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Sawyer Mini Review – Clean, Cheap, & Light

Here’s the bottom line: You should probably own the Sawyer Mini water filter.

The folks over at Sawyer have completely revolutionized backcountry water filtration over the past two years. It wasn’t long ago that your choice was between bulky pump filters, harsh chemical treatments, or fussy UV light pens. Now you don’t have to worry about any of that because the folks at Sawyer just made the choice for you, and it’s called the Sawyer Mini.

The Sawyer Mini weighs only 2 ounces, will filter 100,000 gallons of water, and cost a lot less than most water filters. It’s easy to use, extremely versatile, and highly effective (99.99999% protection against bacteria and protozoa – that’s a whole lotta nines). So there’s no need to worry about Giardia, no need to carry any extra weight, and no need to wait 30 minutes to drink funky tasting water. The Mini is nearly the perfect backcountry water filter, and if you pick one up, you’ll quickly see why.

The Sawyer Mini is a total no-brainer for outdoor enthusiasts. It’s so cheap, light, and effective compared to its competition, it will quickly become one of your favorite pieces of gear. It’s the biggest game changer I’ve seen in a long time, and that’s why I’m naming it my 2014 Top Pick for backpacking gear.

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Sawyer Mini Attached to Full Squeeze Bag

Quick Specs

Sawyer Mini Water Filter

Price: $40

Filter: Hollow fiber

Longevity: Up to 100,000 gallons

Removes: Bacteria, Protozoa, E. Coli, Giardia, Vibrio cholerea, Salmonella Typhi, Leptospirosis, and microplastics

Dimensions (HxWxL): 5.35 in x 1.35 in x 1.35 in


  • Cost effective
  • Lightweight
  • Small
  • 100k Gallon guarantee


  • Backflush
  • Squeeze pouch
  • Squeeze
  • Freeze
  • Lakes


Cost Effective

About as cheap as water purifiers get.

2 oz

About as light as water purifiers get.

1 x 5 in

 About as small as water purifiers get.

100,000 Gallon Guarantee

Not too shabby either.


Use it with a straw, splice it into your hydration pack, attach it to a bottle, or use the squeeze bag to fill your containers. The adaptability of this product is one of its greatest strengths.



Like all filters, a little maintenance is required. Backflushing will keep your Mini flowing strong and it’s is easy to do. Backflush at home between your trips and you’ll be good to go.

Squeeze Pouch

When you buy the Mini, it will come with one 16 oz pouch, which will be large enough for your trail runs, but not large enough for your backpacking trips. So definitely pick up some spare pouches. I prefer the 64 oz bags.


If you use this product with a squeeze bag (most common), you’ll have to squeeze water through the filter. This can get tedious on long trips with big groups, just like a pump filter can. It’s really not that bad at all. Bring one Mini for every two people and you’ll be set. 


Don’t let your Mini filter freeze in sub-zero temps because that could damage its insides, and nobody wants that. If you’re in a pinch, put the Mini in a Ziploc in your sleeping bag at night.


Filling the squeeze bag from a lake will seem tricky the first few times you try it. Hold the bag by the top opening and swoop it through the water. After 8-10 scoops you’ll have a full bag.

Bottom Line

Sawyer has built a complete game changer with the Sawyer Mini. The ability to drink clean water directly from the source without having to carry a bulky filter or harsh chemicals is ideal for backcountry travelers. The Mini is an effective, small, lightweight, and versatile water filter that won’t break the bank. If that doesn’t do it for you, no filter will.I highly recommend you pick a Sawyer Mini today. You won’t be disappointed.

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