Chat Rooms (1 Chatting)  |  Search  |   Login/Join
* For the benefit of the community, commercial posting is not allowed.
Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Gear Forum
      Water Filter (The Great Debate)     
 Forum Sponsor

Author

Text

theokbushman
 
08/18/2018 05:28PM
Does anyone why Sawyer water filters are so much cheaper than other brands. The Sawyer mini is $20- $25 dollars Cheaper than brands like MSR and Platypus and has a .1 micron filter, not a .2. MSR and Platypus also have a 1,500-liter lifespan while the Sawyer has a 100,000-gallon lifespan. The only thing I didn't verify was flow rate but Sawyers have a good flow rate and effective backwashing options.
 
Reply    Reply with Quote    Print Top Bottom Previous Next
GearJunkie
distinguished member (153)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/18/2018 06:22PM
I won’t trip again without the Katadyn Be Free. So easy. Worth the extra $20
08/18/2018 08:57PM
GearJunkie: "I won’t trip again without the Katadyn Be Free. So easy. Worth the extra $20"
That's what I use for Canoe trips and Bikepacking. It's the Bees Knees
Hank
distinguished member (199)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/18/2018 08:58PM
I have had a Sawyer gravity filter system for a number of years now. It works great. I like that I can back-flush it in the field when it gets slow.

A few people I trip with have the Katadyn Basecamp filter and it works very fast the first couple of days of the trip. Then it slows. It has a prefilter screen that can be removed and then scrubbed and that helps a little. But usually by the 5th day the filter has to be replaced, and they aren't cheap. I find that some lakes clog the Katadyn filter much faster than others, and it is worse in the summer. In May, their filters work just fine. It might have something to do with increased microorganism abundance in the summer.

Both the Katadyn and the Sawyer are good filters. If I were to rely just on the Katadyn, I would make sure I'd always have a backup filter.

As for costs, I'm not sure. The Sawyer filter is ceramic and the Katadyn Basecamp is some paper/fiber combination.
carmike
distinguished member(1537)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/19/2018 12:02AM
I don't fully trust the gallon estimates given by each manufacturer, but I've used both Sawyer and Platypus in inline systems without any problems. I did originally buy a Katadyn Basecamp, which didn't work for more than a trip, but I altered it (using tips from people on this site) to be an inline system. Works slick, and waaaay better than the original configuration of the Katadyn Basecamp. Just my .02.
andym
distinguished member(4324)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
08/19/2018 12:51AM
My view on the Sawyer is that it works for tons of people on this site. So I tried it and it works for me. This year’s trip we carried a Sawyer mini and a couple of the squeeze bags as a backup. Ok and some iodine tablets. I didn’t even realize it was cheaper but I’m good with that. It would be interesting if someone can explain why. I didn’t buy the whole system but built my gravity system out of some MSR bags I had around. So I never fully comparison shopped
Thwarted
distinguished member(1501)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/19/2018 06:40AM
Well I dislike my Sawyer because I have had poor luck with back flushing. My first system was a four liter for which I paid $120.00. It slowed way down about the third day and could only get a trickle on back flush. I called Sawyer customer service and was told to soak the filter and use more pressure. I used the faucet back flush adapter and blew water all over the bathroom. Then I filled the clean bag with hot water and partly stood on it. I broke the bag. Sawyer would not replace the bag (customer service had told me I would not be able to rupture the bag) so REI replaced the entire system. Now on my second system and still the same issue. If you find a better system, buy it.
Hank
distinguished member (199)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/19/2018 08:00AM
Wow. My Sawyer backflushes easily. I just kneel on the the clean water bag and run the effluent to waste. My system is probably at least five years old. Maybe something has changed in the intervening years?

sns
distinguished member (128)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/19/2018 08:25AM
I have a Sawyer mini. Flow rate was terrible from day one.

Now have two BeFree filters, including the 3L. Love them. Great flow rate.
cowolter
member (5)member
 
08/19/2018 11:47AM
Filtering with a BeFreefilter is an absolute joy. I use a 3L Seeker bladder and filter directly into Smartwater and Gatorade bottles at the creek/lake. What used to take 15-20 minutes to gather/filter with a Sawyer Mini now takes well under 5 minutes.
mgraber
distinguished member(773)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/19/2018 12:02PM
We have had excellent luck with Sawyer and never had a problem with back flushing with the included syringe. We have a mini used with dual platypus bags(the mini is much cheaper than theirs, and a bit slower, but is 1 micron instead of 2), a mini used as a straw and a squeeze. Our friends have 2. All have performed admirably and the original mini that is now used in the gravity system has been in use for 4 years and 59 days with 2-4 people. Literally hundreds of gallons and still works great. Always back flush when flow slows, always back flush well before storing or drying out. That being said, there are now so many good options that one should never have to pump again, and if you are boiling the water to cook, why filter at all?
aj1959
member (7)member
 
