Sawyer Water Filter Review – The Easy Way to Filter is to Squeeze

Sawyer Water Filter Review – The Easy Way to Filter is to Squeeze

$44.54 on Amazon 


Quick Overview

  •  Product:  Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter
  • Price:  $49.95
  • Dimensions:  5×2 inches
  • Weight:  3 oz
  • Filter Medium:  Hollow Fiber Membrane
  • Removes/Destroys:  Protozoa and Bacteria down to 0.1 microns
  • Warranty:  Lifetime

The Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter, Product Overview

With each new backpacking season, I take a look at my old gear and decide what I want and need to upgrade.  If something is not working for me, is broken, or is too heavy, I will research and purchase better options.  My Sawyer Squeeze is one of my favorite pieces of gear and one of the few that I have kept using year after year.  After trying a pump water filter and having a really frustrating experience with a Steripen, I’m so happy to have finally found a simple and safe solution for water in the backcountry.  As the name implies, you simply connect a bag/bottle of dirty water to the filter and then squeeze it which pushes the water through the filter.  The filter is a hollow fiber membrane which removes 99.99999% of bacteria and 99.9999% of all protozoa.  It comes with three Mylar foil bags which are BPA free.  These can be used as dirty water bags but the filter is also compatible with most any water bottle or water bag you buy at the store.  I prefer to use the Sawyer bags because they are lightweight and I know I won’t get confused and accidentally drink dirty water out of them.  The Sawyer also comes with a syringe to back flush and clean the filter.

One of the Most Versatile Filters on the Market

There are lots of different backpacking styles and this filter will work with most all of them.  If you are a solo backpacker moving at a quick pace in an area with plenty of water, you can attach the filter to your water bottle and drink straight from the pop up drinking cap.  If you are a backpacker moving at a slower pace or needing to carry water between sources, you can squeeze clean water into your water bottle.  If you like to hike with a hydration pack like I do, the Sawyer can also be attached to your hydration system.  This involves cutting your hydration pack tube, attaching two inline adapters, and screwing the Sawyer in between the adapters.  Another option if you use a hydration pack is the Fast Fill Adapter which lets you filter water from the Sawyer into the bladder without taking it out of your pack.  This eliminates most of the annoyance people have with hydration packs because you no longer have to pull the bladder out of the sleeve, refill, and then try to cram it back into your pack while its full. There is also a gravity fed filter option but this is compatible with the MINI Sawyer only and not the regular sized one.

Why You Will Love the Sawyer Squeeze

The regular version of the Sawyer weighs only 3 ounces.  By comparison, a lightweight pump style filter typically weighs between 11 and 16 ounces.  The Sawyer Squeeze can do the same job as other pump style filters for 1/4 of the weight and less than half the price.  This is a no-brainer in my book!  Another feature you will appreciate is that the Sawyer is very reliable.  It does not run on batteries and will treat water of any temperature.  One time I was backpacking in Yosemite with a Steripen and not only did I have to carry extra batteries for it, it also continually malfunctioned because the water I was treating was so cold.  Luckily I had backup water treatment tablets and got by on those.  I recently used the Sawyer for a week long trip without cleaning it (not recommended) and it worked like a charm.  I, of course, cleaned it right when I got home.  When you do need to clean it, you simply back flush it with the included syringe which is a really simple process.   You will also find lots of “hacks” online for the Sawyer so if you are a DIY kind of person you might have fun playing around with different options for this filter.  The only drawback is that you can’t let this filter freeze.  This means you can’t use it winter camping or if you are expecting freezing temperatures.

This Filter is Worth Its Weight in Gold

As a regular user of the Sawyer Squeeze, I can attest to its reliability and convenience and I’ve seen many other hikers using it out in the field as well.  We’ve all come to the same conclusion:  this is the best option for lightweight backpackers!  I thought about going ultralight and using Aquamira Tablets but those don’t kill Cryptospiridia.  I’d rather not risk getting a parasite that the CDC reports as the leading cause of waterborne disease among humans in the U.S.  For $50 you can be protected against 99.99999 % of all bacteria and 99.9999% of all protozoa.  Your filter will come with three dirty water bags, the syringe for back flushing, a pop cap drinking spout, and a lifetime warranty.  You can purchase your Sawyer at stores like REI, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Cabela’s, or Amazon.


Please leave a comment if you have any questions about this filter or want to add anything of your own!



Please follow and share!

6 thoughts on “Sawyer Water Filter Review – The Easy Way to Filter is to Squeeze”

  • Thanks for a great review, I have been looking at a few different models, like MSR Miniworks, and have a few questions: I am planning a back packing trip with my boys to fly fish in California’s Golden Trout Wilderness. I love the size and packability of Sawyer, but I am concerned about whether or not it would work for 3 people. Do you think it would handle the water needs for an adult and two teen boys? How complicated is it and if something breaks how easy is it to repair?

    • The Sawyer has a pretty high flow rate and took me about a minute to filter a liter of water (this can fluctuate depending on how clear of water you are filtering and on altitude). It will definitely be able to handle your needs, you will just need to be sure to take the syringe with you (or look up one of the many hacks) so you can backwash it if the flow rate starts to slow. There are not any parts that can break other than the mylar bags. I would take an extra one of those just in case, but you can also squeeze from a plastic water bottle in a pinch.

  • Hello Katie
    Thanks for sharing this, as someone who travels a lot to third world countries, I know well what unclean water can do to your body. I`ve been to Africa, India, Philippines and one of the first things I do pack is water filters.
    Now I`ve never used Sawyer water filter and I guess this is because of the price tag, at $49.95, it`s not cheap but having said that, cheaper options like Aquamira Tablets does not kill all bacteria.
    What would you suggest as a good alternative with a cheaper price tag? not because im not looking for the cheapest around but just trying to compare before I decide what to buy.

    • Hi Roamy,

      For international travel, you are going to want a filter/purifier that eliminates bacteria, protozoa, and viruses. The cheapest one I know of is the Frontier Flow Red Line Water Bottle which costs around $34. Make sure you get the red line not the green line because the green doesn’t filter out viruses. Happy travels!

  • Katie, I’m not a camper or bicker as such, but the reason why your review caught my eye is because I am a dog walker and on warmer days I do take my drink of water with me. What appeals to me the most is that the filter is applicable to most water bottles, which is the use I am planning to make.
    Thanks for bringing this product to my attention.

    • Hi Giulia,
      The Sawyer would be great to use while walking dogs. You can just attach the filter to your water bottle and drink straight from it. Glad to hear the review was helpful for you 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *