A short backpacking excursion to Bear Lake in Emigrant Wilderness afforded my buddy Wade and I a chance to properly do a Sawyer water filter review, and give it a proper test outdoors.
I’ve used a PUR (now Katadyn) Hiker for the last 15 years. After looking at all the best backpacking water filtration options available today, it seemed Sawyer’s Mini Filter would be a good replacement for a number of reasons:
- Weight Savings: The Sawyer Squeeze weighs only 3 ounces. The Katadyn Hiker Filter weights 11 ounces
- Affordability: One of the more affordable backpacking filtration systems available.
- Versatility: Different scenarios to filter water, including gravity feed, squeeze filtration or inline.
- Ease of Use: I found over the years, the pump filter can be somewhat a hassle at times. The Sawyer seemed like it would be easier to use.
Water Filtration Gear
Here’s the gear we brought along for water filtration on our backpacking trip:
- Sawyer Squeeze Water Filtration System – includes the Sawyer mini filter, cleaning plunger, two 32 oz. pouches, inline hydration pack adapters, gravity tube, and last but not least a mesh bag to put it all in.
- Sawyer Fast Fill Adapters – Allows direct quick-connect of the Saywer Squeeze filter to a hydration pack. Also, extra parts for different situations.
- Osprey Hydraulics 2.5 Liter Hydration Pack – with a built-in quick disconnect in-line to the mouthpiece.
Field Testing the Sawyer Mini Filter
We tried a few different configurations to perform a fairly thorough sawyer water filter review.
Scenario 1: The first test was filtering water with what comes in the Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter kit (pictured below).
Using the two 32-ounce pouches provided, we tested out the Sawyer’s gravity feed filtration which took approximately 1 minute 50 seconds to filter. After submerging and letting the pouch fill, we just screwed the filter on, inverted and let gravity filtration do its thing.
One potential issue we found is that the 2 pouches are identical. You may want to somehow mark one of them so you know it’s your dirty water pouch so you don’t accidentally drink from it.
Sawyer Water Filter Test: Scenario 2
The second setup we tried was using the Sawyer Filter fitted with the quick connect hydration pack adapters (pictured below):
Osprey’s Hydaulic water bladder works great for the quick-connect/disconnect setup because they come with it built-in (no modifications to the bladder line needed). We found the quick-connect to be very handy and easy to use. With often somewhat precarious under-footing or moving around, you don’t have to worry about the line coming out.
Additionally, we tried using a 32-ounce water bottle to fill with, in a squeeze test. 45 seconds with pressure applied nets you 32 ounces of filtered water. We found the water bottle easier to fill (in deep water) than a pouch. However you do have to slightly unscrew the bottle once or twice to burp it and let in air. You don’t have to do this using a pouch to collect water.
Sawyer Water Filter Test: Scenario 3
The third setup isn’t pictured, but it’s the simplest – just fill the water bottle from your source and screw the filter on just like you would a lid. This makes for an instant filtered squeeze bottle.
The Sawyer Squeeze Mini Filter worked great it was much easier to use than my old pump filter. The bit of weight saving was also nice. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for water filtration. It has a lifetime warranty and filters 100,000 gallons. You do have to do a bit of maintenance sometimes and backwash the filter using the included plunger to clean it and keep filter flow optimal.