Sawyer Mini Backflushing
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Feb 4, 2014 at 10:55 pm #2070047
I think the difficulty of backflushing with the syringe is being overblown a bit. It is a little clumsy, but not really "difficult." The syringe connection doesn't impress me as a well finished part of the product, but the Mini is a fraction of the cost of other filters, not to mention the weight.
I can't see any problems in channeling by using a short hose between the filter and syringe, or using the adapters above with a short hose and a bag or flexible bottle.
I ordered a couple 60ml syringes with tapered tips to give a better grip on the straw and I plan to trim the tip to suit. That will allow getting a good grip on the syringe also allow aiming the open end of the filter away from me so I don't get a bath while backflushing.Feb 4, 2014 at 11:19 pm #2070052Alex WallaceBPL Member
@feetfirstLocale: Sierra Nevada North
I've packed the syringe in the past to not only back-flush the filter if needed, but also for wound irrigation. Unfortunately, the syringe sucks (literally) at both. The adapters serve the same purpose when combined with a short piece of tubing and are much easier to use. Also, the added volume of water (syringe vs. water bottle of choice) is appreciated. Finally, the adapters, with a short piece of tubing, can also be used to setup the filter in gravity mode which is especially convenient in groups or base camp style trips.Feb 5, 2014 at 6:49 am #2070094
"An airtight seal is better than not…"
You're over analyzing
Typical BPL (which I am never guilty of : )
Just stick syringe on nipple and push plunger, no big deal, maybe a little water dribbles around
Now if you wanted to use a hard soda bottle to backflush instead of syringe, which I don't know works but it seems like it would, then you need an adapter and short hoseFeb 5, 2014 at 12:23 pm #2070215Ryan RourkeMember
Hi Jerry, in my attempt to simplify the ongoing syringe analyzation posts I may have been a little wordy:). On BPL if you don't explain yourself in detail you just open yourself up to regret (not directed at you Jerry just in general). But yes you do need a tube and an adapter. The straw that comes with the mini is made to fit the nipple so you don't need any special tube, it comes with it. As Alex said, with the adapter you can use it as a gravity filter. I will add to this and also say that it works brilliantly to filter on the go. Even if I take a break and filter water at the source, using the included straw and adapter is much easier than aiming the water flow into the bottle or using one hand to hold the empty bottle while squeezing water into it. The adapter allows you to have a hands free (gravity) or a one handed system without any spillage..and the kicker is you can also back flush with it! I keep the straw "permanently" attached to the adapter and filter. This way all I have to do is screw the adapter (which is already attached to the filter) onto my bottle and continue with my hike. The attachment is tight enough to hold the weight and I don't have any worries of it coming lose. Before removing the adapter you just flush back through some of the clean water if you need to. No syringe or separate operations to back flush. This closed system gives you a much easier way to filter, more options on how to filter, reduces the risk of spilling precious water on the ground and also an on the trail back flush…Just my .02 ;)Feb 5, 2014 at 11:41 pm #2070469cody yochumSpectator
@uclacody0908Locale: Nor Cal
Ryan do you have the adapters on a mini? It shows that the adapters fit the squeeze and the all in one, but the mini is not listed. One person on amazon commented that these do not fit the mini.Feb 6, 2014 at 12:11 am #2070473
Hey Dave… err, I mean Dale…
What kind of flow restriction are you getting when you shove in foam the mouth of the bottle like this? Does it drastically reduce the flow-rate into the mini??
And (giggle) it would kinda suck to accidentally push the foam down into the water container… probably never get that sucker out LOL
I like the idea :)Feb 6, 2014 at 8:48 am #2070546
The foam is soft and porous and doesn't inhibit the flow perceptibly. In the field I imagine you could get the foam out with stick if you needed to. If it gets away, it could float around inside without being a problem. Hemostats or long tweezers would do the trick at home. My foam prefilter is a quick and dirty work around, but it should get the chunky bits out of the way.
It would be interesting to see an insertable foam prefilter with a short plastic sleeve/screen and just enough lip to catch the edge of the neck on the dirty water bottle. That could allow enough offset to miss the nipple on the filter and it would be caged from escape. I'm thinking of something about 1.5" long.Feb 8, 2014 at 10:45 am #2071154
This carburetor inlet filter screen is the sort of thing I had in mind for an internal pre-filter for the mini. It could be used as is, or a piece of foam could be added. The trick is to find one that will just catch the edge of the dirty water bag outlet or adapt it to do the same. A gasket may work to "capture it too.Feb 8, 2014 at 2:03 pm #2071223
I got the tapered tip syringes in the mail today. 60ML like the Sawyer model, but with thumb hooks and a bit lighter at 0.8oz. A short chunk of the straw fits without trimming the tip of the syringe, so it's a dead simple replacement. That should give it a good squirt!Feb 8, 2014 at 2:24 pm #2071229Larry De La BriandaisBPL Member
@hitechLocale: SF Bay Area
I have one of those and have used it fo backflush a reg sawyer several times. So far so good. It is easy to get a good solid stream of water through the filter when backflushing.Feb 8, 2014 at 2:25 pm #2071231Trace RichardsonBPL Member
Great idea Dale with shortening the straw … that didn't occur to me … :)
I bought the bottle adapters so I can backwash from one of my existing bottles I always have with me (soft platy or plastic water bottle or similar) instead of brining the syringe with me …. are there questions as to whether these will have enough pressure to backwash properly (not enough pressure / following path of least resistance), hence the need for the syringe?Feb 8, 2014 at 2:52 pm #2071235
"are there questions as to whether these will have enough pressure to backwash properly (not enough pressure / following path of least resistance), hence the need for the syringe?"
