New Water Filter Needed...Suggestions??

KevinBoyer

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Sep 16, 2013
Messages
45
I've been contemplating getting a new water filter to replace my aging MSR Sweetwater. In my research of the available "squeeze" style on the market, I came across, of course, the Sawyer Squeeze, but also the Katadyn BeFree, and a new one that I had never heard about, the LifeStraw Flex. One other that caught my eye was the MSR AutoFlow. Just curious if anyone has any feedback on either of these filters? I know the Sawyer gets a lot of love. The reviews of the BeFree are awful good, but the number one negative that I see in the online reviews are that the squeeze bladder separates from the top in every negative review. Not good.

https://lifestraw.eartheasy.com/products/lifestraw-flex

https://www.msrgear.com/water/backpacking-water-filters/autoflow-gravity-filter

https://www.katadyn.com/us/us/31462-8018006-katadyn-befree-1.0L_usa-

https://www.rei.com/product/103050/sawyer-squeeze-water-filter-system
 

LarryBoy

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I've never used the bigger sawyer, but the Sawyer Squeeze clogs up awful quick. I've heard the bigger Sawyer doesn't have this problem.

Not sure if this is relevant to you or not, but Aquamira is a really good option if you want to eliminate the futz factor.
 

KevinBoyer

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Sep 16, 2013
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I've never used the bigger sawyer, but the Sawyer Squeeze clogs up awful quick. I've heard the bigger Sawyer doesn't have this problem.

Not sure if this is relevant to you or not, but Aquamira is a really good option if you want to eliminate the futz factor.

Thanks LB, but never been a fan of the drops or tablets. Hadn't heard about any major problems with the clogging of the Squeeze. I talked to a sales guy at REI today who did the full PCT for 5 months with the Squeeze and had not one problem.
 

b.stark

Forever Wandering
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I used a Sawyer Mini for a while, but it completely plugged up on me in the Maze last spring so I gave up on them. Pretty slow anyway, especially if you're in the desert and filtering several liters at a time. Been using a Platypus gravity filter lately. A bit more bulk and weight but works very well. Since I usually use a hydration bladder I ditch the "clean bag" to save a little weight and space.

Have used Katadyn Hiker filters a lot in the past, but for a solo guy they're just too heavy compared to a lot of the other options out there. On overnight or shorter hikes, I often just use tablets and forget a filter entirely.
 

b.stark

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I've also heard that the regular Sawyer Squeeze is better, but have not tried one.
 

Ben

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Sep 12, 2014
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I had the same experiences with the mini, got a full size sawyer squeeze, and have not had the problem since. it costs about twice as much, but the increase in size is negligible in my opinion. the flow from it is so much faster than the mini was, even when it was new.

i haven't used any of the other filters from the original question, but i can say that i do love the sawyer that i have.
 

Nick

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I have the AutoFlow and strongly recommend it. It's particularly awesome for groups and filling everything up at camp. If you want to carry less water and filter throughout the day, then something like the squeeze might be a better choice.
 

BryanG

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Jul 22, 2016
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Personally, I think it depends on where you do most of your outdoor activities. I have used a Sawyer Mini for the past two years and in the mountains it works great because the water is generally less sandy. In the desert it clogs up much quicker but I am always able to get through a trip and then back-flush it when I get back to the car/home. With that being said if you do mostly desert trips I would get something other than a Sawyer Mini.
 
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wsp_scott

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I use a Sawyer Mini, haven't had problems with clogging, but most of the water I filter is from a running mountain creek. I sometimes "squeeze" but most times I filter with a jury rigged gravity setup so I don't care about time to filter. It's hard to argue about a ~$20 water filter.
 

slc_dan

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Platypus since 2008. Best to let gravity do the work.
 

KevinBoyer

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Sep 16, 2013
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Thanks for all your reply's fellas. Some good info to go forward with, but I think @slc_dan hit the nail on the head. Platypus all the way for the win. Simple, easy, lightweight, & a no brainer. Platypus Gravityworks 2L will be my next filtration system.
 

Nick

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Thanks for all your reply's fellas. Some good info to go forward with, but I think @slc_dan hit the nail on the head. Platypus all the way for the win. Simple, easy, lightweight, & a no brainer. Platypus Gravityworks 2L will be my next filtration system.

FYI, the Platypus and the AutoFlow are the same filter with different bags. They are made by the same company.
 

Kyle P

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Jul 25, 2013
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I see you have already picked your filter, but just to add for other's reference... I have tried the Sawyer mini and wasn't a fan like others above. But this past year I tried the Katadyn BeFree and I couldn't have been more happy. It will definitely be my go-to filter moving forward. Easy to use, light, and quick filtration.

While I haven't had the bag separate from the top as some of the reviews for the BeFree state, I do carry an extra bag with me in case this were to happen or in case I poke a hole in the bladder.

Kyle
 

KevinBoyer

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Sep 16, 2013
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I see you have already picked your filter, but just to add for other's reference... I have tried the Sawyer mini and wasn't a fan like others above. But this past year I tried the Katadyn BeFree and I couldn't have been more happy. It will definitely be my go-to filter moving forward. Easy to use, light, and quick filtration.

While I haven't had the bag separate from the top as some of the reviews for the BeFree state, I do carry an extra bag with me in case this were to happen or in case I poke a hole in the bladder.

Kyle

I was looking hard at the BeFree Kyle, but after reading the reviews online, I had second thoughts. When all the negative reviews are all about the same exact problem, I tend to stay away from a product like that. Good luck with yours. I think it's a great concept, but they've obviously overlooked something.
 

Parma

@parma26
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Feb 12, 2014
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I'm still a Katadyn Hiker pump filter fan. I've tried the Sawyer squeeze filters, but I'm too impatient to squeeeeeeze.
It's worth the extra 9 oz. in weight to me.
And whenever i'm on a trip with someone that has a Sawyer squeeze filter...they always end up asking to use my pump filter. :D
 

Ben

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Sep 12, 2014
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I'm still a Katadyn Hiker pump filter fan. I've tried the Sawyer squeeze filters, but I'm too impatient to squeeeeeeze.
It's worth the extra 9 oz. in weight to me.
And whenever i'm on a trip with someone that has a Sawyer squeeze filter...they always end up asking to use my pump filter. :D

I find the full size sawyer to be appreciably faster than the katadyn hiker I used to use. It's one more reason, along with cost, longevity, and deserts, that I would never go back.
 
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