Sawyer Mini Filter

9 reviews
5-star:   4
4-star:   4
3-star:   1
2-star:   0
1-star:   0

Reviews

7

A viable option to lighten your load. Solo hikers…

Rating: rated 3 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $25

Summary

A viable option to lighten your load. Solo hikers will enjoy the convenience and protection this filter provides.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Compact
  • Effective
  • Convenient
  • Reasonable price

Cons

  • Reduced flow after 1 use

The Sawyer Mini is  probably the most viable filter option out there for the solo hiker. I use my filter in an "inline" configuration. I have used this filter on three overnight trips and one (4-day) multi-day trip.

The Pros:

  • This filter has not yet completely clogged. I am still able to get filtered flow from it. 
  • The filter is compact enough to thread through my hydration port on my pack. This means that I do not need to remove it whenever I remove my hydration bladder.
  • Readily converts to an inline filter. I have used it this way since I bought it. 
  • Can be used with various containers that have a standard bottle cap thread. This is a very handy feature.
  • The squeeze pouch that comes with the filter helps speed up your filtration. 
  • Well constructed casing insures it will not break under duress. 
  • Can be used as a gravity filter when desired.

The Cons:

  • Flow significantly reduced after my first use, though it has not clogged. I must say this is a concern. I have used the provided syringe to flush the filter both in the field and at home. I have found that the flushing syringe is helpful in increasing the flow of the filter.   
  • I have enjoyed the convenience of using my filter in the "inline" configuration. Using this setup saves time. I simply fill my bladder with creek water. I do not need to pump or hang another bag to filter my water.  This setup is what I have wanted to do for a long time. I just did not see a satisfactory filter that suited this need until the Sawyer Mini came along. 
  • I have used the original Sawyer gravity filter for 4 years prior without issue. I am hoping this filter will provide comparable performance. The upside is that since it only costs $25 it will be far less painful to replace it. 

Summary

A highly versatile lightweight option for the solo hiker. The filter will effectively provide safe water when you are out on overnights, day hikes, or multi-day adventures. 

One caveat: Be sure to carry the flushing syringe (1 oz) that is supplied with the kit. 

The Sawyer Mini set up for inline use with the Osprey Hydraulics 2L bladder.
Osprey-Hyd-and-Sawyer-Mini-setup.jpg

G00SE MODERATOR

I used this for the first time this past April. I didn't carry the syringe, and by day 6, it was difficult filling. I bought this because the Sawyer Squeeze doesn't fit my Platypus bottles.


7 months ago
G00SE MODERATOR

I mean, it's hard to squeeze filtered water into the narrow top of a Platy.


7 months ago
Barbara Matthews

A couple of questions about the inline set up. Do you find the hydration bag gets nasty and overrun with bacteria quickly since it is constantly carrying unfiltered water? Are you able to use this inline setup to gravity fill a cook pot? Thanks for your help.


7 months ago
soleful2001

That is a good question Barbara. I will be reviewing the Osprey Hydraulics 2.0L in another post. The Osprey is bacteria and mold resistant. I make it a point to do the following: fill it with water as clear as possible; clean the bladder and hose after every trip. To answer your other question, yes the filter works well when used as a gravity filter. Keep in mind the caveat i mentioned in the review though about reduced flow. Gravity will be very slow if you have the same result as I did.




7 months ago
Daniel Oates

I heard about the need to be careful with the syringe too, but that it's easier on the larger Sawyer Squeeze (not sure, don't have either, but I'd like to get the Squeeze). Love the inline option you have, fixes the issue of filling up small-mouthed containers!


7 months ago
soleful2001

Daniel, I have found that the inline set up saves a lot of time while I am hiking. Not that I am in a hurry, but if I dont feel like stopping long, I can yank out my the water bag, fill it up quickly with using a gatorade bottle or something, shove it back in the pack and keep moving. With my gravity filter, I had to stop fill the gravity bag, hook up the water bladder, and wait.


7 months ago
Jakuchu

Was the water from your source especially murky? In other words, do you think you could mitigate the problem by pre filtering every time? That would be inconvenient for sure, but just trying to get an idea of the extend of the clogging. If you had a relatively clear water source and this happened than it doesn't look too good.


7 months ago
soleful2001

Jakuchu With this filter I have not used especially murky water. This filter is very small, therefore less filaments for the water to move through. I believe this may be the reason it is prone to clog easier than larger filters. Since I carry the flushing syringe, I am not likely to pre-filter my water. I would say I have filtered at least 15 gallons through it. The first time I used it, the filter was impressively free flowing, then it slowed a bit and has stayed that way consistently, not getting worse.


