Harpo and I used Aquamira for our Appalachian Trail thru-hike, but saw most thru hikers using the Sawyer squeeze filters, so wanted to try it out. Both systems have strengths and weaknesses…
SAWYER – PROS:
– immediate results
– no need to resupply (the mini guarantees 100,000 gallons of filtration, the standard Sawyer promises 1 million gallons)
– adaptable to most standard 1″ water bottles (such as Smartwater)
– lightweight at 2.7 oz for the filter and back flush syringe
– no floaties
SAWYER – CONS:
– too much squeezing – it takes about 3-5 minutes to filter 1 liter
– needs to be back flushed at least once a day
– can’t freeze it
– not compatible with some water bottles
– any particulates in the water rapidly reduce filter efficiency
AQUAMIRA – PROS:
– less work; we mix .25oz in the morning, and it lasts all day (Aquamira lasts 24 hours after activation)
– enhances water’s flavor
– works in any temperature
AQUAMIRA – CONS:
– Slightly heavier at 5.9 oz for 2 1oz bottles of A & B solution, plus a small bottle for pre-mix
– Resupply (2 x 2oz bottles purify 30 gallons)
– Waiting; you wait 15 minutes after adding Aquamira before drinking the water
Overall, I think I come out on the side of Aquamira… there are a couple of instances where it makes more sense to me. Generally, I walk with 1/2 liter or less in my pack, and 1 liter in my hand – usually drinking everything and resupplying at each good water source. Aquamira allows me to make frequent but quick stops, without all the squeezing, which means more time walking. This is espepcially convenient when you’re trying to dip quickly at a buggy source and get out. Aquamira also never clogs – I noticed a distinct loss of flow capacity throughout the day, which means to get the most out of the Sawyer back-flushing often is recommended (it also helps to knock the filter against a hard surface to dislodge particulates as you back-flush).
The difference in weight is kindof a killer tho… with the 4oz of Aquamira with an initial weight 3.2 oz heavier than the total Sawyer system. Hmmm…
As is the need to resupply for longer hikes. Harpo-mane & I got our AT Aquamira super cheap on the internet, and our preferred system works better with the pro-sumer version of 2 x 2oz bottles, rather than the more commonly available ‘backpacker’ style. The problem with the ‘backpacker’ style bottles is the need to mix solution before each purification and wait the 5 minutes for activation, as well as the 15 minutes for the solution to treat the water.
But, so much squeezing…
Maybe the jury’s out on this one. The weight and resupply factor may be the game changer for our next thru hike. And, I’d like to try the standard Sawyer Squeeze rather than the Mini to see if the water flow is better. Only time will tell.. .. .
PRO TIP: Ditch the goofy Sawyer squeeze pouch & use 2 one liter water bottles. Unless you like the pouch. You know – do what makes you feel good..