Gear Review: LifeStraw

LifeStraw Filter [rating=3]

Photo courtesy of Brandon Corcoran

Photo courtesy of Brandon Corcoran

$19.95 CDN

Reviewer: Taryn Hajnrych

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Use It ‘Til It Disintegrates

Review:

As a recent survivor of giardia, (yes, I know survivor sounds dramatic, but only to anyone who hasn’t played host to this little visitor) I felt that this review of the LifeStraw was not only necessary, but also perfectly timed.

When you find yourself adventuring into the back country for the first few times, you may question just how important those filtration systems actually are. Let me be the one to tell you, they are VERY important. Shelling out the cash may seem hard to swallow at first, but first-hand experience will prove to you that swallowing a parasite can and will make your life infinitely worse.

Slightly gimmicky and not something I took seriously at first, the LifeStraw actually makes drinking stream water quite easy. It’s compact, lightweight design makes it a great option for saving weight when compared to other larger systems, but for me this is where the advantages stopped. I found the effort that I had to put into drinking to be more strenuous than simply pumping water from the stream while sitting and enjoying a brief break. If you are not flexible, getting that little straw into the water without tumbling in after it is a workout in itself.

Of course, as my boyfriend pointed out, you could just fill your water bottle, insert the straw and drink. I countered by pointing out my Camelbak, which I had filled at home and put into my backpack. Much easier, and when it comes to multi-day trips I’d prefer to fill my hydration pack once and take off for the day. For me, the LifeStraw doesn’t trump the convenience of reaching to the side, grabbing that little mouth piece and then attaching it right back to my shoulder strap.

Photo courtesy of Brandon Corcoran

Photo courtesy of Brandon Corcoran

Big Ups: As far a price goes, the LifeStraw is the best bang for your buck filter on the market. Priced at nearly a quarter the cost of other systems, it just might be worth the extra effort for those who don’t want to dish out a ton of cash. The company also has a great initiative in place where for every LifeStraw product purchased, part of those funds will be used to distribute institutional water purifiers to schools in Africa

Downers: The LifeStraw is designed to filter up to 1000 litres of contaminated or suspect drinking water, but with no way to disassemble the solid piece, I would be skeptical of when to dispose of the filter as you cannot see the level of particle build up inside.

Taryn Hajnrych

Taryn Hajnrych

This country-girl-turned-mountain-enthusiast first moved to the Bow Valley for the proverbial “one summer” in 2007. Six years later and four failed attempts at moving, she has finally figured out that Banff is a pretty great place to call home. Forever restless and indecisive, Taryn is plagued by her ever-evolving “to-do” lists and a mountain of adventurous vacation plans. When she’s not busy talking someone’s ear off (it’s the constant caffeine jitters), she can be found playing outdoors with Jiri, her equally as exuberant Bernese mountain dog.