platypus filter in a tree

Water Filter Review: Small & Speedy Platypus QuickDraw Rivals Sawyer Squeeze

Looking for a light and packable water filter for when you hit the backcountry? Platypus’ new QuickDraw filter could be the one for you.

I’ve used quite a lot of filtering methods in my fairly short lifetime. Chemical and UV treatments, tablets, pumps, and my favorite method as someone who travels as efficiently as possible — a hollow fiber or activated carbon membrane filter (there are a few in this category — like a LifeStraw or Grayl Geopress).

However, if you are truly going for fast and light, or maybe for more technical all-day endeavors or thru-hiking, a filter that’s packable is just as important as features like what it filters and how.

For thru-hikers, especially solo hikers, the gold standard seems to be the Sawyer Squeeze. But possibly not for long.

Enter the Platypus QuickDraw.

The Platypus QuickDraw filter hit the market in June 2021. We tested for a full month on a variety of long, technical hikes from Rocky Mountain National Park to the Continental Divide to the Colorado Trail.

We also tested it on few quick overnights in the backcountry to speak to its performance while filtering water for drinking, and for at camp.

Platypus QuickDraw Filter Specs

  • Components: 0.2-micron hollow fiber filter
  • Materials: hollow fiber, ABS (thermoplastic)
  • Weight: 3.3 oz. for filter and 1L reservoir
  • Flow rate: up to 3L/minute
  • Flow rate (tested): 1 min. 26 sec. for 1 L
  • Price: $40
  • Made in the USA

Platypus is marketing the QuickDraw as “light, fast, easy, and reliable.” In general, we agree it has all those qualities.

Like the Sawyer Squeeze, it is designed to screw onto the threads of a Smart water bottle (or any plastic bottle with a 28mm wide mouth), most of Platy’s soft bottles and reservoirs and, of course, the 1L QuickDraw reservoir.

Platypus QuickDraw Filter Review

In testing, I had no issue with the inside/outside (I/O) dual-thread design of the filter. I used it primarily with the QuickDraw reservoir, but it did also fit on a Smart bottle I happened to have at home.

Each end of the filter — the threaded “dirty” end and the drinking end — are labeled clearly. Each comes with a cap, so you can keep the clean end truly clean and protected when filling up.

The reservoir also comes with a cap so you can store and carry water in it, and also use the filter attached to a secondary source or bottle at the same time.

I really liked being able to store dirty water in the reservoir, hang it somewhere at camp, and have a whole liter to filter as needed, in addition to a few drinking bottles. For alpine endeavors, longer hikes (8-10 miles), and quick overnight backpacking trips, I loved having the QuickDraw as my primary filter.

platypus water test
Testing the QuickDraw flow rate; (photo/Mary Murphy)

A note on flow rate: Platypus claims it can filter up to 3 L per minute. I don’t have a 3L reservoir (I have several 1L reservoirs and a 2L version). So I performed the flow rate test based on 1 L of water.

In testing, I filtered from several clear and fast-running alpine streams, and then one not-so-ideal creek source. This dirtier source made for the best (most brutal) time flow rate test.

In addition, I only let gravity do the work — I didn’t push or squeeze water through the filter for the timed test. As noted, the QuickDraw filtered the murky water at a rate of 1 minute 26 seconds per liter.

QuickDraw Filter: Conclusion

filling the water reservoir bag of the Platypus filter

Finally, a note on taste. Before using this filter system, I gave the reservoir a quick rinse with hot tap water. That’s it. (I tried to avoid putting soap in reservoirs whenever possible.) I was pleased to find there was no plasticky taste, rubbery scent, or tint to the first liter I filtered.

In the field, I noticed the water I retrieved from a mountain stream at 12,000 feet tasted a bit purer than the dirtier creek water (which also had a slight color before filtering), but other than that, no difference.

If you are looking for a super-packable, reliable water filter for the backcountry, consider the Platypus QuickDraw. It’s also an awesome price at just $40 (including the 1L reservoir). The QuickDraw filter unit is also available separately for $30. We’ve been using it for a month, and have loved every drop.

Check Price at Platypus

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Mary Murphy
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Mary is based out of GearJunkie's Denver, CO office. She has a degree in English and Journalism, and been writing professionally for over five years. Her outdoor interests span from running to sport climbing, from landscape photography to skiing to pack-paddleboarding. If she's not writing, you can most likely find her at the top of a fourteener, or in a local bakery.