Sawyer Sqeeze > Sawyer Mini

Items to keep you alive in the event you must evacuate: discussions of basic Survival Kits commonly called "Bug Out Bags" or "Go Bags"

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Sawyer Sqeeze > Sawyer Mini

Post by RonnyRonin » Mon May 09, 2016 11:51 pm

First off I'll admit guilt of the classic prepper sin, buying something with good reviews and throwing it in my BOB to cover a very important use without thoroughly testing it myself.

In my defense I did do a little testing, and I did have some redundancy built in.
After hearing all the good press around the Sawyer mini I couldn't help but buy one. The form factor was as good as it gets, the price was right, filter size was unbeatable, and the in-line or bottle top usability gave me lots of options.
Here is an older thread I started about my pump set up:
viewtopic.php?f=14&t=114461
As I mentioned, I built and tested the setup in Oregon where water is abundant and fairly clean, and then moved to CO where water is harder to find and more silty. I had a suspicion it wouldn't work that well in my new home but I put off giving it a real test. Playing around with it a little I had some problems but couldn't be sure if it was the cheap pump or the filter that was acting up.

I recently returned from a 2-night backpacking trip that required filtering a good bit of water from a rain-swollen creek. From the first glance at the water I knew the mini was going to clog, so my surprise was not in kind but in amount.

TL;DR version: the mini would filter about 0.25 liters before slowing to a near unusable rate, the larger Sawyer Squeeze filtered nearly 10 Liters before we decided to backflush it.

I brought the mini and my pump set up as my primary filter, with a rapid pure cartridge and chlorine dioxide as backup. My partner brought a brand new Sawyer Squeeze as his filter. He had used both the mini and the squeeze in the past, he was pretty sure from the start that I was not going to be happy with the mini, and while he had had some success with the squeeze his old one had started leaking pretty bad at the housing so he bought a new one to try out.
At the first pumping I got maybe half a liter before the pump refused to move water, I backflushed hard and brown water shot out, followed by clear water. Started pumping again. only got 0.25 liters this time, backflush again. 0.25 L again. Wondering again if the pump was at fault I filled one of my 2L platypus bottles and tried the squeeze/roll method with the mini screwed on the opening. Painfully slow flow rate and painful hands from squeezing so hard. After a few more tries I gave up and borrowed the Squeeze, worked just fine, and shockingly the Squeeze on gravity alone had nearly the flow rate of the mini squeezing as hard as I could.

Throughout that day and the next 2 we decided to see how long we could go without backflushing the squeeze before the flow rate became unusable, between the two of us we counted around 10 liters before we decided it had slowed enough to backflush (it had slowed to about the rate of the mini immediately after a backflush). It is worth noting that it took at least 4 full syringes worth of water before brown water stopped coming out of the filter, I was surprised at how much sediment the filter would allow to build up before slowing. In the next use as near as we could tell it had returned to its previous, as-new flow rate.

After the trip I took out my whole set up for post-trip maintenance and assessment. Found out that while a one syringe back flush would have clear water coming out the mini inlet, (and multiple follow up syringes yielding the same) I could then try to pump tap water (0.5L?) and then a re-backflush would release more dirty water. I had to repeat this more complex back-flushing ritual several times before clear water would reliably come out the inlet (I started just switching sides on the pump so that I could alternately pull and push water through the mini, it required many many syringes worth of water).
After all this I could move tap water through the mini with the pump, but squeeze-bag use showed that the amount of pressure required to move any amount of water was still very high, and a gravity only test released a small stream of drips.

So my surprise is not that the mini clogged, or that the Squeeze worked better. My surprise is that the squeeze has maybe double the filter media/surface area (probably less then double) and only 33% more weight, yet by our estimate worked better by a factor of 20. I would have guessed it could have worked twice as well, but 20 times better? And that is being conservative, as I mentioned the squeeze at its slowest was still keeping up with the mini at its fastest.

A cursory google search seems to imply that I am not alone, and that many users are going back to the classic squeeze after frustrations with the mini, if not ditching Sawyer all together.

