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Heavier, Better Gravity Filter for the Lazy Backpacker
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Jared Cook
(rooinater) - F

Locale: Northwet
Re: Re: heavier, better gravity PURIFIER for the lazy backpacker on 03/30/2009 19:57:38 MDT Print View

anyone know how much the sawyer .02 micron filter weighs without any of the adapters? the whole bucket kit, minus the bucket weighs 18oz according to the REI page for it...

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
Heavier, Better Gravity PURIFIER for the Lazy Backpacker on 03/31/2009 09:54:44 MDT Print View

I put together the first need gravity purifier by putting the purifier cartridge inline between two bladders/hoses. It worked fine but was a little slower than I thought it would be. You really had to "prime" the setup to get it to start pulling water through the cartridge and even then it seemed to be flowing at a rate of only about 1L/5 mins... maybe even slower. It would probably be fine, it was just slower than I expected and the priming work was more than I expected.

Ben, you might be right about the weight of the first need cartridges. I didn't weigh it, my 5-6 oz figure came off a website that sells the replacement cartridges. I haven't verified it one way or the other.

I sent an email to the folks at Sawyer asking them about the 0.02 micron purifier. They said the purifier cartridge should be able to be worked into a gravity system. They also said purifier cartridge itself weighs "a little over 3 oz." They don't sell the cartridges by themselves so the cheapest means to get it seems to be either the bucket system or an older product of theirs (SP135) which is a bottle purification kit (it looks like a drink bottle, the cartridge and some hose). i don't know if the bottle system is still available.

If you want a chemical-free purification system and don't mind spending a little bit more up front, this might be worth looking into.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: ClearStream vs. Frontier Pro on 03/31/2009 10:35:42 MDT Print View


If you are absolutely sure that wherever you go, all your water sources will be free of viruses and bad taste -- then indeed Clear Stream is all you need. No more fussing with chemicals.

OTOH, reading a few posts below... if you find yourself supplementing your Clear Stream with a few drops of chlorine -- then the Frontier Pro makes much more sense than the Clear Stream! The smaller and lighter FP's built-in carbon element will remove all traces of chlorine (and other bad taste in the water as well) -- something the Clear Stream can't do.

Aaron Lastname
(Cloudveil9) - F
First Need on 03/31/2009 10:39:02 MDT Print View

Tad, what kind of flow rate were you getting with that First Need gravity system?

I tried this several different ways with a barely used cartridge (Used for 3 days with clear water) and was unable to get a faster flow rate than 1L / 10mins timed with a stopwatch. I gave up and just decided to take the pump too.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Heavier, Better Gravity PURIFIER for the Lazy Backpacker on 03/31/2009 10:40:02 MDT Print View


I've written about this before so this may be a repeat to you... but just in case it isn't...

I've tried the Sawyer before and it's too bad the unit -- like the Clear Stream -- lacks a carbon element to deal with potentially bad water taste. But the real show stopper for me is the Sawyer's need to be primed prior to use. Once primed, the Sawyer performs beautifully -- but once the core is dry (say when stored in-between trips) -- it needs to be primed again -- using the rubber faucet attachment. Manual priming (squeezing water through from a bladder for example) doesn't quite work -- not nearly as well as using the force of a kitchen or campground faucet.

Jared Cook
(rooinater) - F

Locale: Northwet
Re: Re: Heavier, Better Gravity PURIFIER for the Lazy Backpacker on 03/31/2009 11:52:11 MDT Print View

the sawyer or the first need needs priming? hmm... I don't mind the chemicals, but i've been tossing around the idea of a gravity feed system for awhile since the girlfriend would prefer a filter of some sort... I like the idea of the .02 micron filtration at 3oz for the filter element, but if I have to prime it?... or just get water in the filter element before leaving on a trip? I didn't see a mention of that in the information section for the .02 micron filter or gravity feed setup.

Edited by rooinater on 03/31/2009 12:06:20 MDT.

David Noll
(dpnoll) - MLife

Locale: Maroon Bells
gravity filter on 03/31/2009 14:04:20 MDT Print View

We've got a sawyer sp120 hooked up to a ULA Amigo and all we have to do to prime is fill the bag with water and suck on the hose. We used it on 3 trips last summer and never had any trouble.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: gravity filter on 03/31/2009 14:22:18 MDT Print View


I have no experience with the 120, but it is a different animal -- a filter -- and not a purifier.

As mentioned, when I tested out the Sawyer purifier at home -- after priming with the supplied rubber cup attached to my kitchen faucet -- water flow was quite good. But out in the field -- because I had failed to prime prior to my trip -- the output was absolutely miserable.

After my trip, when talking to Sawyer customer service, the lady was emphatic that the purifier must be primed with a faucet every time it dries up (i.e. when stored between use). When asked, she even said the unit will NOT prime properly by sucking or manually pushing through a bladder of water. It needed the force of a faucet, so she said.

I didn't much like the idea of starting every trip with a wet filter/purifier -- so I quickly sold mine. I did not, however, try to disprove the Sawyer lady by sucking on the purifier. Maybe a current owner of a Sawyer 125 purifier can give that a try and report back?

Edited by ben2world on 03/31/2009 14:22:59 MDT.

Dan Cunningham

Locale: Land of 12,000 Loons
Gravity w/ Frontier on 03/31/2009 18:19:59 MDT Print View

Today I made one of these using an AGG 1 gallon water bag, two hardware store plastic hose fittings, some tubing, and a Frontier Pro filter. I stripped the frontier of the plastic lid, the rubber outside, and the bite valve - this removed over 25% of it's weight (.6 oz).

I have 30" of hose from the bag to the filter, then I remove my bite valve from my 1.8L hoser and hook the hydration hose to the filter. This makes a rather long hose length of over 6' total (with the filter in the middle). The longer hose helps keep the flow rate of the Frontier Pro up.

