I went by Alabama Outdoors in Homewood, AL for a shakedown last week that was quite useful. I recommend all of you first time thru hikers go to a local outfitter and ask to be shook down because 9 times out of 10 there will be someone working there that has thru hiked before.

Point aside, William, who hiked the AT Nobo last year, gave me a few tips and some weight saving ideas. Nothing I wasn’t really expecting (don’t carry extra matches, don’t carry this heavy XYZ, etc.) But, he also showed me a neat trick you can use with the STANDARD SIZE Sawyer filters! Instead of carrying the large syringe that comes with the filter, you can simply purchase a 750 mL Smartwater bottle, drink the water, remove the cap, and use that cap as a back flush fitting! Here’s how:

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Remove whatever “flow out” fitting you have on the filter and make sure the “flow in” side is unclogged.
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Put the Smartwater Bottle Cap on one of the squeeze bottles, and flip the clear cap off.
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Simply plug this end on the flow out side and squeeezeeee. Makes a great seal, hasn’t leaked on me yet.

Hope this helps! Note, I am using the Camelbak conversion to be able to pump water straight back into my Camelbak from the sawyer filter (no bladder removal required!)

Happy Trails,