Lifestraw Personal Water Filter Tested & Reviewed 2019

9.3
9.3 score
[Editors rating (9.5) + Users rating (8.6)] / 2 = (GearWeAre.com) score (9.3)/10

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Editor rating: 9.5 / 10
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Lifestraw Personal Water Filter Tested & Reviewed 2019 Review Facts

Vestergaard has been an innovator in the world of safe and effective portable water filtration with their products for personal use, all the way up to filtering enough water for a small village. One of the nicest things about their stuff, is that it seems to stay relatively simple and straightforward to use. Sometimes it is handier to just have a useful tool, rather than a shiny gadget with too much going on.

LifeStraw sent us the personal water filter to try out for ourselves. Originally released in 2005,┬áthis isn’t a shiny new product on the market, but we kind of like the fact that this has already been put to the test, giving us something to compare our own experience with. The first thing we noticed was that this product does exactly what it is intended and nothing more. In this case, that is perfect!

When out on your own for multiday treks, there is only so much water that you can realistically carry, so having a solid backup plan is vital to safety and survival if it comes down to it. This personal filter is really the way to go. Its light weight and easy packability make this unit the go-to tool for keeping yourself alive when you run out of fresh water. When you have to rely on streams and other wild water sources, you have to have a way to remove harmful viruses and bacteria, which could leave you suffering for quite a while.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros

Effective against most waterborne bacteria

Lightweight, compact design

Easy to pack away, making it a perfect addition to your backup kit

Super easy to use

Cons

Made of lightweight plastic, so this model might break under extreme conditions.

Effectiveness

Effectiveness

This is a very simple, yet effective design. The personal filter is able to remove 99.999% of bacteria found in open water sources that are encountered in the wild. This includes some pretty bad ones such as E. coli and Salmonella.

As far as microbial and protozoa cysts go, you'll also be able to get rid of 99.999% of things such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium. Lifestraw want created to be easily distributed and used with little to no instruction in some of the world's most unforgiving places.
Ease of Use

Ease of Use

Other than a flip open cap, there are no moving parts to break at the worst possible moment. The device operates about as simple as you could possibly imagine. You just literally stick the thing in your chosen water source and use as if it were a straw in a fountain drink. It does take a little more to draw in water, as you are pulling the water through the filter, so there is a little resistance. All you have to do is make sure you're drinking from the correct end of the filter.
Size & Weight

Size & Weight

The personal filter only weighs about 2 ounces, which is roughly over 56 grams. So extremely lightweight. You could easily pack several of these in a ruck compartment for your entire group, without taking much space or even noticing the weight.
Usage Capacity

Usage Capacity

Lifestraw claims that you can drink 264 gallons, or 1000 liters, through a single unit before the usage limit has been reached, apparently rendering the device unusable. The device will, according to Lifstraw, stop allowing water to be drawn through after it's used up.

I don't know about you, but I really don't keep a daily log of how much water I drink through a filter, so we hope this is really how it works. Based on the cost of an individual unit, you could realistically have one in your kit and use one a few outings, then replace.
Durability

Durability

The cost and design are intended to make this a disposable option once the limit of use has been reached. With that said, the overall construction is quite good, although being built of very lightweight plastic. We were concerned about use in rougher circumstances though. The unit should probably be packed in between the cushioning of spare clothes, or even inside your rolled sleeping bag until you need it.

Another caution we noticed is when trekking the mountains, or places where the temperature could drop below freezing. Once you have used the filter, you really need to prevent it from freezing. Freezing with moisture inside could produce small cracks that you might not see. This greatly reduces the effectiveness overall.

The brand does also offer a steel version at a considerably higher price, which uses a two-stage system with a replaceable carbon filter capsule.
Value

Value

The fact that it will make the difference between some serious longterm regret and the replenishment of vital water needed for survival without suffering from viral infections makes this a pretty valuable tool to have when you need it.

The cost of each unit is quite affordable, as this is one of those "use until you reach its limit" kind of products. We like this aspect as it gives you a lightweight, compact tool that can literally save your life in a bad situation.

The price tag is fair for the results this product produces. Then when you reach its limit, you just go get a new one.
The Bottom Line

The Bottom Line

For an affordable price and very little room taken in your pack, this is one of those pieces of kit that you'll be absolutely ecstatic you have when your trip doesn't go according to plan, and you find yourself relying on the land for water.

Perhaps the streams where you happen to be are pristine and crystal clear, and might not contain any of those dangerous, if not deadly, bacteria and viruses. Is it really worth the risk? We say no.

As long as you keep in mind that there is a filtration limit, and fully understand what this will and will not remove from the water, we absolutely say that this is a must have for anyone heading out where there are limits to how much water one can realistically carry.