Sawyer personal water filters are great companions for hiking, backpacking, camping, traveling, and emergency preparation. The Sawyer line of water filters gives you more than a few ways to access clean drinking water. They are simple to use, lightweight, and reliable when you’re in the backcountry.
The Sayer Mini and the Sawyer Squeeze are two of their most popular options. They both filter water on demand, eliminating the added weight of carrying all your water. With water weighing 8 pounds a gallon, carrying everything that you need for a long distance backpacking trip is not an option. Both of these filters are just a few ounces and last for a long time, giving you the confidence you need to enjoy the outdoors knowing that clean water is just around the corner.
Why you need a personal water filter
If hiking, backpacking, and spending time outdoors are all ways that you enjoy spending your free time, having a reliable method to clean your water is an important part of each trip. There won’t always be a freshwater source that you can confidently rely on and a personal water filter is a quick and effective way to filter your water on the go.
A big drawback of heading into the wilderness with all the water you need on your back is the extra weight that you’ll have to carry. One gallon of water weighs 8.34 pounds and if you’re spending more than a couple of days outdoors, you’re definitely going to need more than a gallon. A personal water filter eliminates the need to carry all the water you plan on drinking, freeing up valuable pack space for your other essential gear.
Being able to drink water directly from lakes, rivers, streams, and standing water gives you the freedom to explore more of the world without worrying about where your next drink comes from. The taste of the water may not be the best, however, you can go forward with confidence knowing that it’s safe to drink.
Benefits of personal water filters:
- Compact treatment method
- Lightweight and fast
- No moving parts
- Removes 99.9999% of bacteria and protozoa
- Reliable in challenging water types
Sawyer Squeeze vs Sawyer Mini
Both the Sawyer Squeeze and Sawer Mini water filters are different from traditional water pump filters on that they have no moving parts. Each of these personal water filters is lightweight, inexpensive, and reliable. If a Sawyer Mini or Sawyer Squeeze filter is something you’re considering, we’ve broken down their similarities and differences below.
The container that you’re water filter uses dictates the amount of water that you’re going to be able to filter with each use. The larger the container, the more water that you can filter. As long as you have a bottle or something to carry your water in after you filter it, the container size really is just a matter of personal preference.
- The Sawyer Mini comes with a 16-ounce container
- The Sawyer Squeeze has 3 options: 16, 32, and 64-ounce pouches
Hollow Fiber Filter
Out of the wide variety of filtering technologies used in backpacking, hollow fiber membrane offers many advantages. Hollow fiber membranes are made up of hundreds of tiny tubes that are grouped together to form a filter matrix. The walls of the tubes are filled with tiny pores which trap microbiological threats inside. The pores are too small for pathogens to pass through, however, they are large enough to let water pass through.
- Both the Sawyer Mini and Sawyer Squeeze use hollow fiber membrane filters
The pore size is an indicator of the size of microbes that a particular water purifier is designed to eliminate. This is important because if the pore size is too large it will let waterborne protozoa and bacteria through. An outdoor water filter needs to be at least 0.2 microns to eliminate any microbiological threats.
- Sawyer Mini has a 0.1-micron pore size
- Sawyer Squeeze has a 0.1-micron pore size
The overall weight of backpacking gear is arguably the most important part of each particular item. Hardcore backpackers have been known to shave down the handle of their toothbrush and cutlery just to save a few extra ounces. While this may seem extreme, each and every ounce adds up and saving weight everywhere you can is the key to an enjoyable experience.
- Sawyer Mini weighs 2 ounces
- Sawyer Squeeze weighs 3 ounces
The lifespan of a personal water filter is measured in the volume of water that can pass through the filter until you need to change it out. It’s the amount of water in gallons that you can filter safely until you have to change it out.
- Sawyer Squeeze has a lifetime warranty
- Sawyer Mini has a 100,000 gallon lifespan
Waterborne pathogens removed
According to the US National Library of Medicine, waterborne pathogens are a global burden that affects the freshwater supply worldwide, they are estimated to cause 2.2 million deaths per year and a larger number of illnesses each day. These diseases are related to pollution and environmental degradation. Protecting yourself from waterborne pathogens by filtering your water is the main reason to consider using a Sayer Mini or Sawyer Squeeze.
