@SurvivalGal I agree. REI should not sell this and neither should Sawyer. Or at least they should not sell it or similar devices as a snake bite treatment. It is "marketed on a myth"

No credible article on snake bite first aid I have read recommends these devices and most specifically say DO NOT USE them. The consensus is that they do more harm than good. Here is an article from a credible source...more credible than me anyway.


While there may be other uses for a localized suction device, treating a snake bite is not one of them...neither is applying a tourniquet or applying ice as these can cause tissue damage and increase the likelihood of amputation being necessary.

For the US snake bites the advice is...

  • Move away from the snake.
  • Sit down in case you pass out.
  • Remove any jewelry or similar from the limb.  Try to keep the limb lower than the heart.  Do not over exert it but immobilization is not recommended.
  • Note the snake's color and markings and/or take a picture if it is still visible  BUT DO NOT pursue the snake - this is a good way to get multiple bites and the second bite is less likely to be "dry".  Depending on the type and age of the snake 30% to 50% of bites are venom-less.
  • Record the time and if possible mark the wound with sharpie.
  • Clean and dress the wound.
  • Take acetaminophen (Tylenol) if you feel some pain relief is necessary BUT DO NOT take blood thinning pain killers such as ibuprofen and aspirin.
  • Summon and seek help as soon as possible.
  • If possible hike out to transportation or to an area from which you can more easily be rescued.

This article may be of interest...WARNING: it contains a picture of an actual snake bite probably taken in Africa.

Note: This article says to use Benadryl in case of anaphylaxis but a more recent articles says Benadryl and similar antihistamine are not a useful treatment for snake bites where they may be for bee stings.


Wilderness snake bites are quite rare in the US but not quite a "non-issue". There have been two reported cases in Yosemite this year...


These cases also illustrates of the benefit of carrying a cell phone and/or an Satellite Messenger in the back country. The best treatment for a venomous snake bite is getting treatment fast.