Backpacking/Hiking Water Filtering Setup

Backpacking Water Filter Setup – 32oz unfiltered water bag, Bleach (two drops per liter) inside a water scoop made from a soda bottle, plus the Sawyer Squeeze filter with my home made stopper to prevent the water dribbling out. The whole lot fits in a side pocket of my backpack. Copyright © 2019 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

After many years of backpacking I’ve finally come up with a water filtering solution that I like. It’s only taken me eight years!

We started off with the MRI Sweet Water. Oh how I hated pumping it and keeping the awkward floaty thing in the water. Then we had the Sawyer Mini, which was so frustratingly slow, you had to wring the water out of it drop by drop.

Doing my online research I saw some people are converting over to UV water treatment. However, with the water catchment areas of the Ozarks wildernesses being surrounded by farms and houses with septic tank waste water treatment systems, I prefer a mechanical filter and chemically treating my water.

Finally, despite the problems I’d had with the Sawyer Mini, with the many recommendations I’d received, I decided on the Sawyer Squeeze. The Squeeze has proved to be excellent so far. It has a very impressive flow rate, and hasn’t let me down yet. The cover on the drinking nipple (okay, Sawyer call it a valve. It’s a nipple.) has a very good fit and gives a positive click when pushed home, likewise, so does the push closure on the nipple.

In the top picture: 32oz unfiltered water bag. Bleach (two drops per liter of water), Soda bottle water scoop, Sawyer Squeeze filter with my home-made stopper screwed into the unfiltered water inlet, and a quarter for scale.

Size Comparison showing the Sawyer Squeeze water filter and the Sawyer Mini water filter.
For comparison. The Sawyer Squeeze vs Sawyer Mini. Copyright © 2019 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

The only problems I had with the new system were that the unfiltered water would dribble out of the end after use, and as with the Sawyer Mini, the water bags are almost impossible to fill.

Home-made Filter Stopper – The top of a Mountain Dew bottle glued into a milk container cap. Copyright © 2019 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

I checked online for suitable stoppers to stop it dribbling but couldn’t find any, so I made my own out to the top part of a Mountain Dew soda bottle, which I glued with Araldite into the cap of a half-gallon milk jug. I used the rest of the soda bottle to make a scoop to pour the water into the dirty (unfiltered) water bag.

The stopper and scoop both work a treat. I keep it all in the side pocket of my backpack. Not shown in the picture is a syringe that’s used to backflush the filter if it gets clogged. I keep the syringe in my backpack where it stays clean.

Milk Container Top – That little lip just happens to be just the right size to go around the neck of a soda bottle. Copyright © 2019 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

Switching to this system I’ve changed the way I carry water. Instead of a two plus liter Platypus water bottle of clean water and my water bottle, I now keep my water bottle topped up, and carry 32 oz of unfiltered water if needed, and a spare 32 oz bag for when I’m going to overnight away from a water source.

What water filtering system has been working for you?

Link: Sawyer Squeeze on Amazon.

A note about the links. The Amazon links are affiliate links, if you buy through them we get a tiny percentage which helps us offset the cost of keeping this website running. However, please buy from the source that makes the most sense for you.

What do you think?