Gear Review: LifeStraw personal water filter
This is a review of the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter. This simple item is literally a straw with a filter through which you can drink water from any source. Water is filtered automatically as you pull it through the straw.
How it works
The filter is embedded in a plastic straw, on which is fitted a drinking straw on one end and a perforated opening on the other, through which water comes up. Both the top and bottom parts of the straw have caps, so you can neatly stow the straw away and keep things dry.
The personal water filter includes the same advanced hollow membrane as the two-stage filter bottle (we also reviewed this bottle, read our review of the bottle here.) The advanced hollow fibre membrane removes waterborne bacteria and protozoa and is good for about 1000 litres. It removes about 99.9999% of e-coli and other waterborne bacteria and 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites (including giardia and cryptosporidium).
The filter also reduces water turbidity to 0.2 microns, and does not use iodine or any iodinized resin.
The LifeStraw bottle is convenient, but this filter is what you want to have if you’re really stuck. The nice thing about its small, portable and ultra lightweight design, is you can keep it in your backpack or emergency kit and take it with you everywhere. You don’t really have to think about it too much until you need it; it’s not an item that you would normally use every day.
The straw comes in a sealed plastic bag that you need to rip to open. Judging by online reviews, lots of people who order it just keep it in this bag until they need it. Some keep it in their pack every time they head out into the backcountry. This filter would also be great for travelling. Instead of worrying about always having to buy bottled water, you can just rely on this filter.
If you’re going somewhere light and fast – for example a trail run or ultralight backpacking trip – you’ll love this item. Simply stow it in your bag until you need it.
I’m going to keep this straw with me on my daypack at all times, along with my headlamp and other essential supplies. Read more about things you should always take with you in your daypack here. While I’m at it, I think I’ll modify the list to include this item. It’s definite peace of mind. I’ve said it before, it only takes one time getting sick from untreated water, to really stress the importance of filtration. The only place I would drink unfiltered water is water coming right off a glacier or meltwater from the high alpine in the mountains.
How to clean
Cleaning is the same as for the LifeStraw Go bottle: when you are done drinking, simply backflush by blowing the remaining water.
As well as producing quality products, LifeStraw is also socially responsible. They have a program called “Follow the Liters” which gives a child in a developing country free, clean safe drinking water for an entire school year.
This item really is an emergency tool, and would be awkward to use on a regular basis. There are no real disadvantages to the filter itself – it’s a straw in which any lake, stream or pond becomes your drinking glass – just dip the straw in, drink and go!
This straw is really just for one person as it might be an awkward item to share. Portable filters like the Katadyn work better in this regard because you can actually filter water directly into bottles, making it easier to filter water for other people. However, with this light weight and durable design, you really can’t go wrong. The filter is much less delicate than the Katadyn water filter, which can be subject to punctures if not careful.
Where to buy
The LifeStraw personal water filter is available on sale at available on sale at earth easy for $19.95.