Lifestraw Water Bottle Filter Adapter Review

22nd Jul 2018

Lifestraw Water Bottle Filter Adapter

Some years ago a friend headed into the back side of the Cairngorms.  He set up a camp way off the beaten track, filled his water bottle from a nearby stream and sat enjoying the scenery.  Within a fairly short time he was vomiting and soon became completely incapacitated.  Luckily, he could sit tight and wait until he eventually felt well enough to make his way out to civilisation.  He is almost sure it was the water that made him sick but was never to find out what the contaminants were.

Even in the remotest parts of the UK mountains there is risk and so I always purify water taken from backcountry water courses - the market is awash with great quality filters and chemical treatments and so there really is absolutely no reason not too.  The method used should be decided according to the possible contaminants but, because in the UK the main problem we face is bacterial/protozoal contamination,  my method of choice tends to be filtration.

I also follow a similar principle on days out.  Rather than carrying masses of water, if I can see that the walk will pass a water course at reasonable intervals, I prefer to take enough water to get me to the first source and then grab other fill ups as the day progresses.  Again, a simple filter makes this a viable strategy. 

I want the filter I use to be quick, efficient and reliable and I also want it to be good value.  The models that fit this brief tend to be filters using a hollow fibre membrane.  This uses a principle similar to the dialysis systems in hospital where the water runs through tiny tubes that are too small for the bacteria or protozoa to pass through.  These are even better if combined with an activated carbon element that will reduce chlorine and organic chemical matter.  

Lifestraw have been at the forefront of this technology for many years and I have enjoyed using a range of their products, but I can’t deny that I was probably most excited by their recently introduced Water Bottle Filter Adapter.  This offers a 2 stage filter (removes bacteria, protozoa and chemicals) which sits inside your standard water bottle.  To allow this facility, Lifestraw send out the filter with different sized screw lids.  The idea is superb.

The filter itself is light and simple and within the plastic tube there is the hollow fibre membrane and, at the top of this, an activated carbon charcoal capsule.  All the user has to do is fill their water bottle, connect the right sized lid to the filter and pop the filter into the bottle.  The water can then be drunk as normal.  It is really that simple and efficient.  

I like the fact that it can be in use instantly and that the part that the user drinks from never contacts unfiltered water.  I also love the facility to simply use it with your favourite drink bottle.  Lifestraw include 2 different size lids to allow the switch between different bottle sizes.  There is also a secure screw lid with clip loop for attachment to a rucksack or other equipment. Oh, and a neat storage bag to keep the filter and bits in when not in use.

Lifestraw make clear that the filter adapter can’t be used with any bottle, but there is quite a wide selection that will fit.  I have tested it with my favourite trusty Hydroflask bottle and tried Nalgene and Camelbak bottles.  Apparently it works well with Klean Kanteen bottles too.  The connections are reassuringly snug and, as with all Lifestraw products, everything is great quality.      

I am no scientist and so will have to trust that Lifestraw have produced a filter that actually will clean the water as claimed.  They do state that it exceeds US EPA drinking water standards and NSF 42 standards for water filtration.  Further info on the box says that it removes 99.999999% of bacteria and 99.999% of protozoa.  I can only say that I certainly haven’t got sick!

I have been focussing on the filter for wilderness or mountain use but the nice thing about this package is that the filter is just as useful for everyday use too.  If you want to fill your bottle in the motorway services rest room or want to top up in a hotel bedroom, it is really reassuring to know the water will be safe.  For any kind of travel this unit is an absolute winner.

The only downsides I can see are that the filter obviously takes up room inside your bottle so some volume is lost and the filter obviously adds a little weight (although this will most often be offset by you not needing to carry as much water overall).  The lifespan of the filter unit is listed as 1,000 gallons which equates to many years of adventures for most users.  Even then,  you won’t need to replace the lids and could just get a replacement filter instead.  

One other very significant thing I love about Lifestraw is also worth mentioning.  They are committed to trying to reduce the huge problem of the lack of clean drinking water around the world and so, for every filter purchased, they promise to provide safe drinking water for a year to a child in a developing world community.  A great initiative which has so far reached over a million students.

A final shout out to the filter relates to the use of single use disposables.   If you have the facility to fill up a bottle in a services or can top up at that outdoor tap and be sure the water is safe, there is less temptation to buy a bottle of water from a nearby shop instead.  Less cost and a vital saving for the planet.

Summary

So, in my opinion, Lifestraw have done it again.  I have enjoyed testing and using a variety of their products but the idea of a simple filter that can be attached to different bottles is genius - and the Lifestraw version is beautifully executed.  It works perfectly and allows the user to keep using their favourite drink bottle (presumably I’m not the only person that becomes quite attached to their drink bottle?!).  It also offers a game changing way for travellers and mountain goers to think about the amount of water they need to take on their adventures.  A very highly recommended product which costs around £40.  Full details can be found on the Lifestraw website here and this handy video explains all you need to know about how the adapter works....

Posted by Paul