I have been drinking the water out of the creek behind my house for the last week using the Sawyer Mini Filter and so far no sign of ill health. I have even stirred up the water a few times to get silty water to run through the filter. I will say that silt clogs the filter up faster but it still comes out nice and clean and backwashing the filter is extremely simple with the included big-bore syringe.
I would say that if you have this filter, like any other, you need a pre filter method to get the bigger particles out before you run the water through the filter. I have an old army cravat hat I have used as a pre filter and it gets the worst mud and garbage out of the water and is easy to rinse off and shake out.
I am also not totally impresses with the included water bag. It is made of very stiff plastic and I can envision it getting very brittle when used in the cold. you also have to ensure the filter itself does not freeze or the crystallizing water will destroy the fibers in the filter but the filter itself is so small it will easily fit into an interior jacket pocket where it won’t freeze.
So far I am fairly pleased with the Sawyer Mini Filter but will reserve judgement until I have used it for a few more weeks. It is supposed to have a filter life of 100,000 gallons with proper care and maintenance, which is essentially forever. I would guess that average water consumption in a temperate climate is roughly two gallons a day. That equates to 50,000 days, or almost 137 years. In Iraq we planned on 5 gallons per man, per day and sometimes exceeded that but even at 5 gallons a day that is a service life of 54 years 9 months.
I have a video I am putting together of using the Sawyer Mini Filter and hope to have it up next week if I can get the time to finish the editing and a full review will be forthcoming but I wanted to put out an update on how this experiment is going.