7 months ago
Jakuchu

Thanks! Appreciate the added info.


6 months ago
7

Very small, versatile, robust and high flow water…

Rating: rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $25 plus taxes

Summary

Very small, versatile, robust and high flow water filter system. This filter system fits in the palm of your hand, weighs nothing and has is rated to 100,000 gallons.

Pros

  • Small and lightweight
  • Robust
  • High flow rate
  • Easy to clean
  • Great with bladder/hydration packs

Cons

  • Pouch may develop leaks
  • Will freeze up in cold weather unless protected
  • No adaptor for Nalgene bottles
  • No carry bag


sawyer-sp128.jpg
I'm writing to express my enthusiasm for a new Sawyer SP128 water filter device that I tested while hiking in the Adirondack mountains this past weekend.  I'm an avid mountain climber and my hikes will often consume 8-10 hours per day or take a full weekend with an overnight camp.  As such, I always take great care to be prepared.  

One of the elements I always carry is a water filter.  I have numerous types of Katadyn and MSR filters, all of which work great, but each takes up a good chunk of space in my pack and each requires effort to pump 2 liters of water (which is the size of my hydration bladder).  At times, after a lengthy hike, the effort to pump 2 liters can take quite a bit of energy.

On seeing the Sawyer SP128 system, I marveled at the size and the tech specs and wondered if it really could do the job that the packaging stated.  As I use a 2 liter bladder, I could not see how it could work for me until the EMS store clerk pointed out that the SP128 screwed onto most bladder systems or could be retrofitted to any bladder system with the SP110 adapters.  I quickly discovered that my "WLP" bladder system was not compatible but could do so with the SP110 adapters.  I bought the SP128 and SP110 adapters.

I flushed the filter out as per manufacturers instructions and then set about testing the filter before my ADK hike. I filled the 16 ounce bag with tap water, attached the filter and then squeezed the water from the bag into my Nalgene bottle. I was quite surprised at the high flow rate that the filter allowed.  I was able to squeeze the water out of the bag within 20 seconds.  Not bad for 16 ounces and faster than my other filter systems.  

I then attached the straw to the filter and then sucked the water from my Nalgene bottle.  Again, the flow rate was quite acceptable.  I then tested the black flushing mechanism - which was simply filling a syringe with water and then attaching it to the filter in reverse and then flushing.  Again, simple.  I could not tell whether this really worked - so I have to trust the manufacturers instructions for repeating the flushing two or three times with fast flushes.

With trepidation I did the unthinkable and cut the hose on my hydration bladder and then pushed the SP110 adapters into the tube ends.  This was quite hard and it told me that there was a good seal. I then screwed the SP128 filter onto the adapters, filled my bladder and tested by sucking through the tube.  I was very pleased to find that it did not added any more effort to suck water from the bladder system, nor did I see any sign of water leakage from the adapters.  

My ADK hiking trip this weekend targeted the "Lower Great Range" 27Km and 5 ADK peaks.  This trip took 10 hours and we experienced snow and chilling high winds.  Prior to our ascent to the peaks I filled the bladder from the stream at Lower Ausable Lake, knowing that I would drink lots of water as we climbed. I was now committed to using this new filter and I hoped that (1) The filter would do its job (for obvious reasons) (2) The adapters would not leak over the duration of my hike (didn't want wet clothes or food on this particular journey).

As we climbed and crossed each peak, I drank from my bladder - forgetting that I had fitted the SP128 filter inline on my bladder.  On Armstrong Mountain Peak I noted that my drinking tube was freezing.  In all my winter climbing, this was a first.  I then remembered the SP128 filter and was pleased that I had attached it at the lower end of my drinking tube and it was buried in my pack.  I believed that it would have likely iced up has it been exposed.  

At the end of my hike I checked the filter and adapters - no leakage and they had withstood being jostled around against all the other items that I had in my pack.  On returning to my motel I was able to easily and flush the filter and it dried overnight.

I was extremely pleased with this system.  I have now deleted a larger and heavier Katadyn / MSR filter from my pack.

After I returned from my trip, I disconnected the filter from the adapters and screwed them together and tested them for leakage.  I was pleased to see that they made a water tight connection.

