Sawyer Mini Water Filter (SP128) from Sawyer Products

Sawyer Products recently (late September 2013) released a product that I think is going to take the backpacking world by storm! They took the already popular Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter and reduced it’s weight and size and came out with the Sawyer Mini Water Filter (SP128). They even threw in a few improvements while they were at it.

The Sawyer Mini sports the same 0.1 Micron Absolute filter that its big brother does. The Sawyer Squeeze had already become the most popular water filters among backpackers in my experience. Most hikers I encounter on the trail are using it. The Sawyer Squeeze weighs 2.5 ounces dry weight* and 3.49 ounces wet weight**. The Sawyer Mini weighs in at a mere 1.38 ounces dry weight* and 1.8 ounces wet weight**. The Sawyer Mini comes with The Sawyer Mini Water Filter, a 16 fluid ounce water pouch, a straw and a back flush syringe. Price at the time of this writing is between $18-$30USD.

The straw can be used with the filter on a bottle or to get water directly from a source (especially a small one). The threads are the same standard threads as found on most standard bottles such as Smart Water bottles, Evernew Water Carry, most Platypus Softbottles and the Sawyer Water Pouches.

Advantages are:

It’s light weight

It’s 0.1 Micron Absolute Filter

It is ready to adapt to a hose so it can be attached inline to a hydration bladder without buying separate adapters

It is field back-flushable with it’s accompanied syringe

High water flow

To save weight most ultra-light backpackers are using the smaller opening water bladders such as what comes with the Sawyer Mini. The smaller openings save weight by reducing the amount of hard plastic needed. This does however make it more difficult to get water into. Personally this doesn’t effect me much. Normally I submerge them. When the water source isn’t as deep I get creative by using a candy wrapper or leaf to funnel water into the pouches. If you don’t like that option and prefer the larger opening bags, such as the Nalgene Wide-Mouth Cantene’s, they can be purchased separately and you make or purchase an aftermarket adapter to fit the filter. Also noted as stated above the straw can be used to get water from just about any water source!

I also want to say I have used the improved Sawyer Water Pouches for the Sawyer Squeeze and the Mini. I have put many trail miles on these pouches. I have experienced some bag delamination (the outer clear plastic coating peeled slightly) but have had no personal failures of these bags. Even though I have put the bag that had the delamination through hell it still holds water and works. The delamination is purely cosmetic. While on trail I still use caution and roll the bag instead of squeezing.

While the Sawyer Mini is designed to save weight, the body does not appear to be as sturdy. If you are purchasing for long term survival or for purposes that need a more robust filter I would stick with the Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter.

In summary Sawyer Products has made the Mini lighter, smaller and more versatile. They even cut the cost! This item will definitely be going in my pack! I have already purchased another one for my son’s backpack and intend to buy one to throw in my truck. Way to go Sawyer for making an already great product even better!

* Dry Weights may very slightly due to manufacturing tolerances

** Wet Weights may vary with the amount of water removed by manually shaking it out of the filter, sucking it out of the filter or evaporation

Products reviewed in this article were provided at no charge by Sawyer Products in exchange for a review however, the opinions in this article are strictly my own.

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ProBar Core Protein

Check out the post on ProBar Core Protein Bars!


Greetings Hikers,

Never been a big fan of talking about trail food, but two years ago I learned a hard lesson while on a long hike: a high calorie trail diet is a good thing, but if you ignore protein intake, it can have consequences. This put me on the quest to learn as much as I could about protein and how to acquire it while out on the trail in manners that did not add significant weight to my already heavy food bag, or result in me taking food that would spoil easily. I enjoy cooking and I enjoy nutrition, so learning about foods that contain high levels of protein and trying to find ways to integrate them into my normal day to day trail life became yet another microquest in the life of hiking.

During the early part of the 2012 hiking season I started using the ProBar Meal bars

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It is so worth going outside!

It is so worth going outside!

