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  1. #1

    Default Sawyer Mini Water Filter is a Must Have for every Hiker? - Full Review + Tips

    Sawyer Mini Water Filter is a Must Have for every Hiker? - Full Review + Tips


    Watch the full video here:

    In this video we are going to review our one and only water filter that we have Sawyer Mini. We have used it from the very start of our backpacking and hiking journey and now we are ready to share all our thoughts about it. We are going to look at the general specs of it, its features, pros and cons, how we use it on the trail and some tips and tricks we found with it.

    Disclaimer: we don't have any affiliation with the brands and all items mentioned in the video were purchased by our own money.

    What is your favorite water filter system to use?

  2. #2
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    I suggest you check out the Versaflow filter from HydroBlue. Looks like a Mini but slightly bigger. This gives better flow rates. But it is more versatile as it has threads on both ends so it can be hooked up for gravity systems and back flushed with no extra equipment or adaptors.

  3. #3

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    Very nice video. I am surprised it takes 15 minutes to filter 1.5L as stated in the video

    I just checked my Sawyer Squeeze, I can filter 1L in around 1 minute using the 2l Evernew bladder.

  4. #4

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    I have the Versa Flow,Sawyer Squeeze,Sawyer Mini,Sawyer Micro.The Versa Flow is the one I carry because of size,weight,performance,color coded ends etc.I use Aqua Fina bottles with it however,because they form a tighter seal than a Smart Water bottle.Not a problem I suppose, so long as you always use your Smart Water bottle for clean water only.I use Evernew bags with it as a general rule.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Big_Old_Dog View Post
    Very nice video. I am surprised it takes 15 minutes to filter 1.5L as stated in the video

    I just checked my Sawyer Squeeze, I can filter 1L in around 1 minute using the 2l Evernew bladder.
    Thank you, well, the time can vary a bit but normally it takes a t least 10 minutes for that amount of water. It is fine for us though as we usually not in a hurry when at camp.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Odd Man Out View Post
    I suggest you check out the Versaflow filter from HydroBlue. Looks like a Mini but slightly bigger. This gives better flow rates. But it is more versatile as it has threads on both ends so it can be hooked up for gravity systems and back flushed with no extra equipment or adaptors.
    Thanks for the suggestion. It would be nice to try and compare several different filters.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Walking Nature World View Post
    Thank you, well, the time can vary a bit but normally it takes a t least 10 minutes for that amount of water. It is fine for us though as we usually not in a hurry when at camp.
    You could try backflush or soak in warm vinegar for a few hours to loosen any mineral deposits and then backflush again.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Big_Old_Dog View Post
    You could try backflush or soak in warm vinegar for a few hours to loosen any mineral deposits and then backflush again.
    Thanks for the tip, we will try it

  9. #9
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    Nice video. Sounds like you've used it often, so you know its strengths and weaknesses. In my experience, if it's not used regularly, it can dry out and be impossible to use when you need it. If I anticipate the need to filter water for a hiking trip, I soak it in distilled water and backflush it prior to leaving, to ensure it will flow adequately. [One time I did need to add vinegar to really get it going again]. For some trips, I carry tablets as a backup.

    I've also read that a highly forceful backflush is more effective than the moderate one you demonstrated in the video. Apparently the idea is that for slow or moderate backflush efforts, the water will just flow along the easiest path, and not necessarily dislodge many particulates. A forceful backflush maximizes the cleared path for water flow.

    In the video, it appeared that to billow out the pouch for water collection, you put your mouth on the threaded opening of the pouch and blew into it, after the it had been submerged in the water stream. Seems to me that is a vector for contamination. An alternative could be to wrap your fingers/hand around the threaded opening (as if holding a dowel or rod) and blow into your not-quite-closed fist. Then you can wash your hand when filtration is done, and you'll not have wet your mouth on the outside of the wet squeeze pouch.

  10. #10

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    Mini's and Versa Flows are so light weight and inexpensive it is not an extravagance to carry a new one in your pack as a backup.My new dry Versa Flow is a whopping 1.9 oz.A good sip of water weighs more than that.......

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Time Zone View Post
    . . . In the video, it appeared . . . you put your mouth on the threaded opening . . . after the it had been submerged in the water stream. Seems to me that is a vector for contamination. An alternative could be to wrap your fingers/hand around the threaded opening . . . and blow into your not-quite-closed fist. Then you can wash your hand when filtration is done, and you'll not have wet your mouth on the outside of the wet squeeze pouch.
    Are you suggesting that ones hands are cleaner than the threads of a recently submerged pouch? Or, are you suggesting that one's mouth touching the treads of a dirty pouch contribute to contamination? I question both.

