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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Mini-Squeeze Sawyer filtration review

Anyone who's hiked with me knows I've been toying with the idea of building a lightweight gravity filter system for 5 years. The problem up and to this point was finding a filter that didn't require a heavy pump system, wasn't bulky, could be integrated into my current water management system, and was less than 3oz wet in order for me to consider giving up my fast and light system of drop and go multi-bottle purification.

The newly released 2oz inline Sawyer Mini-Squeeze kit fit the bill. (released ~October, 2013) is a lot less bulky than the previous Sawyer Squeeze. I still retain my 2 bottle system, allowing me to add a chlorine-dioxide purification treatment when needed in conjunction with filtration. On long distance hikes, the compact size will actually fit in my compact 9oz frameless pack.  Carrying a 8 to 14oz pump was not likely to ever happen. The benefit of this system for me was that I was retaining both 1L primary bladders, and it screwed onto my current platypus setup with no modification or added hoses were necessary. Reducing any added weight, complexity, or forcing me to switch away from my collapsible water carrying system.
Filter with supplied 16oz dirty bag.
Filter paired down for carrying

Measured Weights:
Filter dry weight:                 1.35oz
Filter wet weight:                 2.00oz
(shaken out)
60mL Back flush Syringe:    1.20oz
(supplied)
20mL Back flush Syringe:   0.5oz
16oz dirty bag:                     0.8oz
1L platypus dirty bag:         0.9oz
(already carried)
Stuff Sack:                           0.25oz

Operation:
The function of this system is basically fill the dirty bag, screw the filter on, and squeeze the water into the clean bladder. Flow rate with a clean filter was excellent. The dirty bladder can still be used to carry water for dry sections of trail where carrying water is necessary. The system comes with a measly 16oz dirty bag, that can be swapped out for one of the 1L bladders you are already carrying. With a 1L dirty bladder, I was getting just a little over 0.9L of return water. A little is left in the bag, and in the filter after filtering.

Parts laid out, ready to be attached.

Filtering in progress.

Backflush:
The operation of the back flush/field servicing is one of the simplest I've seen while kicking around filters. A 60mL syringe is included that you fill with clean water, push up against the clean end, and press water through the filter in reverse flow. After using the filter for filtering 2 people's water last weekend's trip, with no slowing of the flow rate while using fairly clean mountain water... I'll likely leave the back flush system at home, unless I'm going on a long trip, or somewhere where I'll likely have to filter seriously dirty water (not as common in the NW). I'd also toy with the idea of carrying an emergency 20mL syringe to reduce the weight carried, and reduce the bulk of the 60mL syringe.
Basic back flush setup. The Syringe is bigger than the filter.

Supplies:
Included supplies are a 16oz dirty bag, 0.1 micron filter, straw, and 60mL backflush syringe. I added a small mesh stuff sack to hold the dirty bag, filter, and backflush syringe. As you see I also increased the size of the dirty bag.


Other possible options:
Frontier Pro Pre-filter mod, to help from clogging the filter when using dirty water. There's an excellent write up if you search the internet, and you will have to break off the nipple on the dirty side to screw it in.

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