When I test gear, I look for 5 things.
- “does it work”
- “is it reliable”
- “how easy is it to use”
If it passes those first 3 points of interest, it then gets justified by
- “how much is this going to cost me” and
- “how much real estate in my pack is this going to require”
I’m happy to say this product passed every single requirement with flying colors. Not only does the Squeeze work, it works better than just about every filter on the market, removing 99.99999% of all bacteria, such as salmonella, cholera and E.coli; and 99.9999% of all protozoa, such as giardia and cryptosporidium.
I’ve used it several times in the field, and I’ve yet to be stricken with any sort of water born illness. Granted, I sometimes go the extra mile and treat my filtered water with Potable Aqua’s® germicidal and neutralizing tablets, but even in the cases where I have not, and had to drink from still water, the Sawyer® Squeeze filter has not let me down. My opinion: it’s indeed reliable.
The last thing I need when in back-country, or were I in a dire survival situation, is a tool or resource that takes a lot of time or energy to use. I want, and need something that is field expedient, that requires as little effort as possible. Using the Squeeze is as simple as filling the the bag, and attaching the filter. No floating bobbers, no pumps, no batteries or UV pen business here. Fill the bag, attach the filter. Drink. Done. I like that. I usually just dip the bag into the source, or use my canteen cup to scoop it and pour it into the bag. (you can even buy light, foldable extra bags to fill and cap when you find water, but take with you as you journey, a nice touch)
Cost-wise, it’s a very reasonable, with variations of the kit ranging in price from $39-$60. The “high end” kit comes with attachments to create a filtration system using a container like a 5-gallon bucket, or something similar, and tubes and a shut-off valve which would create “water on-demand” in a long-term survival or homestead scenario. I opted for the full kit, keeping much of the attachments at home, for use during a natural disaster like a hurricane, when water and power is normally lost. (Having had no water/power for more than 2 weeks with hurricane Ike, I value little attachments like this)
The Sawyer Squeeze packages up really nice, I keep mine in your average run-of-the-mill quart bag, and stuff it in my ruck. I also keep my water treatment tabs in there, so I have everything in one nice, neat little bundle.
- Without the purification tablets, my setup weighs: 6.7 oz
- With the purification tablets: 8.7 0z
Overall, I give the Sawyer Squeeze: 5 out of 5 for top tier functionality, value and ease of use.