LifeStraw Play Kids Water Filter Bottle Review

James Walton James Walton  |  Updated: December 3, 2019
LifeStraw Play Kids Water Filter Bottle Review

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This review was conducted by an 8-year-old at play. Sure, I could have used it myself and got the gist of this interesting water bottle that is designed for kids.

My son Carter is as good a Guinea pig as any other. We sent the water bottle to school with him for a week and even let him customize it a bit. Each LifeStraw Play comes with a collection of disks that can be inserted into the top of the bottle to add a little character.

After a week of use, Carter has put the LifeStraw Play through a lot. Let’s see what he thinks of this interesting idea and potential EDC addition.

A Little About Carter

For years Carter has watched and participated in our preparedness journey. Carter is part of a generation that doesn’t seem to fear the word prepper. Probably because he is too young to know the negative connotations.

He has learned a lot about gear in his short time on this earth. From hanging out with me in the woods he has seen the water filtering and purification process.

From hunting trips to baby chicks Carter has been right there doing his part. Our strange suburban homesteading, modern outdoorsman lifestyle is certainly something he enjoys as much as those lazy weekends on the Nintendo Switch.

We have melted snow and made tea and we have sourced water out of mountain creeks for drinking. Carter understands bacteria and contaminated water. When I told him about the LifeStraw Play he was very excited to get his hands on it.

“It’s like your water filter?” He asked holding it up and slowly spinning it around. “I can drink cold freshwater from anywhere?”

I felt hesitant to tell my 8-year old that he can drink water from anywhere with his new bottle. They can get pretty creative with sourcing!

The LifeStraw Play

This water bottle is designed for kids. Let’s start with that.

In an age where kids are much more cognoscente of the environment, the water quality and the container for their water, the LifeStraw Play is a solution to all of it.

My son’s friend came to our house and ate a packaged snack then looked for our recycle bin and said,” I don’t wanna be a trasher!.”

We drank Kool Aid and tap water growing up. Now, look at us!


  • Lead and Heavy Metals
  • Bacteria and Parasites
  • Chemicals
  • Microplastics

The BPA free bottle certainly improves the taste of water and carries up to 10oz at its max. The container and lid are all dishwasher safe once you remove the filter.

Carter chose the fox for his customizable cap. While the box shows 8 unique designs on coin-shaped disks, that affix onto the top of the bottle, we couldn’t find the robot design so he settled for the fox.

Getting the clear disk off of the cap to slide the customized disk on was kind of tough.

“Did you cut yourself?” Carter asked when I finally popped it loose. I must have made a remark or a noise.

Another word on aesthetics, the bottles are colored and the lids are colored. Of the 5 color schemes most can be carried by both boys and girls. The color combinations are pretty neutral. The screw-on lids and spouts are also interchangeable if you have multiple bottles.

The Filter

We are dealing with LifeStraw here, and I have to imagine that that name is familiar to all, or the vast majority, the readers. They have held a top position in water filters for a long time.

The Play features a dual filter that starts with the membrane filter. That is your first line of defense.

“Tiny straws that the bacteria cannot swim up.” is the way that Carter understands the membrane style filter. The plague of microplastics cannot get up there either.

This filter is going to remove your E.coli, Giardia, Crypto and all that nasty stuff that will start growing in your child’s gut and make them very sick.

These types of waterborne pathogens kill children in the 3rd world every single day. Lots of them!

The next layer is an activated carbon and ion exchange filter. The incredible surface area and absorption of activated charcoal are what improves the taste of water and will remove those skunky odors. It will also reduce chlorine.

The ion exchange in your filter will reduce lead and other heavy metals.

Testing the LifeStraw Play

As mentioned, we sent the LifeStraw Play off to school as Carter’s water bottle.

Its America in 2019 and the school water fountains are already filtered.

The schools promote reusable water bottles so this was a pretty simple situation for Carter.

“The water didn’t taste any different but people liked my bottle,” he remarked after a few days of using the bottle.

We also took the Play into the park at the edge of our community. We hiked to the nearest running creek and looked for a place to source water.

These creeks run adjacent to some pretty busy roads so I am sure there is chemical runoff as well as bacteria from a thriving deer population.

We found a deeper spot downstream from a “beaver filter” as Carter calls them. The collection of sticks and leaves upstream of slower deeper pool of water does act as a minor but preliminary debris filter.

It’s not an actual beaver shelter but I like Carter’s verbiage.

After he filled the bottle and screwed on the top, I primed the spout. You should prime the spout for your kids on the first use and when you clean it out and change sources.

Prime it? I mean just suck from the spout, real hard, till the water starts to flow.

“Taste’s fine. It’s nice and cold.”

We didn’t drink a lot of water from this source but we sat on the cold bank and shared a fruit by the foot with Jacob, Carter’s younger brother. I thought I felt a strange sensation on my tongue but Carter didn’t report the same.

The Verdict

Is the LifeStraw Play a legitimate water bottle for kids? Do they like to carry this thing around and answer questions about the filter?

About 3 years ago we bought Carter a Batman backpack. Its a cheap backpack but it served its purpose. Over the years I have slowly added things to this backpack and hung it in our closet.

It started with a little medkit for him. I added a snack to that kit. Then we added things like binoculars, a Firestarter, a small Kershaw knife, and now its a pretty comprehensive little survival bag.

We travel with this bag and we camp with this bag. It is always ready for an adventure


As an inclusion in a child’s bag, like this one, the LifeStraw Play is perfect. It will become part of Carter’s loadout and most likely live in his bag if he stops taking it to school.

There are kids, like Carter, who are going to understand, appreciate and enjoy carrying a bottle like this. Then there will be kids who just want a PJ Masks water bottle and that’s the end of it!

“We have water fountains at school so I didn’t refill it once,” Carter told me when I asked him about using the bottle throughout the day. I filled it at home but he never refilled it.


The LifeStraw Play is a very functional water bottle for kids. It carries plenty of water per fill and is easy to refill.

The screw cap is big and easy to put on and take off. It also doesn’t leak which is a big deal. Especially, when you are storing things in bookbags.

The spout works just fine once it is primed by an adult and offers up great water flow for the child.

Overall the Play is a viable water bottle for a child’s EDC but where it really shines is in building that special bugout bag or adventure bag for your child. I have had so much preparedness “buy in from my kids because they have their own gear and we go on adventures together.

This water filter/water bottle is only going to make Carter more self-reliant, confident and excited to get out and experience the wilds of the world.

If you are interested in purchasing the Lifestraw Play, you can purchase it for 30% directly through Lifestraw as part of their Cyber Monday week sale.

Otherwise, you can purchase on Amazon by following this link.

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