- YouTube Video by Trent Tyre
- Review by John Abela from HikeLlighter.Com
- Review by Supa Chef from Hike, Bike, Dale!
To be honest, after my experiences with my Katadyn Hiker Pro, as well as my even more brief experience with the Sawyer 3-Way filter, I was not looking to get another filter. (And for those of you that may know of my Frontier Pro filter, I do not really consider the Frontier Pro to be in the same category as the other 2 listed filters, but to be honest, for what it is, I do love it.) However, as noted above, a few people who I know (from blogs, YouTube, etc…) well and trust what they have to say reviewed the Squeeze system and it actually perked my ears a little. Then, on a recent hike with a fellow hiker by the name of Gizmo Joe, I got to actually put my hands on the Squeeze since Gizmo Joe carried one on our hike. This hands on experience is what changed my mind a little and allowed me to give filters one more try… So, at this point I knew what I would be picking up once I got my REI dividend and the 20% off coupon code… (in case you haven’t guessed, it is the Sawyer Squeeze). And guess what else?! It came in the mail yesterday! Yeah!
As soon as I opened the box, I weighed it on my scales. Here is what I got:
~The filter had a “dry” weight of 2.4 oz (including a regular cap – not the nipple cap).
~The 64 oz bag that came with it weighs 1.1 oz (including my mod…more in a bit).
~This gives me a total dry weight of 3.5 oz!
But the Squeeze system also came with 2 other bags:
~The 32 oz bag with the cap weighs 0.8 oz.
~The 16 oz bag with the cap weighs 0.6 oz.
At this point I am planning on using the 64 oz bag simply for the larger capacity while on the trail. I typically carry a single 32 oz Gatorade bottle on my shoulder strap which I drink from and then a 2L Platy bag when on my hiking trips. However, this Sawyer bag will replace the Platy bag. Although, after handling both the Sawyer bags and the Platy bags I would much prefer to carry and use the Platy bags, but from what I understand, the pitch of the threads are not the same on both of these bags. If these threads do not match correctly it could allow a leak to form at the connection point, which would not be a good thing because it would be the dirty water leaking down into the clean water. However, I have read that the Evernew soft bottles have the same pitch as the Sawyer bags, so I will have to pick one of these up sometime and give it a try…
I plan to use the Squeeze system as somewhat of a gravity style filter system. In order to do this I did make a tiny little mod to the bag (so little it can’t really be called a true “mod”). All I did was use a paper hole punch and punch holes in the bottom corners of the 64 oz bag and then tied a small piece of MLD LiteLine through them to make a handle so that the bag could be hung upside-down. Bonus: adding this cord to the bag did not change the initial weight of the bag, so 1.1 oz it remains!
One thing that I have learned about filters is that the initial weights are actually somewhat of a lie. Sure, for the bag with cord and the filter (along with the 2 regular caps) the dry weight is 3.5 oz, but that weight will only last until I actually use the filter while I am on the trail. Once I use the filter, the filter will actually weigh more due to retained water. This is a more “realistic” weight which should be considered for those of us that do count each little bit of weight… It seems that some filters will hold more water than others so, in my opinion, this is definitely worth considering when looking at filters. (And no, the filter will not dry back out anytime soon…it takes a number of days…maybe even weeks…)
So, since dry weights do not really count… I ran some water through the 64 oz bag and the Squeeze filter and then re-wieghed them for a more realistic weight. Here is what I came up with:
~The filter with the regular cap now weighed 3.1 oz (after I slung it around like a mad man trying to remove any extra water that I could).
~The 64 oz bag (with cap and string) weighed the same 1.1 oz.
~This is a total wet weight of 4.2 oz.
So the realistic weight that I am looking at with this set-up is approximately 4.2 oz. Saying that, I really feel like this set-up is one of the lightest filter set-ups that I will be able to find, and for that reason I will keep this filter and take it with me on the next few hikes just to see how I like it in the actual field. (And in case you are wondering, this is much lighter weight than what I came up with the Sawyer 3-Way Inline filter after running water through it. If I remember correctly, the wet weight of the 3-Way (filter only) was a little over 4 oz, not counting the rest of the “system.”)
When considering my chemical set-up, which includes a 2L Platy bag, 20 MP1 tablets and the FP filter weighs in at 3.3 oz (with a dry filter – but in fairness I hardly use the FP filter so it remains dry about 95% of the time – I had decided to only use it with really skanky looking water) the Sawyer Squeeze system is pretty close to on par with my chemical set-up in terms of weight. However, there are 2 possible advantages though that I can see with using the Sawyer system:
- I can drink water within a matter of minutes with the filter if I ever need to, and the water will technically be “safe” to drink (but not technically “purified” since these filters do not remove viruses).
