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LifeStraw Survival Water Filter Review


Water is the most important resource you can have for survival. Always bring a water filter and know how to find water before stepping foot in the wild.

Here at ApocalypseGuys.com, we test and review various survival gear and share with our readers what works, what doesn’t and warn you of products that don’t hold up to manufacturer claims. Today we’re going to talk about the LifeStraw and our experience using this particular water filtration straw.

I can honestly say that I’ve wanted to test out one of these survival water filters ever since I first read of the LifeStraw test results. Since testing this one out, LifeStraw has been a staple of my bug-out bags and truck survival kit. If the claims are true, you can drink straight from a water puddle with these bad boys. Could come in handy during the ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE!

zombie apocalypse survival

As you know, water is one of the most important resources you can have. Your body MUST have it. That’s why it’s important to always bring some with you or at least have a way to filter or purify water you can find. Read our article about how to find water in the wild right here!

Before we get into our LifeStraw test results, I want to first give a history of the LifeStraw survival water filter and how to properly use it. (I promise it won’t take long). 

LifeStraw was a Time Magazine “Invention of the Year” winner. Considered to be one of the highest quality portable water filters on the market by hikers and backpackers who regularly use them.

backpacker using LifeStraw survival water filter

Weighing in a just 2 ounces, these are perfect to hang around your neck anytime you set foot into the unknown. They work well for survival packs, go bags, backpackers, campers and even hunters. You know, just in case you’re stalking that big buck and he brings you into unchartered territory or you snap an ankle and have to stay in place for a while.

Now time for some LifeStraw specs: The LifeStraw water filter has the capability to filter water down to 0.2 microns. That’s pretty small! It accomplishes this feat by using hollow-fibre membranes which are tiny pores that let water pass through, but filter any contaminates that are larger than 0.2 microns. Obviously, I got that information from the manufacturer and so can you, but it’s always good to do some independent research regarding anything you filter water through. I’ve seen guys drink damn near sewage level water through these things! Don’t try that unless it’s your only option!

One pretty cool feature with these LifeStraw Water Filters have is they stop working when the filter loses its effectiveness. This feature comes in really handy with people like me. I’ll use an item until it absolutely falls apart. I beat the hell out of my gear and almost never change it out. That can be dangerous with a water filter, but not this one. It will literally stop you from drinking through it when it no longer works. Can’t beat that! I actually have three of these on hand. One for myself and two others for people I may come across in my adventures.

LifeStraw survival water filter

Ok, so now let’s discuss some of the history surrounding this water filter straw. Launched in 2005, LifeStraw was chosen for humanitarian relief worldwide by leading NGOs. They send supplies to third world countries that may not have potable drinking water and to countries that are experiencing natural disasters that may lose access to a safe drinking water source.

How to use a LifeStraw Personal Water Filter?

Lifestraw survival water filter system

How do you use the LifeStraw water filter? Easy, all you have to do is locate a water source and drink. However, be mindful of predators or snakes as you walk up to a watering hole and choose your location carefully! 

According to the manufacturer, you can dip the straw directly into puddles and streams and drink straight out of it. Personally, I like to catch the water with a drinking cup and insert the filter into the bottle. I do this mainly for safety reasons and it’s easier. You see pictures of people on all fours drinking from these LifeStraws. I’m not one to get my gear soaking wet and it’s safer than getting that close to water unless it’s a puddle.

I live in an area that has plenty of access to water, but there are also more alligators than you can shake a stick at! Be mindful of your surroundings before walking out into a swamp or dangerous body of water!

When your LifeStraw is brand new from the package, you have to first prime the filter membrane before you’re able to sue it. Just take the top and bottom caps and submerge the LifeStraw in water. Remember, don’t let the mouthpiece get wet. Keep in the water source for roughly 30 seconds and allow the water to slowly travel up the filter membrane.

Next, take five draws on the straw until you get a steady flow of water. It may be tough to get the water flowing at first, especially when your LifeStraw water filter is brand new. I had a hard time with mine. I thought something was wrong with it or it was damaged somehow, but then read you have to get it primed before use. Pays to read directions first!

When you finish with your LifeStraw survival water filter, you have to blow some air into it to eliminate the water housed inside. There’s always a little left over and you don’t want that staying inside. I can only imagine what it would harvest after staying in your pack for weeks or months at a time. Once you blow the water from it, shake it and put the caps back on. When you finish your hike, it helps the device to suck some clean water through it to clean the filter. Repeat the process of blowing air back into it, shake it and then put the caps back on. I know, it can be a tedious process, but you must take care of your gear or it won’t be as effective in the field. I know this from experience, I’ve been too rough on items in the past and it was there for me when I needed it.

Can you filter salt water with a LifeStraw?

What does LifeStraw not filter?

Here’s two things you MUST keep in mind: The LifeStraw is NOT to be used for drinking salt water. It can’t help you there! IT will not remove dissolved chemicals or minerals that are found in water. Also, the LifeStraw does NOT remove viruses! If the water you are trying to drink is contaminated by viruses, you can use water treatment tablets to purify, then you can drink from your LifeStraw. Best to avoid that situation if possible.

EDIT: DON’T DRINK SEWAGE RUNOFF! I’m tired of people saying you can do this. Sure, if all else fails then go for it I guess, but for goodness sake, don’t do it just for the heck of it! It cannot remove all of that.

Can LifeStraw Filter Urine?

No! Stop asking if you can drink your pee-pee through a LifeStraw! Just kidding, you can ask us anything here at ApocalypseGuys! 

