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Test: LifeStraw Water Filter For Travel, Outdoors

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[leadin]Long a staple of travelers and adventure-seekers at GearJunkie, LifeStraw’s simple form and proven micro-filtration design was a go-to on a recent South American journey. We toted the brand’s bottle and personal ‘straw’ filter for safe hydration over the two-week trip.[/leadin]

Original $19 LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

Among travelers, Peru is notorious for its contaminated water. Every time I told someone I was headed there I heard a horror story. Not wanting to share in that misery I got a LifeStraw Go water bottle and LifeStraw Personal Water Filter for my trip, and I was glad I did.

The Filter Pays For Itself

Before anything, note that traveling can be expensive, and when in countries with contaminated water having to buy bottles of water only adds to the cost. An unexpected bonus of the $30 LifeStraw Go was that over the course of my trip it paid for itself.

By filling up from a faucet or a stream instead of heading to the market I could save money and time. The math speaks for itself: Many people drink eight glasses of water a day (two liters). At $1 per liter, that adds up to $28 in water alone for a two-week trip.

The bottle’s filter is good for up to 1,000 liters, meaning my $30 investment still has 972 liters left.

Review: LifeStraw Go Water Bottle

In Peru, I primarily used the LifeStraw Go because I wasn’t constantly near a water source and needed a vessel to carry water. The filter-in-bottle system worked great for day-to-day travel. Weighing 7.2 ounces and holding 650ml of liquid, the bottle fit in the side pocket of my daypack.

Clean water on the Inca Trail

The combo works great (I didn’t get sick) and is easy to use. There are no moving parts that could break or chemicals to mess with. Batteries are not required.

In short, it’s simple and it works. The filter is replaceable ($19) and should be swapped out once you go through about 1,000 liters, which for most people could be years.

Downsides: Like many bottles, if you leave water in your bottle for a while it can take on a plastic taste. It’s not overly offensive though it’s worth noting.

Who It’s For: Solo travelers, campers and backpackers, and anyone who prefers filtered water to chemically-treated or sterilized water. It’s great for day-to-day use.

Lifestraw Go Specs

  • Bottle + Filter Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Filter Capacity: 1,000 liters
  • Filter Type: hollow fiber membrane
  • Filter Size: 0.2-microns
  • Removes 99.9% of waterborne bacteria including Giardia, and Cryptosporidium
  • Removes 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria including E-Coli
  • Does not remove viruses
  • BPA-free bottle

Review: LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

This didn’t get used much in Peru, so on a recent backpacking trip, I tested the personal water filter. My route followed a stream so I felt confident leaving the bottle at home.


When I got thirsty, I just knelt by the water’s edge and drank from the ice-cold stream. It was a simple process — as it should be.

Weighing just 2.1 ounces, the filter is lighter than most and it wasn’t a burden to carry or store in my pack.

Like the water bottle, it was easy to use. You drink, and when you’re done you blow the water back out the end to backflush the filter.

Note that the LifeStraw doesn’t remove all of the taste from water. I drank from a scuzzy beaver pond on my backpacking trip and it had that distinct ‘lake’ taste. To confirm this, back at the office I drank some coconut water with it and it tasted like diluted coconut water. It retained about half the taste of original water, so some taste is filtered but not all of it.

Downsides: Having to bend down to get water can be annoying and difficult. You can remedy this with the LifeStraw Go or any other bottle; just scoop water into the bottle and drink from it using the personal filter. I would opt for a bottle+filter combo on all but the lightest weight adventures.

Who It’s For?: Ultralight backpackers, anyone who wants a no-fuss water filter, and anyone who has an emergency kit that needs a filter.

Drinking straight from the stream

Lifestraw Personal Filter Specs

  • Filter Weight: 2.1 ounces
  • Filter Capacity: 1,000
  • Filter Type: Hollow fiber membrane
  • Filter Size: 0.2-microns
  • Removes 99.9% of waterborne bacteria including Giardia, and Cryptosporidium
  • Removes 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria including E-Coli
  • Does not remove viruses

The simplicity and low cost of these filters make them a solid water filtration option for travelers and backpackers alike.

A cherry on top of it all is that with every purchase you get clean drinking water for yourself and a child too. The brand’s Follow the Liters program gives a child in a developing country clean, safe drinking water for an entire school year.

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