Monday, March 3, 2014

Sawyer Squeeze Mini Final Review

Sawyer Squeeze Mini Final Review
First of all thank you to Sawyer for giving me a free mini squeeze filter to review!

This will be my final review for the Sawyer Squeeze mini filter.    I used the filter on about ten day hikes and on one backpacking trip.  Right away the gasket failed while using the filter with a water bottle.  I got new gaskets at the hardware store and they worked well.  I know that Sawyer will mail out new gaskets for free, but I did not feel like waiting and gaskets are very cheap to buy.

The cap on the outflow end has a small retaining ring.  The cap was often difficult to get off and one time I had to use so much pressure to get the cap off that the retainer broke.  So now when I have to get the cap off there is no retainer and sometimes the cap flies away into the woods. 

I took the Sawyer mini on a backpacking trip to the ocean and the filter worked well and it was so much better than a pump filter, but the gasket kept falling out.  I think my replacement gaskets were too small.

I would dip my bladder into a river and then attach the Sawyer and squeeze water through the bladder into a bottle.  The chance of contamination with this method was high, I felt.  Untreated river water could drip down the bag and into my bottle.  Certainly one must take care when using all filters.

I love the squeeze filter concept, and I love that Sawyer is doing such wonderful work to bring clean water to folks in developing nations.  But I don’t think I will use my mini filter anymore.  I hope to buy (or better yet be given) a couple of regular sized  Sawyer Squeeze filters for my planned PCT Oregon hike with my daughter this summer.  The regular sized Squeeze filter has a faster flow and a built in push pull cap.  I don’t know if the regular has the same gasket issue.  I think that gasket issues can be averted by using the filter with a bag instead of a bottle.

Clearly Sawyer has revolutionized back country water filtering with the squeeze system.  The regular sized squeeze weighs almost nothing compared to a traditional pump filter and the flow is faster.  I have not used the regular sized Sawyer squeeze filter, but I feel that the regular sized Sawyer Squeeze filter is the best option for me.  I just had too many issues with the mini that make it not worth the one ounce of weight saved.


Chad said...

That is a bummer to hear that the Mini is not working out for you... A few thoughts though after reading your post...

Probably the biggest issue I have read about the Squeeze filter was the gasket failing. I had a Squeeze, which I got rid of once I got the MIni, but I replaced the gasket in the Squeeze when I first got it for no other reason than reducing weight. I used a gasket that came out of a water hose, which fit perfectly, and it never fell out. However, when I got the Mini (also supplied for free) I decided to keep the supplied gasket in place to try. I have now used the Mini on a few day hikes, as well as a few backpacking trips, and have yet to experience any problems with it so far. I personally feel like over-tightening the filter could possibly be one cause of the problems some folks have experienced, although, I can't say for sure. However, when screwing the filter to a bladder/bottle, I am sure just to snug it up and no more. I can't see any reason to over tighten it.

As for the cap on the outflow end, how is it that the cap is getting so tight on yours? Is it possible that it is getting pushed against something in your pack, causing it to be so tight? Again, mine is just snugged over the nipple, and I have not had any difficulties with getting mine off, as well, the entire piece is still in tact, so it will not fall off. However, I do agree, I think that this could be one of the weak spots...

As for water rolling off the bag, down the filter and into your clean water, the easiest solution to this is to simply wipe the bladder off before attaching it to the filter, or after, just don't turn it upside down first. This can be done with a bandana, a towel, across your shirt, or even across your leg. Whether you are using the Mini or the Squeeze though, this could be a problem for both, but it is a simple fix that takes about 2 seconds to do by just wiping it off.

Anyway, it is great to hear that you are going to stick with the Sawyer filters. I believe that they have really cornered the market on filters, and for me, there is not better filter, whether it is the Mini or the Squeeze, although, for me, in every way, the Mini is an improvement over the Squeeze.

Anyway, I hope that this helps some, and that you give the Mini another chance!


Mossy Mom said...

Hi Chad, Thanks for your well though out comment. I think the gasket issues happen when the squeeze is used with a water bottle. The water bottle, as it empties creates a suction on the gasket that pulls it back down into the bottle. A hard rubber gasket from the hardware store might be able to stand up to this better than the white gasket that the Squeeze comes with. Bags don't seem to create that same suction as they are foldable and giving, unlike a hard plastic bottle.

I am probably putting the cap on too tight for fear of it falling off. I'd prefer if there was no way to put it on too tight. I like the looks of the push pull cap on the regular squeeze. Maybe they could put the same cap on the mini in the future.

Yes wiping with a towel or running clean water down the bag could solve problems of possible water comtamination or just not dipping your bag into the water. With any filter it's possible to contaminate your water and get sick. Ray Jardine felt that people who used filters got sick more often due to being lax about water sources and cross contamination. This would be with any filter and not specific to the squeeze.

I actually don't filter my water at all on my dayhikes in the Olympics, so any amount of fuss is too much fuss for me. I drink right out of the streams as long as they are above the tree farm line and not near a campsite.

If I get outside my home range then I will be filtering water for sure.

I enjoy reading your blog and watching your videos.

Chad said...


That is a good point about it acting different with different bottles attached to it. I will admit, my method of choice only requires me to attach the filter to the soft bladder, so I can't really comment much on how it works when attached directly to a bottle. Although, on my previous Olympic hike, watching Jake simply dip his Smartwater bottle in the stream, then attach the filter and keep going was awfully tempting... :)

Gotcha on the cap for the nipple too... as far as this is concerned, it does sound like the Squeeze is a better fit for you...

Also, as I am sure you are aware, there have been a few times where dipping the bladder in a small puddle just didn't work, so I have also been carrying a cut down water bottle so I can scoop and pour. This does help as far as keeping a majority of the contaminated water off of the bottle, however, not all, so a quick wipe is still a good idea.

And I totally agree with you about how easy it is to cross contaminate a filter... which is part of the reason why I quit using them some time back. However, the Squeeze reintroduced me to filters, and I gotta admit, I have been quite happy every since...

Anyway, this is a perfect example of how one item may work for some while it may not work for others... Good thing we have so many options though! :)


7675Driver said...

Hi , I enjoy your blog !
I just used my Sawyer Mini on an eight day trip to Peru including hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Pichu .
I attached my Mini filter inline on my CamelBak hose , with the filter on the end . I also atrched a CamelBak bite valve to the end of the filter . Then all you have to do is fill up your water bladder and keep hiking ,just drink right through the filter and worked Great !
I carried an extra Mini filter and squeeze bottle to use when in camp or when no bottled water was available , again it worked great , no leaking or any negative issues at all. The filter is so light and the water flow rate is so good through it that I will always have it on my CamelBak hose and in my pack..
Happy Hiking , Bob