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Frequently Asked Questions

Water Filtration

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My pouch seems to be leaking water (holes in seams), how do I prevent this from happening in the future?

It is usually not the pouch causing the leak, it is usually the filter. Either the filter was not completely wetted at first point of use or too much pressure has been applied to pouch during filtration process. Be sure to slowly squeeze the water through the filter, giving the filter fibers time to fully saturate. The initial flow rate may seem slow, but will increase as fibers become wetted.Back Flushing ProcessBack flush your filter (better and more often) using your syringe. You cannot hurt the filter fibers, so please be FORCEFUL in your back flush process. When using the syringe, do not be gentle, it will only form paths of least resistance instead of blowing out the particulates that may be trapped in your filter.Filter ApplicationDo not over tighten the filter on the pouch. Over tightening can cause the o-rings to embed into the threads or lodge into the opening of the pouch. If the o-ring is out of place you may not a have a tight seal and water could leak out the bottom of the filter. Please watch our video on Important Squeeze Filter Tips to better understand how to care for your squeeze bags. Until you learn the perfect balance of force and cleaning, we recommend bringing a backup pouch with you on your trip.Torn PouchesBefore the pouches leave the factory, they are 100% air-tested. While they are rugged, these pouches are not indestructible. They tear as a result of too much pressure being applied. This happens when water is forced through the filter too fast or when your filter needs cleaning, which creates more resistance. Do not squeeze the pouch hard or wring the pouch. Torn pouches are not covered under the warranty.

How do I care for my filter during freezing weather?

Any Sawyer Filter is safe from freezing temperatures if it has never been wetted. However after the initial wetting, while there is no definitive way to tell if a filter has been damaged due to freezing, Sawyer recommends replacing your filter if you suspect that it has frozen. During trips, if you are in freezing temperatures, we recommend that you store your filter in your pocket or close to your person so that your body heat can prevent freezing. THERE IS NO WARRANTY FOR A FROZEN FILTER.

Can I freeze the filter?

While we have no proof that freezing will harm the filter, we do not have enough proof to say it will not harm the filter, therefore we must say that if you suspect the filter has been frozen, to replace it — this is especially true with a hard freeze.

What is Adsorption?

Adsorption is the adhesion of atoms, ions, or molecules from a gas, liquid, or dissolved solid to a surface. This process creates a film of the adsorbate on the surface of the adsorbent.

Should I remove the entire cap when filling the bottle?

No. The silicon bottle is hard to reseal if you loosen the black reducer cap. This is why we recommend only filling through the smaller opening where the Micro Squeeze™ filter attaches. If you take the reducer cap off you will need to get it to seal again before using it. Without a good seal, unfiltered water can leak out and could contaminate your drinking water.

Is there anything special I should do the first time I use my Select filter?

Yes. The first time you use your bottle, there may be some loose adsorption material that got knocked loose during packaging and shipping. It is not harmful but if it is not rinsed out it could be enough to slow the flow rate down to the point where the Micro Squeeze filter will need a quick backwash. The residual material also has a remote chance of leaving a metal-lic taste until the Select Foam has been fully rinsed with the initial use instructions below. Please note that this initial rinsing process does not count against the total number of uses.To avoid this:Fill the bottle up halfway with water, screw on the Micro Squeeze filter, and make sure the white push pull cap is closed on the Micro Squeeze.Squeeze the bottle at least ten times to work the water in and out of the foam. Some of the water will absorb into the foam so take the micro squeeze off and then fill the bottle to the max fill line.Reinstall the Micro Squeeze filter, squeeze the bottle at least ten more times, and then take the Micro Squeeze filter off.With the Micro Squeeze filter removed, turn the bottle over and roll up the bottle tightly to force all of the water back out of the foam. You should not need to repeat this initial step. You are now ready to start using your new filter.

I just got my Select system, why is it damp?

The bottles are pre-activated during the manufacturing process to shorten the steps for your first use and your system may be a little damp when you first open it. There is no need to be alarmed here because the system is treated with a proprietary material that keeps bacteria and mold from growing. This proprietary material allows you to store water in your bottles as long as you want without bacteria growing or affecting the life of your filter.

How often should I backwash my filter?

We recommend backwashing your filter when you flow rate begins to diminish, before prolonged storage, and when you are ready to start using your filter again. Backwashing your filter after storage is a great way to re-wet the filters and restore the flow rate before use.

How much water can I expect from my Select filter or purifier?

