A few days ago, I received an email from Patrick at Sawyer, asking me if I would be interested in checking out one of the new Sawyer Mini water filters. Being a huge fan of my Sawyer Squeeze (like so many other backpackers that I know are), I immediately said sure! Then today, when I got home from work, I found a little brown box sitting on my doorstep…
At first I wondered what it could be (since I did not expect the filter to arrive so quickly), but after a quick inspection of the box, I realized that it was indeed my new Sawyer Mini! So, I did like normal: threw it on my table, grabbed my camera, and then made this video…
So, to cut right to it, in comparison to the already super-awesome Sawyer Squeeze water filter, the Sawyer Mini is:
- More versatile
- And yet, still retains the trusty 0.1 micron ABSOLUTE hollow fiber membrane filter.
One difference between the Mini and the Squeeze is that they removed some of the black, plastic, body around the filter. The Mini’s end-caps are now all that is made from that same black, plastic. The middle of the filter is now slimmer, and has a clear, hard plastic body, which their product sticker is placed around. When I first saw photos of the Mini, this was my area of concern, but now that I have handled it, the clear plastic feels tougher than I had imagined. Anyway, this alone trims down the size of the filter from that of the Squeeze, and I would also assume, this is where some of the weight has been dropped.
Sawyer has also decided to integrate the inflow/outflow nipples right into the Mini filter, which means no additional parts need to be purchased to use this as an inline filter. But not only for inline use, this also allows a (provided) straw to be attached to the inflow nipple, which can then be placed right into a water source to drink from. Or, fill a glass/bottle with “dirty” water, then stick the straw in and start sipping (as seen directly below). Easy.
The inflow port side still has the threaded hub so that the filter can screw right onto the Sawyer Squeeze bags, or on other bottles that have the same thread pitch. And just as with the Squeeze, there is a rubber washer inside the end-cap that forms a seal to keep the contaminated water from leaking out around the threads. And if you would prefer, you can attach the straw to the inflow nipple, then screw the filter onto the 16 oz bag. This will allow you to be able to sip from the bag easily in an upright manner, rather than throwing your head back and squirting the water into your mouth (like in my photo above).
Another interesting, yet simple, feature is the addition of the nipple cap for the outflow (clean) side. It is a simple cap that is attached to the outflow nipple and is just big enough to cover the tip. This should make it very easy to keep up with, as well as keep the outflow port from becoming contaminated. (And while it may not matter, I think it would be nice if this little cap was a bright color, just in case it did manage to come loose and fall off.)
And probably the best part about this filter is that they still kept the 0.1 micron ABSOLUTE filter inside. This is not a “nominal” water filter… it does not filter out “up to…” The Mini filter ABSOLUTELY filters out anything larger than 0.1 microns, which is small enough for anything that we should encounter here in the US. In my opinion, if you want water that is cleaner than what this filter will offer, then you need to step up to a purifier, or at least chemicals…
(I will admit, water treatment methods are a huge debate in the backpacker circles… there are lots of different methods, and we all have our reason for liking our own method. I do not intend on getting into them in this post. For me though, I was a huge fan of chemicals for quite a while, but decided to give the Squeeze a try, and once I did, I have been hooked. Now, the Squeeze is my method of choice when it comes to water treatment, however, it looks like the Squeeze has been knocked out of its place in exchange for the Mini!)
So, what came in the box?
- 1 Sawyer Mini water filter
- 1 60 cc Syringe for backflushing
- 1 Straw
- 1 16 oz Sawyer Soft Bottle
And maybe even more important… weights? Here is what I got on my personal scales:
- Sawyer Mini Filter (w/ outflow nipple cap): 1.4 oz or 39 g (**DRY WEIGHT**)
- 60 cc Syringe: 1.1 oz or 32 g
- 16 oz Soft Bottle w/ Cap: 0.7 oz or 21 g
- Straw: 0.2 oz or 6 g
I feel that it is worth noting that the 1.4 oz weight listed above for the filter is for a clean, brand new, dry filter. However, the truth of the matter is, after the first time we use it, it will be wet, so while it does only weigh 1.4 oz, in my opinion, that is not a true “trail-weight.” So, I took the filter outside and filtered some water through it, then shook it like a madman trying to remove as much water as possible (as I also do with the Squeeze). After doing this, I carried the filter back inside and re-weighed it. This time, I got 1.8 oz, or 50 g. In my opinion, this is the weight that matters since this is what it will weigh when I am carrying it around.
Considering this, I can get my Squeeze down to around 2.7 – 2.8 oz when wet, so, for me, the Mini is approximately 0.9 – 1 oz lighter than the Squeeze. Considering we are only talking about less than 3 oz total, this to me is a substantial amount of weight loss. As well, considering that I am hearing that the price on the Mini’s may be as low as only $20 (I do not know the actual prices, only rumors), I still find that weight loss to be a substantial difference, and in my opinion, is a great reason to upgrade.
So, as I said before, it’s lighter, smaller, more versatile than the Squeeze, and still has the 0.1 micron ABSOLUTE filter; plus it looks like it may have a pretty light price tag on it to boot. Sawyer has stated this the life of the Mini water filter is only 100,000 gallons, which is a big difference from the Squeeze’s claimed “million gallon” guarantee, but let’s face it… 100,000 gallons is a lot of water…
I obviously have not used the filter in the field, but off the bat, it looks to me like Sawyer has another winner on their hands. Based on my own personal experience with my Sawyer Squeeze, and now with playing around with the new Mini, I feel quite confident with it. However, only time will tell, so I am looking forward to getting it out and getting it wet… Until then, I would like to say thanks to Patrick, as well as Sawyer, for giving me the opportunity to check their newest filter out!
The Mini filters are already showing up for sale around the web! Here are a few sources that are already listing them:
- Gossamer Gear
- Mountain Laurel Designs
- Trail Designs
- Highwater Filters
- The Gear House
- Sunny Sports
Thanks for stopping by!
Disclaimer: Sawyer has provided me with this Sawyer Mini water filter free of charge, and in exchange for personal feedback, as well as an online review. The comments in this post (written & spoken) are of my own opinion, which I formed after personally handling the Sawyer Mini water filter.
I feel that it is also worth noting that I am not sure when these filters will be made available to the public, nor what the actual prices will be. I have heard rumors on both of these topics, but I have not heard anything to actually confirm any of it.