Whether you are going out for a hike, a camp, a hunt, or any outdoor activity, you’re going to need plenty of clean, safe water. And chances are, you don’t want to take a jerrican or many tiny water bottles with you. They can get bulky and bothersome, and the last thing you want while hiking is something dragging you down. Moreover, the water might get heated up and not quench your thirst in the end.
That is where LifeStraw comes into play. This inexpensive, straw-like water filter stamps out the need to carry around the cumbersome water cans. As simple as it looks, it lets you drink from the stream, pond, spring, or any stagnant ‘water body’ you come across. Yes, you heard that right, motionless, dirty water. The LifeStraw has the capacity to convert that to fresh, drinkable water. What’s more amazing is that the water comes out crystal-clear, odorless, and without any weird taste.
Though originally developed to help 3rd world countries rise above harsh weather conditions, the LifeStraw is becoming so popular among backpackers and preppers. This is due to its convenience, versatility, and effectiveness. In this LifeStraw review, we are going to take an up-close at the much-praised water filter.
- A 0.2-micron water filter that removes 99.99999% of bacteria and protozoa
- Can filter up to 1000 liters
- 9 inches long
- Weighs 2 ounces
- Features a removable lanyard
What it looks like
The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter is an all simple gadget without any moving parts or batteries. It features a mouthpiece, which you use to suck water, and an opening at the other end that you stick to the water source. Caps are attached to cover both ends when not in use. They are most important in preventing infections in case the water filter accidentally falls in unfiltered water. The bottom cap can get annoying though. It sometimes closes itself while drinking from a wide-mouthed bottle. Some people ended up cutting both the caps. Also included is a neck lanyard that prevents the filter from falling inside the water source.
The LifeStraw weighs at only 2 ounces, making it one of the lightest straws that filter water. It’s only 9 inches long, which means it can easily fit in your small backpack. Also, considering that it’s ultralight, it’s the most convenient choice for backpacking.
However, the 9-inches length makes it a hassle to drink from any water source. You have to crouch low or lay flat to take the sip. And if the riverbanks are so high, it becomes impossible. For that reason, you need to carry a container or a wide-mouth bottle to first draw water too.
What’s in the tube?
Inside the straw is a series of hollow-fiber membrane tubes that the dirty water passes through. The filter size is 0.2 microns, which will basically catch anything bigger than that size. Mud, algae, bacteria, and any other organic contaminants will not go through. But there are some smaller random ones which might slip. Also, salt and chemical contaminants are not filtered out, and that’s why it is rated at 99.99999%. However, the chances of getting infected stand at 0. The filter doesn’t last a lifetime, but you can filter 1000 liters of water through it. That’s quite much.
How to use it
Drinking with the LifeStraw is as easy as drinking soda with the typical straw. Uncap both ends and stick the bottom opening to the water source. Suck through the mouthpiece, and clean water will come right up. This requires very little work, and the flow rates are amazing. However, as you take more water, it will become harder to suck, and the flow rate will go down. This is due to dirt particles and bacteria clogging the pores. You can clear them off by blowing backward.
Proper maintenance of the LifeStraw will noticeably increase its lifespan. Once you are done drinking, you should clear out any excess water. Simply blow the straw to push the water out through the bottom opening. Shaking can also help get rid of the excess water and any clogged mud.
But eventually, after longtime use, blowing through the straw will not clear any particles. That’s a sign that you have already filtered 1000 liters through it. Since the filter is not replaceable, the only solution is getting another LifeStraw or any other straw that filters water.
- It’s simple to use- No moving parts, no batteries. Just stick it in a water source, and you’re good to go.
- Effective- Water always comes out clean.
- Lightweight and portable- Weights only 2 ounces.
- Very affordable- For only 2$, you get an efficient water filter.
- Has a neck lanyard.
- Has caps to prevent infection.
- You can’t store the filtered water for later use. Therefore, it’s not suitable for long trips that will require cooking or in areas without water sources.
- It’s hard to drink from water sources with high banks.
- Can filter only 1,000 liters, unlike the Sawyer Mini, that lasts 400,000 liters.
- The filter is sensitive to low temperatures. It might get spoilt if the water is left to freeze inside the hollow membrane.
LifeStraw vs. Sawyer Mini Water Filter
|Pore size (Microns)||0.2||0.1|
|Filter life (Litres)||1000||100,000|
Factors To Consider When Buying A Water Filter
Filter life- The best water filter is the one that lasts long. Depending on the price, you can find one that can filter 1000 liters or as much as 100, 000 liters. Also, some have replaceable filters, while others will require you to buy another unit once the filter is spoilt.
Weight- A lightweight unit is the most ideal as it won’t slow you down or feel like a burden. However, those compact, lightweight filters have lower flow rates and are for single person use. For a big group of hikers, bigger and definitely bulkier filters are the most ideal.
Means of operation- This will depend on whether you need instant water or water for later use. If it’s instant water, a filter like LifeStraw, that requires you to suck, is recommendable. For a group of hikers, a filter that allows the storage of filtered water is the best.
Levels of efficiency- While all filters promise to purify water, not all of them will keep the word. It is important to get one that will get your water clean as a single inefficiency may lead to a dangerous infection. Also, the levels of purity differ. You want the one that filters off all the bacteria.
Price- Most water filters come with pocket-friendly price tags. However, be conscious of ones that are sold at very low prices as they might get you infected.
The Lifestraw is a must-have companion for any backpacker or hiker out there. It has a simple design. It’s light and precisely does what it is designed to do. For once, you can go for an outdoor event without water cans stressing you out. Get yourself the LifeStraw today.