Drink Water from the River…With Life Straw

by | Gear Explorer


The sound of rivers cannot only be highly relaxing but also make you thirsty. This is especially true when it comes to rivers located outside human settlements and that look particularly clean. When you find yourself near a spectacular river surrounded by green trees and you get thirsty, is hard not to consider drinking from the river. The problem is, rivers are full of bacteria and parasites, making this option look less delicious the more you think about it. However, thanks to science and technological developments, you can now drink water from the river with the help of a water filter.

The Life Straw is a water filter is said to eliminate almost all waterborne bacteria and parasites. It can filter as much as 1,056 gallons (4,000 liters) of water, which is more or less what a person needs in three days. The product comes in a few version, namely Life Straw, LifeStraw Family, LifeStraw Go Water Bottle (for some reason I feel that the name of this model is very good; don’t ask why), LifeStraw Flex, LifeStraw Play, LifeStraw Universal, LifeStraw Community, LifeStraw Steel, and LifeStraw Mission.

For trekkers, the LifeStraw Steel seems the most relevant product. This personal water filter builds upon the original LifeStraw personal water filter with a sleek steel exterior and 2-stage water filtration process. The hollow fiber membrane filters bacteria and protozoa and the activated carbon capsule reduces chemicals such as chlorine and organic compounds, odor, and bad taste. According to the LifeStraw website, LifeStraw Steel is ideal for hiking, backpacking, and camping.

The history of LifeStraw water filters is quite interesting. Designed by Bestergaard Frandsen (based in Switzerland), LifeStraw was meant to be distributed for people living in developing nations where access to improved water is limited. The filters can also play an important role during humanitarian crises. For example, the product was used during the 2010 Haiti earthquake and 2011 Thailand floods, among others. While the product clearly has some very important applications,  not long after being launched, LifeStraw became popular as a consumer product. The product has received several awards, including “Best Invention of 2005″ by Time Magazine and was also featured in the Museum of Modern Art (New York).


LifeStraw is made of plastic tube 8.6 inches (22 cm) long and 1.1 inches (3 cm) in diameter. Water drawn up through the straw passes through hollow fibers designed to filter water particles through physical filtration. The entire process is powered by suction.


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