After the initial break in process, every bottle should produce 20 – 22 ounces of water depending on how efficient you are at squeezing the water out of the bottle.

How do the Select filters and purifiers remove the heavy metals, viruses, chemicals, and pesticides?

The Foam Adsorption Technology used in these systems was developed with a partnership with Foamulations LLC to now be able to safely remove contaminants like heavy metals, chemicals, pesticides, and viruses while also improving taste and odor. Adsorption filtration is the process in which molecules adhere to the surface of the adsorbent foam membrane. This highly advanced filtration and purification process, combined with our 0.1 micron absolute filter will ensure that any and all particulate or pathogens above 0.1 microns are filtered out of your water, including bacteria, protozoa, cysts, dirt and sediment.

How do I store this Select filter when not in use?

The foam inside the bottle is meant to be stored fully expanded to achieve the advertised lifespan of the system. To do this simply unscrew the Micro Squeeze filter and let air back into the bottle after you are done filtering water. The foam will naturally compress in size over the life of the system but if the foam is stored compressed for long periods of time, the foam can be permanently deformed. Long term compression can shorten the life of the foam filter/purifier. We recommend storing your Select system filled with water. When possible, use distilled or non-chlorinated water. Storing the bottle full will help prevent mold from growing on the walls of the bottle while it is not in use.

Are there any long term storage instructions for the Select filter or purifier?

You can store the bottle with either the Micro Squeeze filter or included white cap screwed on top of the bottle. The proprietary ingredients in the foam will make sure that your foam does not grow bacteria or develop an odor. Please do not compress these systems for long term storage. Store your bottles fully expanded to ensure that you do not inadvertently shorten their life.If you want to dry out your bottle for packing weight reasons (it can save approximately one ounce), store in a dry room with the lid removed and the moisture will eventually evaporate out. Be aware that after you dry the bottle out, your first bottle will produce much less water than normal since our foam is hydrophilic (meaning it attracts water) and will want to hold onto some no matter how hard you squeeze. Repeat steps for first use when you want to use your filter again.

How do I prevent my pouch from bursting?

Sawyer filters have very strong fibers (see Fiber Strength Study) and are capable of handling up to 40 PSI (Pounds Per Square Inch) of pressure. When clean, Sawyer Filters only need 1 to 2 PSI of pressure to flow freely. As the fibers collect particulates, the pressure to move water through will increase as the particulates create barriers to water flow.Sawyer pouches are designed to handle up to 7 PSI of pressure before bursting. This in most cases allows for a large amount of water to be used before filter cleaning is necessary. Therefore the pouches will not burst so long as the filters are reasonably clean. However most people are capable of generating much more than 7 PSI of pressure and so if the filter is not clean, the pouches are more likely to burst when squeezing too hard. The more particulates in the water the sooner a filter will clog and need to be cleaned.Sawyer’s new light weight soft pouches offer the same bursting strength of 7 PSI as the heavier legacy pouches. The new light weight pouches are just as strong as the thicker legacy pouches but are easier to squeeze because the softer material offers less resistance. With a lower pouch resistance the 7 PSI burst limit is reached more easily.To protect your pouch – maintain a clean filter and be aware of pressure build up against a dirty filter.

Can I attach my MINI filter directly to a spigot?

No, we do not recommend attaching filters directly to spigots or faucets. The filters are designed to handle up to 20 psi of pressure and attaching the filter directly to a water source with a higher water pressure can damage the fibers.

Are there any water pressure restrictions to consider?

Yes. For threaded faucets, we highly recommend using the Threaded Spigot Adapter to make sure the filter pops off of the tap before the fibers are damaged from excessive pressure. Excessive pressure can absolutely damage the fibers.

Is the Tap Filter dishwasher safe?

No, it is not. We recommend backwashing and air drying the filter before storing.

When should I clean my Tap Filter?

We recommend routine maintenance to maximize the filter’s flow rate and longevity. By regularly backwashing the filter with more pressure than when filtering water, you can restore up to 98.5% of the filter’s flow rate.

Will the Tap Filter fit my faucet?

Hopefully! We designed these adapters to fit on most standard faucets domestically and internationally. Due to the wide variety of taps on the market, we cannot guarantee that this filter will fit on your specific model. If you are unsure if it will, please send us photos and measurements of your tap. We will happily explore making other size adapters based on the feedback we receive.

What if the Tap Filter is exposed to freezing weather?