My initial thoughts for the SP128 filter are:

PROS

  1. Small and lightweight and appears to be quite robust.  All great values.
  2. Quick to flush and quick to dry
  3. Easily adapted for non compatible Hydration systems 

 

CONS

  1. Though not experienced by me - several reviews indicate the pouch may develop leaks.  This is quite plausible as you have to squeeze the pouch while it is full of water.
  2. I'd like to see an adapter for the Nalgene bottles with the small opening as this would allow you to carry a Nalgene bottle with the filter attached -  for me this promotes mobility and saves holding the filter and straw while holding a Nalgene bottle.  I do realize that the filter screws into the commercial plastic water bottles - but I will never carried these flimsy bottles on my hiking activities.
  3. The SP128 system I bought contained a filter, straw and 16 ounce squeeze bag.  There was no carry bag.  This is a significant oversight in my opinion.  I will purchase a small bag from a local store to keep these items secure and together.

EDUCATION

I am a Scout leader and teach outdoor skills.  For the last three years I have been demonstrating to youth and adults how to make portable water from back country sources.  I have developed an educational program that covers (1) learning about pathogens in back country water and (2) Practical hands on experience with different filtration/purification devices for (3) Solo/Group activities.  

I have lots of different pieces of equipment for this program - but not a Sawyer water filter system.  After personally trying out this water filter, I am going to get another system and add it into my program as a teaching aid.

I bought my system from the EMS store in Lake Placid for $25 plus taxes. A very reasonable price. EMS did not carry the full line up of Sawyer filters, but were pleased to answer questions and order for me anything that I wanted. Because the clerk was able to help me figure out how to use the filter with my hydration system, it was clear that the staff knew their stuff.  Pretty good service.  

I checked on Amazon and note that the costs for Sawyer filters were slightly higher than EMS (not including shipping) - but more significantly, you could buy them in packs of two with better pricing.  This suits me as I can have an inline filter on my bladder system and then have another filter for a teaching aid or a portable system for filling up Nalgene bottles if I were hiking in a group.

SUMMARY

Very pleased with my new filter. I can see it becoming established as a filter of choice for my upcoming ADK hiking activities.

Ja. R.

Good review. I just purchased one of these and I am looking forward to putting it through the paces.


1 year ago
Joseph Renow

Have you tried back-flushing by simply reversing the flow through it?...I have the larger .02 filter and simply run the filter in reverse about every 20 liters or so...as far as I can tell my flow-rate has never dropped and I was able to dispense with the syringe.


1 year ago
DennyBarr

Does this filter require a flowing water source? The biggest problem that I had with my Sawyer Squeeze filter is that I often have to take water from the ground and could not get the water into the bag. I have had to continue using my pump filter on many occasions because of this, and therefore can't depend on the Squeeze.


1 year ago
Paul Young-Davies

Hello DennyBarr. This filter does not require running water. Simply take the 16 Ounce bag and dip it into the water. You should try to fill the bag completely and try to not get any sediment in the bag as you do so (may be difficult as you are likely reaching from the waters edge). Once the bag is full, screw on the SP128 filter and then invert and gently squeeze the bag to push the water through the filter. If you are near flowing water, then this will help fill the bag faster and reduce the chance of sediment. There is a larger filter SP131 which also comes with larger pouches. I simply went with the SP128 as I like the small compact size and I have a need to be as light and mobile as I can when doing lengthy Adirondack hiking. Hope this helps. Paul


1 year ago
rob5073

I recently purchased a Mini and used it today during a hike/climb. Excellent! It was super easy to use and highly portable.


8 months ago
3

The Sawyer filter is a great option for filtering…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: 21$

Summary

The Sawyer filter is a great option for filtering water for many lifestyles. Whether you are a worried about the water you drink everyday, or just an avid hiker/backpacker/adventurer who needs an affordable, reliable, and reliable solution for clean drinking water, the Sawyer Mini Filter is for you.

For about 20$, you can filter up to 100,000 gallons of water! I have one in my backpack, and my car. I use mine all the time for camping trips, and I highly recommend it to friends.

Pros

  • Filters up to million gallons of water!
  • Lightweight, compact, and sturdy design.
  • Affordable
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • It is hard to transfer clean water to other containers without a larger bag.

The Sawyer filter is a great option for purifying water. It is lightweight, affordable, easy to use, easy to maintain, and it will filter more water than you will probably ever be able to put through it.

The Sawyer filter weighs only 2 ounces! Its lightweight and compact design makes it great for everyday carry, or even those gram counters out there. Not a gram counter? Well, its weight and size is just a great side effect. Speaking of great side affects, did I mention it only cost about 20$?

