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Thread: Backpack Water filters

  1. #1
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    Dec 2010
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    Russellville,AR.
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    385

    Default Backpack Water filters

    Looking to buy my first one. I would like to get ya'll's opinions and recommendations. Thanks

    Sent from my SM-G925V using Tapatalk

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Centennial, CO
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    Default Re: Backpack Water filters

    I've got an old Sweetwater Guardian that is the same as the MSR Guardian. It works well and is faster than the Sawyer, but the Sawyer is much lighter and more compact. My experience with both is that the muscle input for the pump pushes water through much more quickly than the gravity of the Sawyer, and is especially useful if you're making water for more than one person. If you're going solo, you can hang a bag on the Sawyer, and let it go while you're doing something else.

    I also have an MSR Miox, but I haven't had a chance to mess with it yet. I think the drawbacks with this is that you need to give the solution time to sit. It's small, light, but kind of complicated, (needs a battery, salt, test strips) and not instant joy. Granted, I'm a noob with this one, but, cold water, I believe, requires more time to be sure it works.

    That old school Guardian's fast, easily maintainable with the included brush, comes with a platypus and adapters for it and Nalgenes and probably fits others. The Sawyer is light weight, requires only filling a dirty water bag, hanging, and letting it drain into a clean water container. The Miox is discontinued, but I have a butt-load of strips for it, and always have rechargeable AA batteries along. If you double the amount of ionized solution, *theoretically*, you can skip the test strips. (trusting my view alone is for suckers... :-) ) The big concern with maintaining the guardian filters, I *think* is freezing them with water in them. When I'm done using mine, I unscrew the ceramic filter, give it a scrub with the brush, rinse it with clean water, & put it in the bag. Some people store the ceramic filter in the filter, not sure the benefit of that. Mine's probably 15 years old, and still works well.

    Hope my experience helps Ron, probably a LOT of people will rave about the Sawyer, it's newer, lighter, relatively inexpensive too.
    "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." -Robert A. Heinlein
    "Count your blessings and you will never finish" - Fr. Jim Babb, SJ

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Littleton, CO
    Posts
    228

    Default Re: Backpack Water filters

    Rob, The Sweetwater Guardian and new MSR Guardian are fairly different in technology and price. That being said they are both pump style and I think you have gone over the advantages/disadvantages of an in-line/squeeze system vs a pump fairly well.

    Ron, First there you need to understand one important difference: Filter vs Purifier. A filter only takes out bacteria like Giardia whereas a purifier removes all possible contamination. A filter is all that is required for most backcountry use. If you plan on going certain areas abroad or being in areas with livestock or possible chemical contamination you will need a purifier.

    The other main distinction you need to understand are the 4 different types of filters/purifiers.

    Charcoal/Ceramic: Charcoal is the lightest and best purifier, but has 2 main disadvantages: 1) low flow rates and 2) they are usually only good for a couple hundred gallons. Britta water filters at home along with LifeStraw and some in-line filters like Geigerrig and Camelbak's are examples. These are most easily identified by the low throughput ratings. Some pump-type filters also use these and you must replace the cartridges often.

    Hollow Fiber: Sawyer is the most popular example of these. They have 3 important drawbacks: 1) If they freeze with the fibers wet at all they will burst and do nothing, 2) They are usually only filters (with the exception of the MSR Guardian) and 3) They can clog easily in dirty water. They are very cheap and have very high flow rates as well as throughput limits (they are usually good for 100,000 gallons+). The MSR Guardian is the only example that claims to be freeze proof as well as a 'purifier'. I usually pre-filter my water with a mosquito net to get any big chunks that may clog it and back-flush when I get home (again, not necessary with the MSR Guardian).

    Chemical: MSR Aqua-Tabs, Iodine Tablets. Super light weight. These are true purification products. The main disadvantages are off tastes, possible chunks or off colors. The other major issue is cost as these are consumables.

    UV Light (Steripen): Similar to chemical in advantages/disadvantages. The other issue I have had here is that they require conductivity to sense when they are in the water and when you get to alpine lakes and springs the conductivity of the water can be too low for them to work (you can add a pinch of salt). Also, some models like the one I have suck bad.

    I personally use a few different gravity options, but the only out of the box one I have is the Sawyer one. It is a little on the heavy side but is fast and fool proof (color coded). I also have a Sawyer Mini in-line with a Geigerrig, but I now prefer the gravity system. If I had to choose right now it would be one of 3 solutions:

    1) Custom solution using a Sawyer mini and Platypus bottles (2L cleen and 6L dirty).
    2) Sawyer 2L or 3L Gravity Setup
    3) MSR Guardian
    Last edited by lineman78; 05-18-2017 at 03:14 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Russellville,AR.
    Posts
    385

    Default Re: Backpack Water filters

    I was looking at the Msr Sweetwater, but I've read a variety of opinions and most of them were not so good.

