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  1. #1
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    Default Filter + water purification?

    I'm relatively new to backpacking so forgive me if this is a dumb question, but I'm wondering if anyone uses a water filter AND water purification drops or tablets.

    The trips I've been on so far I've used a Sawyer Mini and that's worked fine. However I know there are things it cannot remove from the water. I've been considering using Aqua Mira tabs along with the filter. Does anyone else do this, or is this just unnecessary overkill?

  2. #2
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    Overkill. The Mini will take everything but a virus and viruses aren't a particular issue. Why ruin the taste of your perfectly good spring water?

  3. #3
    Registered User Engine's Avatar
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    We watched multiple Sawyer filters (including ours) get ruined by the freezing in the extreme cold of the Smokies last week.

    The guy with a Steri-pen had no issues...Our new Steri-pen is waiting at a post office just up the trail.

    Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk
    “He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature.” –Socrates

  4. #4
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    You do have to take care of them. You can't let them freeze. Doesn't hurt to have a backup be it tablets or a stri-pen but it's not a failing of the Sawyer that it froze.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Engine View Post
    We watched multiple Sawyer filters (including ours) get ruined by the freezing in the extreme cold of the Smokies last week.

    The guy with a Steri-pen had no issues...Our new Steri-pen is waiting at a post office just up the trail.

    Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk
    Can you elaborate on how you knew your Sawyers were ruined"?
    I ask because according to Sawyer's own website, there is no way to field test Sawyer to determine if it's been compromised. Seem like the only way to KNOW a Sawyer has been compromised is that either the flow rate goes way up (i.e. lots of damage, easy for water to flow thur now) or way down (i.e. no water flow because the thing is clogged with ice).

  6. #6
    Registered User Moosling's Avatar
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    I've been told to put my sawyer in the tech pocket of my sleeping bag or down near my feet to prevent the membrane from freezing.

  7. #7
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    From Sawyer: 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.

    I wouldn't trust a frozen one. I might continue to use it until the next opportunity to replace is if I had no other backup. I'd be particular about where I got my water, however.

  8. #8
    Registered User Engine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jpolk84 View Post
    From Sawyer: 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.

    I wouldn't trust a frozen one. I might continue to use it until the next opportunity to replace is if I had no other backup. I'd be particular about where I got my water, however.
    Exactly...

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  9. #9
    Registered User Old Hiker's Avatar
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    I am particularly paranoid about my water.

    I use(d) a Sweetwater Guardian filter with Siltstopper and these:

    https://www.amazon.com/Potable-Aqua-...rds=water+tabs

    I let the tabs work at LEAST 30 minutes before drinking. Had NO water related problems or intestinal problems from any cause.

    Now: ask me about Lyme..................
    Old Hiker
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  10. #10

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    I'm surprised Sawyer doesn't have definitive answer to if a freeze damages their filter. You'd think it would be easy enough to test and should have been part of the R+D testing. They know it's going to happen.

    I've never cut one of these open to see what exactly they use inside, but I bet freezing does little or no damage. There is a chance it may no longer remove the very smallest of contaminates, but it would still remove the bulk of the stuff you don't want in there. 99% of the water on the AT is fine to drink as is anyway, so you'd probably never know if the filter is doing anything or not. I use mine mostly to filter out the grit.
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  11. #11
    Registered User swjohnsey's Avatar
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    Everything works because nothing is needed. 99% of the water is safe to drink right out of the side of the mountain.

  12. #12
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jpolk84 View Post
    From Sawyer: 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.

    ...
    Based on that non-information gobbledygook, I wouldn't trust Sawyer.
    How long does it take to freeze a handful of filters and find out if they still work?
    I also wouldn't trust the Mini.
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  13. #13

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    I use the full size sawyer squeeze filter and bring around 8 water tablets as back-up. If it is going to be cold, I just put it in a ziplock and sleep with it to prevent it from freezing. If you know that the filter gets ruined by freezing, I am not sure why anyone would leave it in a position to freeze. i like the sawyer because it is instant drinking water. I have not heard good things about the steri pen due to its durability, need for batteries, and effectiveness in cloudy water.
    Whether you think you can, or think you can't--you're right--Henry Ford; The Journey Is The Destination

  14. #14
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    I carry chlorine dioxide tablets as a backup, and also for use when I need to grab a liter of water and keep walking.
    Ken B
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  15. #15
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    So I'll be heading to the southern AT at the end of April. Probably somewhere in Virginia. Should I expect freezing temps in that area, that time of year? If so I'll definitely pick up some purification tabs as a backup. Or just sleep with my filter under my pillow!

  16. #16
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    Thanks everyone for your comments!

  17. #17
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    So easy to keep in pocket so it doesn't freeze....but yep ship happens...Ive forgot to sleep with it several times so I make a habit to replace yearly with some of my dividends from rei....may go back to regular from mini but honestly mini has been fine.....no bag or real flow issues since using the 2l evernew bag....taking a minute or two to filter just gives me a longer break!


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  18. #18
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    I found the Mini difficult to squeeze, but I have some hand and wrist issues. The regular Sawyer is much easier, I can pretty much just hold it in the air and the water flows through.

    Maddog, it is possible to get below freezing temps in late April in Virginia. Not as likely, but not out of the question. I still take my 20F bag into mid May around here.
    Ken B
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  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigcranky View Post
    Maddog, it is possible to get below freezing temps in late April in Virginia. Not as likely, but not out of the question. I still take my 20F bag into mid May around here.
    Not very likely by late April. It would have to get into the 20's for an extended amount of time to freeze a filter if it's even a little protected from direct cold air contact, like being in a pack.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Engine View Post
    We watched multiple Sawyer filters (including ours) get ruined by the freezing in the extreme cold of the Smokies last week.

    The guy with a Steri-pen had no issues...Our new Steri-pen is waiting at a post office just up the trail.

    Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk

    Hey engine, just curious what sort of temperatures were you seeing in the Smokies last week?

    I hope your hike is going well!
    Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

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