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The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter Review

Avatar for Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: August 24, 2021
The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter Review

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Lifestraw (10)I first learned about the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter a year ago when one of the readers of Backdoor Survival sent me an email extolling its virtues.  Although it sounded cool and the price was right, I did not bother to test one myself.  After all, I already had a Berkey Sport bottle, a Nalgene water bottle and some water purification tabs in my pack.  I was all set.

Or so I thought.

During my recent trip to Alaska, I decided to carry along a LifeStraw and use it for some field testing.  After all, what better place to stick a straw in the water and drink than a beautiful Alaskan glacial pond or stream?

Today I am pleased to report that there is well-deserved merit to the popularity of the LifeStraw.  Not only is it extremely compact (meaning it takes up almost no room at all), but it is ultra-light weighing in at a mere two ounces.

Follow along below as I tell you about my LifeStraw experience and give you an opportunity to win one for free!


Before I set out on my Alaskan adventure, I removed the LifeStraw from its plastic wrapper, threw the directions in my pack and went searching for a suitable body of water.  I found a nice pond and being bound and determined to do it right, I crawled down the bank and stuck the LifeStraw in the water, ready to begin my test.

Alas, I knew right away something was wrong.  During my first try nothing happened as I tried to suck water from the top – much as you would suck on a straw sitting in a glass of juice or soda.

Lifestraw (11)

Lifestraw (7)

Lifestraw (5)

Clearly, I was doing something wrong and knew that it was time to RTFM.  I pulled the instruction leaflet out of my pack and read that before use, you need to uncap the LifeStraw and hold it upright in the water for a minute.  Apparently this allows the water to seep up the filter membrane and initiate the flow of water. You then do five quick sucks to get the water to flow easily.

Sure enough, once I tried this, the water flowed and I was able to take a long, healthy drink of darn good tasting water.

The moral of this story:  take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the instructions before trying out new gear.  Of course I knew that but my vacation befuddled brain was not running at full tilt.

I also tried using the LifeStraw in a more traditional way by sucking the water out of a cup.

Lifestraw (9)

That was not quite as much fun but of course, that worked too. The water I drank tasted good – but understand the pond looked pretty pristine to begin with.  That said, there was no chemical or plastic tasting after-taste from the LifeStraw itself.

Lifestraw (6)       Lifestraw (1)

When I was done drinking, I drew up a straw-full of water then blew it out.  According to the directions, this empties any remaining water from the chamber and also clears out any debris that may have been drawn up from the water.   I then recapped the LifeStraw and stuck it back in my pack, ready for its next use.

Lifestraw (2)

Now truth be told, it was kind of fun blowing the water out of the chamber so I kept doing it – playing like I was a human squirt gun.  But like I said, I was on vacation and a little silliness was in order.


According to Eartheasy, the master LifeStraw wholesale distributor for the USA and Canada, a single LifeStraw can filter up to 1,000 liters or 264 gallons of water.  Not only that, it removes 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria and 99.9% of water-borne protozoan parasites.

The LifeStraw itself is made from a BPA-free plastic material and has no moving parts to wear out.  It comes with a lanyard for carrying the LifeStraw around your neck but the lanyard material is nothing special.  I am going to remove it and make one out of paracord instead.

One other thing worth mentioning is that the LifeStraw has a shelf-life of five years meaning that you can put it in deep storage for use down the road – if you need it.

Update on 02-11-2014:  A Backdoor Survival reader asked the question:

In the article about the LifeStraw I noticed this, “the LifeStraw has a shelf-life of five years”.

What happens after the five year mark? Does the filter get brittle and decompose or something? How do you determine if a filter is no longer useful? Is there a way to prolong it’s shelf life? I.e. put it in can of vinegar?

Here is the response from EarthEasy, the US distributor of the Lifestraw:

The shelf life comment on LifeStraw products have actually been removed. The reason for this is because the filter has no chemicals or moving parts, meaning that there will be nothing that can expire.

When the LifeStraw reaches capacity, you will be unable to draw water through the unit. To prolong the life, what you will need to do is to back flush the unit after every use. You can even hold the LifeStraw under the sink and use your faucet to back flush all the contaminates caught within the pores.

To do that, you will need to hold the LifeStraw under the sink and use your hand to seal off the top, so that you get water pressure through the straw to back flush.

That is terrific news for those of us with LifeStraws.  This means we can now stockpile them as part of our preps.  Wohoo!


