The Finial Hike with the Sawyer Mini

Sawyer Mini in the Backcountry

  We have been getting hit with back to back rain storms here in the PNW.  The impending gloom of an incoming storm forecasting the drop of the snow level, well as six inches of rain in the Olympic interior.  I was in need to getting into the alpine while it was possible; without getting hammered by winter like conditions.  This would be a scouting adventure, to see how much snow was left by the last cold front.

  I still plan on getting one more trip into the interior of the Park, before the high country season comes to an end, to observe the Olympic Elk while they are under rut.  This next storm will seal the fate of that plan.  I have Plan A, B and C routes in mind, but would like to do the first one; since it increases my chances on the numbers of animals I see.

view from hurricane Ridge
Ruth Peak of the Bailey Range, protecting Mount Olympus; which holds a fresh dusting of snow. 

snow hurricane ridge
Sun melting the snow left by the last cold front.

Mount Queets
Mount Queets shows off a fresh dusting of snow.

First Impressions

  I feel that they have came up with a winner overall.  Especially when you consider the retail cost, they are practically giving the filter away.  Clearly the good folks over at Sawyer are trying to capture the hydration market.  Seemed like only a year ago, they released the Sawyer Squeeze Filter; which was a game changer and changed the way I carry water, but now they came out with something smaller and lighter.  Can a minimalist ask for more?

  Should you throw away, retire or re-up your hydration system, if you already have a Sawyer Squeeze?  No! Don't do that.  I see the two filters having a separate place in my personal kit.  Short trips or trail runs, go with the Sawyer Mini.  Longer, more expedition type trips or possibly sharing the filter with someone else, so with the original Sawyer Squeeze.

In fact, I prefer the Squeeze System so much more, that I will never use the Sawyer Mini in the backcountry ever again! I donated it, to someone in need.

Sawyer Mini Review
Ultralight and petite new Sawyer Mini Filter.  Shown here on my 23.7 oz bottle.  Isn't she pretty?  


  • Ultralight 
  • Compact
  • Improved output nipple
  • Simpler (no extra adapters needed for inline use)
  • Less air in output stream (noticeable while drinking straight from filter)

  • Less output flow than the Original (because smaller)
  • Weak Thread Gasket (I foresee it having problems with heavy use, since its thin)
  • Foresee it needing backflushed more frequently
  • Durability (Less plastic housing, means you can't be as rough)

The Sawyer Mini Water Filter has worked for some, but I do not have the patience to wait for the slow flow rate. Mostly to do with being acclimated its big brother. I will not consider to use it on long backpacking trips, because I do not want to have to backflush the filter twice as much. I would suggest this piece of gear to whom are looking for a budget item or keep it in their emergency kit. I personally would never use this filter in the backcountry.

Updated June 2016 by Barefoot Jake

Disclaimer:  I received this filter from Sawyer for the purpose of review.  All the words above are strictly my own opinion and do not reflect them.