If the filter is brand new, there is no risk of freeze damage. However, once the filter has been used or is wet, the ice expansion process within the filter can stretch or damage the fibers to the point where pathogens could slip through. If you suspect your filter has been exposed to freezing conditions after use, we would recommend erring on the side of caution and replacing the system.

What is the shelf life of the Tap Filter?

If properly stored in a cool, dry location away from UV exposure, the Sawyer Tap Filter has a shelf life of 10+ years.

How long does the Tap Filter last in use?

Each Tap Filter is capable of filtering more than 500 gallons of water per day. Proper use and maintenance of the filter will allow for this filter to be used for 10+ years.

Will the Tap Filter make my water taste better?

It definitely can improve the taste of water by removing high levels of pathogens or particulates in the water; however, this filter was not designed with taste improvement as a top priority. The main priority of this system is to ensure that the water is safe to drink.

Can I backwash a BeFree Filter the same way Sawyer Filters are backwashed?

No. Sawyer Hollow Fibers are much stronger than those used by Katadyn so backwashing a BeFree with a Sawyer backwashing plunger will more than likely damage the fibers.

Filter Compatibility

On Hydration Packs
The Sawyer Squeeze, Micro Squeeze, and MINIs can be used in conjunction with a 1/4" inner diameter tubing hydration pack. Please see video Sawyer Squeeze with Hydration Pack using Inline Adapter and Sawyer Squeeze with Fast Fill Adapters.

The Sawyer Squeeze Filter with Water Bottles
The Sawyer Squeeze Filter can also be used on water bottles when you are unsure whether or not it is safe to drink the water.

Gravity Systems
The Sawyer Squeeze, Micro Squeeze, and MINIs can be also used in gravity filtration setups.

Do you ship international?

To avoid any confusion, Sawyer Products is not an export agent. We suggest using AIT Worldwide Logistics. Their Tampa call center office phone number is 813.247.6797. They can provide you with all the export documents you will need and handle the actual shipment for you. You will be their customer and need to contract their services separately from the purchase of the filters. We do not and can not provide the proper document service that is needed for export.However, using AIT Worldwide Logistics is not mandatory. You can use whomever you prefer and Sawyer Products will have the freight ready for their pick-up or we will ship it to their domestic location (at your expense).

How fast should the water come out of my filter?

Flow rates vary depending on how often the filter is used and how well you cleaned the filter. Altitude also affects the flow rates (the higher you go the slower the flow). Routine backwashing and maintenance will always maximize the filter's flow rate and longevity.

What is the difference between the pointONE Filter™ and PointZERO TWO Purifier™?

The pointONE Filter™ has a 0.1 micron absolute pore size and therefore will remove all bacteria and protozoa such as Giardia, Cryptosporidium, Cholera and Typhoid. The PointZERO TWO Purifier™ has a 0.02 micron absolute pore size and therefore will remove all viruses like Hepatitis A in addition to bacteria and protozoa.

What do you mean by 0.1 and .02 micron absolute?

Many other filters list nominal or average pore sizes which leave the possibility of harmful pathogens to pass through. By claiming absolute microns there are no variances in pore size on our filter membranes. At 0.1 and 0.02 micron absolute these are true barrier filters so there is no questionable time period whether the water is safe to drink.

Will the filter/purifier remove salt?


Will the filter/purifier remove chemicals, pesticides or heavy metals like arsenic?


How often do you have to clean or backwash the filter?

The frequency of cleaning depends on how dirty the water is. With relatively clear water, backwashing may only be necessary every 1,000 gallons whereas with extremely turbid or muddy water, backwashing may be required every 10 gallons. Nevertheless, backwashing is an extremely simple process and takes only a minute.

How much water can be filtered/purified per day?

The flow rates of the filters and purifiers are determined by a combination of variables:

1. Head pressure (The distance from the top of the water to the filter)

2. How clean the filter is

3. The filter itself (there are slight variations between filters)The PointONE Filter with a 1 foot hose (Model SP180) attached to a standard five gallon bucket at sea level is capable of filtering up to 295 gallons (1117 liters) of water per day.

4. If you increase the head pressure by either lengthening the hose, attaching the filter to a larger container like a 55 gallon drum, or constantly keep the bucket full so the top of the water is as high as possible, this will increase the flow rate.

5. Tap Filter: up to 500 Gallons per day

How long does the filter/purifier last?

Since the filters and purifiers can continuously be backwashed and re-used they have an extremely long life. The filter/purifier membrane may never need to be replaced, however when the flow rate slows or the filter clogs, simply backwash the unit with the provided backwashing device to clear out the pores.

