The straw of life...

9 / 10


LifeStraw Personal is a very lightweight and portable water filter. The LifeStraw claims to filter 1,000 litres of water and remove 99.9999% of water-borne bacteria and 99.9% of parasites, without the use of chemicals, batteries or moving parts. It really is just a fat straw with a lot of filtration power built in. It should not be used for drinking salt water, and it won’t remove dissolved chemicals, metals or other minerals.

Also, it does not remove viruses. If the water you are trying to drink is contaminated by viruses or other nasties, you can put water treatment tablets in to sort this out.

LifeStraw was invented by Swiss-based company Vestergaard in 2005 and has been deployed in major international humanitarian disasters. LifeStraw has become popular with intrepid explorers, campers, trekkers, outdoor enthusiasts and people in emergency and survival environments. Weighing only 56 grams and with dimensions of 22.5 x 2.5 cm, LifeStraw claims to be the easiest solution to staying hydrated whilst on-the-go.

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Setup and Use

Not much to do here. Take it out of the packet. Take it outdoors. Dangle it in a stream and drink. Or fill a bottle from a stream/lake/tarn/cleanishpuddle. And dangle it in that bottle and take a drink.

When you’re using the straw for the first time during the day, it takes a little more effort to get the water flowing, but as soon as you do it’s very easy to use. If the filter gets a bit clogged up (hard to get water through) then you just blow back through it and it soon clears out. Blow back through at the end of the day when you’re finished. If you get back to a clean water source after that, suck a bit through and then blow back and leave to dry.


This could be a life saver. Literally. Here in the UK, you’re probably less likely to find yourself in so many situations where you’ll be a long way from accessible clean water, but if you fancy a long trip through the Lake District wildernesses, or the remote Scottish Highlands, then this will save you from having to carry 10+ litres of water to get you through your trip. If you’re going abroad somewhere, pack this, and you’ll have to worry less about water.

It claims to remove 99.99999% of waterborne bacteria which is greater than log 7 reduction. But what does this mean? "Log reduction" is a mathematical term to show the relative number of live microbes eliminated from a surface by disinfecting or cleaning. A log 7 reduction means the number of germs is 10,000,000 times smaller. So if your water has 10,000,000 pathogenic microbes in it, the Life Straw would reduce this to just 1. That’s a mind boggling number. But one that should be fairly reassuring. It will also remove 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites all the way down to those of 0.2 microns in size. This is log 3 reduction, where it will remove 999 out of 1,000 parasites.

If you need something to allow you to drink water when out and about without having to carry a lot around with you, the Life Straw is the perfect solution.

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