How reliable really are Sawyer & Be Free water filters?

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Re: How reliable really are Sawyer & Be Free water filters?

Post by Lumbergh21 » Mon Jan 25, 2021 11:22 am

Late to the party, but I have used two Sawyer Mini's and am currently using a HydroBlu. I previously used a pump with a ceramic cartridge, but can't remember which brand. The HydroBlu has much better flow than the Sawyer Mini, and I plan to continue using it. However, I have kept the mini's as they still work and have loaned them out to other hikers to try. I do bring the syringe, but must admit to waiting too long before backwashing out of laziness and costing me more time in the long run. Backwashing has not always restored my filters to near new flow, but I have used warm, heavily chlorinated water, vinegar (a mild acid), or a low concentration sodium hydroxide solution to clean them at home. Anyone of these could be used to remove build-up on the membrane, and all are used (though not at the same time or place as they could counteract each other or even react violently if used together) in municipal water treatment plants to clean membrane filters (except they would use citric acid, not acetic acid/vinegar). What chemical will clean your filter the best depends on what deposits are stuck to the filter. The sodium hydroxide solution works best for me, and I use my filter almost entirely in the Trinity Alps or the Sierra. If you are dealing with carbon deposits or water with high tannins or lignins, then the acid would probably work better. I have broken 4 of the ridiculously poor bags that Sawyer gives you, and now use a 2L CNOC bag. Yes it is heavier, but you can open the top and fill it through a nice big opening and it is much more durable construction using a very flexible material that won't develop creases leading to holes or delaminate like the bags that Sawyer provides. Lastly, my uncle had a bad case of Giardiasis that took months of treatment to clear up. I do occasionally drink unfiltered water still, but only from very pristine sources. I don't want Giardia, cryptosporidium, or any number of other ameoba or parasites in me. Also, I am an engineer working in the drinking water field. How would it look if I didn't treat my water. :D

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