You’ve probably heard about the Sawyer Squeeze filter. It’s been making waves through the backpacking and thru-hiking worlds since its debut several years ago. Unlike the heavy, fragile dinosaurs of filters that backpackers had been using (I’m looking at you Katadyn Hiker Pro) the Squeeze offered an extremely light weight, long lasting, and durable filter for a fraction of the cost. Not to mention how easy it is to use. I’ve highly recommended (and still do) the Sawyer Squeeze for a backpacking filter in previous Youtube videos (See Here). Not too long after realizing their success with the Squeeze filter, Sawyer sought to offer a similar filter for backpackers, but at a reduced weight, size, and cost! Enter the Sawyer Mini.

Check out my video review below:

Functionally identical to the Squeeze, the mini simply reduced the size and weight of its older brother. This reduction comes at a cost though: flow rate. While the Squeeze could pump out a liter of water in around a minute or two, the newer Mini can take upwards of six minutes to do the same. In addition to this reduced flow rate, the mini tends to clog up much more frequently. This means you’ll be back-flushing the filter nearly weekly to ensure its flow rate doesn’t dip below its already paltry level. In comparison, the Squeeze only needed back-flushing about 2 or 3 times a month. I should say that I used the Sawyer Mini throughout the entirety of my PCT thru hike, while I used my Squeeze during my entire AT thru hike. I am using these experiences to draw my conclusions. Check out the table below for some more comparison:

Sawyer Squeeze vs. Sawyer Mini

Sawyer Squeeze

Sawyer Mini

Weight

2.5 oz (70.9g)

1.9 oz (53.9g)

Flow Rate

~1L per 2 min (Great)

~1L per 5.5 min (Very Low)

Back-flush Frequency

~Once every 2-3 weeks

~Once every week

Longevity

~1 Million Gallons

~100,000 Gallons

Input

Standard Bottle Threading

Standard Bottle Threading

Output

Standard Bottle Threading

Small, Capped Nozzle

 

 

 

As you can see, for most uses, the Squeeze simply excels over the lighter Mini. In almost all cases I would recommend the Squeeze over the mini. Here is my advice based on hiker type:

Thru-hiker: Absolutely go with the squeeze. The slight weight penalty will be of no concern compared to how much time the Mini will eat up filtering. You’ll be back on trail in no time with the Squeeze.

Weekender: I’d still stick with the squeeze. Less fuss.

Ultralighter / Minimalist: If you wish to still filter your water and remain ultralight, perhaps the Mini is for you, it is 0.6 ounces lighter… (Though maybe you should look into bleach or not filtering at all).

One other thing to consider is whether or not you are interested in using your Sawyer filter as an in-line filter on your water bladder. If so, the Mini is better set up to be used as such. Both sides of the filter have nozzles that are perfectly sized to fit into most water bladder lines, whereas the Squeeze does not have these nozzles and requires an adapter. The Mini’s reduced bulk also gives it a slight edge over the bulkier Squeeze in this instance.

Water Bladder Update: You may remember from my previous Sawyer Squeeze review that I recommended using an older model Platypus bag over the delicate Sawyer brand bags included with the filter. While the Sawyer bags have improved slightly in durability, they are still not up to snuff in my eyes (they last several weeks to a month from what I’ve seen). I’d previously recommended using older model Platypus bags (before they changed their threading to a incompatible one) with the Squeeze. Unfortunately, these are just not easy to find anymore, and it’s not worth the risk of buying an incompatible bag. Here are my two recommendations:

  1. Use an Evernew water bladder (Linked Here). Though not quite as durable as a Platypus, this water bladder is much stronger than the Sawyer bags and is finally easy to get a hold of.
  2. Use Smart Water bottles. Simply filter your water as you hike by screwing your filter onto the the threads of a Smart Water bottle (or any regular water bottle). This is actually my favorite way to filter water now. It saves so much time at the water sources, as you don’t have to stop and filter out your water.

 

You can pick up the Sawyer Squeeze filter here

OR

Pick up the Sawyer Mini filter here

 

Comments

Joe B.

Joe is a triple crown thru hiker that lives for anything outdoor adventure related. He loves delving into a complex DIY project, testing out the latest and greatest backpacking gear, rock climbing, hiking, and much more.

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