We don’t trust drinking the water while hiking anymore. Too many people out there get sick from water sources, thanks to the spread of giardia. So on the Appalachian Trail and here in Florida, we filter every drop. It takes a bit more effort and little more time. But so far, neither of us has suffered any “bad water'”related issues.
While on the AT we tried pills and drops, but eventually returned to our reliable Kathdin Hiker Pro. We found it easy to use, clean and find replacement filters for.
We later saw other hikers using a compact little filter. It fit in their shirt pocket and attached to many common drinking bottles. They would submerge the bottle or bag, fill it with water, screw on the filter, and squeeze the bag to drink right from their filter. It looked too good to be true.
The Sawyer Mini was the filter we had been seeing. And it’s produced right here in Florida, in Safety Harbor.
The folks at Sawyer sent us one to test. The first thing you notice is the size and weight. The water bag rolls up compactly, and the filter is about the size of a small pill bottle, approximately 5.5 inches long and only 3.5 inches in diameter.
I have carried the filter in my shirt pocket on day hikes. Walk over to a water source, check for gators, and fill the bag. Attach the filter and drink away.
The bag requires a little effort to squeeze, to force the water through the filter. But it takes considerably less energy than all those pumps required to produce a liter with our other filter. While the bag would be easy to fill at most AT water sources, Sandy found it almost impossible to fill the bag when a water source has a serious current, like the Kissimmee River, because the bag wants to float away.
Most hikers we see replace the bag with a leftover drinking water bottle, which will more easily submerge in any Florida water source. And yes, the tannic water came out drinkable.
The filter comes with a small syringe used to backflush it. Like the rest of this filter, it weights almost nothing and will also fit in your pocket.
The instructions say it’s good for 100,000 gallons of water. I didn’t want to wait that long to share our experience with this handy little water filter.
There’s no need to stay thirsty, my friends…..