If you’re a fan of the Sawyer Squeeze water filter system—and if you ever used it, you almost certainly are a fan—you’re in for a treat. Sawyer has recently announced their new Micro Squeeze filter system. At only two ounces it’s a full ounce lighter and is much smaller in the hand than the Sawyer Squeeze. It’s roughly the same size as Sawyer’s extremely popular Mini filter, but it has a larger filter than the Mini, so likely has a much better flow rate. This is huge. In my experience, the Mini has tended to clog fairly quickly. So if I use the Mini while backpacking, I also have to carry around the large plastic syringe it comes with to clean the thing. Which of course defeats the purpose of the tiny size of the Mini.
I was able to check out the new Micro and a cool little gadget Sawyer calls the Bottle Breather at the OR gear show earlier this summer. I liked both of them right away and was eager to get ’em out in the woods. But they weren’t yet available for purchase. The Micro is now available on the Sawyer website, though the Bottle Breather still isn’t yet listed for sale. Keep an eye out for it soon.
First, the Micro. If you’re unfamiliar with the Sawyer Squeeze or the smaller Mini, this is a thread-on filter that screws onto an included squeeze pouch, can be attached to the tubes of a hydration pack, or screwed on to most disposable hard plastic water bottles—Glaceau bottles seems to be most common in the backcountry. To drink, you fill up the pouch or bottle, thread on the filter, and drink through a nipple on the end. Simple, light, easy.
The Micro basically takes the larger Squeeze filter and packs it down to a much smaller size. It weighs the same as the Mini, but with a larger filter will be a much faster drinking option, one of the few knocks on the Mini. It still ships with the syringe you use to backfill and clean the filter, but you should be able to spend a few days in the wilderness without having to clean the filter.
One filter lasts 100,000 gallons and treats bacteria, protozoa, and cysts, including e. coli, giardia, vibrio cholerea, and salmonella typhi.
The Micro also comes with a new, lighter squeeze bottle too that weighs about 0.5 ounces, so the whole system clocks in at 2.5 ounces, roughly half of what the full size Sawyer Squeeze and pouch system does. The Bottle Breather will thread between a hard-sided water bottle and the filter, allowing air to enter the bottle, letting water move through the filter much easier. If you use the Sawyer on a water bottle, you have to stop drinking between gulps to let air in the push water out—the breather will be an awesome tool to prevent that.
Bottom line, one of the best, most widely-used water filters got smaller and even more practical this fall. We hope to put one through its paces soon to report back.