Given its light weight and compact form, the LifeStraw is perfect for the bug-out-bag.  Not only that, for prepping purposes I like the idea of having a back-up water filter so that if you question the water coming out of the tap of your home (or even at an emergency shelter), you can sip away knowing that you will not get sick from the water.

A LifeStraw is also a good addition to your travel kit.  It is easy to pack and lightweight – a real bonus these days of insidious airline baggage fees.  Plus, given the questionable water in many foreign countries, using the LifeStraw may actually prevent sickness or distress when bottled water is not available.

The same applies to hiking or bicycling where space and the weight of your pack are important.  My suggestion is to continue to carry a Nalgene water bottle or canteen.  You can then fill it with water but sip the water through a LifeStraw while drinking.


Last week I announced that I was giving away three LifeStraw Personal Water Filters.  That giveaway continues through June 27th, when each of the winners will be selected at random.

There are two ways to enter the giveaway and each entry counts (up to a maximum of two entries).

Alaska May 2013 312 Lifestraw

1.  First, you can leave a comment below sharing your current portable water purification method.  And if you don’t have one?  No worries – just say so.  We do not judge here on Backdoor Survival!

2.  Second, you can visit the article Water – The Survival Basic and enter a comment there as well.  (See the article for the topic.)

That gives you two separate chances of winning – now how cool is that?


Water and staying hydrated are so important to survival that I write about it over and over again. Even so, just when I think I know it all, I learn of a new way to store water or a new way to purify water.

Do you still have some questions about water and why it is important?  Be sure to read  read is 8 Reason Drinking Lots of Water is Important for Survival.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


If you have not done so already, please be sure to like Backdoor Survival on Facebook to be updated every time there is an awesome new article, news byte, or free survival, prepping or homesteading book on Amazon.  In addition, when you sign up to receive email updates you will receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-book The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

Bargain Bin:  Don’t want to wait for the giveaway? The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter contains no chemicals, no batteries and no moving parts to wear out. It features a a high flow rate and weighs only 2oz. It works quickly, taking roughly 3-5 seconds of sucking to start the flow of water through the filter. It’s ultra-light and inexpensive enough to keep in your backpack in case of emergencies or for hiking trips.  Click on LifeStraw Personal Water Filter to purchase the LifeStraw on Amazon.

waterBOB Emergency Drinking Water Storage:  Have you considered storing water in your bathtub?  The Water Bob is a bladder that you can use in your bathtub to store water if you know that a storm, flood, or hurricane is brewing.

NALGENE BPA-Free Water Bottle:  These water bottles have served me well.  I fill them up with water from my Royal Berkey and keep one bedside, one at my desk and another in the bathroom.  Keep in mind that price-wise, some colors will be more expensive so if color does not matter, go with the cheapest (currently the green version). 

Katadyn Vario Microfilter Water Filtration System:   The Katadyn system combines the benefits of easy operation, high water output, and extended cartridge life. Not only that, it filters up to 2 quarts per minute of pumping.

Colloidal Silver Medical Uses, Toxicology & Manufacture:  If you are interested in learning more about colloidal silver, this is the book to get.  It is written by John Hill, the same author of How to Live on Wheat which I reviewed awhile back in my article Why Store Wheat – Wheat 101 for Newbies.

55-Gallon Barrel Combo:  Check around because prices vary on this combo.

Potable Aqua Water Treatment Tablets: Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets make questionable water bacteriologically suitable to drink. Easy to use and the water is ready to drink in 30 minutes. One 50 tablet bottle treats 25 quarts of water.



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146 Responses to “The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter Review”

  1. Just starting out with very low funds. I figured boiling water over a fire would be enough but I guess not! Learning more and more daily, just need to win the lottery. Thanks for the info!

  2. I have a Katadyn backpacking water pump, which I never use anymore since I got a Lifestraw Go water bottle. The straw is great, when you’re at a good water source, but the Go bottle gives you portable filtered water and has the same capacity as the straw (1000 liters)

  3. i have the Sawyer Mini,but no to have one,as a back up..two is one,and one is your articles

  4. Wow!! As the old Alan Parsons song goes, “Where do we go from here, now that all of the children are growing up?”, we have created a monster on this planet and it is us! Take it from one who has seen life through over half of the last century, we had it all at one time, a much simpler life, to be sure, but one that was complete and satisfying at the least. Now we are using acronyms and phrases like SHTP, bug-out bag, we concentrate entire websites on survival techniques, building simple shelters and living “off the grid” and we don’t even mention a word about how we got to this place in time! It’s like trying to heal a wound with a dirty band-aid in my opinion.

