Gear Review: Pros and Cons of The Lifestraw Water Filtration System

LifestrawFirst developed in 2005, the Lifestraw was originally designed to filter out micro organisms from water in sub saharan Africa.  It was created as part of an initiative to help the world’s poor get access to clean water.  Today Lifestraw-brand products are being used in water projects in over 64 countries.  Okay, that’s enough on the company gloating.  What can this water filter actually do for you when you’re out camping or trekking?


The Lifestraw is a water filter in the shape of a large straw that will filter out bacteria, protozoa and other sediment.  Like other filters, it will NOT remove viruses.  The Lifestraw will let you filter up to 1,000 liters of contaminated water directly from lakes, streams and other sources.  It is light and easy to carry with you.


To use the Lifestraw simply insert the end of the straw into your water source…and suck!  The water will filter as it moves up the straw.  Once you’ve finished drinking, blow through the straw to expel any extra water.  Easy peezy!


  • Light and easy to transport
  • Simple to use with no batteries or moving parts
  • Effective for any backcountry trekking in the USA
  • Inexpensive


  • Must drink directly from the source, so its not useful for transporting clean water
  • Does not remove viruses and is not recommended for some less developed countries


Overall the Lifestraw is a great way to filter water within the United States.  However because it does NOT filter out viruses, its not recommended for travel in foreign countries…despite being developed for subsaharan Africa.  The biggest issue that I’ve found with this filter is that you have to pull water directly from the source or keep a separate cup with you since the Lifestraw does not fit into any standard plastic bottle.  This can be cumbersome when trekking.  Otherwise its great.  Personally I keep it as a backup because it is so light to carry.

Daniel Royse Written by:

Daniel Royse is the founder and editor in chief of the online travel publication, This Boundless World. He has written numerous articles on travel, business and politics and has recently completed his first full-length novel titled The Watermelon King. Daniel is an obsessive writer and explorer who has backpacked to over 50 countries, spanning five continents. To the disbelief of many, he still enjoys long, hot bus rides through chaotic places. More information about The Watermelon King can be found at