If cleaned properly, and regularly, the Sawyer filter can purify up to 100,000 gallons of water, and remove 99.99999% of bacterias like salmonella, cholera, and E.coli, as well as some protozoa like giardia and cryptosporidium. 

But how hard is it to maintain it? Not hard at all! After a few uses you will notice that it is getting a little more difficult to drink through. That is because the filter is catching all of the nastiness and germs that would have gone into your mouth, had you not been using the filter. As a result of stopping all this bacteria and things, it gets a little stopped up.

To clean your filter, just use the syringe included in your kit to backwash any debris out of the filter. After four or five backwashes, I usually spray the water through in the regular direction to ensure the water I backwashed with didn't leave any debris either. Once you've cleaned it, just hook it up to the included bag or straw and you're ready to drink!

Speaking of accessories, the Sawyer Mini Filter comes with an included 16 oz re-usable bag that attaches right to the filter. The kit also comes with a drinking straw so you can drink straight from a water source, and a syringe for cleaning it.

The Sawyer Mini Filter is a great solution for personal water filtration, but in a large group it could be a little tricky filling bags and pushing water through into other containers.

I hope you choose one of the best water filtration products on the market, and add the Sawyer Mini Filter to your gear collection.

Ashleigh MODERATOR

Nice job, Jonah! I love my Sawyer Squeeze!


6 months ago
2

The filter is very lightweight, along with the straw,…

Rating: rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $23

Summary

The filter is very lightweight, along with the straw, bag, and cleaning plunger it comes with. It's good for backpacking, and filters up to 100,000 gallons of water.

Pros

  • Comes with straw, water bag, and cleaning plunger
  • Lightweight
  • Filters 100,000 gallons of water.

Cons

  • Fragile

The Sawyer Mini is a very good water filter. It's reliable, and very lightweight. It removes 99.9999% of bacteria such as salmonella, cholera, and E.coli, and 99.9999% of protozoa like giardia without using chemicals.

You can filter the water by filling up the bag with your water source, then attaching the filter and squeezing it out. Or, you can attach the filter to the straw and drink directly from the water source. It treats up to 100,000 gallons of water, so it lasts a while.

All the parts and attachments have worked for me so far, and they hold up pretty well. This product definitely lived up to expectations, and is holding up really well. I have had it for around a month now, and I used it in streams and small lakes.

2

Love this filter. Started as a backup that I kept…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $19.99

Summary

Love this filter. Started as a backup that I kept in my pack. I now use it all the time. Great value.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Convenience. Fits on most regular bottles

Cons

  • Must back wash often

This is a great filter for use as a backup or a main. Compact and lightweight. Includes one bag that rolls up or you can attach the filter to a regular water bottle. The water tastes great. Can squeeze water into a pot if needed.

I use it on all my day and multi day hikes. Not sure how it would be on a thru-hike, but I will take it and try it when I do the AT. Although, I will have drops just in case. Great product.

2

A compact and simple water filter that is very adaptable.

Rating: rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $25

Summary

A compact and simple water filter that is very adaptable.

Pros

  • Very light, weighs (1.4 ounces)
  • Compact
  • Simple
  • Easy to use
  • Very cheap

Cons

  • Must be protected from freezing
  • Doesn't kill virus

I purchased the full size Sawyer filter and didn't even realize this mini version was available.  I was so happy with the bigger model that I bought this one as soon as I saw it in the store.

I have had several different filters over the years and always hated the pumping of my Katadyn.  It felt like a chore and that is why I'm in the woods, to escape all the work of daily life.  I was also so turned off by the UV purifiers and the need for batteries and the relatively fragile construction of those units.

When I saw the squeeze filters and that they didn't require cartridge changes, I was instantly interested in making this my new water filtration method. 

I'm not sorry that I did.  I bought this at a local retail store and paid the full retail price for it. I like to support the local shops and am fine with paying retail for the services they provide me. The price was only $25 and it comes with everything needed to put the filter to use and maintain it. 

My first impressions of it were that this filter is so simple, light and idiot proof that I'm not sure why anyone uses anything different for filtration. The only reason for anything else is if you have a need or desire to kill viruses. This is just a filter and will not kill a virus. The weakest point of this filter is that you must not allow it to freeze. I keep it in a bag in my sleeping bag on those cold nights and in my jacket through those cold days.

