Active Gear Review is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
“It all started with the issue of safe water. Which should never be an issue.” LifeStraw was started on the idea of helping provide safe drinking water for people in developing countries who don’t have water piped in from municipal sources or other access to safe water. While this still remains the mission of LifeStraw, their portfolio has expanded into other products such as the LifeStraw Steel and the LifeStraw Go, both of which we had a chance to test out.
The LifeStraw Steel is the upgraded version of the original LifeStraw. The Steel is now equipped with a durable stainless steel housing that encapsulates a 2 stage filter. It has removable protective caps on both ends of the straw for easy storage.
The 2 stage filtration process uses a replaceable activated carbon capsule that helps reduce bad taste, chlorine and organic chemical matter for up to 100 liters. The other stage uses advanced hollow fiber membrane technology (0.2 microns) to remove waterborne bacteria and protozoa for up to 264 gallons or 1,000 liters.
I tested and used the LifeStraw Steel mainly for trail running. It is extremely light weight and so portable that it slides into any running pack or hip pack.
Before using the LifeStraw for the first time or after a long time in storage, it will need to be primed. Which is easily done by holding the filter vertically in the water, with the water half way up the filter, for about 30 seconds. This helps get the membranes moist and make it easier to pull water through.
It may seem strange to some people to stop and drink from a river, lake or pond, but remember that is how we as humans used to do it before plumbing and plastic. Once the Lifestraw is primed it is as simple as drinking water through a straw (see what I did there). Drop the carbon filter end into a stream and enjoy the freshly filtered water. I tested water from three different sources, multiple times; a lake, a pond and a flowing stream. Each time the water tasted as fresh as bottled, no after taste from the filter or the water and it was even chilled by nature.
Cleaning and Storage
After every use, the LifeStraw needs to be back flushed. This is done by blowing a breath of air back into the mouthpiece to purge all remaining water trapped in the filter. You can also suck in water and then blow it back through the filter. This helps remove any air that might be trapped inside. For storage it is best to leave the caps off until the LifeStraw fully dries. Once it is dry, cap it and store it until your next adventure.
- Portable: only 9” (21 cm) long and 1 inch (3 cm) in diameter
- Sturdy and durable design
- Replaceable activated carbon capsule
- Meets US EPA drinking water standards
- Requires no electrical power or batteries
- BPA free and contains no chemicals
- Food grade stainless steel meets US Food and Drug Administration regulations and standards
- No aftertaste: LifeStraw doesn’t use iodine or iodinated resin chemicals
- Weight: 160 gr. (5.6 oz)
If your active life takes you outdoors, in and around the vicinity of water, the LifeStraw Steel is indispensable. It is ideal for running, hiking, backpacking, camping and travel. In addition to not only making your active life better, you actually help one school child in a developing community receive safe drinking water for an entire school year with your LifeStraw purchase. For more information or to pick one up visit www.amazon.com/lifestraw.
Not interested in kneeling down to drink from a stream? Lifestraw has a solution for that, in the form of the LifeStraw Go.
The Lifestraw Go applies the same 2 stage filtration process as the LifeStraw Steel, all contained inside of a convenient 22 ounce (650 ml) refillable BPA free water bottle.
The process is just as simple as you might be thinking. Unscrew the lid to the water bottle, dip the bottle in a river, screw on the top and you are ready to quench your thirst. This is a simpler and quicker process than lying down or kneeling with the Steel, however not nearly as small or portable.
A couple of things to note about the the LifeStraw filters. They cannot remove salt and cannot be used on sea water, ocean water or brackish water (salt water and fresh water mixed together). The LifeStraw won’t last forever, it needs to be replaced when the flow rate starts to decrease, and eventually stops pulling water through. You can increase the lifespan by cleaning the LifeStraw after each use. It is also important to change your carbon capsule every 3 months, after the first initial use to ensure that the first stage of filtration is working well.
- Uses replaceable activated carbon capsule to reduce bad taste, chlorine and organic chemical matter for up to 100 liters (26 gallons)
- Uses advanced hollow fiber membrane technology (0.2 microns) to remove waterborne bacteria and protozoa up to 1,000 liters (264 gallons)
- Removes 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria (>LOG 6 reduction), including E-Coli
- Removes 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites (>LOG 3 reduction), including Giardia & Cryptosporidium
- Available in 5 colors
- Replacement hollow fiber membrane cartridges available
- Replacement carbon capsules available
- Meets US EPA standards
- BPA free
The LifeStraw Go is a must have for all of the backpackers and hikers out there. With the convenient carabiner strap, it is easy to clip onto your pack and guarantee that you have access to safe drinking water on your trip. Grab one from: www.amazon.com/lifestraw.