Do you have more information about Sawyer’s Label Claims and Warranties?

We have independent lab tests using EPA protocols and information about our filters and their warranties available on our Resources Page.

Are the filters and purifiers tested and approved?

Our filters and purifiers have been tested by independent and qualified research laboratories according to EPA standards for water filter and purifiers.

Does the Sawyer filter remove taste, chemicals and heavy metals from water?

TasteThe Sawyer filter removes taste that comes from bacteria, dirt, and green matter.ChemicalsThe Sawyer filter does NOT remove iron, sulfur, other chemicals, or simple compounds. Taste can be masked by using flavor additives like Gatorade or crystal light (filter needs to be cleaned immediately after using them).Heavy MetalsThe Sawyer filters are not made with charcoal. While other portable filters have charcoal, they lack in amount of media and adequate dwell time. Therefore, they only remove small amounts of heavy metals, pesticides, etc. (when used in real life applications). Try using better sources of water, if possible.

I would like to purchase a Sawyer filtration system, but how do I know which system I need?

We offer multiple options depending on your needs and preferences.

The MINI, Micro Squeeze, and Squeeze Filters are our most popular options for camping and hiking.

For group camping, we offer Gravity Filtration options.

The Bottle Filtration Systems are perfect for daily use domestically and internationally.

The Tap Filter is our leading option for home and RV use.

The Select Series was designed for use with highly contaminated water.  

Insect Repellent

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What was the association of Permethrin with the Gulf War Syndrome?

Research into the causes of Gulf War Illness looked at every possible chemical and/or drug that military personnel may have been exposed to during the conflict. There were literally hundreds of substances, and combinations thereof, examined. The 0.5 percent permethrin aerosol was available to personnel in-country during the 1991 war, but its use was minimal since most action occurred during the winter months when insect populations were low or nonexistent. To date, no substantive evidence exists to implicate permethrin as a cause of Gulf War Illness.

Does Permethrin cause cancer?

There is no epidemiological evidence to suggest that permethrin causes cancer in humans. Permethrin underwent over 15 years of testing and literally hundreds of toxicity studies before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved it for use by the public as a fabric treatment. Seven lifetime studies in animals (cancer assays) were performed. The EPA requested the FIFRA Scientific Advisory Panel, a group of independent experts, to review the collective data and assess the cancer-causing potential of permethrin. The panel concluded that: “…based on all the data together, the oncogenic potential of Permethrin [likelihood of producing tumors] was very weak. The possibility of oncogenic potential in man was extremely remote.” The U.S. Army also commissioned an independent review by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to assure permethrin’s safety for military personnel. Regarding the issue of permethrin carcinogenicity, the NAS noted: “Therefore, the subcommittee concludes that permethrin-impregnation of BDUs [Battle Dress Uniforms] is not a serious carcinogenic risk to field or nonfield military personnel or to garment workers.”

Does Permethrin on clothing contribute to making super bugs?

Permethrin does not increase the biting behavior or aggressiveness of the target insects (arthropods) it is intended to repel or kill.

Does Permethrin kill fish?

Permethrin in its liquid form can be toxic to fish and should not be disposed of in waterways. The greatest danger to fish is from accidental spills of permethrin in large quantity. Empty permethrin containers must be disposed of in a landfill. Residues from permethrin-treated clothing are not an environmental hazard since leaching of the chemical from fabric is negligible.

Does Permethrin ever leave the environment?

Permethrin breaks down quickly in the environment. The vapor phase reacts with sunlight to degrade the chemical within a few hours. If released to soil, permethrin is expected to have no mobility. Some will be broken down quickly as a vapor, while the remaining chemical will be absorbed by the soil and biodegraded in less than four weeks. If released into moving water, permethrin is expected to absorb to suspended solids and sediments. Degradation would occur within a few days.

Does Permethrin cause reproductive effects?

Several animal developmental and reproductive studies (up to three generations) have demonstrated the absence of effects on male or female parents, or their offspring, except at exorbitant doses. There are no scientific grounds to suggest that permethrin causes infertility or teratogenic effects in offspring.

Can Permethrin cause skin irritation or sensitization from repeated use?

Studies in animals have demonstrated that no skin irritation or sensitization is expected following direct application. In a controlled human study, permethrin did not cause significant skin irritation or sensitization when tested in 200 subjects. No significant skin effects are expected from wearing permethrin-treated clothing.

