Lifestraw Personal Water Filter Tested & Reviewed 2023
Vestergaard has been an innovator in the world of safe and effective portable water filtration with their products for personal use, all the way up to filtering enough water for a small village. One of the nicest things about their stuff, is that it seems to stay relatively simple and straightforward to use. Sometimes it is handier to just have a useful tool, rather than a shiny gadget with too much going on.
LifeStraw sent us the personal water filter to try out for ourselves. Originally released in 2005, this isn't a shiny new product on the market, but we kind of like the fact that this has already been put to the test, giving us something to compare our own experience with. The first thing we noticed was that this product does exactly what it is intended and nothing more. In this case, that is perfect!
When out on your own for multiday treks, there is only so much water that you can realistically carry, so having a solid backup plan is vital to safety and survival if it comes down to it. This personal filter is really the way to go. Its light weight and easy packability make this unit the go-to tool for keeping yourself alive when you run out of fresh water. When you have to rely on streams and other wild water sources, you have to have a way to remove harmful viruses and bacteria, which could leave you suffering for quite a while.
Effective against most waterborne bacteria
Lightweight, compact design
Easy to pack away, making it a perfect addition to your backup kit
Super easy to use
Made of lightweight plastic, so this model might break under extreme conditions.
As far as microbial and protozoa cysts go, you'll also be able to get rid of 99.999% of things such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium. Lifestraw want created to be easily distributed and used with little to no instruction in some of the world's most unforgiving places.
Ease of Use
Size & Weight
I don't know about you, but I really don't keep a daily log of how much water I drink through a filter, so we hope this is really how it works. Based on the cost of an individual unit, you could realistically have one in your kit and use one a few outings, then replace.
Another caution we noticed is when trekking the mountains, or places where the temperature could drop below freezing. Once you have used the filter, you really need to prevent it from freezing. Freezing with moisture inside could produce small cracks that you might not see. This greatly reduces the effectiveness overall.
The brand does also offer a steel version at a considerably higher price, which uses a two-stage system with a replaceable carbon filter capsule.
The cost of each unit is quite affordable, as this is one of those "use until you reach its limit" kind of products. We like this aspect as it gives you a lightweight, compact tool that can literally save your life in a bad situation.
The price tag is fair for the results this product produces. Then when you reach its limit, you just go get a new one.
The Bottom Line
Perhaps the streams where you happen to be are pristine and crystal clear, and might not contain any of those dangerous, if not deadly, bacteria and viruses. Is it really worth the risk? We say no.
As long as you keep in mind that there is a filtration limit, and fully understand what this will and will not remove from the water, we absolutely say that this is a must have for anyone heading out where there are limits to how much water one can realistically carry.