Gear Review – Using the eartheasy Lifestraw

Well I finally got a chance to try out the Life Straw this weekend and I can tell you that it’s found a home in my BOB.  Here are the instructions Joseph over at eartheasy sent me on how to use it.

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How to use:

  1. Before using, uncap and let it stand up in a tall glass of water for one minute. That allows the water to seep into the membrane.

  2. Take 5 quick strong sucks and the water will flow up through the mouthpiece.

  3. If it plugs while drinking dirty water, blow back into it to clear the membrane.

The LifeStraw uses hollow-fiber membrane to remove bacteria and turbidity. There’s no chemicals, iodine, or moving parts. It’s ultralight and inexpensive enough to keep in your backpack in case of emergencies or for hiking trips. When it reaches it’s limit of 1,000 liters/264 gallons, the flow will stop as the membrane pores will have become plugged with debris.

Pretty simple eh?  On the right you can see that it comes with an instruction sheet that you’ll want to look over first.  The biggest thing to keep in mind is that this device does not filter out virus’, chemicals, or salt water.  Some of you readers talk about polluted water in the southern states, so while this is a pretty cool piece of equipment it won’t help you in that respect.  I highly recommend that you check out their web page and the videos on it.

However, for the rest of us looking to drink water from sources like ponds, streams, rivers, etc this baby will get the job done.

After I was done drinking my nephew – the Boy Scout – said, “I want to try it!”

Does It Work?

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0602131452fMy nephew and I went for a hike in the woods behind my house today (Sunday June 2, 2013).  For a change all I took with me was a knife, my lifestraw and a canteen.  It was hot, and it didn’t take a long time to work up a thirst.

We came to a stream with brackish water coming out of a beaver dam.  As you can see in the pictures the water was that dark brown color that slow moving swamp water gets to be.  When I walked up to the stream frogs darted away from the edge and I knew I’d found a good test for the straw.

I made my way to the edge of the stream and stuck the straw in the water.  This one hadn’t been used before and it took about five or six good sips through the straw before the water started flowing.

After I was done drinking my nephew – the Boy Scout – said, “I want to try it!”

So I gave him the straw and he made his way to the same rock I used and tried it out.  That’s confidence in a product folks.

Anyway, the only downside of using the straw that close to the water is that you get the smell of the nasty water right in the kisser while you’re drinking.  If you can get by that hurdle the water itself isn’t that bad.

Conclusion

It really is a cool piece of equipment.  If you can’t afford one of the bigger filters then you really might want to invest the $20 or so these little filters cost just to have one in your BOB or your hiking kit.  A lot of times the only way to get clean water is to boil it, which takes time; however, with a filter you can fill up and keep going.

The other good thing is that it’s very light.  It’s a little awkward size wise, but it’s so light that it won’t add much weight at all to your pack.

Another bonus is it’s low price.  Twenty bucks is a small price to pay for 264 gallons of clean water in the wilderness.

For another look at it check out my buddy Leon Pantenburg’s review of the Lifestraw.  Leon has a lot of experience in the great outdoors and has a great website too.

Questions?  Comments?

Sound off below!

-Jarhead Survivor

25 comments… add one

  • T.R. June 2, 2013, 9:44 pm

    Isn’t that the spot everybody urinates :/

    Reply
    • Jarhead Survivor June 3, 2013, 8:09 am

      If that trail gets five people a year I’d be shocked!

      Reply
      • T.R. June 3, 2013, 4:10 pm

        Thats the perfect place !

        Reply
  • JL June 3, 2013, 2:13 am

    I am going to buy 4, one for each of us. Which link is the best for me to use? I would like to make sure you all get credit.

    Reply
    • Jarhead Survivor June 3, 2013, 8:08 am

      Hi JL,

      It doesn’t really matter what link you follow in this case, but I’ll write and make sure they know that we’re sending them some productive traffic!

      Thanks.

      Reply
      • JL June 3, 2013, 1:48 pm

        No problem, this is my favorite site so whenever I buy something I try and buy it so you can get credit.

        Reply
  • j.r. guerra in s. tx. June 3, 2013, 8:07 am

    Good review – thanks for the write-up. I have some really old filter straw units (think they are military surplus but its been a long time since I’ve seen them), so an update is definitely in the cards.

    Reply
    • Jarhead Survivor June 3, 2013, 8:11 am

      Thanks j.r. – this is a cool little rig.

      You know, I didn’t know the military made those, but I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised.

      Reply
      • j.r. guerra in s. tx. June 3, 2013, 1:59 pm

        They were purchased in the early 90′s from Survival Inc. , a Lost Angoles based firm. Bill Pier headed this up. Greenish clear case, good for 15 gallons (iirc). Think it was from a pilot’s aircrew kit.

