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MSR Pump and Sawyer Squeeze Filters

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MSR Pump and Sawyer Squeeze Filters

Postby Ants » July 6th, 2015, 5:45 pm

There is little doubt that filtering your drinking water is a good idea.

Originally I purchased an MSR pump that screws onto a nalgene water bottle. The pump has a long suction hose so you can find a comfortable stop next to the water as you pump. The pump is moderate speed, not particularly fast or slow. The only downside was the combination of pump and nalgene seemed a little bulky, so I looked at other options. The MSR uses a ceramic filter as the purifying element.

The Sawyer Squeeze uses a flexible bag (to pressurize) and a membrane filter to purify. The package could fit into the pocket of my fly fishing shirt so it seemed attractive. After using the Sawyer during a 4 day trip, some limitations arose. The flexible plastic bottle that connects to the filter is a nuisance to fill. The flex bottle is rolled up and must be opened to let water in. When you put the bottle in the water, the water pressure closes it making a full load to squeeze a several time operation. Ryan suggested a flexible bottle with more rigidity to fill. Then, it you want to use the water for cooking, it needs to be squeezed into another container. So there are two containers and two hands to squeeze the water and it may be precarious if you are not at a level surface like the edge of a lake. So, to make things easier, you may add two bottles (one each for clean and dirty water). The weight does not go up by a lot, but the bulk has passed the MSR filter. If either bottle breaks or leaks, it could be a nuisance.

My current inclination is to take the MSR filter when I am backpacking and used the Sawyer Squeeze to fill the hydration pack in my fly vest when simply fishing. Using each filter turned out a little different than I thought.

I also thought about the Steri-Pen but have little confidence in battery power in the field. Besides, I enjoy drinking water while I am sitting on a bank or under the shade of a tree.

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Re: MSR Pump and Sawyer Squeeze Filters

Postby FIGHTONSC » July 6th, 2015, 8:12 pm


I have been using and continue to use the MSR while hunting and fishing in the back country. I found a Nalgene bottle that fits it (1 liter) or I simply carry two empty 16 oz plastic everyday store-bought water bottles I.e. Arrowhead, Chrystal Springs, Albertsons, Stater Brothers, etc. No weight at all and a piece of 5X tippet will secure them to a pack or vest .

I figure that if the MSR is good enough for the United States Marine Corp, it is good enough for me!

Best regards,


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Re: MSR Pump and Sawyer Squeeze Filters

Postby Gary C. » July 6th, 2015, 8:33 pm

My experience has been that they all seem to have their place but seldom at the same time. What seems to work the best for me and my friends might not be the best for you though. If there is only one or two people it seems like just about anything we take is fine. Normally that means that someone brings a pump for camp and I bring my Steripen for on the trail. As long as there is just a couple of us either one of the two is enough but both is nicer to have. When their is three or more I bring my Steripen for trail use and someone brings a Sawyer Gravity feed filter. To me there is nothing nicer than coming back from the stream or lake with 3gls of water that will filter itself while I set up camp and take care of all the other chores. I hate sitting down and spending a bunch of time pumping water while the mosquitos are trying to eat me alive. When we hike as a group we carry three empty one gallon jugs and all three will be filled with clean water before the tents and pads are set up and everyone can rehydrate to their fill.
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Re: MSR Pump and Sawyer Squeeze Filters

Postby rkfiske » July 7th, 2015, 5:24 am

I swear by my Sawyer. Once I switched to a plastic water bottle for water gathering, it's been great. It kept me happy for 210+ miles on the JMT.
"The real truth is, convincing a fish to strike is like playing string with a cat: the exact size and color of the string is probably less important than how you wiggle it. And little cats are easier to fool than big ones." - John Gierach
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Re: MSR Pump and Sawyer Squeeze Filters

Postby 1mocast » July 7th, 2015, 6:56 am

Where I fish in the So. Cal creeks, I just lug all my water. Too many "Grow" operations dumping who knows what into the watershed. :fireangry:

Like Gary said, too many options and too many choices. The gravity basecamp filters is my choice.
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