Survival Articles

When Clean Water Isn’t Available, Make it So – With a Sawyer

As you well know, many surface water sources must be treated before drinking because they are repositories for bacteria, viruses, and a slew of parasites both microscopic and/or larger.

I have written several articles for Ready Nutrition about water purification methods, as well as methods for water storage. What we’re doing here is “cutting to the chase” to let you know about a product that will do more than just do in a pinch: it will suffice for a long, long time and work quickly and almost effortlessly.

SawyerThe Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System is a compact, portable, three-part “system” that you can stick into a cargo pocket of your pants or shorts with ease. It can be put together and placed over a drinking vessel such as a water bottle, or you can hook up the straw that comes with it and drink directly through the filter itself. It can also be hooked up to a Camelbak water pouch. It comes with a pouch of its own that you can fill up with water and then squeeze through the filter into a bottle or other drinking vessel.

The Sawyer was invented a few years back through experimentation with kidney dialysis equipment, and they came up with a filter that uses a 0.1-micron filter that circulates the water to be filtered through fibrous micro-tubes, for a central collection of filtered water.  It works on protozoans such as giardia, bacteria such as E.coli, cholera, and salmonella, and also on more “difficult” organisms such as Cryptosporidium. Want the “kicker” for this thing?

It filters up to 100,000 gallons.

If you drank 2 gallons a day, in 100 years, you would drink about 74,000 gallons. Pretty good, huh? The whole thing weighs less than 2 ounces. Now, JJ’s tips here are simple when you use this thing.

If you can, try and “soft filter” the major particulate matter out of the water you’ll use the filter on, such as dirt, sediment, detritus from trees (bark, sticks, seeds, etc.) to help facilitate the filtration process, with a cloth or towel or even a paper towel if you don’t have anything else.
As I’ve said in the past if you have the time to do it? Boil everything. If you’re in a hurry, it’s understandable, and this is the reason for the filter, but there is no substitute for boiling it for ten minutes or longer if you can do it.
If you see a “sheen” or a multicolored “film” on the surface of the water, steer clear of this source: this is probably a chemically-contaminated body of water, and the filter is for natural contaminants, such as bacteria and other nasties found in urine and feces that find their way into the stream. It is not for chemically contaminated water such as the Love Canal or the radioactive outflow from Three Mile Island.

Also, remember to clean and sanitize your hands with filtering water. Many become so focused on filtering the dirty water that they forget they’re getting it on their hands!  A good pair of latex or neoprene gloves is one way to help in this matter, as well as before you “mate” that filter to that water supply, be sure and scrub those hands down before and after you start to drink. If you pick up the germs on your hands, filter the water and drink? The water you’re drinking may be cleaned up, but your hands touch your mouth and the whole filtration is for naught.

The Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System will run you about $20.00, and you can order it online from The first time you use it the filter will pay for itself, especially if you’re on foot in the middle of nowhere. You can stock up on these guys for a disaster and they will last indefinitely on your shelves. It is simple to use, user-friendly, inexpensive, and it has an instruction booklet that covers all the variables. Try it out and you’ll find it is an extremely good buy that delivers more for your dollar.  JJ out!


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Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published August 13th, 2018
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