    Sent from my SM-G925V using Tapatalk

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Edmond, OK
    Posts
    458

    Default Re: Backpack Water filters

    I've been using a Katadyn Hiker Pro for a few years now. No complaints so far.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Centennial, CO
    Posts
    1,984

    Default Re: Backpack Water filters

    Quote Originally Posted by ron finkbeiner View Post
    I was looking at the Msr Sweetwater, but I've read a variety of opinions and most of them were not so good.

    Sent from my SM-G925V using Tapatalk
    Lineman78 included stuff I'd forgot and stuff I didn't know. (Thanks for keeping me honest Matt!) Something I forgot is that if you're someplace where viruses could be, addition of viral stop is a must with a filter. (Think tropics or if there's a possibility of sewage, which luckily, I'm never in, but, at lower elevations, like in AR, it all depends on what's upstream, I'm sure there are other times I should be using it, but I try to avoid beaver pond runoff, etc.)

    This forum's pretty cool, guys who are using the stuff...

    https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-adv...ckcountry.html

    I haven't been out there with anyone who used a Sawyer Squeeze, were I buying another for summer use, because of my impatience, that would rank above the gravity filter. I probably oughta be replacing my old Sweetwater, but after the snowpack in CO, and my affinity for finding springs bubbling up out of hillsides, I'll probably use the Miox a bit this year...
    Last edited by robcollins; 05-17-2017 at 09:36 PM.
    "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." -Robert A. Heinlein
    "Count your blessings and you will never finish" - Fr. Jim Babb, SJ

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    1,283

    Default Re: Backpack Water filters

    I've been using a sawyer mini squeeze for a couple of years now and haven't had any issues with it. I used on two elk hunts in Montana and all of last summer working for the forest service. For its size and price it's hard to beat.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Littleton, CO
    Posts
    228

    Default Re: Backpack Water filters

    Quote Originally Posted by robcollins View Post
    I haven't been out there with anyone who used a Sawyer Squeeze, were I buying another for summer use, because of my impatience, that would rank above the gravity filter. I probably oughta be replacing my old Sweetwater, but after the snowpack in CO, and my affinity for finding springs bubbling up out of hillsides, I'll probably use the Miox a bit this year...
    Impatience is actually the reason I like my gravity rig. Just hang a big dirty bag with a quick connect below the filter and hook up the smaller clean bag whenever it's empty. You can just hook it up and walk away and it's done when you come back. The squeeze part is only for emergencies if either bag were to get a hole or if you need a quick stream-side Nalgene fill up.

    The Sawyer Gravity Filter is actually faster than the Sawyer Mini, but is also a little bigger and heavier. Only takes about 60 seconds for 2L especially if you give it a little help to start. Squeeze the dirty bag until you get the system primed and water filling, from there suction takes over. But if you don't like the Gravity idea, you may like the Geigerrig idea that I use (SHTF uses it to). Basically it's a bladder full of dirty water with a bulb (like a blood pressure cuff) that you inflate a second section of the badder which forces the water out through the filter. You can either hook up to another bladder or fill directly into a Nalgene or something. If you want to borrow this to try it let me know. It's not my primary anymore.
    Last edited by lineman78; 05-18-2017 at 03:14 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    NM
    Posts
    198

    Default Re: Backpack Water filters

    Ron,
    Tons of good advice above...
    I'm running 2 older MSR filter systems: an original Waterworks with ceramic filter and a a Miniworks with the upgraded ceramic/carbon filter. I like that both are easily field maintainable and spares parts have been easy to find. I dont think I have had an issue with either in the field. The miniworks is quite small and easy to use but I do wonder what advantages I would gain having some of the newer models.
    I spend substantial time overseas and use a steripen for that.
    The original Waterworks filter had a charcoal filter as well as ceramic, but I removed it as I couldnt find a replacement at the time. I really dont use it much anymore due to the size and effectiveness of the Miniworks. I would recommend checking it out...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Backpack Water filters

    Quote Originally Posted by ron finkbeiner View Post
    Looking to buy my first one. I would like to get ya'll's opinions and recommendations. Thanks

    Sent from my SM-G925V using Tapatalk
    Can recomend you Sawyer 2L or 3L Gravity Setup, but they are too may you can chose!

    but i myself also have to have a backpack with meds... my health condition requires it and also requires to be an active member of https://pharmacyreviews.md unfortunately for me.
    Last edited by Muccommus; 06-27-2017 at 04:40 PM.

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