So in closing, I am not saying the Mini will not work for you. I forgot to get a good picture but the water I was using was VERY dirty/silty. I am saying that no matter how well the mini works for you the squeeze might work MUCH better. The only reason I haven't already ran out and bought one is I still have the Rapid Pure that I intend to use for awhile, but even if I like it I might still buy a Squeeze or two for backup or stashing.

EDIT: I found my dirty bottle lurking in the background of a shameless knife-selfie. Gives a good idea of the water we where filtering, and you can even see the squeeze hiding at the edge of the pic:

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Last edited by RonnyRonin on Tue May 10, 2016 12:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sawyer Sqeeze > Sawyer Mini

Post by TacAir » Tue May 10, 2016 12:09 am

Any reason you didn't pre-filter at least some of the gunk before running the water thru the filter?
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Re: Sawyer Sqeeze > Sawyer Mini

Post by Maeklos » Tue May 10, 2016 12:19 am

TacAir wrote:Any reason you didn't pre-filter at least some of the gunk before running the water thru the filter?
This is what I was wondering. I keep a semi-loose weave cotton hanky as a general face wipe and pre-filter for my Katadyne just to keep out the looser bits of debris and floaty gunk.
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Re: Sawyer Sqeeze > Sawyer Mini

Post by RonnyRonin » Tue May 10, 2016 12:31 am

TacAir wrote:Any reason you didn't pre-filter at least some of the gunk before running the water thru the filter?
Partially poor planning and partially for science. I did have a few things I could have used, but once the differences between the two filters where so apparent I didn't have any desire to try to make the mini work better.

I discussed pre-filters with my hiking partner, either just a good inlet hose cover or even something like a Frontier Pro to filter to .2 mic before hitting the .1 mic at the sawyer, but once again if the Squeeze works fine without doing anything, why bother?
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Re: Sawyer Sqeeze > Sawyer Mini

Post by Maeklos » Tue May 10, 2016 12:49 am

RonnyRonin wrote: -but once again if the Squeeze works fine without doing anything, why bother?
If it'll chew up funky gunk and spit out fresh, no reason. Unless it degrades the lifespan?
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Re: Sawyer Sqeeze > Sawyer Mini

Post by RonnyRonin » Tue May 10, 2016 1:03 am

Doesn't in theory, but it is something I'd like to find out first hand. Even the Squeeze is cheap enough to be considered semi-disposable so I err on the side of being mean on casual trips to try to find out where the line is.

I do need to refine my intake hose on the pump set up though, it was pretty fiddly. A good pre-filter like what many commercial pump filters come with is on the list. The squeeze is going to be harder to use with my pump though as it isn't set up with the hose barbs, so with the typical bottle top configuration pre-filtering gets more bothersome.
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Re: Sawyer Sqeeze > Sawyer Mini

Post by Dragon80 » Tue May 10, 2016 2:26 am

I've had the exact same experiences. This is why I've gotten a second Squeeze, one is the All In One kit and stays at home inside of a 3 gallon bucket, the other is my go to for anything outdoors. I keep the Mini filters in everything else because they still work in a pinch.
BOB also used for backpacking
viewtopic.php?f=14&t=114606

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viewtopic.php?f=14&t=112108

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Re: Sawyer Sqeeze > Sawyer Mini

Post by moab » Tue May 10, 2016 11:18 am

What if your not filtering silty water with the mini? Did you read anything about that? Similar results?
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Re: Sawyer Sqeeze > Sawyer Mini

Post by RonnyRonin » Wed May 11, 2016 11:11 am

If you google "sawyer mini vs. sawyer squeeze" you should quickly see what I am referencing. Many posts on many forums vaguely referencing frustrations and switching back.
part of the impetus to post this mini-report is just to put a more specific data point out there: that with the same water the squeeze outperformed the mini by a significant and tangible amount. Also I like to think I'm not the only one who bought a mini and threw it in their BOB without perhaps due diligence, so this is also a sheepish word of warning. My position going forward will be to encourage anyone, regardless of how clean their local water is, to spend the extra oz and $20.

