Rating: 5 / 5
Sawyer Point One Inline Water Filter (SP122)
The filter Tony used in his gravity filter system (described above) is the SP121. Since then a newer version, the SP122, has come out. Both use the same filter element. The only difference is in how the filter attaches to the tubing.
· SP121 is the older one; it has barbed fittings
· SP122 is the newer one; it has quick connect/disconnect fittings
The SP122 is just as good as the SP121, and I find that the quick connect fittings make it more suited than ever for a gravity filter system.
After reading about how people did gravity filters, I liked how Tony did his. I decided that I would do a similar one, including basing mine on the Sawyer inline filter. When I looked for a Sawyer filter, the new ones – with quick connect fittings instead of barbed fittings – were just coming out. I decided that making a filter system with quick connect fittings is the way to go. You get a lot of convenience, and it only adds 10 grams (0.4 oz) to the system. I like the idea that everything comes apart – for a number of reasons:
· Cleaning is easier when things are taken apart. Furthermore, the disassembled parts should dry better/faster.
· It all packs better
· You can detach the dirty bag to go to the lake for more water
· You can detach the clean bag to take it to your cook area
· It makes dealing with a hydration bladder easy
· It works well with my existing Big Zip, which has a quick connect fitting for its drinking tube
On talking to U.S. Plastics, I discovered that quick connect fittings are not standard. Whether or not they mate varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, and even between model lines of a single manufacturer. I found a marking on my Platypus fittings indicating they are made by CPC (Colder Products Company). When my filter arrived, I saw that the extra fittings Sawyer supplies are also CPC fittings. I contacted CPC and, over several communications, found out that:
· Both companies used custom CPC fittings
· The fittings are derived from Colder’s “APC” series
· The customization is not likely to be in the mating part – that should still be compatible.
That left me wondering about compatibility, because:
· Neither CPC nor U.S. Plastics knew which CPC parts would be compatible with Platypus
· Neither CPC nor U.S. Plastics knew which CPC parts would be compatible with Sawyer
· I did not know (until the filter arrived) whether I could use the same fittings for both Sawyer and Platypus. (It turns out that Sawyer and Platypus are compatible.)
I contacted both Platypus and Sawyer to ask just what their fittings are, and whether I could buy compatible fittings. So far, I have not heard back from either one of them – I cannot say I am overwhelmed with their customer service.
I solved the basic problem by buying
· One Platypus CleanStream® Hose Kit, which included:
o One Platypus male elbow to fit the Big Zip, so I did not need to worry about compatibility. (I did gamble that Big Zip and the CleanStream dirty bag would have compatible quick connect fittings – turns out to be true.)
o Two pieces of tubing – a long piece (48”) and a short piece (11”). It turns out that the tubing is nice – softer and lighter than the drink tubing that comes with the bladders. The long piece is about 6” longer than the original drink tube.
o A shutoff clip
o A Platypus Filter Link to connect to the clean bag
NOTE: the kit I got from Moontrail included the Platypus Filter Link. The kits I have seen advertised elsewhere do not include one.
· One Sawyer Point One Inline Water Filter (SP122), which included:
o One filter
o One male and one female quick connect fitting, to use with the tubing that plugs in to the filter
o Two small nylon tie-wraps, to hold the tubing on the quick connect fittings. I doubt they are needed; I am not using mine.
o One faucet adapter. This is used both for back flushing with clean water, and on the inlet side if you want to filter tap water.
o One male-male straight through adapter, so the faucet adapter can be plugged in to the clean side of the filter
Putting the system together:
1. Dirty Bag – I used my existing 3L Platypus Big Zip is the dirty bag. It is fairly light, because you do not need to include its drinking tube.
