Staying hydrated while out exploring the outdoors is essential to both your health and performance.

If you run out of water while in the wilds you could end up in trouble pretty quickly.

The temptation for many walkers is often to find a fast flowing stream where you can fill up your bottles as many think mountain and hill streams consist of, according to popular belief, an abundance of safe to drink water. Unfortunately these days this belief is wrong.

Thanks to pollution, farm run-off and the wide use of aggressive pesticides, many natural water sources found in the hills and glens of Scotland can pose a danger to your long term health.

So what do you do?

Well the solution is quite straight forward. You have to filter the water before drinking it.

There are many weird and wonderful filtration systems available. Some are bulky hand-pump powered devices and others are need to be strung up for hours to allow gravity to help in the filtering process and others a bit more walker friendly such as the Mini Water Filtration System from Sawyer.

Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System

Sawyer have produced a very small and simple to use system that can easily fit in a backpack and will solve your water filtration needs should you suddenly find yourself waterless.

The system, which weighs in at 65 grams, is designed to allow the user to drink directly from a water source as a straw, attach to the included squeeze pouch, used inline with a water bladder or even attach to standard threaded bottles.

The filter is made of 0.1 micron hollow fibre and is capable of removing 99.9% of bacteria (salmonella, cholera and E.coli) and 99.9% of protozoa (cryptosporidium and giardia) as well as filtering out any particulates that you may of scooped up.

The lifespan of the filter is approximately 460,000 litres which is remarkable given it’s size. The reason for it lasting so long it that the filter can be backwashed after use using the included cleaning plunger. This process restores the filter back up to 98.5% effectiveness throughout it’s lifespan.

In use

The system is remarkably easy to use. Used as a drinking straw it is quick and convenient and for those of you who regularly travel abroad to where the local water is sometimes quite suspect then having this ability to use the filter this way is superb.

The squeeze bag option is a good solution for those us collecting water from streams or burns as it is simply the case of taking the cap off and filling the bag, connecting it to the filter and squeezing the filtered water through. The bag is collapsible, doesn’t take up too much space and can be easily cleaned. Replacement bags are available online and are fairly inexpensive should you need to replace it.

There is an option to screw the filter on to a standard threaded bottle. Not all bottles are created the same so you will need to try different bottles until you find one that fits the filter correctly. I found that most UK juice and water (ready-filled kind) bottles fit well.

You can fit the filter to your water bladder as well by placing it on the hose. This does require you cutting the hose to fit it. I personally haven’t tried this setup but I do know a few hill runners who have and they claim that it works well provided you position the filter in a good place on the hose so it remains secure.

The cleaning process is very straight forward and Sawyer recommends backwashing your filter when you flow rate begins to diminish, before prolonged storage and when you are ready to start using your filter again. Sawyer provide a good FAQ section on filter care through their website –


After testing the filter while out in the hills during the good weather that we have had in Scotland recently I found it to be a good addition to my backpack. The build quality is good and the options it provides the user with in terms of use is excellent.

It delivers what it should without any issues if you have a need to source water while out exploring the countryside and, at a price of only £30, I think it is an option many walkers won’t ignore.

Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System

Overall Design - 9
Overall Quality - 9
Effectiveness - 10
Value For Money - 10



It delivers what it should without any issues should you have to source water while out exploring.


Weight: 65 grams
Filter Size: 0.1 microns
Flow Rate: 0.6 litres/min
Filter Life: 460,000 litres
Available From: Amazon

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  • Tom Cree

    I have owned a sawyer filter for a number of years now and it is one of my must take bits of equipment no matter where i go. Looking forward to reading more reviews.

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