A "work around" for sawyer flushing syringe

Posted by: the-gr8t-waldo

A "work around" for sawyer flushing syringe - 06/28/20 11:27 AM

I'm sold on their water filter hiking product line and like the "mini" sized, but never have felt it reasonable to take their, "one size fits all" syringe/flushing tool on a hike. at the end of my hikes I do test and flush 'em before storage. and never process cloudy water! the end result has been the filter always clogs and needs to be replaced.... last time , while gearing up for a hike, the filter tested fine. and then less that one hour into a two week hike it clogged, and I drank unfiltered water for the entire hike. for some reason, I can't/won't allow valuable pack space to be wasted on them. has anyone found a way to back flush one that dosen't involve something that's as big, or bigger than the filter itself? it's possible than all I should do is to to start taking zero days and use a motel's water pressure to back flush 'em... but would like to avoid that
Posted by: Glenn Roberts

Re: A "work around" for sawyer flushing syringe - 06/28/20 01:01 PM

No work-around for the Mini (in fact, I've read reviews that say they're fine for a day hike, but that they clog so fast that they are practically worthless for backpacking. So, I use the Squeeze (full-size, "original") model, with a 900ml Evernew bottle as the clean bottle and the 2000ml Evernew as the dirty bottle (2000ml happens to be just the right amount for me for an overnight dry camp.)

My "work-around" for the Squeeze is the so-called cleaning coupling. I prefer to attach both bottles to the filter when filtering water, since I've had the bags (and even Smartwater bottles) tip and spill as they got full. To backflush, I simply squeeze the clean bottle to backflush the filter into the dirty bottle. Then I top off the clean bottle by filtering some more water.

I do carry some Aquatabs, just in case the filter does clog beyond what backflushing will fix. I also backflush with the syringe at home after a trip.

I don't take long trips anymore, but this seems to work fine for the one or two night trips I mostly take. Probably, if I needed a filter that I could absolutely rely on for a week or more, I'd dig out my MSR Miniworks - heavy but bombproof (like most of the MSR and Thermarest gear that I used back in the 1990s and early 2000s.)
Posted by: Rick_D

Re: A "work around" for sawyer flushing syringe - 06/29/20 02:40 PM

My experience with field back-flushing has been that some fraction of flow can be restored, but it takes a more thorough session back home to approach like-new flow. This includes Sawyer and MSR filters using the hollow fiber media.

I've never taken the syringe, instead using a water bag and hose to force water backwards through the cartridge. The bag and spout need to be strong and watertight in order to generate enough pressure.

My worst luck has been source water from brushy shorelines that does not circulate. Clear or cloudy isn't a reliable indicator. (I don't currently hike where glacial silt is present.)

Lately I've been toting a ginormous 10L dirty water bag and especially for 2+ person camps it's terrifically convenient.
Posted by: 4evrplan

Re: A "work around" for sawyer flushing syringe - 06/30/20 10:07 AM

This is my solution:

The flip top caps on Smartwater bottles fit perfectly over the output on the Sawyer Mini. So I just leave one on or with one of my clean water bottles. Every time I filter water, I finish up with a quick backflush.
Posted by: aimless

Re: A "work around" for sawyer flushing syringe - 06/30/20 03:08 PM

Now THAT is a sweet solution. I'll have to give it a try. awesome
Posted by: the-gr8t-waldo

Re: A "work around" for sawyer flushing syringe - 07/02/20 12:26 PM

just got finished going thru the "collection". found a brand new "mini". so 4ever's fliptop cap looks to be the easyest. (and litest). to live with. since this years hiking is on hold- I have a lot of time to think about the next outing. I'll make it a point of flushing after EVERY use.( once it's dead- I'll be moving on to a new filtering system.) one good thing, I was forced to get over my reluctance to drinking unfiltered water. if push come to shove, it's always there it to fall back on.... Thank you all for the help!
Posted by: 4evrplan

Re: A "work around" for sawyer flushing syringe - 07/02/20 02:21 PM

Glad to help! I think I should say, this was not my original idea. Re-reading my post, it kinda sounds like that, but I did not mean to imply I came up with it on my own; I just meant it's the solution I adopted. Enjoy.
Posted by: BZH

Re: A "work around" for sawyer flushing syringe - 07/03/20 06:59 PM

are you using your mouth to backflush? or am I misunderstanding your post?
Posted by: 4evrplan

Re: A "work around" for sawyer flushing syringe - 07/06/20 04:15 PM

No, I use my water bottle to backflush. Just turn it upside down and squeeze.
Posted by: the-gr8t-waldo

Re: A "work around" for sawyer flushing syringe - 07/09/20 11:32 AM

I'm a big fan of "multitasking" using one's mouth has the added advantage of clearing the ears of wax, as well!