Gear Review: Sawyer Mini Water Filter

I have been using the Sawyer Mini Water Filter for the past two and a half months and so far it is working great. I had to backwash it once because it got some crud in it but it cleaned out very easily and has worked fine since then.

The filter itself is light and not bulky making it easy to carry and store in my BOB and GOTH kits. The water comes out clear even when I stir it up and run silt filled water through the filter. That is the main reason I had to backwash it because I wanted to see how it worked using dirty, unprefiltered water. Other than one time I have been straining the dirty water through a cravat to remove the gross particles before running it through the filter.
My only real complaint with the system is the hard plastic bag that comes aspart of the kit. It is very stiff and difficult, actually impossible, to fill to its stated 16 oz. capacity. I have generally been getting somewhere between 10-12 oz. in it. My other issue is that with winter coming on it is cold outside and I am starting to see some small cracking in the bag where it folds when I store it. I am pretty certain that before long the bag will crack open completely and become useless. I started to give it a negative review because of that but on further reflection I decided there is a workaround. I have several CamelBak 3L Packs from when I was in the Army. I actually hate wearing a CamelBal although I know many people love them. My workaround is to take one of my old 3L bladders, of which I have 5 or 6 and use it for the water and just attach the Sawyerto to the hose on the CamelBak. That works great. Not only can I fill the wide mouth bladder up faster, I can hold my cravat over the mouth and pre-filter as I fill it up thus eliminating a step in the filtration process.

This is definitely going into both my BOB and my GOTH kits. It can’t be beat for lightness and compactness. I recommend this filter as one possible solution for filtration in a SHTF situation.

My ratings:

  • Price                          4 Stars
  • Ease of Use                5 Stars
  • Versatility                   5 Stars
  • Durability                    3 Stars
  • Overall Rating             4 ½ Stars