Stop Carrying Water! – Sawyer Mini Review

Water is a key part of any airsoft or camping kit. You need to be drinking around 2 litres per day, and if you’re cooking, you’ll need some for that and some for cleaning afterwards. For a weekend away playing airsoft, that’s probably going to be at least 6 litres including a little bit for cooking if you camp overnight. The problem is, carrying THAT much water is a lot of weight, especially if you’re somewhere that doesn’t have clean tap water available. Even a large 3-litre hydration pack is going to force you to carry a few bottles as well, and that’s also a lot of extra space in your kit bag or rucksack. When I go camping, it can be anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks and water is always a massive headache, and incidentally causes massive headaches if you don’t hydrate enough. Thankfully, last year I found a very lightweight solution to the problem and it’s completely changed my whole approach to carrying water. If I had a “best buy” of recent years, it’s this…

It’s a Sawyer mini water filter, and of all the water filters available I think it’s easily the best choice out there. I know there are straws, but I’d rather not have to sit and suck up a puddle using a straw.

There’s a lot of sales waffle and numbers but the key points for me are that this device removes 99.9999% of bacteria and crap, including salmonella, cholera and E.Coli (not something I’d like to have to deal with), and it’s good for 100,000 gallons. I think so far I’ve used about 3 gallons max, so that’s probably a lifetime of use for most people, and a lot more than many comparable filters I was looking at. But it wasn’t just the numbers I was interested in, it was how it worked. I didn’t want a straw, I wanted something I could use to refill my water bottles, which in turn can fill cooking pots etc.

Yes, I got the camouflage version. In hindsight, the brightly coloured one would be easier to find…

The Sawyer comes in a kit that includes a tube to use as a straw if you like, a syringe for cleaning and a foldable water bottle. It can connect to any normal soft drinks bottle, so you can fill the soft drinks bottle up from any water source and drink through it like a straw. It can be hooked up in line with your hydration pack, so you suck through the filter for clean water, but I much prefer a two bottle approach. I carry a British Army 58 pattern water bottle (of course it is) with me when I go camping or to airsoft, which holds 1 litre of water. This is my clean water source, and is the only bottle I have to carry now which cuts down massively on space and weight. Also comes with a cup, which is nice if you need to show good manners in the wild.

You simply fill the foldable bottle with dirty water from a stream, lake, pond or whatever water you can find (obviously you’ll need to be able to find some but nature is usually full of it). The filter then screws onto this “dirty water” bottle (it only goes on one way)

This end also fits standard soft drinks style bottles, and screws on.

And then there’s an arrow to show you which way the water flows, from dirty to clean…

The other end just needs to be directed to your clean water bottle or container (or your mouth I guess) and you squeeze the water in, through the filter. It’s that easy. Then you have clean, safe drinking water for whatever you need. If water is scarce, then fill your clean bottle up and fill up the dirty water bottle again and take it with you to filter later.

Compact

It’s very small and lightweight, so I just roll it up and stick it in a pocket or pouch, usually my first aid kit pouch. Much smaller than adding another five 1 litre bottles. Superb bit of kit, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is doing anything outdoors, or just travelling.

  • Could I piss in a bottle and then safely drink it? Haven’t tried it yet and to be honest, a bit reluctant to but if there’s ever a situation where I had to, I’d feel a lot more comfortable if it was filtered first…

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