Fort Sill, OK

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Pain medications on the trail

I want to say I am no Doctor or medical professional of any sort. I didn’t even stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. What I have had is combat training (and experience) and (limited) medical training associated with it. In the military I had been used to being given ibuprofen (Motrin being a brand name) for any aches and pains that occurred. We referred to it as “Ranger Candy”. In the backpacking world it has had many nicknames. I usually hear it referred to as “Vitamin I”. Whatever it is referred to as, it is probably the most commonly used pain reliever by backpackers/hikers (in my experience) for minor aches and pains as well as reducing minor swelling. On my last deployment to Afghanistan I was having a lot of pain from a previous shoulder injury. I went to the medics expecting to get prescription strength (800 mg) ibuprofen and was surprised when I was told ibuprofen (and aspirin) thinned the blood and prevented blood clotting in serious cuts and would not be prescribed due to the risk of injury. Instead they prescribed prescription strength (500 mg) naproxen. I was told that some people report it even works better than ibuprofen at relieving pain. My shoulder quickly got better and things moved on. I had been planning a backpacking trip to the Appalachian Trail upon my return. As soon as I was state side I quickly packed. I made sure that I had a least 3 to 4 days of 200 mg, over the counter, “vitamin I” for the trip in my first aid kit. While on the trip I began to realize that my ankle was beginning to hurt and starting to swell. I pushed on but almost halfway through the Great Smoky Mountain’s National Park I realized my leg was swollen up almost twice its normal size and I knew that I was going to have to stop. I was amazed at how fast I went through the ibuprofen having to take it every 4 to 6 hours. I took two “zero” (no mileage) days in Gatlinburg, TN. While there I had to resupply my stock of over the counter ibuprofen. I remembered my deployment and the medics giving me naproxen and so I decided to check out its over the counter version. The directions called for one pill every 12 hours. As a lightweight and UL weight backpacker I am always weight conscience and looking for ways to cut weight in my pack. However, I am always cautious about cutting weight from my first aid kit. Because I consider these items lifesaving they’re not subject to my normal weight cutting rules. I would not use a lighter weight pill or use less than what I thought was needed just to save weight at the expense of safety. Naproxen however seems like a better candidate all around in my opinion. I can carry less pills because it takes less to accomplish the same effects and I can carry less because I only have to take them one every 12 hours instead of every 4 to 6 hours. Naproxen has the fever reduction capability as well and on top of all this naproxen causes less issues with blood thinning. I consider that a serious issue while traveling in the backcountry. Why take a chance when it isn’t necessary. I now stay away from blood thinners even before I leave for a trip.

Overall I can say that naproxen has now replaced ibuprofen and aspirin in my first aid kit.

All opinions in this article are solely mine. I am not a medical doctor. Taking medication other than recommended or prescribed by the medication or by a doctor is NOT recommended by me and can lead to serious health issues. Using any medication is done at your own risk. Consult a doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions: especially about dosages, prescribed uses or if any medication is right for you or a situation.

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New Sawyer Squeezable Water Pouches now available in their online store

The new and improved Sawyer Squeezable Water Pouches 2013 (as compared to the older pouches) are now available as replacement pouches. The new bags are produced differently now to avoid the failure problems the older bags had. There is a color change to differentiate the different bags. The new pouches are blue in color as compared to the brown/gray color of the older ones. The new pouch added 6 grams of weight, the older bag was 30 grams and the new one is 36 grams in the 2 Liter model, in reinforcement (mainly to the neck area from my understanding). My confidence is greatly improved with these new bags. I would still suggest using care with any pouch (including the Evernew’s). I recommend you roll the pouch instead of squeezing it as the name implies. I also suggest backing off on the power you are trying to force the water through with and try to monitor for maximum efficiency yet with the idea of prolonging the life of the pouch on your mind. These newer Sawyers Squeezable water pouches are still lighter than the Evernew bags (2L Evernew Water Carry – 44 grams as compared to the new improved 2L Sawyer Squeeze Water Pouch – 36 grams).
For anyone with ruptured pouches or whose Sawyer Squeeze .1 micron absolute water filter came with the older squeezable water pouches and want peace of mind, Sawyer Products is selling the new and improved bags in their online store. Sawyer told me there is a typo on the 2 Liter bags. It is 2x 2 Liter bags for $5.99, 3x 32oz bags for $5.99 and 3x 16oz for $4.99 at the time of this writing. Sawyer assured me these are the new and improved bags.
They can be purchased from this link:
Pictured are the 2 Liter pouches.

Also check out my video on Sawyer Squeeze add on’s on YouTube:

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First Blog

I am pretty new to blogging. This is my first blog on this site. I created this blog to talk about backpacking. I took my first steps camping with my parents. I have spent time in the woods my whole life and have been backpacking for over 22 years as an adult. I am still learning and evolving. At the time of this writing my base 3 season pack weight is 13 pounds. My summer weight is lighter. My winter weight is still older and made up of mostly mountaineering gear and very heavy. I love everything backpacking. I am looking forward to sharing my thoughts on this and reading others thoughts and experiences. So it begins…

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