Can Permethrin be used to keep head lice off headphones?

Over the counter Permethrin products carry the statement that Permethrin is a clothing treatment only, and is not to be worn next to the skin. Permethrin is labeled for clothing treatment only and is not to be applied to, or come in direct contact with the skin. This is because, while there are no known side effects of Permethrin usage, no long-term (40 year) studies have been done to determine if there are any long-term usage effects. Therefore, Permethrin should not be used on headphones or headphone foam coverings, or in any manner not specifically indicated on the product label.

Can I use Permethrin on my cat or dog?

Sawyer Permethrin can be used on dogs but is toxic around cats until it has dried. Permethrin can last up to 6 weeks on your dog depending on the hair type and length, visit to learn more.

How much Permethrin comes off the clothing when laundered?

A strong bond is formed between permethrin and most fabrics. In fact, some insect repellency was observed in military uniforms following 50 launderings. However, the uniforms were treated using an absorption method instead of the aerosol can. In studies performed by the U.S. Army, about 20 to 30 percent of the permethrin treatment was removed after the first laundering. Thereafter, about 3 to 5 percent was lost to each cycle through ten launderings.

Does Permethrin work against bed-bugs?

An area bomb, which fumigates the room as a whole, is usually recommended as the first line of defense against bed bugs. As you may not be in a position to bug bomb your hotel room while traveling abroad (without offending the natives), the following uses for Permethrin may help:Spray treat at least the upper surfaces of your mattress when you first arrive, with 0.5% Sawyer Permethrin Insect Repellent. Permethrin pump sprays are preferred because they are not restricted for airline travel. Allow the mattress to dry and air out before using it. Cover with a clean sheet for sleeping; do not sleep directly on the treated mattress. If you are concerned about the pillows, uncover them and lightly spray treat them with Permethrin also, re-covering them before use. Use 0.5% Permethrin spray as a residual surface insecticide for cracks and crevices around the room, and as a light spray on stuffed furniture, carpeting, and other fabrics around your sleeping quarters, where bed bugs and other crawling insects may hide.

Will Permethrin bond to Cuben Fiber?

Cuben Fiber is a high tech laminated material. The top layer is polyester which permetherin will bond to; however, permethrin will not bond to the inner layers of Cuben Fiber. Therefore, permethrin cannot be applied to Cuben Fiber the same way it is applied to other fibers. It will (depending on the size of the material) probably take a few “wettings” to get the necessary 3 ounces dose of permetherin onto the fabric.To apply permethrin correctly use this process spray the object, let it dry, spray again, let it dry, and spray again. If unabsorbed permethrin drips off the Cuben Fiber catch the drippings and reuse the permethrin. Apply as evenly as possible to the Cuben Fiber until the 3 ounce application is fully absorbed.

How harmful is the wet Permethrin right after applying it to clothing?

The directions for applying permethrin from the aerosol can to clothing state that the fabric should be allowed to dry before wear or handling. However, contact with the wet material should pose minimal concern but should be washed off. The amount of permethrin available for skin absorption is very low and is not expected to cause adverse effects.

How harmful are Permethrin fumes while treating clothing?

It is recommended that treating clothing with the permethrin aerosol be performed outdoors. If the treatment is accidentally carried out indoors, no adverse health effects are expected based upon calculations of inhaled dose. However, individuals with breathing problems, such as asthma, may be at greater risk. The odor arising from treating fabric with permethrin is mostly from the aerosol propellants rather than from the insect repellent itself.

Is Permethrin dangerous to my skin?

The warning labels on the cans or bottles are often misunderstood. Your skin metabolizes, or breaks down, Permethrin within fifteen minutes of contact with skin. Therefore, it is of no value to you as a personal protection insect repellent when applied to the skin. In addition, the EPA precautionary statement, “Do Not Apply to Skin” indicates that Permethrin is ineffective when applied to skin; therefore, do not apply to skin.

Does Permethrin work against mosquitoes?

Yes. Permethrin clothing treatments, when applied following Directions for Use, have been determined to have “spatial repellency” against mosquitoes. This means that mosquitoes will swarm around you, but not light on your treated clothing and bite.Also use an EPA registered repellent, such as the Sawyer® microencapsulated Controlled Release 20% DEET, on all exposed skin for further protection from biting and blood sucking mosquitoes.The combination of Permethrin on clothing and DEET repellent on skin forms an “Insect Repellent System.” When used as directed on the EPA registered labels, the Insect Repellent System will provide the best protection from biting, blood sucking and disease carrying insects. A well known study conducted by Tom Lillie, Carl Schreck and A. J. Rahe in Alaska in 1987, showed 99.9% effectiveness against mosquitoes biting at a rate of more than 1,100/hr. This protection is far greater than either a DEET based insect repellent or Permethrin can achieve alone.

