Water is the most important resource humans need. It’s what hydrates us. Not all water sources are drinkable though. Some people like to travel or camp in areas where pure water or filtered water is unobtainable. This is where the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter Straw by Vestergaard becomes a necessity for travelling and survival kits.
This portable water filter straw provides you with filtered water without the need of a bottle as you can drink directly from many water sources. I will be reviewing this award winning filter straw to find out how this straw works and whether it’s an essential item for travelling.
The Benefits of Using the LifeStraw
Is a Portable Water Filter Necessary?
Having a handheld water filtration system on hand is important because of the following reasons:
- You can drink water from many sources: Lakes, ponds, rivers and unpolluted waters become a safe source to drink from. Harmful waterborne bacteria and parasites are filtered out to prevent you getting sick.
- Easy to use: Water can be drunk immediately and directly from the source. It’s a lot quicker than using water purification tablets where you need to wait 30 minutes before the water becomes drinkable.
- Money saving: It’s a lot cheaper than buying bottled water. Not to mention a lot lighter than carrying bottled water too.
Why the LifeStraw?
The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter was developed over 10 years ago to provide people with access to filtered water during natural disasters and in developing countries. It’s become quite popular and many people include this as part of their survival kits in emergencies, backpacking, hiking or camping.
By packing the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter into your travel kit, you’ll benefit from the following:
- It doesn’t require batteries or electricity: Portable water purifiers generally need batteries or electricity to cleanse water because it includes the process of distillation. This travel water filter from LifeStraw simply uses the filter to clean the water which is a lot quicker.
- Filters 1000 litres of water: This straw will last you for over a year (based on the recommended water consumption of 2 litres a day) before it has to be replaced. It can be used for plenty of trips.
- Light to carry: It weighs 56g only which is lighter than a water bottle. Because of the small size at 22.5×2.5 cm, it doesn’t take up a lot of space either.
- Chemical free: No iodine or iodinated resin chemicals are used in the filter so there’s no weird aftertaste. It’s also BPA free.
How Does the LifeStraw Water Filter Work?
Upon first glance of the portable filter straw, you can’t tell it’s a portable water filtration system. It’s a big blue tube which looks like it’s a handheld telescope. But it’s actually a hollow tube with an inbuilt filter.
Both ends of the straw are capped. In the bottom end is where the filter is and the top end is where the mouthpiece is. There’s a handy string necklace attached so you can hang it around your neck for quick use.
Made from tough plastic, the filter straw is durable to withstand general wear and tear. Extensive use of the mouthpiece would not result in teeth marks or bent plastic which is usually the case with bottles. However, be careful not to drop or put pressure on the straw as this can cause cracks or damage to the filter.
Drinking From the LifeStraw
Before you begin to use the water filter straw, it needs to be prepped. It’s best to do this before you go on a trip.
To prep the straw, you just need to uncap both ends and stand it in water for 10 seconds and then take 5 quick sips via the mouthpiece to get the straw running. It took longer than this time to clear the straw but it was relatively easy to drink from it after.
Once the 1000 litres is reached, you won’t be able to suck up any more water. Some people have said they were still able to suck up water when it went past this. I haven’t reached 1000 litres yet but I don’t think I want to test my luck by continuing when I go past that point!
Filtering Out the Bad
Hollow fibre micro filtration is used in the filter which removes contaminants such as bacteria and protozoan cysts. Each small tube has tiny pores that are 0.2 microns in size to prevent contaminants getting through by trapping it outside the tubes whilst allowing water to flow through.
Up to 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria such as Vibrio cholera and 99.9% of protozoan cysts such as Giardia lamblia can be removed due to this advanced microfiltration membrane technology. It helps to lower our risk of contracting illnesses such as dysentery.
Unfortunately the LifeStraw doesn’t filter out minerals, chemically contaminated water or salt from seawater. Doing so can put you at risk of viruses or dehydration if it’s seawater.
Cleaning the Water Filter
Although the filter in the straw cannot be removed, it can be kept clean easily. By blowing air into the mouthpiece through the straw after each use, it helps to clear the filter so clogging is prevented.
Once you’re home, the straw can be rinsed with clean water through both ends. It needs to be left dry with both ends uncapped before you can put it away though.
Can it fit inside a water bottle?
Some portable water bottles can fit the LifeStraw in provided the mouthpiece can come off. If it’s those plastic store bought mineral bottled water bottles, then there’s no chance.
Ideally, you should be bringing a water bottle along with you on your travels so you can fill it with water when you find it. Then you could stick the filter straw in and drink. Otherwise you’ll be constantly hunting for water.
How the LifeStraw Compares to the Sawyer Mini Water Filter System
Another travel water filter that’s in a similar price range to the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter is the Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System. Both are portable and ideal for outdoor adventures and survival purposes.
What’s the Limitations?
However, the straw filter is quite limited in its usage when compared to the mini water filtration system offered by Sawyer:
- Has to be replaced: After going through the straw’s approximate 1000 litre limit, the filter system will stop working and you have to replace it with a completely new LifeStraw. This makes it a costlier option.
- Cannot be used as an inline: There’s no option to attach the straw to hydration packs. The Sawyer can be attached to the inline on a hydration pack without the need for extra adapters.
- Hard to use with bottles: As the straw filter is quite wide, it doesn’t fit into the mouthpiece of many standard water bottles. The Sawyer filter can be screwed onto the majority of bottles making it fairly easy to drink from.
- No drinking pouch: The Sawyer water filter includes a flexible pouch so water can be stored and drunk from it. LifeStraw doesn’t provide one; instead you would need to bring your own pouch or bottle.
Limited as it may be, the filter straw is less of a hassle and simpler to use because:
- No Extras to Carry: The LifeStraw is all you need to carry whereas the Sawyer water filter needs the drinking straw to be attached to enable you to drink directly from the source.
- Easy to Clean: No extra cleaning equipment is required to clean the filter straw but with the Sawyer, it needs to be cleaned with the plunger included. This means another item to carry.
- Always on Hand: The neck cord on the straw provides easy accessibility to it which the Sawyer doesn’t have.
What People Are Saying About the LifeStraw
Here are a few reviews from satisfied customers:
“I could drink water from any source in nature, without fearing that the water was contaminated and you can drink the water right away, instead of waiting for a tablet to work.”
“Great for long runs or hikes – much lighter than carrying all your water for the day!”
“Drinking from a stream in Yorkshire and feeling safe about it, can’t beat it. I shall be keeping this with me every time I go backpacking.”
Many people consider this travel water filter to be a lifesaver and an essential item for emergency and survival kits.
In My Opinion
Although this filter straw is useful for many water sources, it’s no good if you’re in a less developed country where uncontaminated water can be hard to come by. Or in an area with polluted waters. The straw won’t be of any use then since it can’t filter out chemicals or viruses.
You can’t really drink from a water source if you’re stuck in the woods with no river or lake to drink from either. So it’s probably best you also take a water bottle wide enough to fit the straw in so you can fill it up when you come across water. Alternatively, there’s the water filter bottle – LifeStraw Go which is the filter straw in a bottle!
Final Thoughts | LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter is useful and great for camping and travelling but only when you have a water source nearby. However, it can be used for backpacking or holidays in general if you’re concerned with the water safety in the country you’re travelling to. Or, you can add it to your emergency kit for home.
Being reasonably priced for a portable water filter, you’re not losing out on a huge amount of money. It’s a small price to pay for something that will last many trips and guarantee safe drinking water.