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.
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.