Review: How to Filter Water With a Lifestraw Mission

Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: November 24, 2020
Review: How to Filter Water With a Lifestraw Mission

We need water for drinking, cooking, bathing, cleaning, and overall hygiene. Without good water, we will suffer and could even die. That said, a struggle for many is not how to source water but rather how to make bad water good. After all, the last thing we want to find a source of water, use it, and end up married to the toilet god or worse.

Over the years, I have learned to trust Lifestraw products for their ease of use and portability.  It is for that reason I am thrilled to share my experience with the Lifestraw Mission plus, in my usual style, offer one to a lucky reader in a giveaway.

How to Filter Water LifeStraw Mission | Backdoor Survival

What is a Lifestraw Mission?

The official description of the LifeStraw Mission is that it is a gravity powered water purifier that uses an advanced ultrafiltration membrane with a 0.02 micron pore size, removing virtually all virus, bacteria, and protozoa.  I call it an easy peasy, lightweight tool for making bad water good while you are on your own following a disruptive event!

It works by gravity feed and there are no chemicals, batteries, or moving parts other than the water bag and the filter itself.  The best part is portability.  You can carry it anywhere.  My Lifestraw Mission is the 12-liter model and it weighs in at about 1.5 pounds.  I

The filtering capacity is 4,750 gallons over its life and from what I have learned, you will know that it is no longer viable as a filter because it will no longer work.

Note, however, that like the original LifeStraw, the LifeStraw Mission does not filter out chemicals, salt water, or heavy metals.

How Does it Work?

The way the LifeStraw Mission works is you first fill it with water from your source.  This could be a pond or stream or even tap water if you suspect it has been contaminated by something other than chemicals or heavy metals.  Once it is filled. you roll down the top and secure it with the integrated clamps.

If you have not already done so, hang the strap from a tall branch then attach the bag.  We had a bit of a tussle because Shelly, aka the Survival Husband, wanted to take over and hang the bag himself.  I fought back because I wanted to prove that a person could handle the entire process single-handedly.  I managed but if you are a smaller person, I would suggest the 5L LifeStraw Mission which will be less cumbersome, weight wise when filled.

After attaching the bag to the strap, you open the red dirty water valve to get the flow going. After 10 seconds, you close the tap and open the blue water tap.  Water coming out of the blue water tap has been purified.  Never drink the water from the red dirty water tap since it bypasses the filtration process.

For my testing, I did not have a tree branch so I used a fence post instead.  The downside of doing this is that the water hose did not hang straight down.  Still, the entire 12 liters (3.17 gallons) took one hour to filter, start to finish.

I tried to capture the process in pictures but this YouTube video does it even better.


What I Like About the LifeStraw Mission

There are a number of reasons I like this product.  First is portability. If I had to evacuate because it was not longer safe to stay in my home, I could grab the LifeStraw Mission and go.  It comes with a carry bag that can be clipped to a pack or tossed in a suitcase.

Lifestraw Mission Compact Size | Backdoor Survival
This photo will give you a sense of the compact size and portability of the LifeStraw Mission

Second is that it is completely intuitive. Other than understanding the difference between the blue valve and the red valve, there is not much to it.  Set the hose coming out of the blue valve into a clean bucket and you can walk away until the entire bag is empty.  The cliché set it and forget it applies.

Third is that the water can be used for a variety of purposes. As much as I like the standard LifeStraw (and own several), they are drinking devices.  The water cannot but collected in a vessel and used for cooking, cleaning, or other purposes.

Finally, using the LifeStraw Mission is easy. You do not have to remember any complicated instructions because they are printed both on the bag and in a label on the inside of the included carry bag. Plus, I could handle the entire process single-handedly without a second set of hands.

You might recall that I have written about and recommended the LifeStraw Family in the past.  One of the big differences between that feed bucket for the water.  It is still an excellent product, just not quite as portable as the LifeStraw Mission.

Lifestraw Mission Drinking Water | Backdoor Survival
At the end of the day, we all want safe drinking water.

The Giveaway

This giveaway is being sponsored by, a longtime sponsor, and friend of Backdoor Survival.  The winner will receive a 5 Liter (1.32 gallon)  LifeStraw Mission.

Entering is easy using the Rafflecopter below.  Although comments are not necessary to win, you do get five “entries” for answering the giveaway question.  Just remember that you must select the “I Commented” entry in the Rafflecopter to have your comment recorded in the random drawing.  The question for this drawing is:

“What is your current strategy for purifying water following a disruptive event?”

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The deadline is 6:00 PM MST next Tuesday with the winner notified by email and announced on the Rafflecopter in the article.  Please note that the winner must claim their prize within 48 hours or an alternate will be selected.

