The Sawyer Mini Water Filter is easily one of the most versatile backpacking water filters on the market. It’s one of the lightest and conveniently compact filters currently available. You really can’t go wrong with a Sawyer Mini Filter. It can be used as a gravity filter, attached to a water bottle, ran through a straw, etc. That brings up an important question!
Can you drink straight from the sawyer mini filter? Yes you can drink straight from the sawyer mini. It comes with a 7″ straw that attaches to the water side to make drinking from the filter easier. You can also attach your filter to a water bottle, gravity filter, or use it in-line with a hydration bladder.
Whether or not you can and should drink from the Sawyer Mini is another question altogether. Getting face down into a water source to use the filter like a straw is easier said than done. Personally, I recommend picking up the Sawyer water bottle that’s designed to be used with the filter. It comes with a filter and it’s not that much more expensive than the filter alone.
In the rest of this article, I’ll go over a few other ways to use your Sawyer Mini water filter. It can be used in just about any backcountry application.
Drinking Straight From The Sawyer Mini
Sawyer’s Mini Filter is extremely versatile and easy to use. For the price, I think it’s the best backcountry water filter on the market (check it out). With so many different filtering options and capable of filtering over 100,000 gallons of water, it’s the the perfect backpacking water filter for groups of all sizes.
So how can I use my Sawyer Mini Water Filter? The most obvious way to use the filter is is to drink straight from the end. Dip the open one end into the water source and use it like a straw. It even comes with a 7″ rubber straw to make using it easier. The only downside is that you need to get right down into the water.
I’ll go over the four main ways to use your water filter and explain when you might want to use them.
- Straw: Dip the open/uncovered end of your filter into the water and suck it like a straw. Don’t be surprised at the amount of suction required. The new Sawyer water bottle makes using it like a straw easier. It’s like $8 more than for the water bottle system so that’s probably the best route to go.
- Inline Filter: This is main way I like to use my Sawyer Mini Filter. I set it up as an inline filter attached to my the hydration bladder in my pack. You can rig it up using a hose, but I’ve found that it’s cheaper/easier to use this adapter. It screws right onto the Sawyer mini and can be removed anytime.
- Attached to Bottle: I would buy the Sawyer water bottle, but you can screw the sawyer mini on almost any standard screw top water bottle. Most people recommend using the filter with Smartwater or Dasani bottles. I like using the 1 Liter Smartwater bottles since they’re the perfect size.
- Gravity Filter: Larger groups may want to use their filter like a gravity filter. Set it up between 2 Sawyer water bags and let gravity run the water down through your filter into another bag. Sawyer sells a gravity fed system, but I would tie it into a second bag so you can use the water for cooking/cleaning.
Drinking Straight From a Water Source
You can definitely drink straight from a water source, but it won’t be easy. The 7″ straw makes things a little bit easier, but you’ll have to really get down. Honestly, I’ve been backpacking for most of my life and never seen somebody get down and drink water straight from the source.
It’s so much easier to fill up a water bottle and drink from there. You can hangout and be comfortable instead of laying on the ground slowly sucking through a straw. It’s not like you won’t have a water bottle anyway! Don’t you want to have water while hiking down the trail?
I recommend picking up a Lifestraw if you insist on drinking straight from the source. At like a foot long it’s so much easier to drink straight out of the water. That’s exactly how they market their product. It’s more of a survival tool than backpacking/camping accessory.
It’s Hard to Suck Water Through
It can be hard to suck water through the sawyer mini filter so don’t expect to take long chugs of water. Slow sips aren’t that bad, but you won’t get more than 3-4 oz of water at a time. That’s why I like to use it as an inline filter with my hydration bladder. It’s so much easier to take a bunch of tiny sips throughout your hike.
You might want to use a gravity setup to get a bunch of water fast. I have to use one when hiking with my dog since she can’t suck through the filter. Setting it up and waiting shouldn’t take longer than 5-10 minutes per gallon. A 5 minute break can really be nice after a long hike.
Slow Flow Rate
Using a hand pump style water filter like the Katadyn Hiker Pro speeds up the filtration process. You can pump out a ton of water fast and quickly fill up your hydration bladder. This is great if you don’t like to use an inline setup. I don’t like using an inline filter on my trail running pack so I bring one of these along.