Feb 14, 2020 at 1:25 am #3631236
While I’ve tried out a whole bunch of water treatment methods, I eventually settled in on the Sawyer Squeeze during my wife and I’s 2015 PCT thru hike attempt.
In subsequent years while plugging in several sections of the PCT that we missed in 2015, my wife and I tried out the Katadyn BeFree paired with Hydrapak Seeker water bags. From that experience, we learned two things:
1) The BeFree’s are hopelessly short-lived, slowing down way too much with normal use, even after a two week trip. No amount of cleaning or makeshift backflushing will restore even a reasonable flow rate. These things are just not made for the long haul.
2) The Hydrapak Seeker water bags are just so much better than any other dirty bags I’ve every tried. The rubberized material is super durable while still being light, and these bags in general are just way easier/more comfortable to use as squeeze bags for dirty water. Additionally, the 42mm openings are a great size: big enough to easily pour water into with a water scoop, but compact enough to not be ungainly to deal with.
So I was left with a strong preference for the Sawyer Squeeze and the Hydrapak Seeker bags… two things that are inherently incompatible due to different opening sizes. The Sawyer Squeeze accepts a 28mm bottle/bag while the Hydrapak Seeker’s opening is 42mm, as mentioned above. I searched far and wide on the internet and counldn’t find any 42mm to 28mm adapters. [Sigh]
Nevertheless, I had a few worthless (read: old and slow) BeFree filters around that were just collecting dust, and so I started experimenting. And by experimenting I mean that I started beating on the the BeFree hollow fiber filtering element with a screwdriver and a hammer.
It turns out, with some deft application of force, you can cleanly separate the threaded plastic outer adapter part of the BeFree from the hollow fiber filtering element. I was actually shocked the first time I banged this out and it sheared off cleanly, but I’ve now done it on two separate units and I’m confident that this is repeatable.
The plastic adapter piece weighs only 0.55 oz and perfectly mates a Sawyer Squeeze with a Hydrapak Seeker bag. I haven’t tested this out in the field yet, but my kitchen tests indicate that the seal is quite watertight and easily holds up to the pressure of filtering just like it would with the BeFree. I am cautiously optimistic that this might serve as my new setup, marrying the best of both worlds for me.
I will post an update when I get to use this further, but I currently see no reason why it won’t work as expected.Feb 14, 2020 at 5:20 am #3631244matthew kModerator
Nice!Feb 14, 2020 at 8:13 am #3631251Robert RicheyBPL Member
@bobrLocale: San Luis Obispo
Perhaps a simpler but less innovative solution would be using a CNOC 2 liter bag with your Sawyer Squeeze. The CNOC is durable, easy to fill from a water source, and pairs readily with your filter.Feb 14, 2020 at 3:51 pm #3631306
I looked into those CNOC water bags and didn’t love the common complaints about the threaded male portion of the bags being to flexible so as to possibly get bent out of shape when mating with a Squeeze. I think CNOC may be trying to fix this, but I heard it was an issue.
More importantly though, the backside zip opening is useless to me. I would never use it, since I vastly prefer a water scoop I made from an old Smartwater bottle. So much easier to use to collect water from very small sources like the ones we commonly have here in Southern California.
I quite like having only one entry point in my water bags and I want that point to be decently sized. The 42mm openings of the Hydrapak Seeker bags fit the bill. It’s just much easier for me to hold the bag up by the mouth, pour dirty water in with my scoop. Set the scoop down once it’s full, and with that hand just immediately attach the water filter onto it.
Also, the alternate idea of keeping a Sawyer Squeeze permanently attached to the bottom of a CNOC bag as you full it up with dirty water from the zip side seems like a perfect scenario for dripping dirty water onto the outlet mouthpiece of the Squeeze. That’s a recipe made in heaven for contamination.
With all that said, I agree that the CNOC bags are probably the more reasonable solution for most people.
