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Old 02-04-2018, 03:33 PM
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Default How Easy Is A LifeStraw To Use?



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Surely everyone has heard of a LifeStraw? It is a simple tube that is a water filter. Place the inlet into the water, then suck the water through the tube. Seems simple enough right? Almost too good to be true?

If something seems to god to be true it usually is, except for the LifeStraw.

Back in March of 2017 I decided to take the plunge and ordered a LifeStraw from Amazon. In April I took the LifeStraw on a hiking trip and gave it a test run.

First impressions were very good. It was just like pulling water through a straw. The water took a few seconds to get through the filter, but when it did, the flow was excellent.
LifeStraw Specifications

From the Amazon product page.
  • Filter size: 0.2 microns.
  • Surpasses EPA filter standards.
  • Removes minimum 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria.
  • Removes 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites.
  • Filters up to 1000 liters of contaminated water.
  • Does not require batteries and has no moving parts.
  • Each straw is individually packaged.


Overall, I was very happy with how the LifeStraw performed. The individual wrapping allows someone to stockpile the filters, then hand them out as needed.

Going on a hiking or camping trip with some buddies, kids, grandkids… etc? They do not have a water filter? Just pull a few out of inventory and hand them out.

Is the LifeStraw worth $20? I think it is. The simple design means no pumping and no moving parts. Just insert the straw into a water source, and suck. If you would rather not get your knees wet, dip a water bottle (or canteen) into the water source, then use the LifeStraw to drink from the container.

One thing that I like about the LifeStraw, if someone is in a hurry, and they do not have to break out the typical pump style filter, just fill up the water containers and keep moving.

Now for the video.
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Old 02-04-2018, 05:00 PM
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one thing to keep in mind.....the darker the water....the harder it will be to draw by sucking...and the shorter life span of the filter.....spares are highly recommended...if you can not find clear water....
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Old 02-04-2018, 05:21 PM
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Does anyone make an extension tube attachment for them?

Because in practice they are pretty hard to use without sliding face first down a bank into a river. Just a couple feet of tubing would make them much easier to use. I've found myself sucking water out of a mud puddle in a road when there was a clear stream right next to it because I couldn't figure out how to lower my face down the bank without sliding down it.
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Old 02-04-2018, 07:57 PM
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How are you meant to filter water used for cooking (eg reconstituting freeze dried meals)?

The only way I can think of is a bit disgusting and not well suited to cooking for a group......

How are you meant to carry water away from the water source (apart from contaminating your water carrier with unsafe water)?

You would not need to "hand out" too many $20 Life Straws before it would be better (and cheaper) to have a good quality pump or gravity filter that the group could use together.......
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Old 02-05-2018, 01:19 AM
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According to http://www.lifestraw.com, they make several kinds of LifeStraws:


Quote:
The LifeStraw Go is designed for hikers, campers, travellers and other outdoor enthusiasts. It will filter out 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria and 99.9% of waterborne protozoa. Chemicals, salt water, heavy metals and viruses will not be removed.
I have a LifeStraw in my camping gear and love how portable it is, but in a disaster situation I would be concerned about viruses such as hepatitis and other communicable diseases that often accompany flooding, or contaminated waterways. (For that, I will be relying on the LifeStraw Family model, below.)

Quote:
If you are looking for a high capacity filter to remove viruses, the LifeStraw Mission and LifeStraw Family 1.0 will remove 99.999% of viruses.
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Old 02-05-2018, 01:25 AM
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Other than potentially a hunter, the straw seems pretty pointless. Almost all filters have no moving parts absent potentially a whole house filter (and even that can be no moving parts).

I guarantee you that this filter is very, very expensive on a per-gallon basis. People would be much better off buying other filters such as jug filters, which also uses passive forces (instead of sucking it uses gravity).

Though, the straw is useful for someone who needs water on the go of course due to its form factor.
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Old 02-05-2018, 01:32 AM
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Out of these LifeStraw options:

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_n...estraw+mission

I ordered the LifeStraw Family one, based on specs and price ($59.98 & free shipping):

https://www.amazon.com/LifeStraw-Fam...estraw+mission

Quote:
Award-winning LifeStraw Family is used by over 13,200,000 people worldwide

Surpasses EPA standards for water purifiers: removes 99.99% viruses, 99.9999% bacteria and 99.9% protozoan cysts to 0.02 microns

Purifies 18,000 liters/4755 gallons WITHOUT iodine, chlorine, or other chemicals; Clean drinking water for a family of four for 3 years

Gravity filter - pour water in the top and clean water comes out the bottom; Comes in a sealed bag, perfect for storing for emergencies

Flow rate of 9 -12 liters per hour
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Old 02-05-2018, 01:45 AM
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That last one is not bad. The per gallon cost is only about 3x more than other solutions is my guess. The problem is it doesn't filter a lot of stuff like metals and chemicals. That is probably the most important when ticking a straw in a stream as moving water is usually fairly drinkable in terms of bacteria.
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Old 02-05-2018, 02:02 AM
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Bacteria and viruses are everywhere, and are of much greater concern than chemicals and heavy metals. But in some disaster situations, those chemicals can be a big concern.

Because no single filtration system can manage all contaminants, it's a good idea to have multiple systems.

