Sawyer Mini Review

24 January 2019, Thursday

Greetings from our family to yours and Welcome to another TrailMagick89 missive,

Today we are looking at the Sawyer Mini. Usually we do not look at gear products, however as the year continues we will be looking at more and more gear. And to kick off the reviews for TrailMagick89 we are looking at the Sawyer Mini Water Filter: Blue Mini SP128. In true TM89 fashion I will not pull any punches on the review you are about to read. Let us begin.


We purchased our Sawyer Mini on 4 January 2019, it arrived about five days later from Amazon with the two day’s free delivery service. We took it out of the packaging and included in the package was one grey straw, one back flush syringe, and one 16 ounce Squeeze Water Filtration System Bag. We had a busy week that week so we tested it on the only bad water source we had access to (heck, we did not even have snow that week, that we could melt down to test it on.)

The water source was the City of Clio water system. Well water is something I enjoy, city water not so much, and Clio city water not at all. The water here in our part of Clio leaves a film on the surface of everything we wash and we frequently have to rewash dishes, along with what looks like gasoline floating on the surface, and it daily smells like bleach. I am not sure as to why but I usually have heart burn when I drink the water. Since moving here, a little over two years ago, I have cut down from a pot of coffee a day to half a cup of coffee every three days.


So, we tested the one water source we had access to and we have done about ten to twelve gallons of the wonderful city water, and as wonderful as it is, I have stopped having heartburn. And I am slowly drinking more water, straight water, flavored water and glorious, glorious coffee. I know that you have figured out that we have definitely been filtering the water to drink. And it has been a blessing to be able to drink water again.

The Sawyer Mini according to the package can filter up to 100,000 gallons of water from lakes, rivers, and streams. I believe the “up to” is the key phrase in the description. And when the testing was done they either had their Sawyer Mini rigged up to a water flow system that would periodically back flush their Mini or some poor soul was assigned the task to back flush it quite frequently, which meant some dishpan like hands. Do not get me wrong the Mini has been a blessing.

However, in those ten to twelve gallons of water we have filtered into water jugs, we have had to back flush about every three gallons, and I know that does not sound like much of a big deal for filtering tap water into a jug, and in reality it is not. On the other hand when we are out on the trail that will be a big deal as it will be water and time wasted. On days when I am out in the sun backpacking I usually drink one to one and a half gallons per day. Now there are the days, since my diagnosis, that Sweets is out with me that we can easily between us, drink three gallons together.

So let us look at what the issue truly is. I am filling the water bag with water, putting on the filter, flipping it upside down so that the exit end of the filter is pointed into the jug, and I wait for it to drain. That was not so difficult. I have noticed since we have been using it from the first day until the writing of this post the flow rate has reduced by half, it is down to a trickle. Now granted I have used it as a gravity system and not at the top of a bottle to drink dirty water out of. Gravity can only do so much.

That all being said, I love the Sawyer Mini. Regardless of how slow it is and how often I have to back flush the filter, I am able to drink fresh, clean water again.

I have used this filter the improper way because the above mentioned equipment is all I have with it. I have not yet ordered the proper equipment to create a gravity system. And that is next on my list of equipment to order from Sawyer. Now…


I love putting each piece of equipment I have through many tests to see if it with function in a pinch the way I may need it to. As I finish this post I have it screwed onto a Smart water bottle filled with more city water, and just like the water that is in the water jugs in the kitchen, this water tastes just fine and I do not have heartburn from it.

Something that I have yet to see mentioned in a single video or blog is that when you drink out of the bottle since you are reducing the volume of water in the bottle, the bottle is collapsing. If you are a first time user, it may or may not dawn on you that this will happen. Every once in a while just crack the seal between the Sawyer Mini and the Smart Water bottle. As with any plastic if the bottle stays in the collapsed shape for a period of time it will stay that way and when out on the trail, that means that you will have less volume of water that you are able to carry.


We appreciate that you stuck around until the end. If, you have found any value in this post, make sure to hit the “Like” button and “Subscribe” to TrailMagick89 blog. Please feel free to share your thoughts below. And until next time; make sure to seek peace within your own life. You can also find us on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Amazon, and of course WordPress.

Semper Fidelis, Elroy & Sweets

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