Nevertheless, I suspect there are many people out there with a slow/forgotten about BeFree sitting around that could be out to good use if they like the Hydrapak Seeker bags and the Sawyer Squeeze as well! :)Feb 14, 2020 at 4:23 pm #3631312JCHBPL Member
Very nice adaptation Derek. I’d probably be all over that if I hadn’t moved to (and love) a DIY gravity system which also uses either an original squeeze or the black filter from the Sawyer filter bottle.Feb 21, 2020 at 9:33 am #3632421Brad CBPL Member
The plug-n-play cap ( https://hydrapak.com/collections/accessories/products/plug-n-play-42mm-cap ), a short (5cm) tube and the usual sawyer connectors is another option. I use plug n play type connectors in a gravity system (hydrapak-filter-split drink tube-platy hoser – I split the tube with a quick connect about 15cm from the bite valve, removing the bite valve section when I want to fill up. I get enough head pressure from the system to fill the platy while it remains ‘upside down’ in my pack’s reservoir sheath)
NB. The new hydrapak flux is, in my use thus far, a better squeeze bottle for filtration than a seeker – the more rounded profile seems less prone to microleaks than the seekers’ sharper angles. It’s also far easier to fill at small streams as it keeps its shape better.
I have to say, though, that since I started to apply an occasional dilute vinegar soak, the befree has been uber reliable and very quick. I did 122 days/3300km of Te Araroa (New Zealand), mostly in drought conditions, with the hydrapak-befree-hoser gravity setup just recently. The weak point was the seeker, but that was solved by replacing it with a fluxFeb 21, 2020 at 12:03 pm #3632450
I’ve never heard of vinegar restoring the BeFree’s flow. I’ll keep that in mind if I ever go back to one; though I must admit that after being burned by them slowing down to a crawl on two separate trips, I’m not eager to return to using a BeFree in my system.
I am interested in learning more about your gravity system. Do you have picture of the setup?
Also, the Flux does look more durable, but it is also 2-3x heavier per unit of volume held. More importantly for me though is the fact that it’s only holds 1 liter. That’s a real deal breaker, since filling the water bag and screwing on the filtering system to it is one of the major pains when filtering. I try to minimize the amount of times I have to fill the dirty water bag at each water source, and the Flux would definitely not align with this mindset. Nice to know it exists though!
Lastly, once you carry a cutoff plastic water bottle scoop (which I do) then you no longer worry about how easy or difficult a dirty water container is to fill from a small source. I’m actually shocked that everyone doesn’t carry one at only a 0.25oz to 0.5oz weight penalty, but oh well, HYOH and all that…Feb 21, 2020 at 2:48 pm #3632488Brad CBPL Member
Sure! I know hydration reservoirs aren’t fashionable for ultralight but I just don’t drink enough unless I have ease of access. I go through a lot of water, and I’ve had giardia before so don’t skimp on treatment (I sometimes use chlorox tabs then filter and even in our roof-fed huts, I at the least filter the water). In the pics…
The quick connect is an Osprey; the bite valve is an Osprey too. There are lighter options but I like that the Osprey quick connects auto seal when a plug is removed and that the bite valve can be turned off.
Flux at left; seeker at right.
On the seeker, there is my befree + quick connect. To its right is the plug-n-play cap and some of the other bits I’d take to connect a sawyer – I no longer have the sawyer because, well, micro sawyer… endless frustration
These days, I take the seeker bikepacking and the flux thruhiking… and I never use the sawyer – just the befree, cleaning it out with 1:2 water to vinegar soak every so often (about 20mins seems to be optimal). I don’t need to do that while thruhiking as, in my experience, the biofilm gunking only happens when its been put in storage for a while (and that happens even after careful drying).
Usually, the flux or seeker is propped up on a branch, boulder or – if at a hut – a bench, with the tube running through my pack’s hydration outlet to the platy hoser (in pack sleeve), with the pack upright. It’s definitely slower if you do this because the platy is upside down… but it’s like 40s/L vs 25s/L so still way quicker than it was with a sawyer. I squeeze the hydrapak for a couple of seconds until there’s flow, then gravity/vacuum takes over.
On the seeker, you might just see a Leyzene bike tube patch. I’ve done 100+ days with the flux and had no holes, but the seekers pop a microjet every 1-2 weeks before that becomes unmanageable. Yes – a 1L seeker is about 2/3 the weight of a flux, but the flux: is stronger; easier to stand up; has a better lid to drink from; is an easier shape to drink from; is easier to store full or empty in a pack’s side pocket. I like having a 1L flux and a 2L seeker for different purposes, but if taking only one on a thruhike I take the flux. If accessing water is tricky, I just squeeze the flux straight into the platy at the water source, but even that is quick.
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