    Water treatment is absolutely NOT about eliminating all contaminants. It's about reducing contaminants to the point they are not a significant health risk. The amount of contamination you will ingest from placing your mouth on the treads of a dirty water bottle are surely insignificant relative to all the other contamination vectors involved in daily living and eating on the trail. Effective water treatment does not fully sterilize water, it just removes a high percentage of infectious agents. Likewise placing your lips on dirty threads is such a tiny amount of contaminated water that the likelihood of it leading illness is surely not more than placing your lips on your hands or even drinking the treated water itself.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by nsherry61 View Post
    Are you suggesting that ones hands are cleaner than the threads of a recently submerged pouch? Or, are you suggesting that one's mouth touching the treads of a dirty pouch contribute to contamination? I question both.

    Neither.

    It's difficult to explain in words, but there's a way to billow out a Sawyer pouch without sealing your lips to your hand or the threads of the neck of the pouch.

    I think we generally agree. Don't let the perfect become the enemy of the good. You don't have to be out hiking long to realize that perfection is impossible.

  13. #13
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    “Sawyer Mini Water Filter is a Must Have for every Hiker? ”

    NOT!
    There are alternatives.
    Wayne

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Time Zone View Post
    Neither.

    It's difficult to explain in words, but there's a way to billow out a Sawyer pouch without sealing your lips to your hand or the threads of the neck of the pouch.

    I think we generally agree. Don't let the perfect become the enemy of the good. You don't have to be out hiking long to realize that perfection is impossible.
    I must confess that I just generate a little saliva and do my best to spit out the nasties, then wipe my mouth on my shirt sleeve.

    Somehow I think Dr. Birx would not approve.
    UL, because nobody ever asks "How can I make my pack heavier?"

  15. #15

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    Only a couple norovirus particles can make you violently ill.

    Only way to eliminate that threat is to be very careful with your hands. Wash with soap and water. Chemically treat water in addition to filtration. Personally, I would only be concerned around shelters like touching the log book or privy parts

    https://www.cdc.gov/norovirus/about/index.html

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big_Old_Dog View Post
    ...Chemically treat water in addition to filtration...
    Just the other day I noticed that Isle Royale NP is recommending filtration for microbes PLUS chemical/UV for viruses. Not sure if it something peculiar to that park or just the NPS being hyper worried.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big_Old_Dog View Post
    Only a couple norovirus particles can make you violently ill. . .
    Yeah, it looks like Norovirus is one of the more contagious contagions out there. But alas, you misquoted your reference in an understandable, but critically problematic way. In this case "a couple" and "a few" may be off by an order of magnitude. In this case, in the context of billions, a few is tens to hundreds and is nowhere near "a couple". Yes, in a way, I may be spitting hairs.

    That being said, all the filtering in all the backcountry in all the world doesn't reduce the amount of Norovirus in the filtered water most of us are drinking while backpacking. That is why, as noted in an above post, that the National Park Service is recommending chemical treatment as well as filtering in some locations. As I'm sure you are aware, Big_Old_Dog, while others may not be so much, filters are great at removing bigger particles like bacteria and protozoa, they do essentially nothing for the much smaller virus pathogens. Conversely, chemicals tend to work quickly and effectively on the smaller stuff like viruses and most bacteria, but not so well on the larger and tougher protozoan pathogens. Luckily for us, in North America, in most backcountry places, waterborne viral pathogens are not a significant issue.

    And, back to the worrying about water bottle thread contamination . . . let's say there is 1 ml of water on the threads that one might ingest (reality is probably a lot less). Let's also say one is filtering water into a 1L container. That mean's by putting your lips on the threads of your container, you might ingest as much as 1/1000 of the pathogens you would otherwise get from drinking the whole bottle unfiltered. In all but the most extreme cases, especially in the backcountry, this level of contamination is nothing to be concerned about. . . drinking out of a cow pond, I might be concerned. Drinking most backcountry water, not an issue at all.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Big_Old_Dog View Post
    Very nice video. I am surprised it takes 15 minutes to filter 1.5L as stated in the video
    I just checked my Sawyer Squeeze, I can filter 1L in around 1 minute using the 2l Evernew bladder.
    Everything I've ever heard about the Sawyer Squeeze vs. Sawyer Mini says that the smaller filter is not worth the slower filtering speed. I've been using the squeeze for several years.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrickjd9 View Post
    Everything I've ever heard about the Sawyer Squeeze vs. Sawyer Mini says that the smaller filter is not worth the slower filtering speed. I've been using the squeeze for several years.
    I have an old Katydn ceramic pump filter, it must weigh a pound and cost me almost 400 bucks a long time ago. It is beautiful.

    When I bought the Squeeze, I just looked at the volume difference between it and the mini and felt that extra surface area inside was worth the little bit of weight and I am a weight weenie. Squeeze is just under 3 oz. vs just under 2 oz for the mini.

  20. #20

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    I'm not sure how much time the Sawyer Mini filters a liter of water as compared with a Squeeze (or other filters), however I've not found the "wait" to be all that noticeable or a hardship on a solo hike level. That said, I can see the benefit of a higher capacity/faster filter if challenging an FTK/personal best time, or filtering water for more than one or two people. When hiking with a few people I typically will use my Katadyn Hiker Pro that I have had for decades to filter a high volume of water quickly for the group, but by myself I've used the Mini for a while now without noticing it may take a few minutes longer.

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