08/19/2018 07:50PM
I have used a 4L Sawyer gravity feed for several trips and have very good luck with it. I do prefilter the water, using a paper coffee filter in a tea leaf strainer, so the water going into the gray bag has the crud removed. Takes a few extra minutes however the Sawyer gravity system seems to work fine with this method.
andym
distinguished member(4324)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
08/20/2018 02:29AM
I think that most of the positive experience I’ve read here with Sawyer filters are for the full sized filter in a gravity system. Ours does 5 liters at a time. I do own the mini but haven’t needed to use it with lake water.
08/20/2018 06:38AM
I use the Sawyer Water Filter Bottle with the mini while traveling and have used it in a gravity setup. While the mini is not fast (never timed it), l have a couple of liters by the time I get camp set up. The Squeeze is much faster in a gravity setup for an ounce more. I have had no trouble back flushing either with the included syringe. I have used them for many years now. The MSR and Platypus filters work fine, but I don't know why the useful life is so much less . . . ?
sueb2b
distinguished member (198)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/20/2018 07:20AM
I use the sawyer gravity. It's worked fine for me on several trips.
08/20/2018 07:27AM
I use a mini for backpacking and for water between camps. In camp, I habe a platypus, but will replace the cartridge with a squeeze after this season.

Friend had a Katedyn gravity set up on a trip a couple seasons ago and it slowed down considerably over the course of a few days on Cherokee.

As for the difference and why the they are rated to last longer, I believe Sawyer has a different hollow fiber technology than the others.
08/20/2018 08:21AM
Man, you guys must be filtering some nasty water! I've had two Katadyn Hikers for years without experiencing the types of problems/slow flow (within a matter of days) being described here.
08/20/2018 09:07AM
I’ve put well over 1000 gallons through a single Sawyer filter with no issues. That might not seem like a lot but if you had the biggest 4liter bag kit that would be equivalent to filling it well over 1000 times. To make matters worse I get all of the water right from shore and it’s downright thick with debris sometimes. This really has turned into a torture test and it just keeps on chugging. I do everything with filtered water, rinse dishes, wash hand, clean fish, heck I even use it to put out the fire at night, pretty easy to blow through 20+ gallons a day when you are completely reckless with its use.

I still think the Platypus 4 liter kit is the best overall kit out there but it’s very hard for me to recommend any filter element over the Sawyer, it has proved itself again and again. Maybe the higher pressures I see with the 5 gallon kit help it perform better.
08/20/2018 10:14AM
djwillco: "Man, you guys must be filtering some nasty water! I've had two Katadyn Hikers for years without experiencing the types of problems/slow flow (within a matter of days) being described here."

I've just had the one experience of using it, so it's a really small sample size for sure. Cherokee is pretty darn clear, so it was puzzling to say the least. Maybe your hiker pro has a pre-filter attachment? Not really familiar with their products.
08/20/2018 11:33AM
We have the Platypus Gravity Works and the $50 Platypus filter is awesome easily back flushed during and after trip and easily cleaned, disinfected and dried post trip. We have used Sawyer minis for traveling (i.e. filter in a bottle) that we are not taking again. Too slow, hard to clean and dry. For traveling we are going to Sawyer squeeze system with a much larger filter. For camp the Gravity Works is the bomb for us.

Someone mentioned the pre-filter issue and this is an issue if not back flushed and cleaned as well.
hangnout
member (14)member
 
08/23/2018 06:18PM


Katadyn BeFree works great ......until it doesn't! I had 2 of them lay down on me last September in BWCA. I had to squeeze the bags to get any flow. Do a search and you will find others with similar issues. I did all the cleaning tricks etc.

Sawyer Mini - Slow and needs to be back flushed often

Sawyer Squeeze - Never let me down so using it on this years trip
oth
Guest Paddler
 
08/23/2018 09:47PM
It was an impulsive buy on clearance for $15 in 2008 on clearance at rei. I knew nothing about filters. It was a sawyer with a faucet flusher. I rigged it on a 2 gallon tree bag, filled with a paper paint can strainer with water from offshore. I have changed bags and tubing over the years and backflushed post-trip each time. It has done 12 trips with 2-4 people and I have looked no further.....yet. So fae so good. It slows a little with near empty bag but works for me.
bri
member (17)member
 
08/24/2018 10:53AM
Just used a MSR Trailbase for the first time on our August run. The flow rate slowed down substantially over 5 days of use but never enough to get behind on our filtered water supply.

