When I first heard Sawyer was going to be releasing a mini version of the popular Sawyer Squeeze, I quickly shrugged it off and had very little interest in getting one. I have been using the Sawyer Squeeze on and off over the past year, trip dependent, and have grown quite fond of it. It is stupid easy to use, compact and lightweight. Considering my Squeeze was in great condition and had years of life left in it, I saw no reason to spend the money on a replacement.
But then . . . the new Mini was released to the public and I starting reading about a dry weight of 1.3 to 1.4oz. Hmm, dry weight on my original Squeeze is 3.1oz (88g). That’s a big difference. And price? Around $25 with shipping for the new Mini. An ounce and a half savings for $25? OK, I had to get one.
My first reaction upon opening the new Mini was amazement at just how small this thing really is. I had seen photos comparing the Squeeze and Mini and they just really didn’t convey the significant difference in size. You really need to hold this thing in your hand to appreciate the glorious smallness.
Contents of the package include:
Mini Filter: 1.4oz (40 grams), dry weight
Back-flush Syringe: 1.1oz (32 grams)
Straw: 0.2oz (6 grams)
16 fl oz Pouch: 0.8oz (22 grams)
My preferred method of using the original Squeeze was to scoop up some dirty water into a Smartwater bottle, attach the Squeeze and drink directly from it. I plan to continue using this method with the new Mini. I’ve never used any of the included Sawyer water bags, as I am unable to trust their durability. I’ve squeezed the hell out of Smartwater bottles and am still using the same ones from last year, they are extremely durable. I also have never carried the back-flushing syringe. My trips are limited to 3 or 4 days in duration, if I was doing a much longer trip, I would most likely carry the syringe. Also, If I was going to an area where I knew the water would most likely be heavy with sediment, I would probably take the syringe. Pre-filtering the dirty water through a bandana prior to running it through the filter is a good idea, as it should help to cut back on the need to back-flush. As a back-up, in case the filter ever would clog and/or fail, I always carry water treatment tabs. Sawyer, of course, recommends frequent back-flushing, so deciding whether or not to carry the syringe is a personal choice. I have had good luck so far and have not needed it, but your experience could be much different.
The three main reasons I would recommend getting one of the new Mini’s is size, weight and ease of use. Pump style filters are dead and with a filter as light as the Mini, chemicals only offer a slight weight advantage. Don’t get me wrong, I still feel there is a place for chemicals, as I will most likely bring them for cold weather trips where the filter would have a chance of freezing. For an affordable, lightweight, fast clean water option, I think you would be hard pressed to find another product that can beat the Mini.
As far as any cons I can think of at this time; questionable durability of the bag, a straw which I have no use for and the syringe weighs almost as much as the dry filter. These are really just nit picks and in no way would be enough to turn me off to using the Mini. The main variable in which I am looking forward to testing out is the clog factor. If the mini frequently gets clogged and I am forced to carry the syringe, then that would be the deal breaker. But I have high hopes for the Mini, considering my excellent track record with the original Squeeze.
Check out the Sawyer website for more detail on the 0.1 micron absolute filter and other ways to use the mini (such as an inline filter).