- The filter will keep me from having to buy so many of the tablets, which are expensive!
One other thing that I was curious about was the flow rate on the Squeeze system. I have read that it was considerably fast, however, considering that I am completely happy using chemicals I am not necessarily in a hurry to “purify” my water so I have no problem even if I do have to wait. Regardless though, with the drinking schedule that I have I never have to wait to drink my water anyway (yep, even with chemicals). As well, I never have to carry much water at all (I usually carry up to 2L at a time, and will continue to do so). So, saying this, this filter will not necessarily change the amount of water I typically carry nor will it change how often I drink water.
But, concerning the flow rate, I did go ahead and fill the 64 oz bag yesterday and let the water drain through the filter while hanging upside-down (gravity style). It did take a whopping 6+ minutes to drain the bag, but to be fair this is not how the system was necessarily designed to be used. For a dramatically increased flow rate I can simply (get this) squeeze the bag! Not to mention, a little card did come with the filter that said it takes a few uses to reach maximum outflow with the filter. Despite all of this, unless the flow rate is just a drip, I am not too worried with the flow rate. (I like alcohol stoves too…if that tells you anything…)
Also, if you are curious, here is a little video that my daughter helped me make yesterday while draining the water through the filter:
So, I am looking forward to seeing how this system does for me. Until then, thanks for reading!
UPDATE: Later that night…
I know it is awfully soon to be doing an “update” to this post, but I felt that I needed to share this info…
After posting the video live I realized that my filter was a bit different from the other filters I have seen reviews on (and I thought it was also different from Gizmo Joe’s too, but after talking with him he confirmed that it is not different). The difference is that in the outflow port (where the clean water comes out of the filter) everyone else’s seems to have a nipple whereas mine does not. As seen in the picture above, the outflow port on mine is simply a chamber with a hole in the bottom. Where that hole is, is where the nipple is on everyone else’s filter.
So, seeing as mine was lacking I assumed it was either left off while going through production, or broke off sometime in production, but before the filter was packaged since there were no loose parts in the box it came in. This led me to wonder…if this was missed, what else may have been “missed” on this filter. So, I emailed Sawyer via the “Contact Us” link on their page. I explained to them that my filter was missing the nipple that everyone else’s seemed to have and included a link to my blog so they could view the photographs that I posted here as well.
I was a little reluctant when I emailed them because I have read in a number of places that Sawyer was not very respondent when it came to these types of things. But, I figured it was worth a shot. I sent the email at 10:00 pm tonight. Surprisingly enough though I had already had a response from Sawyer’s customer service by 10:30 pm, just 30 minutes after emailing them! With this kind of response time I have nothing but good things to say for them at this point. Not only did they respond in half an hour, but in the middle of the night at that! So, at this point, I give Sawyer 2 big thumbs up! And to be honest, this is the biggest reason I wanted to update this post so soon. I think that customer service can sometimes speak more than the product itself, and in this case, it was good. 🙂
But, since I have come this far, I will share their response and the rest of my thoughts… Here is their response:
The nipple was just added recently. You have an earlier production run. The nipple does make it a little easier to back flush, but it is still easy to back flush without it.
So, the response was short, yet to the point, and they definitely answered my question. What more could I ask… Now on to my thoughts…
As they make it sound, the purpose of this nipple is simply to make back flushing easier since the luer-lock on the end of the supplied syringe can easily fit over the nipple and allow a good fit so that water can more easily be forced back through the filter. However, with mine, I won’t be able to get such a good fit and it may be a little harder to successfully back flush the filter. At this time I do not know how this will go, but I will be doing some more “testing” with it at home and back flushing will be included during this time, amongst some other things…
With this in mind, I have a feeling that I may be taking advantage of REI’s return policy with this filter, however, not by mail. That will be a lot of wasted time and money. Instead, if I find the filter to work somewhat unsatisfactorily then I will simply carry the filter with me next time I go in the direction of an REI and exchange it then. I have a feeling though that they added that nipple for a good reason, but I shall find out soon enough I guess.
Despite this, lack of nipple, I am still eager to get this filter out on the trail and give it a real test! So, I am not throwing in the towel on this filter yet. I am still sticking by my initial thoughts in that this is probably one of the lightest and easiest filter systems to use. As well as the thought of having “safe” water to drink almost immediately if ever need be and especially the thought that this system can save me some money on those expensive tablets…
So, yet still time will tell…