2. Dirty tube – the long tube is the dirty tube. Set it up with:
o Platypus elbow male quick connect on one end
o Sawyer male quick connect on the other end
o Plug it in to the inlet (dirty, gray) side of the filter
3. Clean tube – the short tube is the clean tube. Set it up with:
o Platypus Filter Link on one end. (I used an older Platypus similar to the Hoser. If you want to use a second Big Zip, see below for the fitting to get and use that in place of the Platypus Filter Link.)
o Platypus tube clamp in the middle
o Sawyer female quick connect on the other end
o Plug it in to the outlet (clean, blue) side of the filter
4. Attach the clean tube to the clean bag.
5. Attach the dirty tube into the dirty bag and you are filtering water. You can stop filtering by either removing the dirty tube, or by closing the tube clamp.
6. Note: you can put the Platypus tube clamp on whichever tube you like. Putting it on the clean tube allows disconnecting the clean bag from the filter, moving it wherever you want, and using the clamp to turn water flow on and off.
Result – I filled the Big Zip to its 3L marking with tap water. It took just under 2:30 to filter it.
That is better than the advertised 1 liter per minute. Being new to this, I was impressed with how fast I could see the water dropping in the dirty bag as the filter ran.
Weights I measured:
· 58 gm 2.0 oz Dirty hose, assembled
· 24 gm 0.8 oz Clean hose, assembled, includes tube clamp
· 82 gm 2.8 oz Total assembled hoses weight
· 56 gm 2.0 oz Filter (REI weight – forgot to weigh mine when dry)
· 138 gm 4.8 oz Total filter system weight
· 57 gm 2.0 oz 3L Platypus for clean bag – older model, similar to Hoser
· 102 gm 3.6 oz 3L Platypus Big Zip – for the dirty bag
· Minimum weight system – let the water drop into your container, or drink directly from the filter. For negligible extra weight, put the tube clamp on the dirty tube.
o 3.6 oz Big Zip
o 2.0 oz Dirty hose
o 2 oz SP122 Filter
o 5.8 oz Total minimum weight
· When thinking of the system weight, consider whether or not you would have had the clean and/or dirty bags anyway.
o The clean bag is no extra weight. Just use whatever clean bag you used before. If you did not have had a clean bag, then you don’t need one now, either – just direct the filtered water into wherever you would have put it before.
o If you would have had a dirty bag anyway, then the one for this system is no extra weight. If yours was lighter, then adapt this system to use yours.
· I like Ben’s idea for a water scoop/filter. If I adopt it, I expect to use a very light rigid bottled water bottle, with the bottom cut off as a water scoop. That will double as a carrying case for the system, so I can keep it in an outside pocket for easy access during the day.
· I am going to try an MSR Nano Pack Towel (size small, 24 gm, 0.8 oz) for a pre-filter. It is clearly a multi-use item, and lighter than a bandana would be.
o I considered the Duda Diesel 1 micron filter bags. They should work well – they would fit right over the end of the bottle. I have not yet tried them, but would like to one of these days.
· If you use a hydration bladder, you need to think about whether you want it to double as your clean bag. Even if you don’t (perhaps you normally keep it full of something other than water, such as a sports drink), you may still want to be able to attach it to the filter. Either way, that takes:
o A Sawyer-compatible male and female quick connect (see compatibility section)
o Remove the bite valve and insert the female quick connect in the drink tube.
o Put the bite valve on the male quick connect
o Now you can easily switch that tube from drinking (bite valve plugged in) to filtering (filter plugged in).
· If you want to carry your dirty bladder and drink from it, it would be easy to make a modified clean tube that you could use. It would be easy to arrange that you could quick connect wither a bite valve or else the clean bag on the clean side of the filter.
· All tubing is 1/4” inside diameter (ID) and 3/8” outside diameter (OD)
· The quick connect parts are all for 1/4” ID tubing, except the one for the bite valve. Since the bite valve slides over the tubing, you need a 3/8” barb fitting for it.
· It turns out that the fittings Sawyer ships appear to be stock CPC parts, not custom ones.
· I recommend going to the Colder Products Distributor Lookup page to find someone local. It is very reassuring to be able to actually try the parts you are buying, and see that they fit. (I am in San Jose, CA and used Ryan Herco Flow Solutions. They had what I wanted and were very helpful.)