My assumption is that with any water in any condition the differences would still be significant and tangible, but ultimate suitability in your particular area is better determined by your efforts then my speculation.
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Re: Sawyer Sqeeze > Sawyer Mini

Post by moab » Wed May 11, 2016 11:23 am

RonnyRonin wrote:If you google "sawyer mini vs. sawyer squeeze" you should quickly see what I am referencing. Many posts on many forums vaguely referencing frustrations and switching back.
part of the impetus to post this mini-report is just to put a more specific data point out there: that with the same water the squeeze outperformed the mini by a significant and tangible amount. Also I like to think I'm not the only one who bought a mini and threw it in their BOB without perhaps due diligence, so this is also a sheepish word of warning. My position going forward will be to encourage anyone, regardless of how clean their local water is, to spend the extra oz and $20.

My assumption is that with any water in any condition the differences would still be significant and tangible, but ultimate suitability in your particular area is better determined by your efforts then my speculation.
Which version of the Squeeze is the best option to buy. I see the one with the 1 or 3 pouches, filter and syringe. And then I see ones with lots of extra fittings. Which one would you advise?
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Re: Sawyer Sqeeze > Sawyer Mini

Post by RonnyRonin » Wed May 11, 2016 12:25 pm

If you plan do just do the bottle top mode you just need the filter, if you plan to use a pump or gravity setup the barb fittings would be required. I wouldn't pay much for the sawyer bags as I think other bottles work better.
I don't have much use for it but I am intrigued by their bucket adaptor kit, might have to get one some day.
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Re: Sawyer Sqeeze > Sawyer Mini

Post by Woods Walker » Wed May 11, 2016 4:18 pm

I run a mini often but take care when water has silt and have needed to back flush in the field. I have the standard one brand new as the mini worked ok for me. Maybe I should crack it out for a comparison review? Great thread!
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Re: Sawyer Sqeeze > Sawyer Mini

Post by woodsghost » Wed May 11, 2016 7:54 pm

Peeing my pants with happyness over this thing:

http://www.amazon.com/Sawyer-Products-S ... yer+filter

Image

I hated backflushing the mini with that syringe. Now I can hook this up to the big one and use a water blatter or soda bottle to backflush it. I am SO in love!!!!
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Re: Sawyer Sqeeze > Sawyer Mini

Post by RonnyRonin » Wed May 11, 2016 9:36 pm

Good find! two ounces at a time backflushing does get old, that would definitely speed things up. Not only that, but spill-proof filtering from one bottle to the other; but I think it would only work with a deflated platy bag on the receiving end.
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Re: Sawyer Sqeeze > Sawyer Mini

Post by Murph » Thu May 12, 2016 8:50 am

I did a section hike of the AT last week, and if I had to guess out of the thru hikers I met: 80% had the Squeeze, 10% the Mini, and 10% something else. Several people I talked to said they had ditched the Mini for the Squeeze at some point, all because of complains of flow rate.
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Re: Sawyer Sqeeze > Sawyer Mini

Post by RonnyRonin » Thu May 12, 2016 1:40 pm

Very interesting.
I would say a lot of the data is skewed toward starting the AT then finishing, you can find lots of pre-trip gear lists, but naturally content from thru-hikers trails off as they go and post-trip shake downs are less common. A year or two ago I would have guessed the squeeze/mini ratio was flipped, but who knows how many switched part way through.
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Re: Sawyer Sqeeze > Sawyer Mini

Post by Murph » Thu May 12, 2016 5:47 pm

RonnyRonin wrote:Very interesting.
I would say a lot of the data is skewed toward starting the AT then finishing, you can find lots of pre-trip gear lists, but naturally content from thru-hikers trails off as they go and post-trip shake downs are less common. A year or two ago I would have guessed the squeeze/mini ratio was flipped, but who knows how many switched part way through.
The area of Virginia I was hiking in was right round the 900 mile mark of 2,200~ miles.
Does your BOB at least have: water, basic tools, fire, food, first-aid kit, and shelter?
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Re: Sawyer Sqeeze > Sawyer Mini

