As an outdoor adventure and travel writer, I’m fortunate in that I often get to test some amazing gear. I’m regularly sent backpacks, sleeping bags, tents, clothing and more, and while I’m often impressed with the gear I test, I seldom see something that is truly life changing. That is the best way to describe the LifeStraw however, which is a product that has the potential to change the world.
The LifeStraw is one of those products that is so simple, you wonder why someone didn’t think of it sooner. It really is a simple straw with a water filter attached that when used to drink water, filters out 99.9999% of all bacteria and 99.9% of all waterborne protozoan parasites. That means that it can be used to safely drink water in some of the most remote places on the planet, even if that water is rampant with microorganisms and disease.
Unlike the straws we’re all use to from fast food restaurants, the LifeStraw is actually sturdy and designed for continues use. I was impressed with its build quality and found that it could live up to more punishment than you would expect, although it isn’t something you’d want to be completely careless with. When used properly however, the LifeStraw is good for filtering up to 1600 liters of water and can be used for a year without being replaced.
All of that said, I do think the LifeStraw has limited use for backpackers, hikers, and adventure travelers. Sure, it does it’s job very well and will clean pretty much any water you pull through it. It even filters out a lot of particulates in the water as well, although you’ll find that that will clog the filter. Blowing water backwards through the system will help clean it out however, and once it is clean, it continues to function like normal. However, most of us use hydration bladders or water bottles while on the trail, and using a large straw like this one, simply isn’t all that efficient. It does make a fantastic emergency water purification system however, and since it weighs just a few ounces, it doesn’t take up much room in your pack either. With a price tag of just $19.95 it is very affordable as well.
You’re probably asking how I can gave the LifeStraw such a luke-warm recommendation and still call it a life changing product. While I do feel the LifeStraw has a fairly limited use for adventurers, I recognize that it has the potential to make life orders of magnitude better for poor people around the globe who are living in environments where clean drinking water is at a premium. Those people don’t know what it is like to live without the constant threat of waterborne disease or parasites, and as a result, their lives are often cut very short. The LifeStraw can make a dramatic difference in those places, and that is why I think this is such an important product.
If you’re looking for a great little emergency water purification system that won’t break the bank, than the LifeStraw is a good addition to your pack. You can pick one up for $19.95 by clicking here. But if you’re like me, and see how this little device can make a huge impact on the world, than click here to donate a LifeStraw to someone else. Someone you’ll probably never meet or hear the words “thank you” from, but they’re likely to be eternally grateful for your generosity none the less.
Obviously we’re a long way from completely stamping out these waterborne threats, but with a simple device like this one, we can certainly make it much harder for them to take lives.
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