Portable Water Filter

Sawyer Mini Water Filter Review

Sawyer Mini is a portable filtration system designed with the active lifestyle in mind and ideal to have in your camping backpack.

The Sawyer water filter is a portable unit designed specifically for the outdoors. It doesn’t remove as many pollutants as other syringe-style filters such as the Etekcity Water Filter, but it does what it is supposed to do.

Sawyer Mini Technical Specs

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I particularly liked that it traps really tiny particles and that it can remove all micro-plastics.

Sawyer Mini flow direction and sucktion pointThe hollow membrane also traps waterborne bacteria and protozoa. It is ideal to use with cleaner water, though, which could defy its scope in some cases.

Versatile use includes filtering water on demand when used with the included squeeze pouch or standard water filtration in a gravity setup.

Consideration Before Buying the Sawyer Mini Water Filter

Pollutants removed and Efficiency

Designed to be compact enough to fit in a pocket, this mini personal water filter may not remove as many pollutants as other brands. However, it’s not supposed to.

The manufacturer designed it to deal with some particles and microorganisms, and it does an excellent job in trapping them. It can remove all micro-plastics from the water alongside potentially harmful bacteria and parasites.

It doesn’t remove chemicals or heavy metals.

Hollow Micro Filter

This water filter comes with a single-stage hollow membrane filter designed to trap particles larger than 0.1 microns. A feature that makes it one of the best camping filters if you’re not concerned about chemicals or volatile organic compounds.

An outstanding lifespan gives you years of dependable use before having to replace the membrane. It withstands up to 100,000 gallons.

Operation, Maintenance and Cleaning The Sawyer Water Filter

  • Operation

The filter is easy to use either with the included squeeze foldable bag or as part of another setup. The water flow is not the best, especially if you use it as part of a gravity setup.

Mini bottle screwing end

  • Maintenance

Maintenance is not as complicated as you may think. The only thing you have to ensure is having the supplied syringe with you; otherwise, it is very possible that the micro membrane filter will get clogged and the filter won’t be useful.

What about the long term storage? I think it is best practice to:

  1. Purge (backflush) the filter membrane to ensure no particles solidifies overtime.
  2. Let the Mini dry for sometime before putting it away.
  • Cleaning the hollow filter

Squeeze pouch and syringe and filter kitWith cleaning, I’m talking about purging the filtration system (mainly) but also, disinfecting the suction end.

To purge the filter, you will only have to fill the supplied syringe with water, attach it to the sucking end of the filter and force the water to run trough it. Simple as that right?, however you need to ensure two (2) important things.

  1. The water used to backflush the Sawyer Mini’s filter should be clean in advance (kind of ironic), therefore you will ensure there is no accumulation of undesired particles or other sort of microorganisms (such as bacteria growth).
  2. When inserting the syringe, you have to be really careful when pushing the water. There is a slight chance the syringe slips off, braking the tip (suction point).

The Technical Downside

You can check some disadvantages at the end of this review; here I’m going to mention some of the technical downsides.

Aside from being great in size, filtration capabilities and lifespan, I found the Sawyer Mini water filter has a few down points.

  • Bottle types: not all type of water bottles are a good fit. If you don’t feel like using the provided pouch bag, then make sure you test the bottle tip.
  • Filling up your bottle or pouch with untreated water: I found not easy to fill up either of these elements with water. Unless you have full access to the edge of the surface water body and if so, the depth of the stream bed is deep enough, you could struggle to reach the source or fill enough water. If you think this could be a big problem, I recommend trying the Katadyn Pocket Water Filter, which comes with a flexible silicon intake house (approx 0.5 m long).
  • The portable bag: lastly, the foldable bag is not sturdy as I though. It can get damaged very easily.

Final Thoughts on the Sawyer Mini Water Filter Review

The Mini model is an affordable portable water filter to keep in your backpack whenever you’re camping. It works best as a personal filtration system rather than for a group, especially when used with the included 16oz pouch.

Besides an unbeatable price, it also provides years of dependable use. The Sawyer Mini might have some flaws, but from my perspective, it’s undeniably one of the best hiking water filters you can find on today’s market.

Images courtesy of Sawyer

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