How long does Permethrin last?

At the concentration level delivered in the aerosol, non-aerosol pump sprays and soak systems (all at 0.5% Permethrin), an application lasts for six weeks and through six washings. Permethrin breaks down through exposure to air (oxygen) and sunlight (ultraviolet light). If you store the clothes in black plastic bags between uses, you can extend the time of effectiveness; however, always retreat after the sixth laundering. Permethrin may also be used on sleeping bags, tents and nettings.

How do I use Permethrin safely?

Permethrin is to be applied to clothing and material. It works by bonding to the fibers. When a tick or other insect comes into contact with the Permethrin, it absorbs a dose that will either repel or kill the insect. You apply Permethrin using an aerosol or trigger spray until the fabric is damp and then allow it to dry. Permethrin is easy to use and the resulting layer of protection is very important to your safety from insect-borne diseases.

Will Permethrin ruin my clothes or equipment?

No. Permethrin will not damage clothes or equipment. Unlike DEET, which may harm some fabrics and materials, Permethrin is compatible for use even on fragile fabrics such as silk, plus all synthetics and waterproof membrane fabrics. Permethrin will not affect plastics or finishes. IF IN DOUBT, try a sample on an obscure surface area, especially on delicates and check it after 24 hours of exposure.Sawyer® Permethrin Insect Repellent is odorless, non-greasy and non-staining after it dries. Permethrin can be harmful to aquatic creatures such as fish, so do not spray Permethrin around fish aquariums.

Will DEET ruin my clothes or equipment?

Quite possibly. DEET should not damage cotton, wool, or nylon. Do not apply to or near acetate, rayon, spandex or other synthetics, furniture, plastic, watch crystals, leather and painted or varnished surfaces including automobiles.Be sure to read the labels, and if in doubt try a sample on an obscure surface area and check it after 24 hours of exposure to DEET.

Why was I told to “get at least 30% DEET” for malaria mosquitoes?

The reason you were told to “get something with at least 30% DEET” is because under older guidelines this was true. Simply put, the higher the percentage of DEET in a given formula, the longer and more effective the protection from insects. Until the introduction of Sawyer Controlled Release Insect Repellent, we would have recommended Sawyer Maxi-DEET® 100% DEET Insect Repellent for the skin. People often confuse concentration with dosage. Lower “dosages” of 100% DEET or DEET mixed in a Controlled Release lotion or even a standard lotion work better than alcohol-based sprays.As an added measure, you may still consider 100% DEET for times of extreme bug density. However, the real question is not how much DEET you start out with, but how much of the active ingredient, DEET, is available at any given time (even hours later) to repel those nasty mosquitoes.Skin repellent with Slow Release Technology–Sawyer Controlled Release 20% DEET Insect Repellent uses sub-micron encapsulation to entrap the DEET. An effective and long lasting insect repellent for use on the skin is a slow release technology that keeps the repellent on the surface of the skin much longer than other formulas. This provides for slower absorption and extended effectiveness against biting insects. The Sawyer Controlled Release Insect Repellent formula provides this type of technology in a formula that is both effective and very comfortable to use.

Can I use Sawyer Controlled Release Insect Repellent Lotion with 20% DEET on my child?

Yes, this product may be used on children in accordance with the product’s directions for use. The CDC states: “No definitive studies have been published about what concentration of DEET is safe for children. No serious illness has been reported from use of DEET according the manufacturer’s recommendations. DEET formulations as high as 50% are recommended for both adults and children less than 2 months of age. Lower concentrations are not as long lasting, offering short-term protection only and necessitating more frequent reapplication.” ( recommend Sawyer Controlled Release Insect Repellent Lotion for children. Based on a dermal absorption study accepted by the EPA, Sawyer Controlled Release Insect Repellent is the ONLY currently registered formula proven to reduce DEET absorption. Our EXCLUSIVE Low DEET Absorption formula is proven to reduce DEET by 67% per application! Read full Reduced Dermal Absorption Test Here (PDF). Controlled Release Insect Repellent is odorless, greaseless and compatible with sunscreens.

