Gear Review: Sawyer Mini Water Filter

Let me start off by saying that Sawyer engineers have really got their act together.  Right out of the box, the entire concept of Mini, Portable, Affordable, Long-Lasting Water Filtration is a winner.  For $20 you get what very well be the last water filter you'll ever need.

Before you run out to grab your first or next water filtration system, have a read...

Direct use water filters like the Life Straw are great products, but here's why I'd choose the Sawyer Mini over them.  If you're looking to filter water not only for drinking but for cooking as well, then products like the Life Straw aren't your best choice.  The Life Straw works exactly like a straw.  You dip one end into the lake, stream or pond and suck clean water through the other end.  You're the 'engine' to pull clean water through.  If you're looking to fill a cook pot with clean water for cooking, well, the Life Straw won't get that done.

With a squeeze type filter like the Sawyer, you gather non-filtered water in Sawyer's supplied collapsible bag or even a standard water bottle then attach it directly to the Sawyer Mini.  The 'dirty' end of the filter has a fairly universal female screw connection that fits nearly every plastic water and soda bottle out there.  That's a little more than brilliant.

Water is super mission critical to any outdoor adventure and Sawyer ensures our safety with their line of water filters.  This Mini Water filter is an absolute no brainer for anyone to own.  Even if you are not one to test your mettle against the outdoors, having a standby water filter is never a bad idea.

For me, this filter was one of the smartest purchases I've made and without a doubt, I'll have it with me on each and every trip out on the trail.  It's so small and lightweight that I never notice I'm carrying it but it sure comes in handy.  And here's the other bonus:  When I'm hiking out for an overnight to an area I know has an abundant water supply, I can pack a little less water on the way in, drink it on the trail, then re-fill my Nalgenes at the campsite's water source.  That's a great trade off for that small $20 investment.

Gear Specs & Perks
  • Ultra Light - 2 ounces
  • Compact - Fits in the palm of your hand
  • Filtration - 0.1 Micron
  • Long Lasting - filters up to 100,000 gallons of water
  • Cost - Approx $20
  • No Chemicals
  • Rechargeable
  • Attaches to most water/soda bottles
How It Works:  Using technology similar to blood dialysis, the filter media inside the small housing traps all particles greater than 0.1 Microns.  That's one millionth of a meter.  Water molecules, being much smaller than .01 microns, pass easily through the media while other unwanted and potentially harmful matter is trapped behind.

The Sawyer Filter comes with an easy to use, lightweight backwash kit that you'll use when the filter becomes clogged or passes water difficultly.  Note that if your water source is quite cloudy or muddy, then the filter won't pass water through as efficiently and will need backwashing more frequently.

It's always the best idea to use a water source that's clear and moving like a stream or creek, but the Sawyer Mini will filter pond water too.  If you have run into a water source that is extremely turbid and you have time, let your gathered water settle for a few minutes then transfer the water to a second bottle leaving as much sediment behind as you can.  Alternatively, use a handkerchief or a piece of clothing to run the pond water through into your collection bottle.  That will trap the major sediment as well.

Note: The Sawyer Mini and most related style products are for water filtration and not desalinization.  That means although they are perfect for filtering contaminants out of fresh water sources, they will not make ocean water safe for drinking.  For that you'll need a desalinator.

What's in your backpack for water filtration?


Popular Posts