The Sawyer Squeeze has decided to be something different. Instead of the traditional pump style water filter, Sawyer has implemented a plastic bag that can be squeezed (hence the name) which pushes water through a filter. The idea is simplicity, light weight, efficient filtering. It filters bacteria and protozoa. There is also a variation that filters viruses if that’s an issue in your area. But, is it worth the switch?
About the Sawyer Squeeze
The squeeze is genius in its simplicity. The entirety of the filter is simple a soft plastic water bladder, and the filter. You fill up the water bladder, attach the filter, wipe off the bottle (to prevent dripping into your clean water source) and apply pressure to the bladder. The filter is promised to last nearly forever. The filter is backwashable, so when it clogs up you simply force water through the filter in reverse with a handy syringe, and suddenly you have a fresh ready to use filter. The filter weighs in at a scant 3 ounces, and includes (in the kit I tested) 3 water bladders of various sizes. The plus Kit (3 bladders) lands around 50 bucks.
What I like about it
It’s so light. 3 ounces is a huge weight savings over the traditional pump systems, which easily weigh around 11 ounces or more. The squeeze is compactable, and rollable, so it takes up very little room in your pack. 3 included bags (in the plus pack, recommended) offers options on what size bladder you want to carry, and the option of carrying a backup bottle. The best part about the squeeze, is you don’t have to necessarily filter where you get your water. You can fill up your bladders, carry it away and filter it miles down the trail, or whenever you need it. It doesn’t take much effort to push the water through the filter, and you can even hang the bag if you get creative and use it as a gravity filter. The fact that the filter is backwashable, and lasts so long means you’ll never have to replace it. This will save you a ton of cash down the road. The bladders feel surprisingly tough, and are affordably replaced.
What I didn’t like
While it can be used as a gravity filter, it didn’t come with the functionality built it, which seems like a missed opportunity. The bags can be a little hard to fill in shallow water. A simple fix is to pack along a zip lock bag and use this to transfer the water into the bladder. Squeezing the sawyer is easy, but becomes a chore for large groups. It’s great for a solo, or couple backpacking, but if you’re filtering for a group, you may want something different. After a few liters it begins to feel like real work. No included carry pouch just seems frugal. While it doesn’t need one, it would help to keep things tidy.
I really like the Sawyer Squeeze. It’s my new go to filter for pretty much every occasion. The weight and money savings far outweigh any cons that make present themselves. If you’re filtering for yourselves and maybe a friend or two, this will certainly get the job done, safely, and effectively.