If you frequent my site a bit regularly, you may have already come across my review on the SteriPen Adventurer. Which is a fantastic little tool that I used all through SE Asia with zero problems. It worked perfectly for what I needed it for, but in my opinion, a better option when it comes to backpacking and camping is the LifeStraw. It totally depends on the type of traveling you’re doing, which countries you’re traveling through, and how much camping you’ll be doing while there.
When I first came across the LifeStraw, it made me say, “hmmmm” out loud. It’s priced at only $17.00, and is pretty compact with no batteries or removable parts. You literally just pop off the caps on both ends and drink out of a lake, or pond, or river – just like that!? I was a skeptic, I’ll be honest. So I did a little research. LifeStraw has won Time Magazine’s Invention of the Year, The Enquirer Magazine’s Innovation of the Year, and the Saatchi World Changing Ideas award. Well that’s a good start, I thought.
This inexpensive and compact little tool is capable of filtering up to 264 gallons of water, which is enough water for one person for a whole year. LifeStraw’s filtration membrane removes 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria, as well as 99.9% of protozoan parasites. It’s about as foolproof as you can get.
What the LifeStraw cannot do, however, is filter the salt from saltwater, or remove heavy metals, chemicals or viruses. Not to worry, the probability of you running into these in the backcountry is pretty slim, but feel free to research this a bit more before deciding if this little gadget is for you or not. I like seeing what a product cannot do, it makes me feel like the company is being honest. The LifeStraw isn’t a miracle worker and it’s not magic, but wow. You might think so after watching the video at the end of this post! If you can remember to back-flush your LifeStraw by blowing a breath of air back into the mouthpiece after every use, it’ll help to keep it clean by purging all remaining water trapped within the filter.
For my humanitarian friends out there, this tidbit is for you. For each LifeStraw product you purchase, one school child in a developing community is provided with safe drinking water for an entire school year. I love the gifts that keep on giving, and another one of my favorites is a fabulous camping and hiking gadget called the WakaWaka, which you can check out here.
The LifeStraw doesn’t generally come in a clear tube, but the company sent a clear tube so that this dude could do an awesome review, check it out! If it doesn’t make a believer out of ya, I’ll be shocked!