- Both the Sawyer Mini and Squeeze remove 99.9999% of bacteria and protozoa
The flow rate is the amount of water that a filter is able to process over time, in our case the time frame is 1 minute. The reason that flow rate is important is that you don’t want to be forced to sit at a water source for hours while you fill your bottle with 1 liter of water. The Sawyer Squeeze has the upper hand by quite a bit, filtering at a pace of 2 liters, which is almost double that of the Sawyer Mini.
- Sayer Squeeze filters 2 liters per minute
- Sawyer Mini filters 1.1 liters per minute
Backflushing your Sawyer water filter
After using your Sawyer personal water filter you may notice that the flow rate begins to slow down, this is completely normal. Each time you filter water the pores inside the hollow fiber filter is designed to fill up with microbes. When you notice the flow rate slowing, it means that it’s time to backflush the filter.
Every Sawyer filter comes with a plastic syringe that is used to flush out the pores of the hollow fiber filter. Fill the syringe with water, attach it to the matching connector, and push on the plunger of the syringe. This flushes out the pores of the filter and cleans out the pores and the flow rate returns to normal.
Which Sawyer filter is right for you?
Now that you have an idea of what these two Sawyer water filters do, it’s time to make a choice.
The Sawyer Mini water filter is the second generation and is lighter than the Sawyer Squeeze. It weighs a total of 2 ounces and is compact enough to fit into a small pocket in a daypack. This filter is perfect for a long distance backpacking trip or a dispersed camping trip with friends and family.
You can use the Mini to drink directly from a water source like a straw and an in-line attachment to attach it to a water bladder. It can also be attached directly to a small mouth water bottle and drink from it as long as you squeeze the bottle. With all the available options, the design, and weight this water filter is great companion for the outdoors.
- Ideal for outdoor recreation, hiking, camping, scouting, domestic and international travel, and emergency preparedness
- High-performance 0. 1 Micron absolute inline filter fits in the palm of your hand and weighs just 2 ounces; 100% of MINI units individually tested three times to performance standards by Sawyer
- Attaches to included drinking pouch, standard disposable water bottles, hydration packs, or use the straw to drink directly from your water source
- Removes 99. 99999% of all bacteria (salmonella, cholera, and E. coli); removes 99. 9999% of all protozoa (such as giardia and cryptosporidium); also removes 100% of micro plastics
- Only weighs 2 ounces
- 100,000 gallon lifespan
- Versatile: you can attach it to a bottle
- Freezing damages the hollow fiber filter
- Challenge to fill up other water bottles
- Cleaning the filter takes a little practice
The Sawyer Squeeze is a unique water filter that operates differently from pump style water filters. There are a couple options, you can simply screw it directly onto a water bottle and drink directly from the bottle or you can fill the bag that’s included with water and squeeze water through the filter.
It does require a small mouth bottle to attach the filter to and the squeezing function can get a little tedious. If you’re just drinking from a bottle attaching it works best due to the fact that squeezing water through the filter is time consuming. Overall, the squeeze is great for the hiker or backpacker: simple to use, lightweight, and compact.
- Lightweight, easily portable 0.1 absolute micron hollow fiber membrane inline water filter
- High-performance 0.1 Micron absolute inline filter fits in the palm of your hand and weighs just 2 ounces; 100% of MINI units individually tested three times to performance standards by Sawyer
- Built-in and removable push/pull cap; spray water straight into mouth or bottle from included pouch; attach to standard threaded water bottle
- Comes with three BPA-free collapsible pouches (two 32-ounce, one 16-ounce) that roll up tightly for easy packing; can be reused hundreds of times
- Comes with 3 collapsible bottles
- No moving parts mean fewer failure points
- Lightweight and compact
- Awkward to drink from
- Not great for filtering water for a group of people
- Water pouches are susceptible to damage
Which one do you choose?
Both of these water filters do their job removing 99.9999% of the protozoan and bacterial threats found in water. They are lightweight, compact, and reliable water filters that are perfect for a backpacking or camping trip.
The flow rate of the Squeeze is nearly double that of the mini, however, the Mini is easier to drink from. The Squeeze screws directly onto a small mouth bottle and the Mini has an option to place the filter in line with a water bottle. Both of these bottles are lightweight, affordable and compact.
If weight is a concern, the Sawyer Mini is a clear winner. If ease of use is important, the Sawyer Squeeze is the better option. Both of these water filters are popular among thru hikers and backpackers and make a great backcountry companion.