- May 23, 2019 at 7:42 pm #3594277Andrew MarshallModerator
@andrewsmarshallLocale: Eastern Sierras by way of the Southern AppalachiansMay 24, 2019 at 12:42 am #3594327Tom KBPL Member
Damn! What a great, no nonsense review. All the strengths, along with the warts and pimples. I look forward to the establishment of a bench test protocol for filtering systems done with the same no nonsense approach, and hope it puts all the competing products under the same microscope. The author is obviously a guy who has been around the block a few times, or maybe I should say up a few dead end couloirs. ;0)
Thank you!May 24, 2019 at 1:04 am #3594330Ken ThompsonBPL Member
@hereLocale: Right there
Been watching this thread since last fall,May 24, 2019 at 2:06 am #3594335James MarcoBPL Member
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
Well, I still have my doubts despite a good review.
1) You makes no mention of connecting to a larger water reservoir. I use a 2L(2.5L actual) Platy (usually filling it the last half mile or so to my destination.) Generally I could get a hose gasket to seal pretty well with the Mini. But, on more than one occasion it leaked into my clean water bottle necessitating flushing and cleaning the receiving bottle. Very time consuming.
2) Generally, I have found that the larger 2L bottle is difficult to fill. The “squeeze” bottle is even smaller, about half that. As you say, you really want flowing water with sufficient head to get the flow into the bottle. About 1/2 of my water sources are lakes, larger streams (flowing, bit little head), small spring trickles, into a pools(or puddle) with a difficult climb to get at a “head.” I usually resort to using my grease pot to scoop up most of a liter/qt to fill the bladder(s.) A smart water bottle is easier to fill from these sources because you can squeeze out excess air and squeeze it back into shape in the water a few times to fill it. Even a cup will work on these sources of water.
3) Backflushing needs to be performed a lot. Usually once per day, even though the water looks fairly clear. I didn’t with my first Mini. and it plugged up badly after a week. Squeezing only produced a trickle and I was tempted to use both hands on it, a heavy hand on the bag was required. I normally don’t much care what the water looks like. IFF I can see through it, it is fine, “weak lemon aid” is a good test. If I doubt it, I can UV it twice. No such luxury with the Mini. Perhaps a drying methode (I seem to remember a gentleman using an aquarium air pump to dry the filter out before backflushing) would work to dry, hence shrink algae, amoeba, bacteria, and other organics, BEFORE a backflush cycle. Anyway, I understand the ” Backflush regularly – maybe even once a day while in the field…” caution.
Well written and Thanks for a good review!May 24, 2019 at 10:16 am #3594367George FordBPL Member
@eers2uLocale: West Virginia
I carry an old Sawyer squeeze bag that I’ve cut the entire top off of to use as a “scoop” for dirty water. Works extremely well and hardly any weight penalty. Filling the squeeze bag by itself in either running or still water is a real PITA.May 25, 2019 at 3:52 am #3594515Monty MontanaBPL Member
@tarasbulbaLocale: Rocky Mountains
I have a CNOC hydration bladder (Sawyer compatible), which opens up completely at the bottom with the removal of the sealing clasp. Scooping up water from a lake or shallow source is a cinch!May 25, 2019 at 9:28 am #3594526Vince GBPL Member
One thing you forgot to mention is always (and I mean always!) carry a backup system in the event your filter clogs. I’ve dealt with clogged Sawyer Mini, Squeeze and Katadyn BeeFree filters, even though I am very careful to try to filter the clearest water possible. I also carry a piece of cheese cloth and attach over the spout of the dirty water bag with a rubber band while filling; this acts as a pre-filter. I carry Potable Aqua tablets as my backup system.May 25, 2019 at 3:15 pm #3594547Jon FongBPL Member
@jonfongLocale: FLAT CAT GEAR
Aqua Tablet yes
Cheese cloth & clear water? That is not going to do anything but filter out macro debris. The stuff that you need to filter out bacteria is 0.1 micron (about 750 times smaller than a human hair).May 25, 2019 at 4:55 pm #3594562Vince GBPL Member
I did not make myself clear. I use the cheesecloth as a pre filter before using the Sawyer. Since I use a couple of layers of cheesecloth, it does a pretty good job of filtering out sediment and keeping it out of the filter. Here in the Midwest, the water is mostly cloudy from all the bogs and beaver dams. By the end of the trip, the cheesecloth is brown!May 25, 2019 at 5:01 pm #3594563Ryan JordanAdmin
@ryanLocale: Central Rockies
+1 Vince. A chemical backup is important if you’re going to use one of these filters.
I see these types of filters as complementary to an overall treatment plan, not as a replacement for something else. I really like their speed on the trail. I still prefer something like Aqua Mira for in camp.May 28, 2019 at 1:23 pm #3595103Jay BruinsBPL Member
You could survey thru hikers to get a rough comparison since we all use the same water. Let me paint a picture from the CDT: there were more Micros at the border than there are in Cuba, NM.
I’m still using mine, but I was a mini user. The previous squeeze users have mostly reverted back. I also drink more sources unfiltered than some and am more willing to carry more water for longer stretches to avoid lower quality water.
From the perspective of a mini user, the ring makes a better backflushing device than the syringe or the sport cap bottle method. That’s good, because you *really* need it. I backflush more than I ever did with the minis I’ve owned.
It’s worth pointing out that the o ring in this is the *worst* of any sawyer. Once all the little tabs break off, it really doesn’t fill the seat it’s in. They know this and include a second in the package.Jun 7, 2019 at 12:08 am #3596585Tony WongBPL Member
@valsharLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
+1 CNOC Vecto water bottles for use with the Sawyer Squeeze.
I had the original “black” body Sawyer filter….then moved to the mini with its frustratingly slow flow rate.
Then went briefly to the BeFree until it clogged on me and died in the field with no way to effectively back flush the filter…..Sawyer Mini saved our group trip.
Then went to the Squeeze for the better rate of flow, ability to back flush, etc.
The Vecto was a nice solution to being able to quickly scoop up dirty water and to easily attach the Sawyer to it to squeeze the water through the filter.
Lower weight is always nice, but efficiency/easy of use is more important to me…especially if the weight penalty for is “minor”. (3 oz vs. 2 oz Squeeze vs. Micro…..2L Vecto at 3.1 oz vs. 1.3 oz 2L Platypus = 2.8 oz heavier Squeeze & Vecto vs.Micro & 2L Platypus. For perspective a Cliff bar is about 2.4 oz)
Vecto on Amazon:
TonyJun 9, 2019 at 5:08 pm #3596921Christopher CBPL Member
+1 to Filterbench Protocol!!!
I got into a lengthy debate on a YouTube discussion all about the relative merits of Sawyer backflushing vs. Katadyn shake it clean systems. I have to agree with this review – I’ll take the backflushed system any day. And reviewing I’ve seen on the Katadyn bears it out. Backflushing is far more likely to restore flow rate. But yes, you have to actually do the backflushing, and do it regularly, for it to be effective. Personally, I’ve just started taking the syringe with me on trail. Even with the syringe, the Squeeze is still a super light filter. At least once a day, I backflush with the syringe.Jun 30, 2019 at 6:22 pm #3600041Hanz BBPL Member
Cheese cloth is an interesting idea. Maybe a wad pre filter in a cnoc 2L could be interesting.
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