    I have been an avid outdoorsman for most of my life, I love all that is still free for me to do and see in nature, so I am quite adept at taking care of myself in the wilderness, should I need the skills to do so. But I never, in my wildest dreams, thought that I would see the day when all that I have enjoyed or became interested in learning more about throughout my life might one day become my daily means of survival!! Bug-out bag?? What to take with me if I have to leave my home and revert to wilderness bushcraft?? How will I feed myself, clothe myself, stay healthy, or help others to do the same, that has been my challenge on a personal basis for many years, a test of my survival skills, and a learning experience for me personally as I find new ways to adapt to a life that, in the real world, I was raised in to begin with. My father was a great outdoorsman and I started my real education at a very early age in the Appalachian mountains of PA.

    Those of us who hoarded Mother Earth News magazines and enjoyed hiking into the mountains on “adventures” will appreciate the facts and hints and tips that were so often packed into such reading or short trips when we had no time frame to adhere to, no destination for arrival, no set plan to follow, just the challenges of the day on our own and with whatever we had at hand. It was fun back then, now it seems that it is the forecast of things to come.

    I hope that all who read this short life history of mine will take note that I didn’t tell you what to do, I have no favorite hints or tips to mention that will solve all your problems, and I pass no judgement on anyone else. I simply want to say that this is not something that has popped up out of nowhere, like Uncle Mike and the family knocking on the front door on a Saturday morning for a week long unannounced “visit” complete with 4 precocious boys with slingshots sticking out of their hip pockets and 2 ratty yipping cur dogs, [sorry for the run-on description], we have carefully orchestrated the predicament we face now by allowing our once meaningful interests in what is all around us to be pushed in the background in favor of glitzy plastic “toys” and eleectronic doo dads which mean nothing to us at the end of the day. We have lost our focus for getting out and voting some responsibility into our governing bodies throughout this nation and replaced it with an attitude of “my vote won’t matter” and we have allowed a group of money oriented people to take the control away from “this great nation, of the people, for the people, and by the people” and place that control in the hands of a greedy few who have their own agenda of “control”. It’s gone so far now that I wonder if we ever can gain back the country for which we have fought so hard and died so many deaths to preserve??

    I admire the efforts of those who feel that they can still turn things around but the only way that will happen is for the majority of us little folks to grasp back the one instinct that many of us have lost somewhere along the path to here and now, ………… our innate ability to use our common sense in making decisions in our lives. What a loss! What a shame! And now we have another election to face and I doubt that there will be enough “common sense” used this time either, as long as we think in terms of “what’s in it for me” or approach the problem with an extended hand turned upwards instead of outwards in a handshake greeting to your fellow man.

    I will make the transition to “where we were” with little trouble. I will be able to survive. I always have. And my son will also survive alongside me as we use what is there before us to make do with what we have at our disposal. And I hope that all of those reading this will come to the realization that there is so much out there that is wonderful and enjoyable and still free for the taking and it isn’t anything that has to be stolen, confiscated, or otherwise forced on or from anyone else, it is the right to use our common sense to survive and do what has to be done.

    Good luck to all.

  5. Years ago I was told to fill up bleach bottles with water when they emptied – date it and put it away. I have a Zero filter and have been looking at the LifeStraw options. Thanks for what you share!

  6. Currently; H2o storage in clean kit litter jugs #1 recy; also clean bleach jugs; 4 gal comm. H2o jugs. All w/ 8 to 10 drops per gal reg. bleach, re-added to every 4 to 6 mths. Boiling is alternate. LifeStraw is next on my list. Thanx for being here for us.

  7. We do not have portable water purification system yet. We are working on getting our survival kit together. I am learning a lot. I do have a little hand crank radio. We are having a speaker come to our church to talk about these things and how to get started. It will be a small turn out but I hope by word of mouth we will gain interest and have it presented again this fall. I have a home based business and work with all natural products included essential oils (I am an RN BSN). I have a great amount of respect for what these can accomplish in the way of keeping you healthy and safe. I have three recipes for blend of oils to Keep mosquitos at bay (ward off West Nile virus and two to prevent infection if bitten or scratched while out camping or in survival mode. I am excited to be offering these for sale to my family and friends soon. Thanks for all you do to help keep us informed and at the ready…

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