When you plan on what to pack in your backpack when preparing for a longer hiking trip you probably also want to carry a water filtration system with you.

In the past I had a look on water filtration systems which looked more durable but were heavy and took a lot of space in my backpack.

However, recently new solutions have appeared on the market for outdoor enthusiasts who prefer to travel light.

In this article I am going discuss if you should choose the Sawyer Mini, MSR TrailShot or the LifeStraw Personal water filter as a possible ultralight water filter solution.

Sawyer Mini vs. LifeStraw Personal

LifeStraw PersonalSawyer MiniMSR TrailShot
filter size (micron)
weight (grams)5757142
height (cm)22.520.315.25
lifetime (liters)10003500002000
carbon filternonono

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

The Lifestraw Personal Water Filter is a solution which does not need to be assembled like the LifeStraw water filter. It works (as you might have guessed) like a straw.

However, there are certain disadvantages with the LifeStraw compared to the Sawyer. First of all, it’s not a solution to filter water in a bottle. So if you are planning to hike in a really dry area where you won’t find any rivers etc. you might have the wrong water filter with you.

Another disadvantage of the LifeStraw is that it is not able to clean as much water as the Sawyer. So for longer trips I would rather take the Sawyer with me than the LifeStraw.

When would I pick the LifeStraw filter?

Probably, if I would like to have a backup solution with me or if I am planning to hike nearby a river where I don’t want to carry a heavy water bottle with me. I could just take the LifeStraw and take a sip out of the river.

Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System

The Sawyer Mini is currently the water filter which goes into my backpack. It’s small, light and able of cleaning a huge amount of water.

Even so the filter needs a little bit of assembling work before you can use it I found it a much better and versatile solution than the LifeStraw.

Usually, I always filter water before I use it. This is also the case when I prepare lunch or dinner and have to boil water. I know, boiling water would also kill the bacterias but it’s just a habit.

Moreover, I am also able to remove small particles by using a filter.

MSR TrailShot

The MSR TrailShot is the latest product in this list and it’s probably going to replace my Sawyer Mini. The Inlet Hose and the pump might be quite useful and more convenient to get clean water compared to the Sawyer Mini filter. However, these additional features also come with a little bit more weight (which I don’t mind).


Choosing a water filter system is of course a personal choice. In my case I like to have a water filter which does the job, is lightweight and has a long lifespan. Having used the Sawyer Mini for a long time I am quite excited to use the additional features of the MSR TrailShot.

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