Post by RonnyRonin » Fri May 13, 2016 1:08 pm

Any other observations you made? that does sound like a prime spot to hear from them about what has and hasn't went as planned.
What packs are the cool kids sporting this season?
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Re: Sawyer Sqeeze > Sawyer Mini

Post by Murph » Fri May 13, 2016 2:21 pm

RonnyRonin wrote:Any other observations you made? that does sound like a prime spot to hear from them about what has and hasn't went as planned.
What packs are the cool kids sporting this season?
The Osprey Atmos AG Pack (50L / 65L) and it's $35 extra rain cover was the hotness for packs. There were also a number of Osprey Exos 58s around too.

A major of people were sporting the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Sleeping Pad.

There were a bunch of MSR PocketRocket Stoves with TOAKs mug/pots and also various models of JetBoils. I personally despise both of those stoves (Go Team SnowPeak!), but I agree with the fact that iso-butane stoves are where it's at. It sounded like people who had alcohol stoves got fed up with them, despite the weight savings.

Mostly Frogg Toggs for rainsuits. I was a hater on FTs, but now I'm a believer after a week of wet, and you can't beat the price.

I didn't notice any other trends in gear, for what it's worth.
Does your BOB at least have: water, basic tools, fire, food, first-aid kit, and shelter?
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Re: Sawyer Sqeeze > Sawyer Mini

Post by RonnyRonin » Fri May 13, 2016 2:49 pm

That's a pretty thorough assessment in my book.
I get pretty wrapped up in the cottage gear world so it is always a bit of a shock when I remember that the huge majority of people are still rocking ospreys, even on the long trails. I think the Hyperlite/ULA/GG/MLD/z-packs users are disproportionately represented on social media.
interesting notes on stoves, I'm just starting the stove search and reassess period all over again. Coming off a wood kick, going to try alcohol again but all the new tiny pocket-rocketesque stoves always have the edge on quick and easy.

I've thought for awhile now that if FTs come out with some cuts other then "mega baggy with t-rex arms" they would have a pretty firm grip on the market.

Shelter trends?
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Re: Sawyer Sqeeze > Sawyer Mini

Post by KnifeStyle » Sat May 14, 2016 10:54 am

I did the exact, same, thing. Heard the Mini was the standard...then using it in low-tide swampland had me struggling to get small amounts due to the slow flow, particularly if you're trying to use large amounts instead of sipping from a bag as many do. Unless you're sipping from a filtered pouch/bottle or hanging this one at camp, do not expect this one to do the job. I keep hearing from AT people that they prefer the Squeeze for similar reasons.
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Re: Sawyer Sqeeze > Sawyer Mini

Post by Woods Walker » Sat May 14, 2016 1:10 pm

I found the connectors to replicate the two hose adaptor ends of the mini for the squeeze. Should make them both the same for the test in terms of versatility. Sawyer sells the adapters.
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Re: Sawyer Sqeeze > Sawyer Mini

Post by Woods Walker » Sat May 14, 2016 1:15 pm

RonnyRonin wrote:That's a pretty thorough assessment in my book.
I get pretty wrapped up in the cottage gear world so it is always a bit of a shock when I remember that the huge majority of people are still rocking ospreys, even on the long trails. I think the Hyperlite/ULA/GG/MLD/z-packs users are disproportionately represented on social media.
interesting notes on stoves, I'm just starting the stove search and reassess period all over again. Coming off a wood kick, going to try alcohol again but all the new tiny pocket-rocketesque stoves always have the edge on quick and easy.

I've thought for awhile now that if FTs come out with some cuts other then "mega bayggy with t-rex arms" they would have a pretty firm grip on the market.

Shelter trends?
I like wood with a bit of alcohol aka hobo with alcohol burner. Pepsi can double wall is still my favorite burner though like them all. That said the Pocket Rocket is the microwave of the woods.
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Re: Sawyer Sqeeze > Sawyer Mini

Post by moab » Sat May 14, 2016 3:56 pm

[/quote]I like wood with a bit of alcohol aka hobo with alcohol burner. [/quote]


How do you that exactly? Sounds interesting.
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