        Reply
  • Charles,,,, June 3, 2013, 10:12 am

    Water, water, everywhere but not a drop to drink, safely, unless ya got a straw, cool, nifty, great emergency item to have at all time’s as necessary as water is, and I’m all for BOB’s and said gear for on the move,,,, I know there’s item’s out there as well for those who will not have to bugout and it becomes a heated topic whenever one believes in bugging out and another one believes in standing your ground, bare minimum versus dug in re-supply, I swing toward sustaining since most here couldn’t hike a mile let alone pack gear on their back’s… so I thank yall for always presenting both sides, the knowledge is important to both sides and I know there will be those who will come in just wanting to refresh, clean their gear and trade/barter for those items they’ll need before pushing off again, so my question is how what would some of the indicators be on those who are descent coming in to your permenent location versus those who are just scouting for easy pick’ns??? Curious Charles!!!!!

    Reply
    • Jarhead Survivor June 3, 2013, 12:35 pm

      Charles – good point about the bug-out vs bug-in types. My thought on this is that even if you’re planning to bug-in you still need to have a bug-out plan simply because you never know what’s going to happen. The best laid plans of mice and men…

      Reply
  • Charles,,,, June 3, 2013, 1:51 pm

    JS, I thank you for the reply, wisdom is sound and I do understand the need… I was on another site that has open chat and one recommended reading Beyond Collaspe and Holding your ground so I should be reading those by week’s end,,, if it wasn’t so serious this prepping is fun, the learning/knowledge base is endless….

    Reply
  • irishdutchuncle June 3, 2013, 9:40 pm

    this can be lots of fun, but it’s crowding out my other hobbies…
    but it isn’t really because now I can see preparedness angles in so many other activities.

    Reply
    • irishdutchuncle June 3, 2013, 9:55 pm

      we can keep the fact that we are prepping almost a secret, because so many fun activities have preparedness “crossover”.

      Reply
  • eieio June 4, 2013, 2:06 am

    Very interesting device. Would a tube that fits the mouth piece and some nrgstivr elevation allow siphoning from an unfiltered source to a container?

    Reply
    • Jarhead Survivor June 4, 2013, 9:28 am

      Hmm, I doubt it. If you want to do that it would probably make more sense to invest in one of the bigger filters.

      Reply
  • eieio June 4, 2013, 2:08 am

    Sorry,
    nrgstivr = negative

    Reply
    • teabag June 15, 2013, 6:47 am

      re: “nrgstivr = negative”

      whew, thanks–i thought i’d developed a new floater in my middle-aged eyeballs!

      Reply
  • Nor' Country June 4, 2013, 5:41 am

    The Lifestraw looks like a good product. Would be even better if it came with the cool looking “GONE SQUATCHING” t-shirt. Not meant to be sarcasm in any way… I’m just a devoted Sasquatch Tracker trying to run a survival business…

    Reply
    • irishdutchuncle June 4, 2013, 8:22 am

      they could really use “gone squatching” sun hats…

      Reply
    • Jarhead Survivor June 4, 2013, 9:30 am

      That’s awesome, Nor’ Country!

      I bought a matching pair of t-shirts for me and my nephew, who’s really into the Sasquatch phenomena.

      Love your site.

      Reply
    • Jason June 4, 2013, 1:11 pm

      Nor’ Country

      This is waaaaaaay off topic but I read your blog & think it is fascinating as heck. I’ve always wondered about Sasquatch & am much more of a believer than a skeptic. I think it is really cool that you dedicate yourself into this area.

      My question is – why is there no photographical evidence other than that famous amateur short film clip? There are lots of sightings as you have documented & the evidence suggests they exist but find it strange that there are no pics. Can you enlighten me? I am very curious.

      Reply
  • Jason June 4, 2013, 9:35 am

    Questions:

    It’s been 2 days now are you still alive? :-) Any fever, ill feeling or diarrhea type symptoms?

    Are the internal cartridges replaceable or is it a throw away after it is done its 264 gallons of filtering? One last thing, do you need to prime it once in its lifetime in the glass of water?

    That does looks like a really great idea, very simple to use & pretty darn inexpensive.

    Reply
    • Jarhead Survivor June 4, 2013, 10:29 am

      Great question and observation, Jason. If you’re going to get sick it won’t be right away, usually it takes a few days.

      I’ve been monitoring myself carefully and so far haven’t felt any symptoms whatsoever, which is very promising!

      It’s always tough for me to put my trust in a piece of gear at first (like a new piece of scuba gear for instance), but over time as it proves itself I get more comfortable with it.

      If possible I always like to try out new gear ahead of time instead of relying on it when the chips are down only to find out it doesn’t work.

      Reply
  • Ginny June 5, 2013, 12:09 am

    Thanks fot all your info and comments on the Life Straw. We picked some of them up. Have you tried any of the Aquamira products (Frontier Pro Filter)? Just curious how others stack up, we haven’t field tested them yet. We did test the flavored Hydro Packs. Was a fun test once the bird swiped it out of the river and dropped it on the other side! We tested the water the next day, on our second pack. Great taste and no one got sick! thanks again.

    Reply

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