With any good adventure comes a series of questions before packing. What are the most important things?? Am I packing everything I need?? What are the most important things I might be forgetting??
The more you think about and compile your list the answers start to fall into place, however one often missed piece of equipment that every adventurer should consider is a good water filter. Water filters can be one of the most important pieces of equipment you will pack when you aren’t sure if you will have access to typical amenities.
But even on trips where you will have access to typical amenities, sometimes a water filter can be a game changer!
I decided a couple of years ago to start exploring the options available for water filtration and test out one that I felt best suited my own personal style of travel following a lot of research.
In doing so, I opted to check out the Sawyer Squeeze, a small filter which can be adapted not only to fit a bladder pouch but also a typical small plastic water bottle. I found this to be a great option for backpacking or car camping as it took up a very small footprint in my space. Traveling in a small car, every bit of space counts so finding something small that could easily tuck away had more than a few benefits.
Designed to last a lifetime
Can filter up to 100,000 gallons of water
Uses a 0.1 micron filter
Eliminates dirt, bacteria and protozoa from water
Price: $29.97 Walmart or $36.95 REI
The Squeeze is very small and can be tucked away pretty much anywhere. The bladder pouch itself can roll and be stowed easily into even the side compartment of my Nissan door, a space which measures about an inch in width and only about 3 inches in depth. The filter was not much larger and easily could tuck away in the same compartment.
The weight was also great as it was only 3 oz when not filled. When filed it still was very manageable and easy to stow in my hiking bag’s side pouch, although it was pretty long (almost 18 inches from tip to tip).
The overall feel of the filter was sturdy despite being made of plastic and the screw cap was easy to connect to the pouch. The pouch was made of a thick plastic which was flexible but also felt like it would be able to hold up to wear.
When it came time to use the Squeeze for the first time the act of filling the pouch was very simple. I just placed it under a faucet and filled to the top. The bag does have a lot of flexibility but can still be held taught for securing the filter with ease.
I opted to fill the bag with chilled water to see if it would be able to insulate it in any way and hours later the water still seemed a bit cool and still had a refreshing taste to it instead of the flavor you often get from a water bottle which sits for hours and sometimes has a plastic flavor to it.
The reason why I mention this is because the filter itself does not have the ability to effect the taste of the water or the smell. This is important to note because the pouch flavor was very different than the flavor when I attempted to drink from the filter for a second time using the same filter and source but a plastic bottle.
My conclusion for this was that the vessel you place the water in truly does have an impact on your water’s overall flavor. After coming to this conclusion, drinking from a plastic bottle lost all appeal.
Another thing I noticed during the testing with the plastic bottle was that different bottles have different thread patterns. Some work better than others with the filter. Smaller tread lip sections do not seem to seal fully while larger tread lip sections work much better.
Cleanup was pretty easy with the Squeeze. I found the instructions to be very easy to comprehend and easy to mimic with the back flushing. Pouches could be cleaned similarly to most pouch or bladder systems.
Continued Use Testing:
I used the Squeeze off and on for several months over many trips. Throughout these trips I was traveling through various climates and the Squeeze was subjected to both hot and cold temperatures. In addition I tested with several different sources of water including fresh sourced water from a running mountain stream.
Over multiple uses by continuing with regular back flushing following use, I did not see any decline in the production fo the filter and only noticed that the wear was more apparent with the pouch than anything. Drops aren’t the kindest to the pouches and after a trip to Zion and an unfortunate slip I managed to pop the pouch and had to order replacements.
For what I personally do with car camping, light airline travel and backpacking the size was perfect. The Squeeze works well and with minimal need for replacing parts (the pouches).
Where I did find the filter a bit lacking for some travelers would be the ability to filter large quantities of water at a single time. This is designed to be a personal filter and would be taxed to filter large amounts due to its design.
Sawyer does offer larger filtration and water holding systems however at very reasonable prices in addition to filters which are designed to filter chemicals, pesticides and viruses.
In comparison to other similar person filters this one does function better for the price point. I compared this most closely to Life Straw which is a handheld unit designed to drink directly from a source. The Life Straw however has a 0.2 micron filter which is not going to catch quite as much as the Squeeze.
I would definitely recommend the Squeeze for personal use for a person who enjoys adventures of any kind. With tap water this is an additional safeguard and for those drinking from running water in the great outdoors it can allow you to rest assured that you are going to be ok.
For more information about all the places I have visited make sure to check out the NEW Interactive Map Feature HERE