So, now to the question as to whether a LifeStraw can filter pee- I wouldn’t do it, though others have. Urine is your body’s process of eliminating harmful substances in order for you to continue living. I’ve seen youtubers drink their own piss though LifeStraw Water Filters, but it is NOT recommended under any circumstances. Better yet, speak with a physician.

Remember, LifeStraw does not remove salt, such as salt water and urine. It can remove pathogenic and microbiological contaminants from water, but it is NOT recommended to drink urine. 

Unless, of course, you’re on a TV show where drinking your own pee-pee boosts rankings. 

bear grylls drinks his own pee-pee

Does LifeStraw Filter out Giardia?

Short answer- YES!

This product received a MEET OR EXCEEDS for EPA standards and was tested in lab conditions up to 1600 liters. It has been shown to remove bacteria such as E. Coli, Cholera, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Salmonella. The protozoa that the LifeStraw can remove include Giardia lamblia, Cryptosporidium parvum (crypto) and Entamoeba histolytica. Good thing because I don’t know what HALF of those are!

LifeStraw Water Filter Expiration Date

Shelf life: The manufacturer suggests this product has a shelf life of 5-years. You can use it periodically and store it and that will not affect the life span of the product. Five years is five years. I don’t know if that’s the manufacturer being safe with their product and it will actually last longer. I would recommend following their instructions on this and replacing it often just to be safe. You can use some items past the expiration date, I do this with food and protein powder all the time, but you drink through this and want to play it safe.

In summary, LifeStraw survival water filter:

Contains no chemicals.

Allows you to consume water straight from the water source or you can use a water bottle.

Exceeds EPA guidelines for Cryptosporidium oocysts, E. Coli, Giardia and more.

Removes 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites.

Removes at a minimum 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria.

Can filter up to 1k litres or 264 gallons of contaminated water.

User will not be able to drink water through the LifeStraw once it reaches its filtering capacity.

Reduces water turbidity and filters particles of approximately 0.2 microns.

LifeStraw is the choice of NGOs for worldwide humanitarian relief since its development in 2005. They use a portion of LifeStraw sales to support clean water projects all over the world.

best backpacking gear

Alright, that’s about all the facts I can spout out in one sitting. Here at ApocalypseGuys, we’re all about how the gear works in the field. I took a couple of these bad boys out and tested them in the woods.

As I’m sure you’ve gathered from the length of this article, we were quite impressed with the LifeStraw Personal Water Filters! They are compact, durable and extremely convenient. Lightweight too. You don’t even notice you’re carrying it until you need it.

As you already know, I’m a HUGE advocate for brining clean water with you on a hike. Potable water ranks as the most important substance when you leave the confines of your home. As much as we all like our weapons, water rules all. I always recommend putting a survival water filter in your bug out bag, but also bring some clean water when you go. Water filters play a big role in emergency preparedness such as in the event of hurricane, earthquake and other natural disasters. These can disrupt the natural flow of water. If you’re staying in one place for an extended amount of time, you may want to invest in something larger than a LifeStraw, but these come in handy in a pinch or for a shorter excursion. Also, make sure you have a few extras for your friends. You don’t necessarily want to share this with anyone, could get nasty.

I live in an area of the U.S. that has some serious water contamination issues. Most water sources you’re likely to find out here are probably contaminated either by human intervention or the local wildlife population. Many of our water sources are bayou type areas where the water doesn’t flow fast enough to purify the water. Also, you probably don’t want to spend too much time gathering water around here. Alligators are spotted on a daily basis and I’ve had some close encounters with them myself.

I always make it a rule to bring more water than I could ever use while in the woods. Enough for two to three days just in case something happens or I get injured or lost. You don’t necessarily want to depend on a water filter until you absolutely have to. Better to lug around some extra weight and drink it down than have to constantly collect water. But, that’s what makes these little devices handy for your survival pack. You can grab and go! You don’t want to have to boil water during the zombie apocalypse! That’s more of a joke, but if you’re prepared for a full-on zombie invasion, you’re ready for anything.

LifeStraw personal water filter for zombie survival
Click To Purchase From Amazon

Here’s a pro-tip: Attack a paracord lanyard to your LifeStraw. Paracord is what I consider one of the top five items you should be taking on every trip. Just toss the paracord lanyard attached to the LifeStraw water filter over your neck and hit the trail. You’re covered. If I happen to encounter a situation wehre I either run out of water on the trail or don’t have time to prepare anything, I then use the LifeStraw, but I don’t depend on it. These water filters can rid water of most impurities, but you may not want to overuse it when you have the opportunity to set up camp and boil your water in the evenings.

LifeStraw Test Results

We tested the LifeStraw Personal Water Filters on numerous hikes and camping trips and they far exceeded our expectations! We use a grading system to determine quality gear and this product passed with flying colors. We fully recommend LifeStraw Personal Water Filters here at ApocalypseGuys.com! Easy to use and helps out in a pinch, these cool little devices are worth a few bucks. I’ve known hikers, hunters, backpackers, campers, wildlife photographers, biologists and zombie apocalypse enthusiasts that have used these babies. I suggest putting a few in your go bag, one or two in your vehicle/RV or whatever you have ready to go when SHTF.

Where can i purchase a lifestraw personal water filter?

You can purchase yours right here on Amazon! I personally have four of them right now because I never know where I’ll be. You can buy singles or packs of 4 or more. You usually get a discount if you buy survival gear in bulk. Remember, you will want to get one for every household member!

Article by:

jerome andries

Jerome Andries actor


"We'll get you through the wastelands."

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