Gear Review: Sawyer Mini Water Filter

Sawyer Mini sitting along Side the Original Sawyer Squeeze
Sawyer Mini sitting along Side the Original Sawyer Squeeze

Drinking healthy water while hiking is super important to me. In my everyday life, I try my best to eat and live as healthy as possible. The last thing I want or need is to have what I love to do the most, hike, destroy my health by drinking water that has dangerous protozoans and bacteria. After 25 years of backpacking, I think I have owned almost every water filter, tablet, or drops that have been marketed. The original Sawyer Squeeze water filter I used for a few years and by far has been my favorite. Now Sawyer has an even lighter and smaller version of the Sawyer Squeeze, the Sawyer Mini.

I was fortunate to have Sawyer send me their new Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System filter to try and review. I have used and tested the mini on a few backpacks, climbs, and day hikes.

I love:

  • The tiny size (fits in your hand).
  • Lightweight! Two ounces! So light I would recommend everyone in your hiking group have their own. No more sharing water filters to save weight.
  • Ease of attachment. I found the Sawyer Mini easier to screw on to the bag or water bottle in contrast to the original Squeeze.
  • Simple and reliable!. No batteries, squeaking, leaking, or hoses. I have used this filter with some nasty water and did not get sick.
  • Very compatible with disposable water bottles like Smart water bottles. This is particularly handy if after a lot of use the Sawyer squeeze bag leaks or breaks while out in the field and needs to be replaced.
  • Easy to clean by back-flushing with the included syringe. Be sure and take the syringe along on backpacks that are longer than an overnight. Because of the small size of the Mini, I would assume it would need to be back flushed every couple of days depending on the condition of the water sources.
  • Versatile. It can be used as inline system with a platypus (the mini does not need an adapter), with a pouch, or you can drink directly from the filter with the included straw.
  • Inexpensive. $19.99 at Amazon. Seriously.
  • Quick. I could not tell a difference between the original and the mini. Both have a fast flow of water from the filter, so that you can get back on the trail.
  • Taste. Water is natural and fresh with no funny after taste. Delicious.


  • Well the complaint I have is the mini comes with a very small pouch. It is way too small. I recommend buying a 2 liter pouch from Sawyer. That way when you are at a water source it is perfect to drink a liter and carry a liter when you leave without going back and forth to a stream or lake.
  • The pouches do wear out after long repeated use. On long thru-hikes it is helpful to replace the bag every few weeks. On the Continental Divide Trail last summer, Silly Chili and I had a new pouch sent in our resupply every month.
Filling the Tiny Pouch
Filling the Tiny Pouch
Filling my Water Bottle with Clean Fresh Water
Filling my Water Bottle with Clean Fresh Water
Drinking Directly from the Filter
Drinking Directly from the Filter
The Water Flow from the Filter is Fast and Strong
The Water Flow from the Filter is Fast and Strong

I think the biggest plus for me is this little filter is stress-free. I feel confident that I will stay healthy and it works. Love it.

You can pick your own Sawyer MINI at Amazon and of course ya gotta have the 2-liter bag.

Still not sold? Check out these excellent reviews.


  1. Thanks for sharing this information. Really love these tips for water filtration. This is a very new technique.

  2. I really like it for water filtration.

  3. Pingback: Hiking Favorites of 2013 | Lady on a Rock

  4. I saw this today and thought of you. Yay for the woods!

    • WOW. That was an amazing reading experience! Thank you. What a connection I felt with Jon’s words. I want to print it and read it every time life just gets in the way of planning, doing, and making dreams happen. Elise you are the best!

  5. Wow – thanks for the great info! I’ve been longing to try one of these out, but have been waiting for the reviews to start trickling in (sorry – bad pun). =]
    Great Christmas present idea!

    • I so agree. I recommend throwing in a titanium trowel, cute hiking shirt, and a Golite Crome Dome umbrella! My list includes just one BIG (pricey but worth it) item: ZPacks Hexamid Duplex Cuben fiber tent.

  6. Thanks for the review!
    I love my Sawyer and was going to get the mini for short hikes or day hikes. Good to know it can be used for the longer trips.

    • You are welcome. It is so light, small, and safe I started even carrying it on day hikes for just in case. For long trips the mini works perfectly. No more sharing filters to save weight.


  7. Huh. Did not know it was that inexpensive. Good info.

  8. I’m loving my mini also after switching from the Sawyer 3-way. Two additional tips for readers: (1) take along an empty capri sun container with the top cut off to assist in filling the Sawyer bottles (2) if you want to use inline, starting from home with clean water and then switching to the filter, I’ve created an adapter. Scroll to the bottom of my page for photos and instructions.

    • Hey Beekeeper. Love these tips! Thank you for posting. I have seen so many different DIY containers for scooping water. This one is new to me. Platypus users will definitely benefit from your post.

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