The Sawyer Mini is worth every bit of the $20 I spent on it. It's lightweight, portable, and doesn't take up a lot of room in your pack. I remember seeing the LifeStraw and thinking, while it's a great idea for emergency situations it seems very limited. You would have to lean down near the water and sip from the stream. You have no way of transferring water to a water bottle for later drinking.
I suppose you could fill your bottles and sip from them, but this seems ineffective as now your bottles are contaminated. The other option, is water filtration tablets. I've tried these before and while they're effective, they can leave the water tasting...less than ideal.
Then there is the Sawyer Mini. The compact water filtration system that cleans water effectively and doesn't leave the water tasting terrible. It comes with a foldable water pouch so you can collect water from the stream.
From there you screw on the Sawyer and either squeeze the water out of the pouch into your water bottle or you can drink it from the Sawyer. Another benefit of the Sawyer is it can be attached inline to a Camelbak. I haven't personally done this, because I don't have a Camelbak but it is fairly straightforward to do from what I've seen online.
The Sawyer being the right choice for me became cemented the first time I used it while on a weekend hike in the mountains of Georgia. I was extremely thirsty and instead of having to lean down near the stream and drink while holding myself up from not falling in the stream. I was able to simply lean down fill up a water pouch and drink. It was a simple affair, it left me impressed with the Sawyer.
Having clean drinking water while camping is paramount, and to do so without adding extra weight is especially useful. Water is adds a large amount of weight to your pack but an obvious necessity.
Having a way to not have to cut down on the amount you will need to carry without having to boil the water to make it safe is always worth the cost. At around $20 it's not a painful cost for a large benefit. The Sawyer is my go to for having filtered water on my hikes. Stay hydrated, not thirsty my friends.
Remember, Adventure is Calling!
June 4th, 2015