I first got wind of LifeStraw when bloggers were reviewing them left and right and sharing all over social media. I didn’t really get it. As hikers, backpackers, adventurers, we’re used to carting water all across the wilderness. But what if we didn’t have guaranteed reliable water sources to slurp from? The straw is useless.
I was so excited to see that LifeStraw sent some of their LifeStraw Go bottles to Idaho for #HellHikeAndRaft. Thanks to Tara’s lightning quick snatching skills, I was able to get my hands on one of these babies. I can easily say that this is my most favorite piece of gear from the trip. It’s so easy to scoop water and not have to worry about filtering it! I’m a wake-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night-because-I’m-thirsty-and-or-hot type of person, so this was great to have for ultimate laziness.
The bottle holds 650 mL (22 fluid oz) of water for on the go use. The plastic is BPA-free, with a soft, rubbery, flip top bite valve for comfortable drinking. The filter has a lifespan of about 1000 liters of water, and filters down to about .2 microns. It will remove 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria and 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites. If you’re an average adventurer in the North American backcountry, this should be perfect for you. But elsewhere? You’ll need to be wary of viruses in your water.
I found that the straw had a tendency to leak if placed upside down or on its side. This wasn’t isolated to my own bottle, which is quite a bummer. The carabiner is a little flimsy, and the gate tends to pop out past the nose. Not really a deal breaker, just annoying. There’s no lid or cover for the mouth piece. If you’re traveling through a dusty area, or if you’re prone to rolling around in dirt like me, your mouthpiece is going to get dirty.
Lastly, the biggest downside, once you’re at that 1000 liter mark, there’s no way to replace your filter! Granted, the average weekend warrior will go through 1000 liters of filtered water pretty slowly, but once you’re there, you need to buy a new bottle. It’s not cost or waste efficient. But maybe by a thousand liters, they’ll have replacement ones.
Update: The folks over at Eartheasy have let me know that replacement filters are now available for $18.95! Wahoo!
All in all, I think it’s a pretty nifty product. I don’t quite have anything like it, and never thought of picking up anything like it. Now that I have it, I’m super excited about it. And as an additional bonus, for every LifeStraw product you purchase, you help deliver clean, drinkable water to kids in Africa. A product that is good and does good gets a million points in my book.