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Water system/gear?


Reflex

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Not sure what I need to bring...? I currently have.

2L hydration bladder

32 oz Gatorade bottle

Sawyer Mini System which comes with a 16 oz water pouch; does it only work with the 23.7 Smartwater bottle?

Smartwater bottle 23.7 oz

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I usually carry a 2L Camelbak and a 32 oz bottle for camp and using a Steripen.

Have you used the Sawyer mini? I bought one and took it out once - it's been in my garage collecting dust with my Giga Power stove ever since. The tiny water bag can't be completely filled in standing water, so you squirt maybe 8 oz. at a time and it takes forever to fill a qt. I've posted this story a dozen times on the internet and the Sawyer Mini fans jump on me like I just kicked their puppy. I know several people who backpack with the Mini and every one has made significant modifications to the system. So do a google search to figure out how to tweak yours so it's actually useable, or buy a real filter.

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Aaron Zagrodnick

The hydration reservoir setup and choice of 2 liter bottle works well for me - I carry a 3 liter reservoir as a standard setup, but I'm just one that would rather carry more water than filter more often. Haven't used the Mini - previously used the Sawyer SP122 - I had mine setup in a combo inline / gravity setup - check out our review if it helps with some ideas...the built in quick disconnects on that model make things pretty convenient. Now however I use and like the Platypus GravityWorks system (Review) for ease of use and just as much for the integrity test on the filter cartridge.

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wspscott

What you carry depends on where you are going to be and if you are going to camp away from a water source. I like to have about 3L of water if I am going to have a dry camp. Are you going to be drinking out of the hydration bladder? Or is that just to carry water? The Mini works with most water bottles. A friend was just using his with a Dasani bottle, I have a beat up Smartwater bottle. I don't know why you would need the gatorade bottle, especially since that won't work with the mini.

I use a Sawyer Mini. I carry it in a ziplock with the cutoff bottom of a small water bottle (holds about 4oz). If there is not flowing water, I use the 4oz bottom to fill my .9L Platypus bladder, you can also use your cook pot to fill the bladder. I can filter that bladder in about a minute. I also carry a smartwater bottle because it is easier to drink out of vs. the bladder.

I have also jury rigged a 3L MSR Hydromedary into a gravity filter for the Mini. Basically I cutoff the bite valve at the end and shove the mini into the tube. I drilled a whole in the lid of the Sawyer bag so it fits tightly over the "out" end of the mini. I can easily fill a water bottle or bladder without squeezing. The Hydromedary, Mini, smartwater bottle and the Platypus bladder weigh less that a pump filter and works great. I would never go back to my Katadyn filter

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Sometimes in drier country, you need more capacity.  At least a 4-5 liters, sometimes more.

I like to bring a water filter even for day trips.

For areas with good water quality like the mountains, the two part little bottles like Aqua Mira are good.

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Thank you all. Which size SmartWater bottle do you recommend?

Whats the benefit of the Mini over rhe Steripen? Seems steripen would be easier?

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wspscott

Never used a Steripen, but a Mini is definitely cheaper :)

The 23oz smartwater bottle is a pretty good size, but anything in the 20-30oz range will work. Even small bottles work, but you start adding weight with no benefit and it is probably a PITA to switch between two 16oz bottles vs. one 32oz bottle.

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Mcaldwell

I'll weigh in to a few points. My setup 97% of the time involves the mini. I have 2 pump filters I use for larger groups or in the winter. As for the sawyer filters. I have the mini and the squeeze. I never carry the squeeze as the mini I find is more versatile. My setup (I will try and find/take a picture tomorrow to illustrate): 3L bladder, 32oz nalgene, 1 32oz platypus soft bottle, cut off bottom of a Gatorade bottle, sawyer mini. The bladder is what I drink from. The nalgene is for my cooking water (and mixing the occasional flavor powder in). I prefer a hardsided bottle for this. The platypus bottle is my "dirty" bottle for collecting water and screws into the mini. The bottom of the bottle is for scooping water. I have my system set up so that I disconnect my bite valve. Connect in my mini and backfill filtered water through the hose. This allows for ease and speed. I'll attach a picture tomorrow to illustrate. I can do the same with my pump filters. 

As for for the steripen. It removes bacteria and viruses. Not particulates. So you still need a pre filter of sorts to get the junk out of the water. It's heavier and runs off of batteries. It's also limited to size constraints and container shapes. Meaning if the light can't see it (corners of a soft bottle or bladder) it doesn't get purified. I would save the steripen for international travels. 

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Thanks for making my point everyone - you've got to engineer a system for the Sawyer Mini because it's impractical off the store shelf.

I only mentioned the Steripen as one of the reasons I carry a 1 qt. bottle separate from my Camelbak. I use it high in the mountains where the lakes & streams are clear. Don't know if you could use one east of the Rockies. This week I'll be backpacking in a canyon where there's not much flow and I'll carry a Katadyn Hiker.

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KYhiker40

I have used, and continue to use, both a steripen and/or sawyer mini, depending on the trip.  The Steripen is awesome, easy to use, and reliable provided you carry an extra battery.  The pre-filter "complaint" that many people have is extremely easy to solve; just carry a coffee filter or a small cut of fabric from women's pantie hose.  Either will filter particulate matter very well and easily for almost no weight.  

I began carrying a sawyer mini for weight savings, not functionality.  The Sawyer Mini is lighter and can be used with most any plastic bottled water bottle.  A Steripen is about 8 oz heavier than the Sawyer Mini (including batteries) and requires a large mouth bottle, which is going to be several ounces heavier than a Dasani bottle, for example. The Sawyer Mini is also quicker, as you can drink instantly directly from the filter, as opposed to waiting the 90 seconds it can take for a Steripen to sterilize the water.  Finally, you don't have to worry about the batteries going out with a Sawyer Mini.  

All in all, I prefer the Sawyer Mini for the reasons above.  It is also much less expensive.  I carry 2 water bottles, both 24 ounce plastic water bottles, I think sold as Aquafina at most gas stations. I like the 24 ounce because they give me a bit more carry capacity than a 16 ounce without being overly heavy when full.  I also carry a 32 ounce platypus, which I additionally fill at my last water source for the day prior to reaching camp.

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