I use the Sawyer Mini filters for water purification. I do this because my first need for water purification was on a humanitarian/missions trip with my good friend Cait with Hydromissions International. Cait uses sawyer filters on all of her trips and in the communities she works with, so I took her always wise advice. They are also not super expensive, (I found my first one on sale on Amazon)
Now after using these filters (the same filters in fact) since 2014, I am still very happy with the decision. These filters are versatile, durable, easy to use, and easy to clean.
My go-to set up for really any trip (backpacking or long day hikes) is to use the filter in-line with my bladder. As shown below:
I find this allows me to quickly re-fill my bladder, and get moving with fresh water the fastest and with the least amount of effort on my part. Zack, however, doesn’t necessarily agree, and sometimes gets frustrated that he has to suck a little harder to get the water through his filter. He has gone back and forth between the squeeze and in-line method and tends to stick with the in-line method.
The filter is super versatile and does allow us to go back and forth between in-line, which is why we will typically backpack with a filter in-line for each of us, and 1 spare filter with a squeeze bag (Also to squeeze water for Nova and dinner).
I try to clean the filters out after every use, because if you continue to use them without cleaning, they can slow down and be hard to use.
Sawyer has the best information on how to care for their filters, so I would always recommend using their website for specifics… but a brief overview on how easy it is to clean these filters:
– Fill the syringe provided with clean water, and backwash (go against) the arrow on the filter. After a few back washes your filter should be relativity clean. There are more steps you can take if this doesn’t solve your issues, but I recommend referencing Sawyer for that deeper clean.
Side Note: I also try to clean and leave dry our filters if I am not going to be using them for a few months (for example the winter months).
I have been very happy with this set up and haven’t come across too many issues. The only main complaint is that, as with all the bladder tubing we have had, it is difficult to re-arranging the system, sometimes we have to cut the hoses off if we can pull them off. Otherwise for our general uses of backpacking and hiking this system works wonderfully and helps to keep us drinking clean water easily and without a lot of thought.