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Water Filters Head-to-Head: Sawyer vs Katadyn vs Platypus

We put the top three backpacking water filters to the test

The Sawyer Squeeze, Katadyn BeFree, and Platypus QuickDraw are competing for the ultimate fast, easy, and lightweight backpacking water filter. They all protect against protozoa and bacteria while filtering out debris and improving taste. You can drink directly from any of these filters or squeeze all of the water into your normal hydration method. Outdoor Life conducted a large-scale review of the best water filters and found these to be the top three backpacking filters. Comparable in weight and speed, what sets these three filters apart is their experiential differences. I tested the Squeeze, BeFree, and QuickDraw while backpacking in the desert to determine how they performed in the field. After filtering both standing and flowing canyon water, here are some of the key differences in their bags, filters, and ease of cleaning to help you make your decision.

Comparing the Water Filter Bags

The Sawyer Squeeze won the best value award in OL‘s extensive review of sixteen different water filters, but it also has the best bag. The Squeeze has something of a cult following due to the fact that it was one of the first squeeze bags on the market; and it’s cheap, lightweight, and versatile. The included bags are sturdy, if annoying to fill up (the secret is to use two hands to keep the bag filled with as much air as possible, submerge, and tilt the bag upward until bubbles appear indicating that the bag is quickly filling with water). You can avoid this issue by using a SmartWater bottle. However, I prefer the bag because it is easy to fold to ensure every drop of water is filtered out, with the added benefit of it being extremely packable. It also stands well on its own compared to others that I tested.

Continue reading the full article written by Ashley Thess here.

LAST UPDATED

October 27, 2022

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Ashley Thess

Assistant Gear Editor - Outdoor Life

MEDIA MENTIONS

While DEET products may be more familiar by name and their chemical smell, sprays with 20 percent picaridin, like Sawyer Products, offer comparable protection without the harsh odor and oily feeling on your skin.

Kevin Brouillard
Travel & Leisure

MEDIA MENTIONS

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).

Halfway Anywhere
Media Mentions from Halfway Anywhere

MEDIA MENTIONS

SAWYER MINI WATER FILTER, $22 This has been my water filter of choice for years now. The bags can be iffy — I have had a few break – so carry a couple. However, the filter itself is reliable, light and inexpensive. -Logan

Bikepacking Team