Some people like the idea of simple pressure cooker rigged with copper tubing to serve as a homemade distiller, but distillation has its drawbacks. Results can vary depending on the chemical such as volatile organic compounds (some pesticides, solvents, etc.) can vaporize along with the water being boiled, and will not be completely removed.

So, another process is needed before distillation.

Your thoughts? Ideas? What do you use for removing chemical contaminants in a SHTF situation? Carbon blocks cannot remove many inorganic pollutants (such as arsenic, fluoride, hexavalent chromium, nitrate and perchlorate, etc.)

Reverse osmosis will remove chemicals, viruses, bacteria, etc and it is what I use in my house, but not practical in the field, lol...

This one is a portable RO system but has its drawbacks: http://safewaterpro.com/portable-rev...r-for-camping/
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Old 02-05-2018, 02:26 AM
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IMO, the water filtering systems like the life straw are only legit when you are on the run and must balance risk with survival. All raw water should be boiled before drinking even if filtered. That's the belt & suspenders skeptic in me who doubts that those filters are as effective as claimed.

BTW - I keep two of them in each of my bugout bags; one for me and the other for the missus.
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Old 02-05-2018, 03:52 AM
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I know this article is about Life Straw, but I would suggest looking at getting a Sawyer Mini. I have a couple attached to the drinking tubes of Camel Backs and couldn't be happier with them.
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Old 02-05-2018, 03:58 AM
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Love this! looks like a good idea. I've heard it struggles more in murkier darker waters and the filters run out a little faster... will have to give one a try!
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Old 02-05-2018, 10:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Rambo View Post
I know this article is about Life Straw, but I would suggest looking at getting a Sawyer Mini. I have a couple attached to the drinking tubes of Camel Backs and couldn't be happier with them.
Hey John, good to see you.

The mini is ok, the flow rate sucks.

I will be posting an article soon about the Sawyer pointone.
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Old 02-05-2018, 11:27 AM
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I've used the Life Straw and the Sawer Mini on hiking trips and muchly prefer the mini. The Mini is much more convinient being able to screw onto different plastic bottles. Portable water beats sucking a gutter every time. The Mini has much the same filtration as the straw so their is no gain there. Have used the Mini and an Aquafina bottle to cook for camp..

The Sawer Mini is my goto.
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Old 02-05-2018, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rustednail View Post
one thing to keep in mind.....the darker the water....the harder it will be to draw by sucking...and the shorter life span of the filter.....spares are highly recommended...if you can not find clear water....

I'd like to share a tip that may help with that:

I keep a few large patches of silk (cut from thrift-store shirts, skirts.) along with my LifeStraw in my camping gear. If the water is not clear, I use it to pre-filter my water before purifying it with the LifeStraw. (I pour the murky water thru the silk into a container before dipping the LifeStraw into it.)

Because of its super tight weave, silk can be used as an effective pre-filter, or in an extreme pinch, alone as an expedient water filter:

https://www.fic.nih.gov/News/GlobalH...er-filter.aspx

https://inhabitat.com/ecouterre/wome...ainst-cholera/
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Old 02-05-2018, 03:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harriman View Post
I've used the Life Straw and the Sawer Mini on hiking trips and muchly prefer the mini. The Mini is much more convinient being able to screw onto different plastic bottles. Portable water beats sucking a gutter every time. The Mini has much the same filtration as the straw so their is no gain there. Have used the Mini and an Aquafina bottle to cook for camp..

The Sawer Mini is my goto.
This.

If you want truly compact for a PSK use this. 30 gals. worth for less than $10.

https://www.sunplay.com/aquamira-fro...20Group%20%231
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Old 02-05-2018, 04:00 PM
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I carry coffee filters as a pre filter. They are cheap and disposable. I am also very concerned with viral disease.
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Old 02-05-2018, 08:36 PM
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I have 4 Sawyer Minis, I love them. They work great and fit on my canteen. They also fit in assorted pop and water bottles.

Easy to use, easy to clean and way more filtering capacity.

The flow rate on mine have been great, no complaints.

I see no real use to the Lifestraw. Especially since I can do the same thing with my Sawyer. Fill up my canteen, screw the filter on and drink. I can also boil in my canteen if I want.
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Old 02-05-2018, 09:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Rambo View Post
I know this article is about Life Straw, but I would suggest looking at getting a Sawyer Mini. I have a couple attached to the drinking tubes of Camel Backs and couldn't be happier with them.
Was going to suggest the Sawyer mini as well...
  • Filters 100,000 Gal water
  • Filters down to 0.1 microns
  • If it slows down you simply back flush with some of your clean water and then keep right on going.
  • If you drank 1 Gal water per day it would last 1 person 273 years.... or you could provide 100 people 1 Gal water per day for 2.7 years
  • Only costs less than $40 per unit (Canadian)
  • Can be adapted to fit inline systems, because of the nozzles on the ends.


Pretty amazing bang for your buck!
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Old 02-05-2018, 11:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by survive View Post
Was going to suggest the Sawyer mini as well...
  • Filters 100,000 Gal water
  • Filters down to 0.1 microns
  • If it slows down you simply back flush with some of your clean water and then keep right on going.
  • If you drank 1 Gal water per day it would last 1 person 273 years.... or you could provide 100 people 1 Gal water per day for 2.7 years
  • Only costs less than $40 per unit (Canadian)
  • Can be adapted to fit inline systems, because of the nozzles on the ends.

Pretty amazing bang for your buck!

Yup, its my on foot water filter.

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