Sawyer Water Filter Mini Review
The Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System is a small, lightweight, feature-packed filtration system that will keep you supplied with fresh water in the backcountry or your backyard.
It boasts great filtration quality, unbelievable capacity, and so many ways it can be used that it should work no matter how your kit is set up.
This looks at one of the most popular water filters on the market.
Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System
The design of this filter is really for those looking for a small, light to carry option like ultralight and Appalachian Trail hikers. And it is a great choice for them. It should also appeal to hunters, fishermen, or anyone who spends any time in the backcountry.
As an option for emergency situations, this would certainly get the job done but may not be your best option.
The real niche for the Mini would be in a bug out bag or get home bag.
Firstly, we have to talk about the filter capacity of the Sawyer Mini. By that, what I really mean is the amount of water this filter can process before it is no longer safe or functional. Sawyer rates that at 100,000 gallons! To make that number a little easier to understand, that’s enough water to supply a family of four with drinking water for 136 years! I am sure the filter itself would break long before then but it’s still an impressive number.
For as long as your filter does last, it will manage to remove essentially all bacteria and protozoa from your water. It also removes any turbidity from the water, improving look and taste. It will not remove viruses, chemicals, or anything dissolved in the water like heavy metals or salts, those take far more sophisticated systems.
The Sawyer Mini also boasts a large variety of ways it can be used. The standard would be to fill the included bag, attach it to the filter and squeeze the water into a drinking vessel. You can hook the Mini in line on a hydration bladder, screw it onto a standard water bottle, drink straight from the source using the included straw, or use it like a gravity filter by hanging it from a tree.
If you’re not sure how to choose the best water filter for you, read How to Choose the Best Survival Water Filtration System for some insight.
The Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System is by far the most affordable for what you get on the market. Ranging between $20.00 and $25.00 depending on where you look. They also come in a 4-pack for around $70.00.
This filter is very easy to set up and use in any of the setups it was designed for (I did not test the hydration bladder setup which requires an adapter. Sawyer did not mention this on the box). The filter performed well with no leaking or clogging. After each use, it was easy to backflow the filter to clean it using the included syringe.
There is no way to test the capacity of this filter that I could come up with, 100,000 gallons is a LOT of water. But if that number is even remotely correct, this filter will be lost or break long before you ever need to worry about the filter element going bad on you.
The size of this filter really adds to its versatility. Even carrying everything this filter comes with (Filter, 16oz bag, straw attachment, backflow syringe) I could fit two or three in my cargo pocket and barely tell they were there. The syringe is the largest piece of the whole setup.
Used in the “squeeze” setup, the filter had a pretty solid rate of flow. Probably close to half a gallon a minute but it’s difficult to test with only a 16 oz bag. Sawyer does make bags up to 64oz which are very affordable and highly recommended.
The body of the filter is made of rather thin plastic in order to keep it lightweight but also making it more fragile. I believe in a long-term survival setting, it could be detrimental to have anything that could break so easily.
When screwed on to a bottle or as a straw, it was quick to deploy but difficult to drink from. At least difficult enough to make it a chore. The same would probably be true is set up with a hydration bladder.
Used as a gravity filter, it was hands-free and I could do other chores while it worked but I do think the flow rate leaves a little to be desired. With just a 16oz bag it’s not really worth the setup time. Larger bags would make this a lot more viable but I still think a dedicated gravity system would do a lot better.
Filling the bag from a stream is actually a lot harder than expected. Finding a deeper pool did help. If you live in an area with scarce water supplies, this filter may be difficult to use. I would personally like to see a zip-top bag like a lot of gravity filters use.
Some of the Sawyer Mini Water Filter setups are more versatile than others and the construction may leave a little to be desired, but you are getting a filter that has a long life, works well, and will not break the bank!
I think I would want a more sturdy option as a primary filter but I still say buy a 4-pack of these and put one in the home first aid kit, one in the truck, one in your bug out bag, and one in the hunting vest. If needed buy a few more to stick in the boat, RV, or anywhere else you can think of. The Sawyer Water Filter Mini is a great little filter for the money! I would recommend spending a few extra bucks and getting some of the 64oz bags if you do decide to get this filter.
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