Frugal Friday – Water Filters

Intro: Last week we spent the week on an island in the Adirondak Mountains. We paddle our canoe out to the island, set up camp, and use that home as a base camp for the week. Bringing a canoe means we can bring more gear than we normally would on a backpacking trip. It also means paddling all that heavy gear around. That means water gets left behind (In reality we have never taken bottled water with us anywhere but some of you do, so read on.)



Who wants to carry all that weight? Surrounded by clean mountain lake water the solution becomes to filter what we need. This year we brought our tried and true Katadyn Pump filter (which runs you about $85) and a newer option, the Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System – It’s at Walmart for under $20.



Some Details from the site-

Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System:

  • Ideal for outdoor recreation, hiking, camping, scouting, domestic and international travel and emergency preparedness
  • Weighs 2 oz
  • Filters up to 100,000 gal from any freshwater lake, river or stream
  • Removes harmful bacteria and protozoa, including Giardia and Cryptosporidium
  • Attaches to the included 16-oz squeeze pouch, standard disposable water bottles and hydration packs
  • Use the straw to drink directly from your water source
  • Can be cleaned and reused with the included cleaning plunger
  • Squeeze water filtration system includes the Sawyer Mini Filter, 16-oz squeeze pouch, drinking straw and cleaning plunger

The Highlights:

  • Incredibly lightweight
  • Easy to drink from
  • Multi-Use: Connecting to bottles, packs, or using as a straw
  • Simple – Don’t have to think much to use this one. Fill and drink


Room for Improvement:

  • Difficult to fill the pouch in standing water – With soft sides it was very difficult to get more than 10oz of water in the 16oz pouch. With moving water it filled right up – but in the lake or puddles the pressure on the soft sides kept it from filling all the way.
  • Limited capacity – 16oz is not much and if you want to filter water to another container instead of the pouch. It took about 2-3 times as long as a pump filter. Slow process
  • Durability Not sure about the durability of the plastic container. Time will tell


As a trail runner and backpacker this product will be in my gear pack for a long time. Its so much easier (quicker) to use than the pump filter when you are on the go, I mean you can literally drink right from a water source with it. Fill, and drink if you want some on the go. No thinking. It also saves considerable weight and space. Coming in at less than $20, if you are going to be in the back country and do not need to filter for multiple people or really large amounts of water this might be your best bet.

Give it a look – The Sawyer Mini Water Filter is a steal!

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