The LifeStraw Peak Series 1L Bottle with Filter is a light and compact way to ensure you have clean drinking water wherever you go, writes Mike Gormley.
Clean and safe drinking water is a basic essential to life. We all know that. But when away from the safety of a good mains system where water is just a tap turn away, it gets more tricky.
When out in the wilds of the UK, and other similar places, you can never be sure the water you dip out of a stream, even those inviting fresh mountain ones, is in fact safe to drink. Clear water is not always safe water. The bugs and other nasties are microscopic and so impossible to see, therefore it makes real sense to take the precaution of filtering the water before you consume it. Of course you can simply filter it survival-style through a (preferably clean) sock or T-shirt and then boil it, but this is not very secure and takes time and energy. There are a number of chemical ways of making water safe, but these again take time to work and have a habit of making the water less palatable.
So the LifeStraw Peak Series Collapsible Squeeze 1L Bottle with Filter, to use its full name, in my view definitely has a place in your kit when you head out, whether this is no more than a day out in the hills of the UK or much further afield. It also has a place if travelling to countries where even tap water can be suspect… and there are many of these. The great thing about the LifeStraw filter is it is relatively small, and definitely light at only 110g, as well as being compact. The Peak Series Bottle is made from robust and flexible BPA-free materials so can be folded away if not in use. It can easily be your 1 litre water bottle / container for general use, and there is a smaller 650ml version if you prefer.
It is sometime since I have used a water filter/purifier and some can be a bit tedious and slow to use, which does not encourage their use. However, this one is really quite quick if you need to filter water for a brew or to cook with; or, of course, just to drink. Just fill the flexible bottle with water from the water source, screw in the filter unit and give it a squeeze. The flow rate is good through the 0.2 micron filter, which is stated as having a capacity of 2000 litres (that’s two tonnes!) of water. Clearly this will depend a lot on the levels of contamination of the water but with care you can normally limit the coarse levels of contamination, so letting the filter look after the real nasties. The specs say the filter is capable of filtering out 99.9% of bacteria and parasites as well as micro plastic and other contaminants. As I am sure most know, always try to take your water from flowing clear water if at all possible, so to minimise the risks and, again, give the filter less work to do.
The LifeStraw comes complete with a backwash syringe, so you can simply pump clear water back through the micro filter to clean it of the coarser contamination. The filter will tell you if it is near capacity, as the flow rate will slow down.
There are various ways in which this system can be used. The main way is to fill the bottle and screw the filter into its mouth and squeeze. I think this is the best, and perhaps the safest, way and make sure the bottle is only used to hold unfiltered water. But if water is at a premium, the filter can be attached to the outside of the opening so to allow every last drop to be squeezed though the filter. You can also use the filter as a ‘straw’ to suck up water directly into your mouth, but I would think this offers more chance of contamination.
I have to say I really wish I had one of these years ago to take on my various trips and expeditions, both in the UK and overseas. It would have made life a lot safer and reduced the risk of getting ‘poorly’… not to put too finer a point on it!
[images © Mike Gormley]