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If you’re a lover of the outdoors and enjoy hiking, camping or any other activities that often keep you outside for long periods of time, making sure you have access to clean drinking water is a must. Many water filtration systems are complex, but the LifeStraw personal water filter from Amazon is small, efficient and easy for anyone to use.
The LifeStraw personal water filter can be used as a straw to drink directly from a body of water that may be contaminated with bacteria, parasites and microplastics. The straw does not contain chemicals or iodine; it works by removing unsafe bacteria and parasites, so you can drink from a lake, stream or other body of water if you’re in an emergency situation and don’t have another water source.
The LifeStraw personal water filter is designed to remove 99.9999% of bacteria including Escherichia coli (E. coli), campylobacter, Vibrio cholera, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, shigella, salmonella and 99.9% of protozoa, including Giardia lamblia, Cryptosporidium parvum and Entamoeba histolytica. Weighing less than 2 ounces, the straw can easily be packed in a backpack if you’ll be hiking or camping, or stored easily in a safe place at home or in your car in case of a natural disaster like a hurricane, earthquake or tornado that may leave you without fresh water.
Priced at $65 for a 5-pack, each straw is able to process up to 1,000 gallons of clean and safe drinking water, which is enough to last one person for more than five years, the company says. It has an unlimited shelf life, so you can use it multiple times. LifeStraw says it has been tested all over the world in the harshest conditions to make sure it works everywhere.
Because they last a long time, if you want fewer straws, you can buy a 3-pack for $45, two-pack for $35 or a single straw for $17.47. If you find yourself in situations that make it more likely you may end up stranded without water, your best best is to go for a pack of straws so you can keep them in multiple locations. Buying a multi-pack is also cheaper, as the straws end up being just $13 each when buying the pack of five.
LifeStraw was initially created in 1994 to help the fight against Guinea worm disease, which at the time was in 18 countries spanning Africa, South Asia and the Middle East. In 2020, LifeStraw donated 390,500 LifeStraw Guinea worm filters and by the end of the year, there were only 27 cases in six countries, down from 100,000.
Today, people all over the world have purchased the straw, using it while camping, hiking or traveling, or simply keeping it on hand in case of an emergency. For every straw purchased, LifeStraw says they’re able to provide a child with safe drinking water for an entire year.
With nearly 100,000 reviews on Amazon so far, customers have given the straw a rating of 4.8 out of 5, with 84% of reviewers (more than 75,000) giving it a perfect rating of 5 stars. Customers say while they hope they never have to use the straw, it gives them peace of mind just knowing they have it. Reviewers say it’s easy to use, can save your life and many mention keeping the straws in an emergency kit.
One 5-star review says the straw is a “must-have for outdoor excursions,” with the reviewer writing that they frequently hike and camp in the backcountry all over the U.S.
“Carrying the amount of water that I need to survive during these trips is just not feasible due to the weight. In the past I always carried a General Ecology First Need XL water purifier and refilled nalgene bottles with it. Since getting a LifeStraw I most likely won’t be doing that any longer since the LifeStraw is smaller and lighter than the First Need XL,” they wrote. “I recently took a LifeStraw out for a test on a backcountry hike in the Rocky Mountains. Every stream, lake, or other water source that I came across I stopped for a drink. I was drinking fresh snow melt and also from lakes that are home to beavers and other wildlife. There was no added taste to the water and I didn’t get sick during or after the trip.”
Another reviewer who gave it 5 stars says they are an Army veteran who believes everyone should have at least one straw per person in their household for unexpected events.
“Forget the water boiling when water advisories are on….Just use one of these,” they wrote. “Always try to prepare for the unexpected, Your very life may very well depend on it someday.”
There are a handful of negative reviews, however, with some customers saying it’s difficult to get a lot of of water from the straws and others saying they experienced clogs, so you may want to test the straw before taking it on trip just to make sure it’s functioning correctly in case you end up needing it.
While Lifestraw is one of the most popular straw filters, it is not the only one on the market. The brand Membrane Solutions has a six-pack of similar straws for $70.
With close to 30,000 reviews so far, the straws have a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars, with customers saying they’re lightweight, easy to use and fit on the top of a water bottle so you can store your filtered water.
You can also get this Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System for $25. While you can use the straw to drink directly from your water source, it also attaches to an included drinking pouch, standard disposable water bottles or hydration packs.
The system includes one Sawyer mini filter, a 16-ounce reusable squeeze pouch, a 7-inch drinking straw and a cleaning plunger. Reviewers give it 4.7 out of 5 stars overall, with 82% of customers giving it a full 5-star rating.
If you’re looking to filter more water than you can get from a straw, Lifestraw has a variety of other products as well, including water bottles with an integrated filter and water pitchers tested to protect against bacteria, parasites, lead, mercury and other chemicals.