Friday, September 13, 2019

Why Sawyer?

Not actually Erin.
& is used with permission.
As a follow-up to Chaplain Tim's excellent post about the performance of  most commercially-available water filters, I'm going to take a moment to explain why I will still carry a Sawyer Mini water filter in my bug-out and get-home bags.

The Sawyer Mini is 5.5 inches long and 1.25 inches in diameter. Its nearest competitor, the LifeStraw, is nine inches long. Another competitor, the Renovo, has package dimensions of 12.5 x 6 x 2.2 inches.

This isn't to say you shouldn't get the Renovo. If viruses are a concern, by all means get it. Just keep in mind that it, the LifeStraw, and the Sawyer all have the the same rating for removing cysts and bacteria, and of the three the Sawyer takes up the least volume.

Speaking of the Renovo, it costs sixty-three dollars. Compare that to the LifeStraw's $17.47 or the Sawyer's $19.95 price tag. Think of what you could do with $40 more to spend on preps.

Alternately, spend half as much and get an H2O Survival Water Filter Travel Straw and be happy with log 5 (99.999%) virus removal.

Finally we have the true heart of the matter: how many gallons will your filter be able to filter before it stops working?
  • The LifeStraw will filter up to 1,000 liters or 264 gallons. 
  • The Renovo has varying performance based on its three separate filters. (Information source:
    1. The first, a chemical filter, has a filter capacity 150 gallons.
    2. The second, which filters bacteria, cysts, and particles, has a capacity of 100,000 gallons.
    3. The third, a virus filter, has a filter capacity of 90 gallons.
  • The H2O Travel Straw filters only up to 18 gallons.  
The Sawyer Mini, however is rated up to 100,000 gallons so long as you backflush it regularly. According to the Discerning Shootist's math, if you use it to filter 1 gallon per day (which is the normal daily water ration for a human being for drinking, cooking, and bathing), that is 273 years worth of use. While you will likely filter more than one gallon per day with it, and the plastic will degrade well before 250 years, the fact remains that this kind of longevity and efficiency is amazing, and that alone makes the Sawyer Mini a worthwhile part of any prepper's kit. 

A Brief Note about Viruses
I understand that viral infection is a real concern for many people. However, I feel that this fear should be tempered by a good long look at facts. 
  1. Waterborne viral diseases are caused by contamination with human and/or animal urine and feces. In other words, a small pool of rainwater high on a rocky outcropping (for example) is highly unlikely to have viral contamination. 
  2. Viruses are vulnerable to ultraviolet light, so a shallow pond is more likely to be free of viruses than a flowing stream or a deeper body of water. Keep in mind that the clearer the body of water, the deeper UV light can penetrate. If you can see to the bottom, there are no dead animals in the water and it's a sunny day, there are likely no viruses there. 
  3. Viruses are destroyed by heat, so boil or pasteurize any water you suspect may be contaminated. 


The Fine Print

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