering of a 32 oz (0.95 L) pouch at 3 minutes and a few seconds with only light squeezing.

Should the flow of water slow down, it signals that the filter needs cleaning. I have not noticed such a slow down on my short 2 day/ 1 night weekend trips and therefore have not taken the syringe along on my most recent short trips. The manufacturer recommends taking the syringe along especially on multi-day trips.

The term 'backwashing' describes cleaning of the filter, so it allows water to run through the filter at faster speed again: I take the syringe, fill it up with clean water, then I position the syringe on the filter top opening, so the syringe tip fits perfectly into the round tube-looking filter top opening. Afterwards I force the clean water through the filter against the typical water flow. The first backwash should be really forceful to clean out all the fibers. I repeat this several times, and then shake any remaining water out of the filter. The syringe has SINGLE USE ONLY imprinted but this relates to its commercial use in the health care field (like taking blood from a patient). I have used the syringe repeatedly for backwashing. Once back home, I repeat this backwashing process, then let the filter dry out for a couple of days before I pack it away until my next trip. I also allow the opened pouch to dry out completely before storing it until my next trip.

During an unusually cold Southern California October night that reached a low of 35 F (2 C) plus wind chill exposure, I made sure to keep the water filter kit in my backpack inside my tent when not in use, protected from low temperatures as freezing may ruin the filter itself and voids the manufacturer's warranty.

Once ready to pack up and head out of camp, I unscrew the pouch from the filter and close the empty pouch with its flat white plastic cap. Afterward I empty any remaining water out of the filter itself by shaking it a few times. Just like when I hiked in, I roll all kit components into a coil and place that inside a plastic bag, ready for my backpack.

One nice feature of the Sawyer filter system is that it fits not only on the manufacturer-supplied pouches but select store-bought bottles as well. Out of three different water bottles that I had at home, the filter fit on one. While I only need to make drinkable water for myself on my backpacking trips, the Sawyer filter system can easily produce drinkable water for several people, as long as they bring multiple pouches or fitting off-the-shelf bottles along on their trips.
Filter on store-bought 42 oz (1.24 L) water bottle

I realize that the Sawyer water filter system does NOT deactivate viruses, yet for my trips so far it has worked very well, is very convenient to use and I do not need to pump.


1. Light weight
2. No pumping
3. Also fits on select other water bottles
1. Price
2. Does not deactivate viruses


Marina Batzke

This report was created with the Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.

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