LifeStraw Personal Water Filter


Show and Tell

At our recent neighborhood meeting, our CERT leader asked me to do a “show and tell” on the LifeStraw® that I have in my emergency supplies. The photo shows what I shared with the group.


My LifeStraw: mouthpiece open at left

The LifeStraw is a tube you suck through (the “straw”) to filter water when you’re out camping or in an emergency.  I discovered it about three years ago after my son became very ill from swallowing water on a hiking trip. (He spent 5 days in hospital; his organs started shutting down due to dehydration.)

LifeStraw features

There are other products that look the same, but the LifeStraw appears to be “the original.” It won awards when it came out in 2005, and was chosen by the U.N. to provide clean drinking water in developing countries. Later was it made available in the U.S. by manufacturer Vestergaard Frandsen. It costs about $20.

The LifeStraw is handy and simple:

  • It is small and lightweight, so fits into anyone’s survival kit.
  • It requires no batteries or replacement parts.
  • It filters up to 1,000 liters – about 265 gallons.

You can stick the straw into a puddle or stream and drink directly, or scoop up water into a bottle and then stick the straw into the bottle. It filters out 99.99% of bacteria (for ex., e coli and salmonella) and protozoa cysts (Giardia), which is what made my son so sick. It does NOT filter out viruses, which are too small to be caught. And it does not make salt-water drinkable.

How to use it

Since there are no chemicals in the straw, the water coming through has no chemical taste. You remove the caps at both ends and sip through the mouthpiece. It takes a good 4-5 pulls to get the water started. To keep the filter clean, you blow back through the straw to unclog it.

You can use the Straw over and over again.  Just keep it clean and let it dry out before you recap the ends.

Here where we live in Southern California, we are not likely to have puddles to drink from in an emergency since we get so little rain! However, in an emergency, we might be forced to look for other sources of water: water heater, toilet tank, or big water barrel. Getting water out of these tanks would likely involve some dirt, grains of rust, sediment, etc. Filtering the water through the LifeStraw would be a reassurance of its quality.

If you or family members live stormy areas or hike or camp a lot, this is a no-brainer addition to your emergency kit. Get more information at Amazon:
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

Next time: Water from Swimming Pools

I’m on a roll now about water. Next blog will be about how to use SWIMMING POOL WATER in an emergency.  Can you?  Should you? How to treat it first?

Stay tuned.  (If you don’t want to miss that next Advisory, sign up right now on the form below.)

And do check out that LifeStraw. It just feels right.  It makes a great gift!

Virginia Nicols
Your Emergency Plan Guide team




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