· The parts are:
o Sawyer-compatible 1/4” female disconnect. This appears to be the actual part Sawyer ships. (Extra is needed for hydration bladder drinking tube)
o CPC: APC17004 1/4 Hose Barb Non-valved In-Line Coupling Body
o Ryan Herco Part #0762-115
o Sawyer-compatible 1/4” male disconnect. This appears to be the actual part Sawyer ships. (I did not need an extra one of these)
o CPC: APC22004 1/4 Hose Barb Non-valved In-Line Coupling Insert
o Ryan Herco Part #0761-115
o Sawyer-compatible 3/8” male disconnect (bite valve). Sawyer does not ship this. (It is compatible, and needed for the bite valve)
o CPC: APC22006 3/8 Hose Barb Non-valved In-Line Coupling Insert
o Ryan Herco Part #0761-120
o Platypus male elbow (to fit into the Big Zip quick connect) was not actually in stock. They did have a 3/8” part in stock, and it looked like the right thing, but wrong size. I believer the following part numbers are correct, but am not able to verify that. This would be needed if you also use a Big Zip for a clean bag.
o CFC: EFC23412 1/4 Hose Barb Non-valved Elbow Coupling Insert
o Ryan Herco Part #0881-502
· There may well be other compatible CPC parts. For example, the EFC series appears to be what Platypus uses for the Big Zip quick connect, while the APC series is what is used everywhere else. “EFC” stands for Extra Flow Coupling, so you could conceivably want to use this series of fittings throughout – I did not bother, because I expect the filter is the limiting item on flow rate, so plain fittings are just fine.
· Sawyer web page for the SP122
· Colder Products Company – makes the quick connects for Platypus and Sawyer. They were as helpful as they could be. You do not buy parts directly from them – you go through a distributor. See above for how to find a local distributor. They said that U.S. Plastics carries their full line, if you are buying on the web.
· U.S. Plastics carries CPC parts. When I contacted them, they were very helpful – they just did not know details of Platypus or Sawyer fittings. All of the fittings above are Acetyl fittings, except the elbow (which is an EFC fitting).
o Acetyl Fittings
o Polypropylene Extra Flow Couplings (EFC)
· Moontrail – is where I got my filter and CleanStream tubing. They had the best price on the SP122 that I could find. Their CleanStream Tubing Kit included the Platypus filter link -- no other place I looked does include that part.
· Ryan Herco – is where I ended up buying parts locally. They have sites all over the country. Here is their locator page.
· Arrowhead Equipment – still has the last of the Platypus Filter Links available (3/2010). If you want one, and if you got your hose kit from someplace that does not include one, here is where to get it.
Comments on remarks in the earlier reviews:
1. Back flushing – as far as I know, it can be back flushed:
a. Tony reports doing so, and the good result, on his TRT trip
b. The Sawyer web site says: This faucet adapter is used for back washing all Sawyer Filters and Purifiers, extending their life.
c. Most credible: the directions from Sawyer, that come packed with the filter, have a paragraph on how to back wash the filter.
2. Tony says that setup time takes longer than a traditional filter – I’m not so sure that is true with a quick connect setup such as described in this review.
3. Testing whether or not the filter is working – could someone comment on what that means? Is there a mode where dirty water would bypass the filter element? Perhaps if it got frozen? If we have a real concern, perhaps someone should call up Sawyer and discuss the issue with them.
4. Clogging – yes, I believe that is real. I also believe it is generally accepted that pre-filtering is needed for pretty much any filter. Has anyone who pre-filters and back flushes had a problem with a Sawyer inline filter clogging?
5. Drain the filter completely when done, so it won’t freeze – I wish I knew how to drain it completely. I believe that disconnecting it offers the best chance, though. I suspect that, in freezing weather, you’d best sleep with your filter – any filter, not just the Sawyer.