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The Rule of Threes

Funs needs good lubrication. So do you.

The "rule of threes" tells us our limits are three minutes of air, three hours in an inhospitable environment (hot or cold), three days without water, and three weeks without food. (You can stretch some of those, and some people I've seen lately could do well with 3 weeks without food. But I digress ...)

Suddenly, there's news on the radio and TV, and your cell phone is buzzing its little head off. There's a "boil water" emergency in your city/county. "I'm OK, I have bottled water stashed under the stairs." Tell that to the people of Flint. And good luck bathing in the bottled water.

If you've planned ahead, then the Sawyer Tap Filter will do you right. This isn't a bug-out-bag water filtration system. It's for your house. It attaches directly to your faucet, and filters water in real time as the water comes out. Now, I'm sorry to say that it won't handle something like the Flint problem, which is lead dissolved in the water. But then, boiling won't, either.

You boil water to deal with the microorganisms that make us sick. So, Sawyer has built a sub-micron filter. In fact, the pores of it are 0.1 micron in size, which means they filter out 99.99999 percent of bacteria, and 99.99999 percent of protozoa. Salmonella and Giardia, you've met your match. The multiple "nines" mean one in 20 million Salmonella and one in a million Giardia get through. Heck, that's probably below what your municipal water system is delivering now. The Tap Filter also takes out the microplastics that might've found their way into the water supply. Are they bad for us? Nobody knows, and that's the scary part, so adios microplastics.

The filter comes with a couple of adapters, a gauge to check the thread sizes (so you don't cross-thread filter, trying to force it onto a faucet it doesn't want to fit on) and an extension hose so you can reach the container you're trying to fill. While it will fit almost all the garden hose spigots, the head-spinning array of faucet aerator threads would make anyone crazy. So, use the gauge and check. If you find that all of your (very cool, very modern, very decorator-tasteful) faucet aerators have odd or metric threads, then just use the garden hose, it's all the same water supply anyway.


May 19, 2022

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Megan Bigelow

Marketing Sawyer Products

Marketing and Sales Sawyer Products


My only complaint is that eventually, backflushing won’t be enough. These can clog up after some time and no amount of back flushing will fix its low flow. I went through 2 on the AT. However, it will attach to Smart Water Bottles and most bladders!

Anna Hamrick


Built for backcountry reliability and portability, the Sawyer Squeeze filter is our pick for the best portable water purifier.

Pete Ortiz


The Sawyer Squeeze was (by far) the most common Pacific Crest Trail water filter this year – for the fifth year in a row. It’s a $39, 3 oz / 85 g hollow fiber filter that rids your drinking water of protozoa and bacteria (and floaties). It can be used with Sawyer bags (included with the filter) or with compatible water bottles (Smartwater is the bottle of choice for many hikers).

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