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do sawyer squeeze dirty bags really break?

When I received my first Sawyer Mini filter I threw away the bag thinking that I was going to use a smartwater bottle exclusively. Since then I have not actually needed to filter water although there were times that I should have. The very last time I should have processed water the source was deemed less desirable and so I just finished the last half mile dry as a bone.

During that last hike I had been using a Platypus Meta bottle only to discover it had many faults and places where there were points of failure. [a] did not filter 100% of the contents, not even close [b] the main seal leaked depending [c] the main casket nearly came off/damaged on first use [d] too much potential to cross contaminate. So I decided to go back and try the sawyer again.

First of all the sawyer mini would allow me to fill my Platypus 2L bag after removing the mouth piece. But then I needed to collect water and filter it. I started with my smartwater bottle. I quickly discovered that I could squeeze it but that I would have to release some pressure and reform the bottle for subsequent squeezes. When I released the bottle there was a slight squirt of dirty water onto my hands and surrounding so there was a chance for cross contamination. Also every time the seal with the dirty side is opened there is a chance it won't be closed properly. It was not a happy place.

I went back and watched some sawyer demo videos and I'm going back to the bag. This time I'm getting a 64oz bag. This way I can sit next to the source. Fill the bag and then go some place safe to process the water. I might fill one or two bottles as needed or just the one and keep the dirty water. Plenty of choices. The plan is to have a second 64oz bag in case it breaks as has been reported. And a gatorade or smartwater bottle for collection. (undecided about the clean water container).


  • mini sawyer filter
  • 2+ squeezable bags
  • dirty water collection container
  • small funnel
  • paper coffee filters
PS: with a tub or pot you can collect rainwater or consider the lay of your tarp to collect the rainwater into a bottle.

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