SAWYER SQUEEZE WATER FILTER
BY JERRY ADAMS
November 30, 2017
6' 2" (1.88 m)
195 lb (88.50 kg)
I started hiking about 50 years ago. My first backpacking trip was about 45 years ago. I currently try to do one backpack trip of 1 to 5 nights every month (which can be tricky in the winter). Mostly I stay in the Western half of Oregon and Washington. In recent years I have shifted to lightweight - my pack weight without food and water is about 12 lb (6 kg). I make a lot of my own gear - silnylon tarp-tent, bivy, down bag, simple bag style pack.
Manufacturer: Sawyer Products, Inc.
Year of Manufacture: 2013
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.sawyer.com
Listed Weight: 3 oz (85 g)
Measured Weight: 3.23 oz (92 g) (with filter wetted but as much water shaken out as possible)
Filter Size: 5 in (13 cm) tall x 1.75 in (4.5 cm) diameter
The Sawyer Squeeze is a 0.1 micron hollow fiber filter for drinking water "in the back country or anywhere else" (from website).
The 0.1 micron means that it filters out all parasites except viruses. Typically, in wilderness areas in the U.S. viruses aren't a problem, so the Squeeze is good for this. The Squeeze does not filter out chemical contaminants either.
The Squeeze also includes several bags to hold water and squeeze it through the filter. I have never used these much because I have heard they break. Sawyer sells several different combinations of the Squeeze and different sized bags.
There is also a Sawyer Mini filter which is similar but smaller and weighs less than the Squeeze. I've been using the Squeeze.
The Squeeze has a black plastic housing that is roughly cylindrical. On one end is a threaded coupling to screw onto a bottle. On the other end is a barb. Inside the filter are hollow tubes that have pores in the sides. The pores are 0.1 micron diameter.
Untreated water is put into a bottle or bag that's screwed onto the Squeeze. The bottle or bag is squeezed to push water under pressure into the Squeeze. Water goes through the pores in the hollow tubes so any impurities larger than 0.1 micron don't get through. The water then goes through the hollow tubes and out the barb where it can be drunk or directed into a water container.
The Squeeze can also be used in gravity mode. The bottle/bag can be hung with the Squeeze at the bottom. A water container can be placed below. Water will run through the filter and into the container. It will be faster if tubing is added to make a larger distance drop from the top of the water in the bottle/bag to where the water comes out. I've done this a little without any tubing but it takes a while. I prefer just squeezing.
The Squeeze also includes a syringe for backflushing the filter. After using the Squeeze for a while, many of the pores will become clogged with impurities, which will slow flow of water. Backflushing will remove the impurities. The way it works, is water is pushed through the filter backwards using the syringe to apply quite a bit of pressure. The hollow tubes slightly expand, so the pores slightly expand, which helps dislodge the impurities. This technology was first developed for reverse osmosis. It's used for dialysis and other medical applications. It was then adapted for recreational water treatment.
Sawyer has a lifetime warranty. From the website "At this point we do not know what the lifetime limitations of the fibers are. We have working filters that have been in continuous use for over six years and we have filters which have filtered hundreds of thousands of gallons of water. Sawyer's fibers are so robust, they can be backwashed and reused perpetually"
Sawyer says to not let the Squeeze get below freezing. If it's suspected the filter has gotten below freezing, replace it. There is no warranty against this. There is no definitive way to determine if the filter has been damaged because of freezing. Sometimes if it freezes and damages the filter, it's obvious, water flows too freely.
I have used the Squeeze for about 4 years. I do trips of about 5 days. I do about 1 trip per month, so that would be about 50 trips and 250 days total.
I never take the cleaning syringe with me. I always backflush the Squeeze when I get back home. I have never noticed that the filter has gotten clogged.
For the untreated water, I use a 1 liter (1 quart) plastic bottle that originally contained soda. I find soda bottles are best, because they're stronger than some other bottles. The soda is carbonated, so under pressure, so the bottle has to be stronger. I've also used water bottles which are thinner, but they seemed too flimsy. This is just my intuition though. Maybe I figure if the thinner water bottles don't break, then there's some extra margin when using the soda bottle.
I tried a Platypus bag for the untreated water but the threads are slightly different so a little water leaks. I consider this useful enough as a backup if my 1 liter bottle were to break, but not for regular use. For one thing, the leaked water, which is untreated, can drip into the treated water bottle.
On about one third of my trips I think the water is just fine, so I don't bother treating. That means I've used the Squeeze on about 35 trips.
On the trips that I treat water, I treat about 2 liters (2 quarts) per day. So I treat about 10 liters (10 quarts) per trip. I never come close to clogging the filter with that much use. I don't treat water I boil because that kills any parasites.
I have treated about 350 liters (quarts) total.
Side view of filter:
The end that screws onto the bottle of untreated water:
The end the water comes out of. It comes out the barb in the center:
Filter screwed onto bottle of untreated water, bottle squeezed, water coming out and flowing into the bottle of treated water:
The syringe of clean water, pressed onto the barb that clean water comes out of. The syringe is pressed to squeeze water (backwards) through the filter to clean it:
I have always been careful to not let the filter freeze. If it's cold, I will put it next to a liquid water container and then cover them with something insulating, like clothing or grass. I carry the filter in a plastic zip top bag, and there are always some water drops inside. I can tell if it's too cold because these drops will freeze before the filter does.
The Sawyer Squeeze is a filter for drinking water.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.
It is 0.1 micron so it's good for parasites and bacteria, but not viruses, but these aren't typically a problem in U.S. backcountry.
It is very lightweight - 3 ounces (85 g).
Water is squeezed from a bottle of untreated water. It takes about a minute to filter a pint (1/2 liter).
I have used this for years and never had a problem with it.
If it gets frozen it has to be replaced, and there's no way to tell if this has happened.
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Read more gear reviews by jerry adams