Filter = 1.4 oz
Attachments = 0.5 oz
30" Rubber Hose = 1 oz
AGG Bag = 0.6 oz

Total = 3.5 oz

Tested flow Rate = .6L / min

Water will be pre-treated with tablets. One question, can you filter water before the 15 minute period is up, or does the charcoal and such work against the tablets?

Keith Selbo
(herman666) - F - M

Locale: Northern Virginia
Re: Re: gravity filter on 04/01/2009 10:01:05 MDT Print View

I visited the sawyer web site and located their manuals. The manual for the 0.1 micron filter does not mention priming. The manual for the 0.02 micron filter says priming is required.

I've taken my 0.1 into the field dry and it worked ok. It appeared to be slow, but since I was doing other things while it filtered, I didn't care.

In any event, it didn't take more than a few minutes to fill my 3 liter hydration bladder.

Edited by herman666 on 04/01/2009 10:10:31 MDT.

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: gravity filter on 04/01/2009 11:15:54 MDT Print View

I use the Sawyer purifier (0.02 micron virus removal) and it definitely needs to be primed at home by hooking it up to a faucet before every trip.

My ULA amigo gravity bag plus the Sawyer purifier, primed and full of water weigh a total of 14.9 oz. I know ... that's heavy so you gotta like pure water to carry it but it does work great for stagnant swamp water in Florida.

For the taste removal component, I made a small bag from noseeum netting and put 1 oz of aquarium charcoal in it. I keep this in my water bottle.

Edited by mad777 on 04/01/2009 11:18:10 MDT.

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: First Need on 04/01/2009 17:27:19 MDT Print View

Aaron, I really don't remember the flow rates. I never worried about it much because I would just hang it on a branch and go about my business. I know it wasn't fast, in fact it was probably slow, but even if it took a while, I wasn't bothered because I would use it for my future water needs and would finish up my existing water while I was waiting (cooking, etc.)
If you use the stuff sack that came with the kit for a gravity bag (it is designed with a hole for this and even has the fittings for it)and need to "prime" it, I just grab the bag and close the top (like a plastic bag) and put a little pressure on the bag to increase the flow. This seemed to work for me, YMMV.
I haven't use this for about 5 years so its been a while.
I now keep it in my 72 hour kit for emergencies. After this thread I tried it out again with the pump. I had water coming out the sides of the pump when I would pump it. I guess the "O" rings need replacing or some lubrication. After 15 years the innards might need a little maintenance.

Dan Cunningham

Locale: Land of 12,000 Loons
Re: Gravity w/ Frontier on 04/01/2009 18:18:28 MDT Print View

I emailed Aquamira with the question I had asked above - can I plop in the tablets wait for them to dissolve, then start filtering immediately to my platty with the filter in gravity mode?

They say: "We actually recommend this method you just described. The filter will not deactivate the CLO2."

This should mean only 5 minutes at the water source to fill my 1.8L bladder if you include setup and take down, and then keep on trucking and start drinking 10 minutes down the trail without the added resistance of pulling through the Frontier (which I didn't care for in my testing).

Edited by mn-backpacker on 04/01/2009 18:19:00 MDT.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Gravity w/ Frontier on 04/01/2009 18:39:50 MDT Print View


The great selling point for CLO2 tablets is that they can treat protozoa (long treatment time notwithstanding) -- something bleach and iodine can't match.

But if you're using the FP filter to block protozoa, clarify water and improve taste -- and thus relying on the CLO2 tablets to kill viruses and bacteria only -- then why not save the $13 and just use household bleach -- which costs around 99 cents for a whole gallon at discount stores (you only need 6 drops per quart)? CDC, Red Cross, etc. all advise using bleach to treat suspect water.

I am assuming that if the 3-micron filter blocks the taste of CLO2 but doesn't hinder the effectiveness of the chemicals themselves, then most likely it does the same with chlorine

Edited by ben2world on 04/01/2009 18:46:11 MDT.

Dan Cunningham

Locale: Land of 12,000 Loons
Re: Re: Gravity w/ Frontier on 04/01/2009 18:45:08 MDT Print View


Thanks for the tip - I'm going to think about that one...

For a pre-filter in my water bag, I snatched one from my Katadyn Hiker, which is 130 microns. It fit in pretty easy, and only weighs 0.125 ounces:


Edited by mn-backpacker on 04/02/2009 09:47:46 MDT.

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Frontier Pro lifespan on 05/11/2009 21:00:19 MDT Print View

Chris Chastian wrote:
> Aquamira: 2.2oz rated at 190 liters

Being a newbie, does this mean you need to buy a new one after this amount?

Dan Cunningham

Locale: Land of 12,000 Loons
Re: Frontier Pro lifespan on 05/11/2009 21:33:12 MDT Print View

Michael - Yes.

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: Re: Frontier Pro lifespan on 05/12/2009 07:57:33 MDT Print View

Is it simply because the charcoal has lost it's effectiveness or that it can no longer be backflushed effectively to get a decent flow?

Chris Chastain
(Thangfish) - F

Locale: S. Central NC, USA
Re: Re: Re: Frontier Pro lifespan on 05/12/2009 17:05:11 MDT Print View

Both are valid reasons, but I expect that the decreasing flow rate will entice you to ditch it before the listed lifespan is reached.

Vince H
(nosanon) - F

Locale: China + Colorado
Sawyer zero two + Geigerrig Hydration Engine on 02/10/2011 16:22:59 MST Print View

Hey all, thought I'd share my new sawyer zero two setup with you, it works awesome. I put it inline with the Geigerrig Hydration Engine (bomb proof pressurized bladder) now the geigerrig does all the work that gravity would do and you dont have to suck, unless you want to.