Note:  Due to Customs requirements, this giveaway is only open to those with a mailing address in the United States.

UPDATE: The giveaway has ended, but you can still pick up the Lifestraw Mission for a great price at this listing.

Additional Resources

Whether you are new to prepping and just learning, or an experienced old hand in need of a refresher course. there are plenty of resources available to help educate and assist you.  You can start with these.

Survival Basics: Water and Water Storage
The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide
Emergency Water for Preppers: The Four Part Series
Hydration for the Apocalypse: How to Store Water for Long-Term Emergencies
How to Use Pool Shock to Purify Water
The Lifestraw Mission User Manual

The Final Word

Longtime readers know I have a thing about flashlights and emergency lighting in general.  Less well known is that I have multiple ways to ensure I will always have clean water for drinking and other purposes.

Products from LifeStraw, including the LifeStraw Mission, LifeStraw Family, LifeStraw Go, and personal LifeStraw are important to my overall water strategy.  These products are easy to use, durable, and affordable.


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Below you will find items mentioned in today’s article.

LifeStraw Mission: This is my number one pick due to its portability, affordability, and ability to filter water into a containment vessel so it can be used not only for drinking but for cooking, cleaning, hygiene and other purposes. It comes in two sizes: 5L and 12L.

LifeStraw Family 1.0 Water Purifier:  The Lifestraw Family contains no chemicals, no batteries, and no moving parts to wear out. It features a high flow rate and is the perfect solution to your portable water purification needs – whether bugging in or bugging out. Read my review here.

The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide:  You can survive up to three weeks without food, but only three days without water. When catastrophe strikes, having enough water can spell the difference between life and death. This book offers a step-by-step plan with straightforward information you can easily follow.  Written by my friend Daisy Luther, I recommended the book for everyone’s survival library!

No Rinse Cleansing & Deodorizing Bathing Wipes:  One wipe is more than enough for a complete “bath”.  These are a good backup when traditional showers are not available such as the week or weeks following a disaster.  Also good for the sick room as well as camping, boating, hiking and such.  Here is my review.

DryTec Calcium Hypochlorite, 1-Pound:  This is 68% Calcium Hypochlorite.  As of this writing, the price is with free shipping.  I purchased Ultima Pool Shock which is 73% Calcium Hypochlorite.  For more information, read How to Use Pool Shock to Purify Water.

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter:  The LifeStraw is considered the most advanced, compact, ultralight personal water filter available. It contains no chemicals or iodinated resin, no batteries and no moving parts to break or wear out. It weighs only 2 oz. making it perfect for the prepper. For more information, see my LifeStraw review.


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125 Responses to “Review: How to Filter Water With a Lifestraw Mission”

  1. Another Great post. I have several canfle filters and a 5 Gallon bucket system as well as a couple of sawyer mini’s in the BOB

  2. I have a Brita water pitcher in the house I could use with my pool if needed and a Sawyer Mini in my BOB. I also have several 7 gallon Aquatainers stored since I live in AZ and we normally go through water fast.

  3. I have several methods to purify/filter water: coffee filters and dry bleach, 2 personal Lifestraws in every kit (get home bag, bug out bag, car supplies, home supplies), the Lifestraw family size filter, and plenty of fuel and multiple heating methods to boil water.

  4. I have a Berkey but need to get some extra filters and a couple personal Life Straws.
    I would like to get some activated charcoal to make a pre filter. I live in farm country.

  5. I have a Berkey clone. It’s not exactly portable, but it’s perfect for bugging in. I had a filter similar to the Lifestraw Mission, but it got moldy. Does the Mission break down for better cleaning and drying?

    Either way, this would be an extremely useful field device

  6. We have a 30 day supply of drinking water saved. We have a rain catchment system that collects water. A lifestraw family is on my amazon wish list but we have pool shock set aside for water purification purposes if need be.

  7. For home use, bleach, pool shock, boiling, berkley filter, and solarization, depending on what I think has contaminated the water. The life straw is great for unknown water sources.

  8. Hi Gaye, I have a pitcher pump well for water and a homemade filter system I made.
    It’s similar to a Big Berkey Water Filter made with 2 ceramic filters and 2 – 5 gallon food grade buckets, one on top of the other and it works very well. The filter you are giving away looks good for portability which is important for bugging out and I could sure use that… Thanks for what you do of the prepper community, I know it is a lot of work…

  9. Prefilter pond water through a piece of an old T-shirt to remove junk and gunk and then filter again through our Berkey.

  10. Saving for Berkey but have a rudimentary filter with sand, charcoal & coffee filters. Also a month of stored water & a WaterBob. Need help!