The 2 liter capacity was a little small for our group of six but we just stayed ahead of it and transferred the filtered water to a separate jug.
RLancer
senior member (77)senior membersenior member
 
08/24/2018 11:10AM
What's wrong with say an MSR MiniWorks Microfilter? Does it not have enough protection or is it just not fast enough? Too much work? I have never had anything against them.
Chlorin8ed
distinguished member (231)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/24/2018 12:49PM
+1 on Sawyer....
I have this filter https://sawyer.com/products/sawyer-3-way-water-filter/ . I bought it when it used to come with it own bag and long tubing. I just get water, hang it and have it filter right into a collapsible water jug. I bring a syringe to back wash it. I have had it for at least 6 or more years I guess. It will slow down on "dirty" lakes but I have always been able to back wash it and it works just fine. I even once just blew thru it and it did enough to finish the trip :-). (Forgot the syringe at home, LOL)
08/24/2018 01:48PM
I have the sawyer gravity filter 4L size. Works great, especially when you get air out of the line first. Katadyn Basecamp was horrible. Do not go there!!!!
Bigbriwi
distinguished member (104)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/24/2018 02:02PM
Love our Sawyer squeeze setup with our own gravity system.

flynn
member (20)member
 
08/24/2018 02:23PM
A Platypus GravityWorks was great for at camp, super quick filtration, 10L in 20mins if you keep going down to the lake to fill up the 2L bag. I used a Katadyn BeFree for on-the-go water and for rinsing dishes. It started to slow down quite a bit at the end of a 9 day BWCA trip and after taking it on a 3 day hiking trip in SNF, I have concluded that it is toast. I have tried rinsing it/cleaning it, no dice. So, basically, a $20 filter is now factored into the cost of each trip I go on, just like food. For short trips, it can probably survive 2-3 trips, but there's no way you can get 100L out of it with flow anything like the first 10-20L. I'll always bring a spare with me.
Cobra317
 
08/24/2018 04:49PM
GearJunkie: "I won’t trip again without the Katadyn Be Free. So easy. Worth the extra $20"

Yes! I use the BeFree 1L in the canoe while paddling. Dip and drink straight from the lake from the filter. Faster flow than I can drink. Use it to fill up bottles for me and the lady friend as well. For the slower flow, I found that keeping the fiber saturated after not using a while caused it to bring the flow rate back to Fast.

I use the Katadyn Base Camp Pro 10L at camp. Super easy. Fill the bag, hang it up and forget about it. Great system and has worked well for me.
WhiskeyCreek
member (17)member
 
08/27/2018 08:39AM
Just got back from a 3 day trip using the Platypus Gravity Works filter for the first time... and let me say for all the extremely positive reviews that this website gives that system, I was very disappointed. I switched from the Katadyn 10L Basecamp filter to the Platypus because that system failed very easily as well. Following all care instructions at home and in the field for backflushing, the filter clogged halfway through our trip. So in reality, that "1,500 Liter filter" only lasted about 100 Liters, if that. Luckily I always keep iodine tablets for backup. I will be sending my Platypus system back.
Ardwich
senior member (79)senior membersenior member
 
08/27/2018 10:51AM
Build your own.

I have used this setup for several years with the Sawer. Great flow. Never any issues.

And it is a fun project.
bpaddle
senior member (72)senior membersenior member
 
08/27/2018 12:48PM
To quote Thwarted:
"Well I dislike my Sawyer because I have had poor luck with back flushing. My first system was a four liter for which I paid $120.00. It slowed way down about the third day and could only get a trickle on back flush. I called Sawyer customer service and was told to soak the filter and use more pressure. I used the faucet back flush adapter and blew water all over the bathroom. Then I filled the clean bag with hot water and partly stood on it. I broke the bag. Sawyer would not replace the bag (customer service had told me I would not be able to rupture the bag) so REI replaced the entire system. Now on my second system and still the same issue. If you find a better system, buy it."

I have the exact same problem that he described with my Sawyer. A filter can last about 3 to 4 trips before it has to be thrown out. According to Sawyer the problem is the tannin. Backflushing does not work, and I had the same experience that he described with water spraying all over the place trying to backflush with the faucet adapter. Sawyer told me to try soaking the filter in a vinegar-water solution to open up the tubes, but that did not work. I just got back from a backpacking trip and i tried using it from creek water, and I did get a bag of clean water but it took all night, and would not flow after that. This filter had 2 previous BW trips on it, so it is toast now. When these work they are great, but I would not rely on it for my sole filter on a trip, a backup should be available.



dahlberg123
member (5)member
 
08/27/2018 01:15PM
Ardwich: "Build your own.


I have used this setup for several years with the Sawer. Great flow. Never any issues.


And it is a fun project. "


Hey Ardwich , what bag is that hanging? We do pretty much the same thing with dromedary bags with the shower attachments.