Does DEET protect against flies?

Some yes, but mostly no. If flies are going to be an issue we recommend using the Sawyer 20% Picaridin topical insect repellent. Picaridin is much more effective against flies than DEET, especially at 20% which is higher than other Picaridin formulas available on the market.

Can I wear a repellent with a sunscreen?

Yes.  We would recommend applying the sunscreen first. The trick to a comfortable and effective application of sunscreen it to put it on first thing in the morning or at least 10 minutes before sun exposure to help it fully absorb into your skin. It is also best to apply sunscreen to skin that is fully dried so we would recommend waiting approximately 30 minutes after showering or swimming. Our SPF 30 sunscreen is a bonding base formula which makes it very breathable while still very effective. You can learn more about this formula at

Should I use a lotion or spray repellent?

Because of the way they slow down the evaporation of the DEET, lotions always last considerably longer than sprays of comparable DEET concentrations. Sprays have the advantage of being able to be applied to clothing. Sprays remain effective much longer on clothing than on skin. Since repellents work as a 3″ barrier, clothing applications can often protect 6″ of exposed skin and significantly reduce your usage on skin. Our recommendation: DEET lotion on skin and Permethrin spray on clothing.

What is the shelf life of your insect repellent?

Our repellents don’t have an expiration date printed on them because they have a shelf life of 10 years when stored properly.

Is Picaridin just as effective as DEET?

Picaridin is perfect balance of efficacy, safety and user-friendliness. It repels a wide variety of pests including mosquitoes, ticks, biting flies, sand flies, gnats, chiggers, and midges. It is the longest lasting repellent with up to 14 hours of protection against mosquitoes and ticks and up to 8 hours against a variety of flies, chiggers and gnats. It’s non-greasy, has a pleasant low odor and won’t damage plastics of synthetic coatings. All these factors combined makes Picaridin the optimal topical repellent for the entire family.

What is Permethrin?

Permethrin is a synthetic version of the Chrysanthemum flower’s natural insect repellent pyrethrin. The naturally occurring version breaks down rather quickly in sunlight but Sawyer’s pharmaceutical grade, synthetic Permethrin can last 6 weeks or 6 washings on clothing and other fabrics, making it a fantastic odorless barrier of protection from mosquitoes and ticks.

Is Picaridin safe for pregnant women and children?

Yes. Picaridin is a fantastic topical insect repellent for the whole family and considered to be the repellent of first choice by the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Canadian Advisory Committee on Tropical Medicine and Travel for travelers six months to 12 years of age. Learn more here.

First Aid

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Is there a truly effective solution to treat a venomous bite in the field?

The Sawyer Extractor® Pump Kit is the only medically approved device for treating snakebites. When used quickly after a bite, later treatment results may be significantly improved. Some doctors even recommend carrying and applying two pumps, one for each fang bite site.

If I get bit by a venomous snake and quickly use the Extractor Pump, I’m good…Right?

The Sawyer Extractor Pump Kit has been used successfully for over 30 years as a supplement to medical treatments of snake bite and for bee sting venom, targeting initial removal in the field. The victim should ALWAYS be taken to the closest hospital or urgent care facility for further examination and medical treatment.

If I am allergic to bees, can I carry The Extractor® pump in as a substitute for my Epipen®?

No. If you are known to be allergic, you should always carry an Epipen® pen. Though the Sawyer Extractor Pump Kit is designed to achieve rapid relief from the pain or itching that comes from a bite. It is not medication.


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How do I stop sunscreens from burning my eyes?

All sunscreens will burn your eyes if the lotion is rubbed into the eye area during application. Once applied to cool dry skin, the better sunscreens like our bonding base formula, will not migrate — that is, run down into the eyes from the forehead while sweating or in the water. Older formulas which were designed to work above the skin may still migrate when exposed to water or sweat.

When should I re-apply a sunscreen?

