LifeStraw is a brand of water filtration and purification devices. The public health company Vestergaard based in Switzerland first began on the LifeStraw creating a simple mesh filter to remove Guinea worms from drinking water in 1994. In 2005, the LifeStraw emerged which evolved out of the Guinea worms filter and was able to transform dirty water into safe drinking water.
Recently, the company released a new line of LifeStraw products called the “Peak Series”. In this post, you’ll get some background on this new line of water filters and how they work, then I’ll show you some different ways to get the most out of the Peak Series LifeStraw.
“Peak Series products will enable outdoor adventurers to explore the backcountry by providing reliable access to safe water. In turn, sales of these products enable us to deliver on our mission to provide equitable access to safe drinking water across the globe.”
The new peak series offers (according to LifeStraw)
- Extreme durability: The series is built with tougher, thicker premium materials that withstand long-term wear and tear.
- Leak-proof storage capabilities: Custom caps prevent leakage and enable leak-proof storage while not filtering.
- Enhanced microfilter performance: The products remove bacteria and parasites, and include a customized backwash accessory that helps maintain flow rate and remove sand and silt.
- Highly versatile: Designed with quick connects and universal threading, the products are interchangeable with other pieces of gear, and the filters thread onto universal water bottles.
- Ultra compact and no extra parts: The filters are removable and reconfigurable for ultimate packing flexibility.
LifeStraw’s membrane microfilters are made of hollow fiber membrane technology – a similar technology used in kidney dialysis. These membranes are made of small straws that contain microscopic pores of 0.2 microns in diameter. Dirty water enters one side of the straws and clean water passes through the pores while bacteria, parasites, microplastics, dirt, silt, sand and cloudiness are blocked and unable to pass through because they are too large. The result is safe drinking water flows into a clean chamber for drinking while contaminants are blocked. LifeStraw’s membrane microfilters are capable of removing 99.999999% (log 8) of bacteria (including E. coli), 99.999% (log 5) of parasites (Giardia, Cryptosporidium, etc.), and 99.999% (log 5) of microplastics.
How to use the LifeStraw – 3 ways
Method 1 – “Direct” from the source
This method allows you to take the LifeStraw directly to the source of the water. Simply open both ends of the LifeStraw, place the end opposite the mouthpiece in the water source and begin sipping the water in.
A tip via the LifeStraw manual:
Open the top cap and take 5 quick strong sips to get the water flowing.
- No additional setup is required.
- No extra equipment or water container is needed.
- A quick way to get clean water!
- You will have to kneel or lay down close to the water to get close enough for the LifeStraw to reach which may be uncomfortable.
- Sipping straight from the source can take some effortful sipping and can become tiresome.
Method 2 – Use a “Standard” Water Bottle
Another way to use the LifeStraw is to fill a water bottle with untreated water, screw on the Life Straw on top of the bottle, then squeeze the water through the filter.
This method requires a water bottle with a thread count of about 6 threads per inch for the bottle’s neck. Many water bottles already have these dimensions however some do not. I originally used a Dasani water bottle that has a thread that was too small for the LifeStraw. A Smart Water bottle had the appropriate dimensions. Most water bottle necks have somewhere between 5 and 12 threads per inch. The Smart Water Bottle has roughly 6 threads per inch and works great. For reference, the space between each thread on the Smart Water bottle is ~0.19″
Update: The LifeStraw’s official threading is PCO 1881 according to their design team.
To connect the LifeStraw to the water bottle, first, open the bottom of the LifeStraw and unscrew the cover.
This allows you now to screw the LifeStraw onto a water bottle with a neck of ~6 threads per inch.
- The ability to filter and drink water without immediate access to a water source.
- The convenience of being able to filter and drink water without having to kneel or crouch over the water source.
- Must have a water bottle with the right thread size.
- The water bottle “collapses” in on itself and must be filled again when too much volume has been filtered out by pushing the water through the filter.
Method 3 – The Gravity Bag
The Gravity-Fed water bag method allows you to fill a large bag with unfiltered water, then filter the water through the LifeStraw using gravity. It is the most effective method for volume as the Gravity Bag used in this post can hold 1.5 gallons of water.
This method requires:
- A water source
- A LifeStraw
- A Gravity-Fed Water Bag + hanging strap
- A water bottle or container for the water
First, fill the bag with water and hang it up using the strap.
Next, add the tube attachment and clamp close the tube with the provided clamp to prevent water from escaping. The water should flow down to the edge of the clamp.
Now plug the tube into the bottom of the LifeStraw. There is a small hole for the tube to fit onto.
Lastly, open the clamp on the tube and let the clean water flow into a bottle or container.
- Filter lots of water without having to sip or squeeze. Gravity does all the work.
- Great for the campsite when you need lots of water readily available for various needs.
- More equipment is needed and the setup is bulkier.
- It can be difficult to find a convenient place to strap the bag.
When done drinking from the LifeStraw (via the manual):
Regularly blow air through your filter after drinking to keep the filter clean and prevent it from clogging. Close both caps when not in use.
And that’s how it’s done! You just upped your survival skills big time.
***Please consult the LifeStraw manual before drinking any water from a source of water that is not already safe to drink from.***