[The Gear Replacement Series] Part 1: Water Filtration

A couple weeks ago on a day hike in Colorado Springs, my car was broken into and my backpack, with most of my camping gear in it, was stolen. As devastating as this is, I am trying to stay positive. Because of this incident, I get to find new camping gear and formulate the best backpacking set-up possible (within the constraints of a college student’s budget.) This post, along with my other future Gear Replacement Series articles, will compare what I had before to what I have replaced it with and a review of my new gear.

Let’s get started with water filtration

Before I lost everything: On my thru-hike, I started off with iodine tablets. These worked fine, but I got tired of waiting 30 minutes to drink after filling up my water bladder. By the time I got to Virginia, I decided to try something else and purchased a Sawyer Squeeze Filter. This filter was incredible! It cost around $30-40 which is what I would’ve spent on iodine tablets anyway. My only problem with the Sawyer Squeeze was that the pouch that it came with broke shortly after I got it. I was able to get by without the pouch by using a 1 liter Aquafina bottle instead.

The Replacement: In need of a new water filtration system, I made the trek to REI and was torn between buying the Sawyer Squeeze again or it’s ultra-lite version, the Sawyer MINI. The MINI is about $15 cheaper at $24.95 and is 1 ounce lighter, so I decided to change things up and purchase it.

Product testing: I was really excited to test the MINI out so I took it with me on a hike to Red Rocks Canyon Open Space. On the hike, I found a dirty looking lake and filled up a water bottle. I attached the straw to the Sawyer MINI and drank the water. It tasted as good as any filtered water from a gross lake can taste and I am extremely happy with the results.

All in all, the Sawyer brand filters are really incredible and I would recommend any of their filters for a thru-hike. If you’re looking to lower your pack weight by 1 ounce and save $15-ish dollars, the Sawyer MINI is the filter for you! I am content with my purchase and plan on using it for all of my backcountry trips this summer.

Coming soon–  The Gear Replacement Series part 2: Shelter

What do you use for water filtration?  Let us know in the comments below.

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Comments 1

  • Ray Alway : Feb 14th

    what was the weather like in Georga During your thru hike? I am planning on section hiking Georga this May. Thanks


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