  11. Primarily I’ll use my large Berkey filter, but I have many Sawyer and Lifestraw filters and just bought a couple of larger Katydyn bag filters. I also have a Glenn Meder distiller system and can use my Sun Oven to boil water if necessary. I have a bunch of WAPIs to facilitate knowing when water is boiled to a safe level.
    This is one area where I think “buying stuff” is really important, but knowing how to distill or boil water without any of these contraptions is invaluable as well.
    I live in AZ, so water is a BIG deal to me. I’ve got a ton of water storage, spread between me and my extended family members, so hopefully I won’t even HAVE to filter or distill water.
    Thanks for everything you do for us, Gaye!

  12. Filter and boil. Filters alone do not necessarily remove all of the contaminants. Boiling for 5 – 10 minutes kills all the nasties, but does not remove heavy metals or chemicals.

  13. We have bucket system water filters, water barrels, rain water barrels, along with numerous filter straws. Also have chlorine.

  14. We started storing water in gallon jugs but had to move them outside and they’re deteriorating. So we have some ideas but currently boiling what comes out of the tap is all we got going. We need to step it up!

  15. Thanks for the review of this particular product. I have been looking at this one for my household because of our pets.

    I have bought Lifestraws and a mini sawyer for my human family, but it’s a bit more of a challenge than I would like to use these for animals.

    We have a Creek nearby, but everyone would be trying to get water from the creek to purify it some way. With the Lifestraws and something like the Mission, this would really make a huge difference in how we could get water.

  16. I have enough saved water for about 3 months, a rain water catchment system, and a Berkey with extra filters and a couple of lifestraws. After living near Flint, MI safe water became my first priority.

  17. I have multiple means depending on circumstances. A lifestraw for every person, a Sweetwater compact for backpacking, an MSR (larger) for home or Bugout , chlorine bleach, iodine tabs and polar purefor longest term.

  18. This article was a good wake up call for me- because currently we have bleach stored and water treatment tablets. So filtering, bleaching and boiling would be our plan. Now that I think about it, I don’t think I want to rely on any of those tactics! So thank you for the timely giveaway!

  19. I have a Sawyer mini and a Life straw in my bag and will use pool shock and boiling/distilling for longer term/ larger uses.

  20. Currently using a Berkey Light for daily needs, and as portable as that is, this is another step towards bug-out for a group or long-term use.
    Great review!

  21. I have a Big Berkey (so that we can filter the swimming pool water) and a Britta filter.
    Also have a 55 gallon drum of water, but it’s gotten rather old, because of our water constraints due to the drought. Now that we are out of the drought, I can refill it this summer.

  22. I have Pool Shock stored to purify water. I would also boil the water. Still trying to figure out how to hook the sump up to a cistern which I still have to build. Saving up for the Berkey and a lot of filters
    This would be so very much appreciated
    Thank you again Gaye for these awesome give aways.

  23. Multiple methods is the way to go. My primary go-to at home is my Berkey, but it is not very portable. Various packs have LifeStraws and/or the various purification tablets. The biggest issue with the LifeStraws is that you can drink, but not purify water for cooking, etc. Looks like the LifeStraw Mission has solved that issue!

  24. rainwater collection for household use (1100 gal tank tied to gutters on metal roof barn)
    well with pitcher pump for consumption
    plan on getting pool shock
    when shtf, we will stand our ground and defend what we have

  25. I’m a newbie. Just have purifying tablets. Sorry, Just learning. Your system would make it so simple!!

  26. I have a 55 gallon drum with purifying chemicals. When that is gone I will need to boil water if I don’t have a filter by then.

  27. I have several life straws or something similar. Something similar to the Mission but from Lifestraw and several 55 gallon drums.

  28. I have a Big Berkey, a Seychelle bag, and Seychelle 24 oz bottle & filter for my Get Home Bag. The advanced filter takes out everything including radioactive particles.

  29. We have a few lifestraws, a backpacking filter (somewhere), and we would boil or use iodine crystals.

  30. Lifestraw for everyone and stored water in gallon containers. We need more reliable sources for water. Electricity goes out and we have no well. Could use advice and economical solutions. Thanks for the up to date work. Being prepared doesn’t “go out of date”.

  31. I like the portability of the 3L Puralytics SolarBag – takes out some of the chemicals and heavy metals while eliminating the bacteria and viruses. Just put it in the sun for a few hours. BERKEY at home!

  32. Stored water, rain catchment system, 2 Sawyer filters, 2 Lifestraws, a Big Berkey, pool shock stuff, gravel/sand/charcoal supplies.

  33. I have a multiprong approach to water filtering. I’ve purchased a few life straws and they are great. I’ve also made several filter systems like a millbank bag. If there should an event that is long term it’s possible that you could exhaust the capacity of Commercial filter. So thinking outside of the box and being creative its water filtering is critical.

