My Honest Review of the Sawyer Squeeze Filter

by The Bald Scrambler

Published By: Daniel Woodley. Published: 14th December 2023. Filed at: Reviews. Disclosure: I may earn a commission from purchases made via links.

I’ve been using the Sawyer Squeeze filter system for over a year and it’s come in very handy quite a few times, especially when wild camping. 

I wasn’t overly impressed with it for day hiking, and instead, I now take the WaterWell filter, which is more practical.

This is my honest review.

What You Get

This is what came in the box:

  • 1 x filter
  • 1 x hose
  • 3 x caps/nozzles + washers
  • 2 x squeezable bags
  • 1 x mesh bag
  • 1 x syringe for backflushing/cleaning
Sawyer filter set

The Sawyer Filter set (lots of small parts)

In a hurry? Here are the pros and cons:

Pros

  • Perfect for filtering water for camping/cooking.
  • You don’t need to “squeeze” the bags; gravity pulls water through the filter.
  • The filter can be attached to soda bottles.
  • The filter is small and fits in the hand.
  • Filters to 0.1 microns (that’s excellant).

Cons

  • Lots of small parts that are easy to lose.
  • My filter leaks when screwed onto soda bottles.

What The Manufacturer Claims

The manufacturer has made several claims:

1) The device filters water to 0.1 microns: For comparison, the original Lifestraw only filtered water to 0.2 microns and the WaterWell also filters to 0.1 microns.

2) There are no BPA-free claims on the device or website.

3) They claim that you can restore up 98.5% of the flow rate by backflushing the device. I’ve never had issues with it blocking and found it easy to clean.

4) Can be used indefinitely: The manufacturer claims that the device will last “indefinitely” if cleaned regularly: I don’t believe any filter can be used forever and most other filters are good for 1000-2000 litres.

5) Removes 99.99999% of bacteria: I’ve used it on the mountains in Snowdonia, including areas where sheep are grazing, and I’ve never fallen ill.

SAWYER PRODUCTS Squeeze SP129 Waterfilter for Outdoor & Camping
SAWYER PRODUCTS Squeeze SP129 Waterfilter for Outdoor & Camping
SAWYER PRODUCTS Squeeze SP129 Waterfilter for Outdoor & Camping
SAWYER PRODUCTS Squeeze SP129 Waterfilter for Outdoor & Camping

The Sawyer Squeeze Has Several Uses:

The Sawyer Squeeze is versatile and can be used in several ways:

  • Attached to soda bottles to filter water, usually for drinking directly.
  • Attached to squeezable bags to filter water for drinking or cooking.
  • Using the bags, but without squeezing them, letting gravity pull water through the filter (ideal for cooking).
  • It can be used inline, if you have an existing water storage system.
The Sawyer Squeeze on a soda bottle

On a soda bottle (leaked a bit)

The Sawyer Squeeze filter on a squeezable bag

On a bag, but how long will the bag last?

My Experience With The Sawyer Squeeze Filter

Here’s how I got on with the Sawyer Filter:

On soda bottles: I found that it leaked on most of the soda bottles I’ve tried it on. It was still usable but dripped constantly. For this reason, I rarely use it with plastic soda bottles.

On the squeezable bags (for drinking): I found it easy to fill the bags with water and when I squeezed them, I could push the water through the filter into my mouth. As the system has two parts (filter and bag), it wasn’t as easy to use as the WaterWell bottle, which has a built-in filter.

On the squeezable bags (for cooking): It’s here that I found the Sawyer Squeeze most useful. I filled the bags with water and attached them to a tree or my tent and let gravity pull water through the filter into my cooking pot. I could have squeezed the bags to speed up the filtration, but I found it only took a few minutes for gravity to filter a litre of water.

Using gravity to filter water

Using gravity to filter water for cooking

Sawyer Squeeze filter in my hand

Small enough to fit in my hand

Demonstration

Here’s a quick demonstration video showing how easily it filters water using nothing more than gravity:

How I Clean The Filter

The manufacturer states that the filter should be cleaned after every trip, so when I get home, I backflush the device several times with the supplied syringe, using cold water and a drop of bleach, which prevents any microorganisms from taking hold in the filter.

The amount of bleach I use is equal to one cap per litre, and I use fragrance-free bleach.

Before setting off for my next trip, I usually backflush the filter again a couple of times, but only using tap water.

Here’s a short video clip of me backflushing the filter, it’s easy and only takes a few seconds:

My Recommendation

I recommend the Sawyer Squeeze for campers rather than day hikers.

It’s robust and can use gravity to easily filter water for cooking, but for day hikers and walkers, it’s not as easy to use as the WaterWell, which has a built-in filter and is made from sturdy plastic.

I’m not sure how long the squeezable bags would last if I was filling them up to the max and keeping them in my rucksack all day on every hike.

Also, there are lots of small parts (caps, hose, filter, bag etc) as opposed to bottle filters that only have a bottle with a built-in filter.

I currently use the WaterWell for day hiking and the Sawyer Squeeze for wild camping trips.

WaterWell Water Filter Bottle, BPA-Free Tritan, 2-Stage Filter with 1,000L Lifespan, Removes Chlorine, Organic Impurities, Microplastics for Travel, Hiking, Leak-Proof Bottle Flip Lid, Blue-700ml
WaterWell Water Filter Bottle, BPA-Free Tritan, 2-Stage Filter with 1,000L Lifespan, Removes Chlorine, Organic Impurities, Microplastics for Travel, Hiking, Leak-Proof Bottle Flip Lid, Blue-700ml
WaterWell Water Filter Bottle, BPA-Free Tritan, 2-Stage Filter with 1,000L Lifespan, Removes Chlorine, Organic Impurities, Microplastics for Travel, Hiking, Leak-Proof Bottle Flip Lid, Blue-700ml
WaterWell Water Filter Bottle, BPA-Free Tritan, 2-Stage Filter with 1,000L Lifespan, Removes Chlorine, Organic Impurities, Microplastics for Travel, Hiking, Leak-Proof Bottle Flip Lid, Blue-700ml

Alternatives:

The WaterWell is better for day hiking as everything is inside the bottle (no parts to lose), but it can’t be used to filter water for cooking, only drinking directly from the bottle.

The LifeStraw is the original hiker’s water filter but doesn’t come with a bottle, so you’ll need one with a wide neck, or you’ll have to drink directly from the water source, which isn’t practical. I used to own a LifeStraw but no longer use it.

See an overview of all the water filters I’ve used over the years.

About Daniel Woodley

This review of the Sawyer Squeeze filter for hikers, campers and scramblers was created by Daniel Woodley, aka The Bald Scrambler.

From walking along beaches and kayaking down rivers to making his way up mountains and even jumping out of planes, Daniel has a love of the outdoors but scrambling is his real passion.

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Daniel Woodley

Daniel Woodley aka The Bald Scrambler

Have fun, keep safe. Hopefully I’ll see you on the mountains one day

By The Bald Scrambler

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