Disclosure: Sawyer Products, a Florida manufacturer, sent us a free Micro Squeeze Water Filtration System to review. This is our unbiased field test of the product.
For many years I have toured, ridden off-road, and camped by bicycle. But it wasn’t until the lockdown this spring that I ever took and used a water filter along the way.
For most of my backpacking trips I have used a heavy pump-type filer for water purification. Early this year, the folks at Sawyer had sent us one of their new Micro Squeeze filters to use and review.
It only weighs 2 ounces, and has a notice on it that it removes 100% of microplastics, as well as 99.9% percent of bacteria and protozoa, giardia being an especially important one to remove.
The filter is only 0.1 micron, which it states makes it similar to medical dialysis methods. It’s something to have handy when boil water notices happen at home, but we really wanted to try it in the woods.
As states and counties started their lockdown soon after we received it, we had no idea when we would be out on the trail again, deep enough in the woods to use a filter.
And as we approach summer and stats show the numbers of infections rising, it may be a while before we’ll be comfortable going on a long trip.
But we are still hiking locally, and I take a long bike ride several times a week. It started as a book delivery trip, but kept expanding.
After delivering our books to the Mims post office, I would return to the Coast to Coast Trail and continue north. Each week I would go a little farther before turning around.
When I passed the fifty mile mark I realized that the three bottles of water I was carrying wasn’t enough for my ride.
North of Mims, the trail turns northwest, away from any potable water sources. Along this stretch is a single dependable flowing creek about halfway between the Aurantia trailhead and the county line.
I’ve stopped many times on the bridge to photograph birds and alligators. Now I would use the creek as a water supply!
Riding with my longtime cycling friend Steve, I handed him the camera and after both of us did a good look for gators, I proceeded to fill the collapsible bottle/pouch that came with the filter.
The water near the shore where I could reach was shallow, which made completely filling the bottle impossible. But with a little patience I was able to fill it about halfway.
Filling my bike bottles was as simple as squeezing the bag to push the water through the filter.
It took a few trips to the creeks edge, but when I rode away I was happy knowing that I had plenty of water. Plus I now had the ability to top off again and again.
The Micro Squeeze filter system is small and lightweight. The filter is only 2 ounces and fits easily in your pocket.
The pouch rolls up compactly as well. I put mine in a sandwich sized resealable bag to keep it clean.
The hardest part about it is filling the bag. It takes a little practice to fill the lightweight pouch depending on your water source.
The filter will also screw onto to standard plastic water bottle, which at time could be easier to fill from questionable sources.
It’s this easy: dunk the pouch in the water, when full screw the filter in place open the pull top valve and squeeze the bag.
Having the ability to filter water while cycling is something that is more important to me now than it was many years ago.
For years while touring I have often stopped at gas stations, churches, fire stations and schools and used their faucets or hoses.
Things have changed over the years. There aren’t as many little gas stations open with a hose out front.
Another favorite stop used to be at schools, where water fountains often offered cold water on a hot day. Now schools are completely surrounded by a locked fence.
Many churches, municipal buildings, and even parks have lockable water faucets. So unless you’re lucky enough to see someone out and ask, it can be difficult to find water.
On my last ride I noticed that the church had a small laundry sink on one of the out building. Being down to my last bottle, I filled the other two.
The next time that I stopped for a drink, I found well water with a taste of sulfur and iron. I filtered on the next trip, but that didn’t remove the smell and it still had a taste.
When I asked Sawyer about it, they said “Sawyer filters will help remove the sulfur taste in addition to the harmful pathogens but unfortunately it will not be able to remove all of it. We focus on getting out the harmful pathogens, as that is our first and foremost responsibility. ”
If you ride in a lot of rural places, you never know about that water source, even if it’s a faucet. It might not be potable.
So in Florida, we do have smelly water in places. But at least you know if you filter it, bacteria is not a problem.
Thanks to our friend Steve Jones for assistance with photography as I worked with the filter along the Brevard Coast to Coast Trail.