I just picked up a GoFlow bag (10 Liters) with quick disconnect so we're going to try that this year with the sawyer mini.
08/27/2018 01:22PM
WhiskyCreek,

Sorry you had difficulties w/the Platy especially after taking others feedback into your decision. I usually backflush mine a cup or so back into the dirty bag after each filtering session which seems to help, IMO. Also, keeping the filter wet w/o air getting in is essential to smooth operation. The first bag I filtered recently in the BW was a little slow but that was because I was wetting out the filter media and getting air bubbles big & small out. Towards the end of the trip I thought it was running slower than I was used to, however at home when sanitizing it for storage it seemed to be running at the same flow rate regardless if I was going from dirty to clean or clean back to dirty (I run the bleach water thru the system 2x before dumping).

Only other advice I can give is if your dirty bag has a lot of particles in it, let it settle a few minutes before starting to filter. The intake is not at the absolute bottom of the bag to avoid picking up particulate matter. Same goes for not letting the dirty bag run completely dry.
KarlBAndersen1
distinguished member(886)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/27/2018 01:36PM
Life Saver is the only one I use - and will continue to use.
I have used the original for years, and have, as of this year, switched to the Liberty.
I;ve used nothing but Life Saver for the last 7-8 years.

Life Saver Liberty



Life Saver FB

you tube video
08/29/2018 08:19AM
I had terrible luck with the 10L Katadyn Basecamp water filter; as many others have stated, the filter clogged after approximately 50-100 liters and would not backflush. Again, worked great for half the trip, but was essentially junk by day 3-4.
It was recommended to me by a knowledgeable REI representative to remove the filter cartridge from the Katadyn, and connect the Sawyer gravity filter in line below the bag. It uses the same tubing diameter, and you can still take advantage of the 10L Katadyn bag.
I tried this on my last 4-day trip, and I never had any issues with slowing water flow and the Sawyer backflushed easily when I returned home. This looks like a good solution for me.
lindylair
distinguished member(1799)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/01/2018 01:10PM
We have the Platypus system and love it. We bought a second filter on sale as a backup but after several years and trips we are still using the first one with no issues. The key for us is to backflush 5-6 ounces of water back into the dirty water bag at the end of each cycle. Dump and fill er back up again. Has always worked like a charm, not even any slowing noticed as long as you remember to do the little backflush (lift the clean bag above the dirty bag and let 6 ounces flow back into the dirty bag). Combined with MSR reservoirs we fairly quickly can have 16 liters of fresh water available which is a nice luxury up there. No need to skimp on water usage or consumption.

It has become sort of a tradition for us to set up a water station at each campsite to maximize the ease of use. Torn down before we leave of course.


schweady
distinguished member(6708)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
09/02/2018 02:34PM
Sawyer 4L system user here for 7 years and very satisfied.

One tip: run a couple of bags of tap water through the filter at home and then do a final backflush just before packing it up for a trip. I have noticed that if the filter has dried out over the off-season, filtering times are very slow at first but pick up after a few cycles. Also, starting out with a dry filter and trying to backwash first thing is rather futile.

As always, follow manufacturer's guidelines for long-term storage.
carmike
distinguished member(1537)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/02/2018 09:27PM
I have both the Platypus and Sawyer, and both have been great. I had terrible luck with the Basecamp from Katadyn, but with all the good reviews of the Be Free, I might have to give the company another try, esp. for solo hiking trips.
Ottertailvoyageur
senior member (68)senior membersenior member
 
09/03/2018 07:51AM
The Northwoodsman Special Edition...
papaluigi
member (5)member
 
09/04/2018 12:04AM
Just got back from my first trip with a filter (prior to this I always used iodine tablets). Got the Sawyer mini gravity filter system with a 1 gallon bag from Amazon for around $35. Group of 7, including two kids who insisted on multiple cups of hot cocoa every day and two older folks who insisted on multiple cups of hot tea every day, plus all the dishes to go along with the large group.

Flow rate was around 4-5 minutes to fill a quart bottle, which slowed quite a bit after doing about 5 gallons. Initially I backflushed according to the instructions, which was to do it until the water came out clear. Well, this only took two squirts from the syringe, but the flow rate was still low. So I tried backflushing around 6 times and after that, it worked much better. From then on, backflushing several times every few gallons kept it moving along quickly.

Very impressed for the price. Flow rate is a little slow but if you hang it from a branch that's just the right height (or more likely, string it up and adjust the height yourself), you can set it to filter without having to babysit it. I was able to continuously provide water for the entire group while also doing other things. It was nice, and the water was always wonderful to drink even when we stayed at a campsite in a bay full of somewhat stagnant water.
 
Reply    Reply with Quote    Print Top Bottom Previous Next