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One of the single most important aspects of staying healthy and safe on the trail is access to fresh, clean water. Even though there are natural water sources far out in the country that are fairly clean and safe, it’s never a good idea to risk your health and ruin a trip by drinking unfiltered water.
There are a ton of incredible high tech water filters on the market but sometimes all you really want is a compact, basic device that is long lasting and trouble-free to use. Sawyer is a well-known, innovative company famous for its water filters. Although the brand has a few different water filtration systems, their MINI water filter is particularly impressive.
Compact ultralight-style handheld water filters are more popular than ever and the MINI is one of the best. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more economical high-performance water filter. If you’re in the market for a new water filter, this one should be at the top of your list.
The Sawyer MINI is one of the best water filters of its kind on the market. Despite being so popular it’s not a super high tech device but does what it needs to extremely well. Some of its features include:
The Sawyer MINI is quite an impressive little filter and very simplistic in design. It is also one of the easiest handheld filters on the market to use.
The Sawyer Mini is recommended for use in truly any application. Aside from hiking, camping and other outdoor activities, it is great for traveling purposes (treating questionable water) and to have in your emergency prep bag.
When you purchase this filter you get everything you need for making clean water. The filter is versatile and can be used in 4 ways:
Backwashing is easy. Fill the cleaning syringe with clean water, insert syringe into the Mini in the opposite direction of flow arrow and push the water through. Repeat this a few times or until the water is clear and pushes out easily.
How often you will need to backflush depends on the water source quality and how often it’s used. Typically you will know it’s time to clean the filter when the flow rate starts to slow.
The filter cartridge removes majority of pollutants and is quite impressive at getting rid of bad tastes. However, the Sawyer MINI doesn’t remove chemical pollutants or bad tastes from sulfur and simple compounds. Heavy metals are also not removed by the MINI filter.
If you suspect chemical or heavy metal pollutants, try to find a better water source. This is important to keep in mind in urban areas especially. Finally, the MINI doesn’t remove viruses but it’s rare to find viruses in North American water sources.
The MINI has quite a few advantages. Here are four of the major benefits of this model.
The Sawyer MINI has a lot going for it, and for an amazingly good price. Despite all of it’s praises and recommendations, it isn’t completely perfect and without it’s flaws.
It’s difficult to find a reason to not purchase the Sawyer MINI but if you’re really stuck between this filter and another, you should take into account these two disadvantages.
Even with some faults, the Sawyer MINI water filter is really in a class of its own. If you have been looking for a new water filter for your trips into the backcountry, this one won’t disappoint. Even if you already have a favorite water filter the MINI makes a perfect backup for long trips away.
Sam Hardy is an outdoor enthusiast with a penchant for survival skills. He writes about the great outdoors and his favorite equipment here.