Pat Cascio’s Product Review: Sawyer Mini Water Filter

You Must Have A Source Of Safe Drinking Water. Without It, You Will Die!” I don’t know how many times I said this in my many articles over the past 25+ years, or when speaking to people about survival, but I still can’t drive the point home to some folks. I get questions like “but the water is crystal clear (from a stream or creek), so I know it’s okay to drink.” Many people just refuse to believe that it’s what you can’t see with the naked eye in crystal clear water that will kill you. You can die from a bullet instantly, or you can die a slow and agonizing death from the millions of bugs, bacteria, Protozoa, cysts, and other nasty things that neither the naked eye can see nor your nose smell nor your tongue taste.

We live on a very small rural homestead that is about six miles from one very small rural town and 10 miles from another small rural town that is well off the beaten path. Our water comes from our own well. We have a large filter in the pump house that must be serviced every two years because of iron bacteria. However, we also have water filters in our house, and we filter all of our drinking water before drinking it.


Our preps consists of many different methods of filtering/purifying our drinking water. We don’t believe in only having one source for access to safe drinking water. One is none, and two is one, and more methods are even better. We take safe drinking water seriously! Many readers who live in the big city, simply take it for granted that they will always have safe drinking water. However, what happens when the flow from the tap stops? Where will your drinking water come from then? And, how will you know it is safe to drink that water?

Like many preppers and gun guys, we are always looking for an excuse to buy more gear and toys (read: guns) for our survival. However, every now and then I run across a product and say, “How can I not buy it?” Such is the case with the Sawyer Mini Water Filter that we all have in our bug out bags. Sawyer is known world wide for providing filters for making water safe to drink. Millions of units have been sold, and they do manufacture many different types of filters. Long time friend and one of my old martial arts students, Rob from Colorado, recently told me about the Sawyer Mini Water Filter. I try to keep up on these things, but I wasn’t aware of this model.


The Sawyer Mini Water Filter is capable of filtering up to 100,000 gallons of water. Huh? What? Yes, you read that correctly. It can filter up to 100,000 gallons of water. This particular filter is meant for filtering water from a fresh water source– a fresh water lake, stream, or creek. It is not designed to filter sewer water or other “dirty” sources of water that may contain viruses. It is a very rare case for fresh water sources to contain a virus. So, please keep this in mind. This filter is for making water safe to drink from a fresh water source.

The Sawyer Mini Water Filter is one of the smallest types of water filters you can find. It is easy to store in your bug out bag or the glove box of your vehicle. It weighs only a few ounces. You get the filter itself, a water storage collection bag that holds 16 ounces of water, a straw, and a syringe to back-flush your filter when the flow of drinking water starts to slow down. You can even attach the filter to many sports drinking bottles. It simply screws right on. Make sure you have a bottle that fits the filter.

To use the filter, you simply collect fresh water from a stream, creek, or lake into the collection bag or into your own water bottle, and then sip through the top of the filter. It’s easy as easy can be! If you suspect that the fresh water source is contaminated in any way with a virus, you can add a drop or two of chlorine bleach into the water bottle or collection bag. However, as mentioned, it is a very rare case, where a fresh water source will have a virus. Act accordingly! One can carry a small bottle of water in their bug out bag that has chlorine bleach in it. Again, act accordingly.


When the water flow from the filter starts to slow, it is easy to clean by back-flushing. Take some of your filtered water, and draw it into the provided syringe, and squirt it through the opening of the filter– the top opening, where your mouth goes to suck water in. Do this a few times, and the filter has been back-flushed, and you are good to go for a long, long time before needing to clean the filter again. Did I happen to mention that this mini water filter can filter up to 100,000 gallons of safe drinking water? Yeah, I thought I did but wanted to mention it again. It is not a typo. It can filter up to 100,000 gallons of water, making it safe to drink.

I’m ready to turn 65 years of age. I never thought I’d live this long or I would have taken better care of myself. However, I’m not a math whiz, and I never have been, but I’m sure I won’t drink another 100,000 gallons of water for as long as I live. That means I won’t have to replace this filter.

I would be hard pressed to draw water from a mud puddle or other source of “dirty” water to drink, and I do have water filters that are capable of making “dirty” water safe and clean to drink. Now, with that said, I would still try to avoid collecting and drinking that source of water if possible. The Sawyer does not make salt water safe to drink, nor does any other similar water filter. That’s an entirely different process called desalinization, and it isn’t practical for everyday survival!


My family has been very impressed with other Sawyer Water Filters and are even more impressed with their mini water filter. Like most folks, my wife and I live from paycheck to paycheck most months, and we spend our money very carefully, always looking for the best bargains we can find. However, when it comes to survival gear and our safety, we refuse to cut corners. There is no junk for us! You can go into any of the big box stores and find all manner of camping equipment by names that will be familiar to you. However, we avoid most of that stuff. It is meant for weekend camping, and it won’t last you in a survival situation. We look at military surplus or gear designed for the military and for serious survival. We just refuse to cut corners.

The water collection pouch that comes with the Sawyer is not the sturdiest bag, and I can see it ripping if not cared for. So, I would suggest having a sports water bottle, a good one, and using that for collecting your water you want to filter. However, if the provided bag does rip, you can always use duct tape (and you do have duct tape in your bug out bag, right?) to repair it. Or you can use the provided straw and drink directly from the water source. The only drawback to this method is that you can’t carry any extra water with you once you leave that water source, and it might be a while before you run across another fresh water source. Be advised!


So, we were pleasantly surprised that the Sawyer Mini Water Filter is selling for under $20. Yes, you read that right. It is under $20, if you shop around. How can you not justify buying one of these water filters for each member of your family, and having a few extra on-hand? On Amazon, a single Sawyer Mini Water Filter is selling for a few cents above $20 each with with free 2-day shipping to Prime members. There are deepening discounts for 2-packs and 4-packs, which get the price per unit down to about $18.50.

For those of you who aren’t listening to what I and others have to say about water, I’ll repeat myself once again, and I’m yelling as loud as I can. “You Must Have A Source For Safe Drinking Water. Without It, You Will Die!

– Senior Product Review Editor, Pat Cascio