Above the skin sunscreen needs to be re-applied much more frequently than below the skin sunscreens, but replacement of each depends on several environmental factors and also the quality of the sunscreen. Keep in mind the following factors which affect sunscreen effectiveness:
Type of Sunscreen: Film, Wax or Bonding Base
Time of Day: Peak Sun is 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Time of Year: Peak Sun is May though July
Pre-Tanning of the Skin: Your skin is more susceptible in the spring and early summer than it is after you have some level of tan base.
Areas of Thin Skin: Nose, Ears, Forehead, Top of Head, Top of Feet, and Shoulders need extra Sunscreen and attention because they have less layers of skin to protect themselves.
High Altitudes: Above 6,000 feet significantly increases your exposure to sunrays.Higher Altitudes: Above 10,000 feet offers very little natural protection at any time of the year.
Low Latitudes: The closer you are to the equator the greater your ray intensity. People in Northern climates vacationing in Southern climates are particularly vulnerable.
Exposure to much Rubbing or Flushing: Frequent towel drying or water skiing removes Sunscreen at a much faster pace than other activities.Profuse Sweating: May cause Sunscreen, especially above the skin Sunscreen, to migrate.
Use with Insect Repellents: May cause the loss of up to 30% of the SPF protection level.If your environment includes several of the above, you may need to consider using a higher SPF level or more closely monitor your skin, especially the areas of thinner skin. If your environment includes more than several of the above, then you really need to watch your skin closely and take other precautions as well, such as more sun protecting clothing, hats, and staying out of the sun at peak times.

Do sunscreens affect athletic performance?

They can, in two ways. Residual sunscreen on the skin can affect your grip and it can reduce your ability to sweat, which is your body’s mechanism to transfer heat created by your exertion. By not losing adequate heat, your internal body temperature rises, which depletes your energy levels and causes many organs to focus on heat management functions rather than normal support functions. The newer sunscreen formulations work below the skin and allow the skin to breathe and sweat much more efficiently, thereby leaving you with more energy to perform your athletic activity.

Can I wear a repellent with a sunscreen?

Yes.  We would recommend applying the sunscreen first. The trick to a comfortable and effective application of sunscreen it to put it on first thing in the morning or at least 10 minutes before sun exposure to help it fully absorb into your skin. It is also best to apply sunscreen to skin that is fully dried so we would recommend waiting approximately 30 minutes after showering or swimming. Our SPF 30 sunscreen is a bonding base formula which makes it very breathable while still very effective. You can learn more about this formula at

What is the shelf life of your sunscreen?

Our Stay Put sunscreen doesn’t have an expiration date printed on it because it is good for 5+ years when stored properly in a cool, dry location.

What SPF do I need? How much do I need for a trip?

If properly applied (1 1/4 ounces per full body coverage) you seldom need more than an SPF 15. See the paragraph below for when you may need more. However, most people put on only half of the recommended FDA standard. A SPF 15 applied at half rate is effectively a SPF 7, better than nothing but still not a true sunscreen. If you can discipline yourself to put on a generous amount, then after it has fully absorbed into the skin, you will benefit by having less chemicals in the skin which allows your skin to breathe easier. If you just can’t bring yourself to lather it on then jump to a SPF 30 which, when half applied, still leaves you with an effective protection of a SPF 15. If you’re sensitive to oxybensone or benzephenone then stick with the SPF 15 which generally does not include that sunscreen.In planning a trip, use the 1 1/4 ounces per person per day figure as a guideline. If you’re building a tan, or reducing your skin exposure via clothing, then reduce your anticipated need accordingly. Keep in mind that a soaked cotton shirt yields protection equivalent to only a SPF of 4 to 8 only and therefore you may need to wear a sunscreen below the shirt if exposed to water or sweat.


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Do you recommend pre-filtering the water?

Yes, and we have three recommendations for pre-filtration. One, pour the dirty water through a t-shirt or cloth before it goes into the filtration bucket. Two, cut the hole in the side of the bucket at least 1.5 inches from the bottom of the bucket to allow sediment to settle and not go down the hose. Three, allow the dirty water to settle before putting it in the filtration bucket.

Do you need a power drill to cut the hole in the bucket?

No. You can cut the hole with the included hole cutter by hand.

Do I have to use a plastic five gallon bucket?

You can attach the filter to any size container you can drill a hole in. We recommend attaching the filter to a clean container that is either food grade or was previously used to transport food items. Do not attach the filter to a bucket that was used to transport chemicals. The filter will also fit into most water crocks by removing the existing valve and replacing it with the fittings supplied with the filter.For more output hook multiple filters up to a large cistern or rainwater catchment system. You will want to have the 3 foot hose option so you can raise the filter above the water level to shut off the flow.

Can you put muddy water in the bucket?

Yes, though backwashing will be required more frequently. It will not alter the effectiveness of the filter to remove harmful pathogens.

Can you backwash with dirty water?

We do not recommend backwashing with dirty water. If this happens, immediately run at least one quart of water through the filter and dispose before filtering water for consumption.