I backwash this filter regularly using the provided syringe and it is really easy to do.  Simply fill the syringe and pit it on the output end of the filter and quickly push the water through the filter. They recommend a quick burst of water to dislodge the stuff from the membrane and flush the unit.  I have found that after flushing the filter, it can be more difficult to squeeze water through for a bit of time.  After some use though the water starts to flow as normal and is relatively easy.

1

I like the ease of filtering and drinking. Never thought…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $19

Summary

I like the ease of filtering and drinking.

Pros

  • Fits water and soda bottles
  • Lightweight
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Can be a bit slow
  • Provided flat container can be hard to fill

Never thought I would use a filter. Expensive, bulky, and subject to clogging, at least this is what I thought. I have been reading the blogs of a couple of AT thru hikers and the Sawyer Mini seemed to be a standard issue item. When I reordered chlorine dioxide drops I bought one of these to try.

It was real nice being able to drink water at every wet spot and stream. My son and I carried used soda bottles and would fill them at a stream or small trickle of water and screw the filter on the top. We could drink directly from the filter to quench our thirst and then filter a liter of water each in a few minutes. Much better than waiting for drops to kill of micro organisms. This let us carry less water.

I had no trouble filtering water for two hikers over three days. The included 16-oz flat container wasn't too useful in shallow streams as its natural shape is flat and gently trying to get water to flow in it without silting the stream resulted in only getting 8 oz at a time. Filling 20-oz soda bottles and squeezing them in to our clean water bottles worked best. Unscrew the filter periodically to relieve back pressure.

I have no way of knowing if it was effective. No one using it got sick, but that could mean uncontaminated water, or a good immune system.

G00SE MODERATOR

Nice review. I just upgraded to the mini from the Sawyer Squeeze, and I'm glad I did.


6 months ago
0

Best for solo use. Can easily be used as an online…

Rating: rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $24.95

Summary

Best for solo use. Can easily be used as an online filter on a Camelbak type system, although drinking then requires more effort.

Pros

  • Portable
  • Easy to use
  • Adapts to almost any use

Cons

  • When used as an inline filter on a water bladder, extra effort is required
  • Drink tube is difficult to attach/remove

The Sawyer Mini is my first water purification system, although I have used and seen many others that fellow hikers have had. The Sawyer Mini is a great device that can be used at base camp for filling water bottles or attached to a large water bladder for community use.

I had first tried this out as an in-line filter on my Camelbak, but quickly found out that did not suit my needs.  The retrieval of water, when used in-line, required too much effort for on the go drinking, while hiking or biking, and can leave you short of breathe quickly. 

I do like the size, compatibility, and many optional uses for such a small water filter. The filter, bladder, and drinking tube that are included can be stored just about anywhere and take up very little space in a pack. Filling up the bladder and drinking directly from it, through the filter, is an awesome option and solution for lightweight/minimalist hikers.

G00SE MODERATOR

Thanks for the review, Amador. I like my mini, but it sure is slow.


1 month ago
0

Very lightweight, small to pack, and best of all very…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: Don't remember price but was no brainer to buy to get smaller size

Summary

Very lightweight, small to pack, and best of all very low effort required to replenish your water supply. Low maintenance and low effort are a must while backpacking.

Pros

  • Mini filter has many configuration that are possible from the Sawyer bags to placing it inline on your bladder bag.
  • 1 liter refill is very quick and doesn't require a lot of energy like pumping on other filters.
  • Backflow of filter is very easy.

Cons

  • Disappointed in the life of the Sawyer pouches that come with the filter; Other options like inline filter work to offset this small issue, bring more than one bag and be gentle.
  • Sleep with your filter to keep it from freezing — put it in a ziploc bag

Filter performs as advertised. Water quality was never an issue, filter backflow was very easy to do. I downsized from the full size Sawyer filter to the Mini to save space more than anything else and had same level of satisfaction.  Have used other pump style filters and find this much easier and faster.

Refill time on a liter of water using a one liter refill bag is less than a minute once the bag is full.  I found that there is a technique to filling the bag (pulling it through the water).  Don't put too much pressure on the bag or it might fail.

Best use is for an individual using ultralight or bagged meals.  If large volume of water would be needed it might become tiresome just filling a bag and would wear on the bag, not the filter.  Have not used the filter inline but saw others using it that way and it seemed to work well - next trip.

I have used either the Sawyer Original or Mini for three years and have experienced no issues at all.

G00SE MODERATOR

Thanks for the review. My experience is almost identical to yours--started with the full, switched to the mini.


3 months ago