LifeSaver improves an age-old off-roading staple — the jerrycan — with modern filtration technology. We tested it over a hot Texas summer of dirt roads and daily adventures to see if it really offers the peace of mind it advertises.
One of the big hurdles in remote overlanding is securing a potable water supply. Of course, the more remote the objective, the more complicated this becomes. Carrying large amounts of drinking water requires space and weighs the vehicle down, negatively affecting handling and mileage.
But filtering or purifying large quantities of water with typical backpacking filters can be tedious and time-consuming.
Enter the LifeSaver Jerrycan — a self-contained solution that is well-suited for overlanding use. This 5-gallon water jug uses a hollow-fiber membrane filter, a carbon cartridge, and a pressure pump to store, filter, and purify a large volume of water.
So far, the Jerrycan has been a permanent fixture in the bed of my truck for 3 months. It provided clean water for a summer of outdoor pursuits.
LifeSaver Jerrycan: 5-Gallon Water Filter
The Jerrycan uses a standard-looking, 5-gallon, BPA- and BPS-free, plastic, very rigid and robust jug for water storage. A large filler cap houses an air-pressure pump. A smaller drain cap holds a 15 x 1.5-inch-diameter hollow-fiber membrane filter and activated carbon cartridge.
LifeSaver offers the Jerrycan in two versions: one rated to filter 2,642 gallons ($190) and another rated to 5,283 gallons ($230).
Both the hollow-fiber membrane filter and activated carbon cartridge are replaceable. The 2,642-gallon replacement filter costs $76, and the 5,283-gallon replacement costs $90. LifeSaver rates the replacement carbon cartridges to 660 gallons. It sells packs of five for $25.
The Jerrycan is an NSF-certified water purifier, removing both bacteria and viruses. And the activated carbon removes chlorine, tastes, and odors. It also passes the P248 Military Operations testing protocol for Microbiological Water Filters.
LifeSaver Jerrycan Review
After a priming procedure, the Jerrycan proved intuitive to use. I filled, pumped, and dispensed purified water through the spigot or the optional showerhead ($22). To maintain a workable pressure, I found 15-20 pumps per minute adequate. While the Jerrycan operated in any position, placing the spigot low aided flow rate.
The spigot uses a quarter-turn dial. It was easy to use and prevented incidental opening while the Jerrycan slid around in the back of my truck.
And the showerhead accessory made it convenient to rinse off and wash dishes while the Jerrycan sat on the open tailgate. A second person pumping allowed continuous showering or washing with a constant flow rate.
The biggest drawback I found came when trying to fill the comparatively large container in natural sources of water that weren’t deep enough to engulf the can. To solve this, I simply used smaller containers to fill the Jerrycan.
One of the most common uses for me during the testing period was to purify the often funky-tasting, odd-smelling, or heavily chlorinated potable water offered at parks. I value the peace of mind drinking cleaner-tasting, odor-free water.
The LifeSaver Jerrycan proved durable throughout the testing period, which included residence in the camper shell of my Tacoma during a hot Texas summer and the almost daily driving down rough dirt roads that are part of my commute.
LifeSaver Jerrycan Water Purifier: A Good Buy?
The LifeSaver Jerrycan is a great way to both store and purify water during overlanding adventures. But it’s also a daily source of clean water in the vehicle.
The flexibility to store and purify up to 4.9 gallons of water, sourced from anywhere, is a great addition to any adventure vehicle, whether it’s a van, truck, or sedan. It also makes for a sensible addition to a home emergency preparedness kit.
The large size of the hollow-core membrane filter alone makes its $190 (and up) price tag seem reasonable given the similar price of some smaller backpacking purifiers. And the Jerrycan’s self-contained and portable nature makes it easy and logical to skip the water storage and delivery plans of your overlanding vehicle build.
After using the Jerrycan, my permanent water tank and 12V water pump almost seem overkill and unnecessary.