The Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter
The simple, small, lightweight water filter you should be using.Benjamin David | September 13, 2021
Bacteria Removal | 99.99999%
Protozoa Removal | 99.99999%
Micro Plastic Removal | 100%
Filter Material | Hollow Fiber
Weight | 3 Ounces
Brand | Sawyer
Warranty | Lifetime
Price | $29.99
Includes | Backwash Plunger, Inline Adapter, 2 reusable 32-oz, BPA-free collapsible pouches
We decided to get on board with the modern backpacking movement, and pick up super small and light Sawyer Squeeze water filter. We’ve used a old MSR pump style filter for about two decades, so when it came to replacing a filter, yet again, we started looking at more modern filter solutions that were the same price or significantly cheaper, than a replacement MSR filter cartridge.
We weren’t sure what to expect from a filter that costs less than another brand’s replacement filter cartridge, so we were pleasantly surprised when we pulled the Squeeze out of the packaging. The Sawyer Squeeze is small, lightweight at only 3 ounces, and stupidly simple, the way you want outdoor and backpacking gear to be.
We’ve all seen modern filtration systems, used and abused, hanging from a PCTer, ATer, or CDTer’s pack, but they are easy to overlook until you are in the market for one. And why would you be in the market if your ole’ trusty MSR pump filter has served you well for about two-thirds of the average age of those PCT thru-hikers with their fancy ultra-light equipment?
In The Field
It’s really nice to have a filter that is 1/6th the weight, and also a fraction of the size of our old filter, as it doesn’t take much space in a pack, or can just as easily live on top of a water bottle.
The Sawyer Squeeze, as mentioned before, is stupidly simple. The inline filter design means there are no pump handles, and really nothing mechanical to speak of. There are also no annoying pre-filters, dirty water hoses, clean water hoses, floats, or food-grade lubricants to worry about.
The ease of use of modern inline water filtration feels like cheating, compared to the old way. It’s so simple, even Y.1 Millenials and Gen Zers can probably operate it without a phone and video tutorial. The only thing to be careful of, which should be obvious, is keeping a dirty bottle or water bag for dirty water, separate from a clean one designated for clean water.
You wouldn’t want to make an idiocracy-style exam moment out of bottle management, where the consequence is potentially giardia. All joking aside, the Sawyer Squeeze is the easiest thing to use. Fill a bottle or squeeze bag with dirty water, thread on the filter, turn over and squeeze water into a clean water bottle. Or squeeze while drinking directly from an inline bite valve.
During use, we did run into an issue that is apparently very prevalent in the community of Sawyer Squeeze users. The OEM O-ring/gasket that creates a seal between the squeeze bag and the filter is quite soft, and with little use, can stick to the bag versus remain retained by the filter, or deform and leak. We experienced this first hand. Our O-ring stuck to the squeeze bag on removal. It’s suggested by other users to buy extra O-rings and travel with them, but there is the option of buying a Bibb Gasket intended for faucets that has a harder durometer and does not deform or fall out as easily. Aside from the O-ring issue, we didn’t have any other issues with the Sawyer Squeeze. Whether we used the supplied BPA free Squeeze bags, or a Vitamin Water bottle, the filter worked flawlessly.
The Sawyer Squeeze gets the job done, and it’s hard to find something to complain about besides the aforementioned O-ring issue. For the O-ring issue, we docked the quality score, since it seems like a design or quality issue, that should have been easy to mitigate, but was overlooked by Sawyer. We also docked the Ease of Use score for the O-ring issue, because we don’t feel like you should have to be mindful f losing an O-ring every time you disconnect a water bottle or squeeze bag.
The Squeeze is small, it’s lightweight, and it’s incredibly affordable. It makes more economical sense than buying replacement filter cartridges for what are now antiquated, bulky, and heavy, water filtration systems. It doesn’t cut any corners on filtration either, you get .1 micron filtration that will remove 99.99999% of bacteria and protozoa, and 100% of microplastics. The filter has a lifetime warranty and includes a backwash plunger if you ever need it, an inline adapter, and 2 reusable 32-oz BPA-free collapsible pouches.
If our filtration choice were just a question of economics and an MSR replacement cartridge was cheaper than the Squeeze, we’d probably still be using our MSR, and still just think some backpackers were a bit overzealous about the ultralight gear rage. However, now that we use one, we love it. While there are competitors to the Squeeze, with even smaller, or gravity-fed systems, the is a great all-around choice for most, and a superb choice for the size and weight conscious backpacker.