Good question and I'm sure you'll get a wrote answer from Sawyer. I guess the question comes down to whether you can develop the same burst of pressure with your clean water container as you can with the syringe? The only downside I can see is possibly damaging your clean water container.
The syringe is only an ounce, but that is a generous percentage of the filter weight and it takes up as much space. Small things, but so ANNOYING after the UL joy of the Mini :)Feb 8, 2014 at 2:54 pm #2071236Trace RichardsonBPL Member
Thanks man. I like having less stuff, so I'll leave the syringe at home and if I end up with problems down the road due to not using syringe, I will buy a new Sawyer and bring the syringe. :)Feb 8, 2014 at 4:56 pm #2071277Daryl and DarylBPL Member
@lyrad1Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Please forgive me if this combo has been posted already. I'm simply using the good ideas you all have posted to improve the in-field back flushing of my regular Sawyer Squeeze:
The photo shows:
(1)Sawyer syringe connected to
(2)Mini Filter grey tube connected to
(3)Regular Squeeze filter adaptor connected to
(4)Regular Squeeze filter
It works well. I still prefer a hot water tap backflush/filter wetting when available, however…..both before and after each trip.
I just took this Regular Squeeze Filter out of 5 month (post backflush and bleach) storage, by the way, and it was not passing water at all. Took about 15 minutes of at-home, hot tap water back and forth flushing to get things going again.
I chose to send my wife on her New Zealand backpackng trip with a new mini rather than subject her to the mysteries of this older filter.Feb 8, 2014 at 5:22 pm #2071284Steve BBPL Member
@geokiteLocale: Southern California
I'm thinking there might be an issue with using a store bought water bottle with a filter like this. Air has to flow back into the bottle through the filter to replace water dispenced; wouldn't the air cause the same channeling that weakly flowing water does? Seems that only a flexible water container should be used.
SteveFeb 8, 2014 at 7:01 pm #2071326Daryl and DarylBPL Member
@lyrad1Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Harold Hope's previous post shows the same thing I just posted. Now I'm guilty of plagiarizing.Feb 8, 2014 at 7:39 pm #2071339
"Seems that only a flexible water container should be used."
You can easily squeeze a quarter of the volume of a hard soda or water bottle without requiring air to flow back. Then you can unscrew the filter a bit and let air get back into the soda/water bottle, then squeeze another quarter,…Feb 12, 2014 at 11:46 pm #2072921Glenn SMember
@glenn64Locale: Snowhere, MN
Didn't see any mention of this, but maybe I'm missing something. I haven't used my new Mini in the field yet (I'm just a 3 seasoner), but back flushing at home in the following way seems to work in the controlled environment.
Since I carry 2 SmartWater bottles, I have one of them capped with the flip lid that comes on the smaller, 700mm size bottles. The nipple of the cap fits snugly over the nipple of the Sawyer. So my plan, at least for the short trips I do, is to just fill up my bottle from the filtered dirty bag, put the cap on the bottle, remove the bag and stick the bottlecap nipple over the outflow nipple of the Sawyer and give it a hard squeeze. Figured I'd do that every time I fill up, just to stay on top of it, and it wouldn't take any extra work at all anyway, so why not?
Nothing extra carried at all, since it's all built in to the system anyway. It works this way really well at home. Lots of back pressure with no leaks and no clumsy connections. Time will tell how it performs under adverse conditions I guess. If anyone knows a reason why this wouldn't work well, please tell me now!
Edit: I do realize the hinge on these cap are weak, and I've had them wear out before, so for drinking, I'll just be unscrewing the cap just like a normal cap would be used, and only flipping the lid to expose the nipple for flushing. Even if the cover does break off, I'd just swap out with the cap I keep on the dirty bag for the remainder of the trip. I've swam in enough lakes and ponds to not fear droplets of "contaminated" water.Feb 13, 2014 at 7:06 am #2072977
Better to not squeeze dirty water into the output side of the filter
Instead, filter some water into the clean bottle, then squeeze some of it back to clean out the filter. Dump that water onto the ground because it may have more stuff in it.Feb 13, 2014 at 1:26 pm #2073150Tony WongBPL Member
@valsharLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
Thanks for putting up the pictures of your syringe setup.
Looks better than what Sawyer provides.
Can you give us the link to the site where you ordered your syringe?
TonyFeb 13, 2014 at 1:38 pm #2073155Larry De La BriandaisBPL Member
@hitechLocale: SF Bay Area
I just search for irrigation syringe sale. I ordered from here:
I ordered some other things also.Feb 13, 2014 at 1:52 pm #2073163
"Can you give us the link to the site where you ordered your syringe?"
I found it on eBay and the listing was a little obscure and different than the photos. I recommend getting one without all the thumb gizmos in the end, just the flat-ended plunger like the one supplied by Sawyer. The one shown was designed for feeding tubes. "Catheter tip" is one keyword set to search on. I think I started with "syringe tapered 60ml" and got there. Your local pharmacy may have something and save all the shipping hassle.
I don't know why Sawyer didn't go this route: it is a much more effective connection, IMHO. I don't think it matters a bit if you use the whole "straw" tube or just a chunk– whatever feels easiest to manage.Feb 13, 2014 at 3:33 pm #2073196Tony WongBPL Member
@valsharLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
Dale & Larry,
You guys are great!
Thanks…will see about getting some.
Yeah, Sawyer should think about changing the tip of the syringe they include with their kit.
Always room to improve.
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