Extreme Travel | Adventure Sports

Sawyer SP131 Water Filter

A lightweight water filter that cleans drinking water in a second




Getting clean drinking water when you’re hiking, camping, climbing or just travelling abroad can be difficult unless you use chemicals or filters. Most chemical methods of purifying water leave a nasty taste, and quite a few filter systems are too complex or take too much effort to draw water through. The Sawyer filter is different. It uses microscopic hollow fibres to sift out bacteria and viruses, making even the grimmest groundwater clean enough to enjoy.

It uses the same filter technology as you get in kidney dialysis, where water is drawn through holes just 0.1 micron thick – that’s a thousand times smaller than 1mm. At that scale, only molecules of water can pass through, leaving gunk and germs far behind.

Weighing only 85g, it’s incredibly lightweight, and comes with three flexible plastic pouches for carrying water – 0.5, 1 and 2 litres. You simply fill one with dirty water, screw the cigar-like filter unit to the top (it will also fit on standard plastic bottles too) and suck on the pop-up cap. It takes hardly any more effort than drinking from a standard sports bottle of water, and the taste is as good as any bottled water you can buy.

The unit is cleaned by backwashing it with a large syringe (included), and Sawyer state that it’s good for 1 million gallons of water before it needs replacing. For £60, this is an absolute steal – I’m not going back to carrying water again. 

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