  34. Primary is a Big Berkey. Also have the large Sawyer and bucket system, several Life Straws and a Lifestraw family. I have replacement filters for the Berkey but don’t know about available replacements for the big Lifestaw systems…? BTW a real good idea in my opinion is the water boiler/purifier that Stove Tek sells. Perfect to use with the Stovetec rocket stove (also an outstanding every-day use/prepper product but that’s for another story).

  35. I currently have a PUR Hiker Pro pump filter and an extra filter cartridge for it. At some time in the near future I plan on getting something more passive but with greater capacity.

  36. I have four water filter bottles that should last several months. I do have a limited supply of water stored in my apartment, but it’s something.

  37. Have a lifestraw, but with the fertilizers and heavy metal in the water in this area, I’m saving for a Burkey

  38. For the short term, or as long as I have power, I’d use UV sterilization with my SteriPen – I’m not sure that I have a very good plan for long term, boiling aside.

  39. I have found that Sawyer filters will do the same thing plus a lot more.

    Sawyer filters are also available at a very reasonable cost.

  40. Another great giveaway, I already have a Lifestraw Fiter so this would be an excellent addition to my emergency preps

  41. I have a couple filter straws. We have a water collection tank for gutters. We have a pond, and ways to boil water. This water bag would come in very handy for a bugout situation. Thank for all the useful info.

  42. I have 1 Life Straw Filter and 40 cases of bottled water which would be very heavy to carry on my back if we had to leave our home so needless to say I’m in line with everyone else who could use it too. Thank you for these wonderful giveaways and all of your articles.

  43. Gaye, another great article, but you should check out Survival Filter. I switched from Lifestraw after I researched them both.

    For home use I have an AquaRain 400. Think Big Berkey but better. I’ve been using it for 7 years without a hitch.

  44. We are on a rural water system, so we have water even when power is out locally. In an major shutdown, back plan is first to use water from our well. (It supplies the whole farm, other than our house, already). We have a generator, so power for the well would not be a problem. HIGHLY unlikely that both our well water AND rural water source would be contaminated. We also have a creek 1/8 mile from our house, so ample water if we could not get power for the well. That water would need to be boiled, which we could do. I would still like a filter on hand though. . .you know, back up the back up plan.

  45. I’ve got a personal Lifestraw, some purification tablets, and one of those small handpump type filters (which is a P.I.T.A).

  46. I live in Southern California it’s a desert my first task would be to find it then to corse filter it then probably bleach and then a very fine ceramic filter, then shake it to get air in it.

  47. I use several different filters to keep my water tanks filled. Life Straw is among the best and easiest to use.

  48. I have a Berkey and a couple extra filters but if I have to leave it would be hard to carry. Thanks for the good info!

  49. If we aren’t on the move, we have jugs of water stored. On the move, we have 4 single Lifestraws and a small pack of water purification tablets.

  50. For purifying water post SHTF I have both a Big Berkey with a lot of black filters (and a few of the PF2 arsenic/flouride post filters) plus some bags of pool shock so I can make my own bleach for water purification or disinfecting.

    Also, all of my GHBs and office packs have the Sport Berkey bottles which have the same black element, just cut down to bottle size. I have spare filters for them in my LTS, in case I need to forage far enough from home to require hydration.

    As to water sources…I have a river just down the street and multiple 5 gallon jugs that I can refill via a bucket and then wheel them back home via a garden cart. But right now they are all filled with potable water. 😉

  51. We all take drinking water for granted. Another source is greatly appreciated! The Life Straw is the best idea.

  52. I have purchased a variety of Lifestraw products for my grown kids for Christmas and birthdays. We live near a lake, so in the event of a ‘situation’ we will be able to use ours for drinking water, cooking and personal care. Am very grateful I found this product thru your website! 🙂

  53. Big Berkey, Lifestraw, Seychelle filter, pool shock, water distiller, Shungit stones, purification tablets.

  54. Lifestraws & several other similar brands of straws including Sawyer minis (for redundancy), a Lifestraw Family, plain bleach (buy a fresh new bottle every 6 months), pool shock, water purification tablets, coffee filters, a couple hundred gallons of stored/purified tap water, iodine crystals, the boiling method, and the SODIS method with PET bottles.

  55. I have a LifeSraw Sawyer minis for each family member and some extras. I’m thinking about adding something on a larger scale for multiple person use. As well as stored water.

  56. I have several personal life straws for each member of the family. Several ways to purify water. Large quantity water purifiers. In-ground pool and small creek around our property to gather water. Multiple jugs of water stored.

  57. Life Straws, stored water and purification tablets. The Mr. &I are debating where to invest: storage or filtration systems. We live near a river and several ponds, so he thinks it’s silly to use space storing water.

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