My Water Filter setup for the Australian Bush

For many years I've been using a Pur water filter that requires pumping. It "nominally" pumps 1 litre per minute (yeah, on a good day....). That means >20 minutes to pump 20 litres - that's a heck of a lot of pumping, even with a couple of people taking turns!

So, I figured it was time to find a better filter and I looked at the typical candidates (MSR, Katadyn etc) and then I started reading about Sawyer gravity based filters. The Sawyer come in two basic versions, a 0.1um and 0.02um pore size. The 0.1um is fine for use in the oz bush where we generally only need removal of bacteria, protozoa and cysts.

Here's the filter I purchased

Here's the link to Sawyer's Web site

The kit came with a few connectors and pieces of hose that were all useful, but got me thinking about purchasing more hose and connectors. The hose was easy since it had the information printed right on it - Tygon 2375. The appropriate hose is 1/4" ID and 3/8" OD.

I went online and after some searching for Tygon hose, I found U.S. Plastic Corp had the hose available for purchase by the foot. I purchased 10' and subsequently another 10' length. Tygon 2375 is VERY nice hose compared to generic cheap pvc, nylon etc. It is very flexible yet hard to 'kink' shut and is also resistant to most chemicals and is FDA approved for potable water.

U.S. Plastic Corp's Web site

The next step was to find out what connectors were being used by Sawyer. A bit of google searching found that U.S. Plastic Corp also sold the connectors. The connectors are made by Colder ( and below are some pictures of what they look like:

These are really nice and inexpensive connectors and I highly recommend them for ease of use without any dripping/leaking. A nice feature of these connectors is that the 1/4" or 3/8" units will plug and play with each other, i.e. you can have a 3/8" barb male unit (with 3/8" hose) plug into a female connector with 1/4" barb and vice versa. Makes it possible to use 1/4" and 3/8" hose ID and connect it all together.

USPlastic part numbers of stuff that I purchased, I obviously bought extra for future projects:

57550 : Tygon® 2375 Ultra Chemical Resistant Tubing 1/4 x 3/8
60467 : Acetal Male Insert 3/8" Tube ID (for use with a Whale submersible pump, see further down)
60464 : Acetal Female Coupling Body 1/4" Tube ID
60464 : Acetal Female Coupling Body 1/4" Tube ID
60466 : Acetal Male Insert 1/4" Tube ID
64666 : Acetal Straight Coupling Elbow Hose Barb Insert 1/4" ID

So, now I had all the parts to hook things up to my dirty water container - a solar shower bag that could now do double duty. All I have to do is remove the shower head and connect the water filter system into the bag's outlet hose.

I purchased a $5 inline activated charcoal filter on ebay (used for home water filter systems) to remove any 'flavour' in the water and more importantly act as a sediment pre-filter to extend the life of the Sawyer filter.

Even with only a 1/2 metre or so of 'head' there was plenty of pressure to run the system fully as a gravity based filter. All I had to do was fill up the shower bag, and hang it from the roof rack. The main thing is to purge air out of the Sawyer to allow the water to start flowing - so a bit of pressure on the shower bag is required to start things going, i.e. forces the water to push out trapped air in the filter. As soon as the water starts flowing, it will then work just fine as gravity feed only with no additional 'assistance'.

With the 20 litre water container still in the vehicle, I could just feed the output of the 0.1um filter directly into it. With plenty of quality tygon hose I could also run the output of the filter directly into pots or our 1 gallon container. On previous trips I've always had to move the 20 litre container in and out of the vehicle. With the gravity feed scheme, I don't have to move the container and can draw water from it with the same hose and syphon action. Very nice improvement and NO MORE PUMPING :)

So, after this initial use of the system I decided a few additions would be helpful, one was to buy more Tygon hose to allow the outlet of the filter to reach to the back of the vehicle where I use a table and the tailgate as a cooking prep area. The next was to buy a clip to control the water flow. USplastic again to the rescue with item # 59200 (clamp):

Cheap and easy solution for outlet control. Now I'll be able to have the hose sitting at the back of the vehicle when camp is set up and be able to draw through the water filter as needed, when I'm not drawing directly from water containers.

The next addition was a way to get water from bush water sources (gnamma holes, wells etc) into the shower bag. The "old" way was with a bucket, but on my last trip to oz, my friend David mentioned that there's some nice compact submersible 12V pumps on the market. The GP1352 draws around 2.5A while running, so very vehicle power friendly.

I ended up ordering a Whale GP1352 pump from a marine store in Southern California ( Total with s/t and shipping came to less than $45. MMI was one of the very few places in the US that sold the Whale pump and they had the best price I could find.

It is surprisingly small given its capabilities and flow rate. Certainly beats the large Shurflo style pumps I had orginally been thinking of. Given that the Whale is submersible also means it can pump a higher head than a pump that 'sucks' :) is the link to the pump information, copied below (gals are 4.5 litres in this table):




Output  Performance (in gals per minute) at Head (in ft)









1.4-3.1 amp








* Pumps attached with 37” of power cable

Note. Tests carried out with ½” ID tubing




For my use, 20' is more head height than I'll likely ever need, so this pump will more than handle any scenario I can envisage.