Having drinkable water is a must for our survival…TRUE?
Well of course that’s true but do you want to know the reality?
That kind of water is not always accessible to us, especially in the outdoors and there will be times when you’re camping or in other situations that you’re not always going to be able to carry or obtain the amount of drinking water you require to simply survive
Quick question for you Posse… “Should I spend a fraction of my ‘hard earned’ on a portable water filter for camping and keep myself alive and well by drinking nice filtered water OR do I splurge out some designer pants, an Indiana Jones hat and a cup instead and then feel like an idiot because I’m surrounded by water that I can’t drink without shi*#ing through the eye of a needle for a week afterwards!!?” (see below)…. What a conundrum!
Well, the jury is in people, “Portable water filters are the way to go” and not just for us campers but for hikers, climbers, cyclists, back packers, preppers and anyone else who will at some point find themselves in an environment where the only water available is the type you wouldn’t even expect the local wildlife to gulp down, but the good part is you can fix that issue (well, not for the wildlife) and you’ll have all the water you need to get you through
Better yet, I have found what I reckon is the #1 portable water filter in its class that is:
And above all super effective!
BUT FIRST THE SCIENCE…
WHY DRINKING WATER IS SO IMPORTANT?
THE HUMAN BODY is made up of between 55% – 78% water, depending on your body size and every cell, tissue and organ in your body needs water to properly function so making sure we drink enough water is absolutely crucial
Our bodies lose water through perspiring, breathing and also ‘going number one and number twos’ (you know what I mean) and a lot of the time when we’re in the outdoors we are doing physical activity therefore we are breathing heavier and sweating more which depletes our body’s water reserves quicker than you would think. This can lead to dehydration
Dehydration occurs when you lose more water from your body than you take in and some common symptoms are:
- Dry mouth
- Extreme thirst
- Lack of energy
- irritability or confusion
- Dark coloured or lack of pee
Continued dehydration can result in serious complications with the worse case scenarios being irreversible organ damage and death
SO HOW MUCH SHOULD WE DRINK?
The rule of thumb is that men ideally drink around 3.7 litres (approx. 125 fluid ounces) per day and women drink around 2.7 litres (approx. 92 fluid ounces) per day to keep well hydrated
NOW FOR THE GOOD BIT…
A lot of you have probably already come across ‘portable water filter straws’ at some point but I hope you really grasp the importance of having one of these in your pack because they are more than just a nifty gadget, they can be a lifesaver and I’ve compared every one I could get my hands on and at the end of the day it came down to two major players… The LIFESTRAW and the SAWYER MINI water filtration system
As it so happens, these are the two most researched ‘straw’ filters on the market and I’m going to cut straight to the chase and tell you that despite popular belief, The Sawyer Mini comes up trumps on so many levels (in my personal opinion). Before I tell you why though, here is where they do compare:
- They’re very affordable
- Both systems are compact and weigh around 2 ounces
- They require no batteries and have no moving parts
- They will both remove Bacterias, Protozoa and Microplastics (more on this below)
Now, this is why I prefer the Sawyer Mini over the Lifestraw:
Although they are comparably priced, The Sawyer Mini will filter 100,000 gallons (378,541 litres) of water compared to the Lifestraw which will only filter up to 1,000 gallons (3785 litres) before needing to be replaced
Other features that won me over are as follows:
1) The Sawyer Mini is certified for 0.1 micron filtration which means the maximum size of the pores in the filter is 0.1 microns making it impossible for harmful bacteria to pass through whereas the Lifestraw filter’s microns are up to 0.2 microns (still effective but in this instance, smaller is better). The Sawyer Mini’s ‘absolute’ filtration system will remove:
- 99.99999% of Bacteria such as E.coli, Leptospirosis, Salmonella & Cholera
- 99.9999% of Protozoa (i.e. Giardia and Cryptosporidium)
- 100% of Microplastics
2) Multiple drinking options:
- Drink directly from the water source
- Attach the filter to the reusable, squeezable drink pouch (included) and have a guzzle from that or pour into a cup or your water bottle
- The filter also screws onto most disposable soda and water bottles so you can utilise them instead of the pouch
- The filter can be attached inline to your hydration pack (adaptors sold separately)
Contrastingly, the Lifestraw is primarily designed to drink directly from the water source as it does not attach to any receptacle
3) The smart people at Sawyer applied technology used in medical dialysis in the design of the Sawyer Mini and they test each unit 3 times during the manufacturing process to ensure no nasties can penetrate the filter. That’s pretty hardcore
H20 TO GO
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the LIFESTRAW is a terrible product, it’s just that this particular model (they have other more effective but differently designed products in their range) has limited prospects, and the big one for me was that you’re restricted to drinking water directly from the source meaning you can’t fill your water bottle or hydration pack with filtered water to take with you and you usually have to lay on your belly (sometimes in the mud), stick the straw in the water and drink as much as you need to keep you going. Not really ideal unless your always near water
NOT TO BE TOO HARSH ON THE LIFESTRAW…The thing I do like that actually made me purchase a LIFESTRAW anyway (other than to test it) is the company’s sincere claim that… “With every product sold, a child in need receives safe water for an entire school year”… I bought two and told them to pony up and give that kid a drink in the school holidays too. I don’t think they appreciated my sense of humour… but I digress. They do serve a purpose and did make good gifts for friends
NOT EVERY PRODUCT IS PERFECT SO JUST A ‘HEADS UP’
The only thing I recommend you do if you purchase a Sawyer Mini is buy a few extra reusable squeezable pouches. They will not last forever after being unfolded, used and folded back up over and over again and you’d hate to be in a situation where you get a hole in your bag and don’t have a few spare
The threads on the filter are shorter than one might expect so be mindful not to over tighten your pouch or bottle as it can in some cases damage the gasket. Probably a good idea to buy a 6 pack of gaskets for a few extra bucks just in case
HOW SAFE ARE THESE PWFs?
What some sellers are reluctant to let you know about the straw type portable water filters that I’ll tell you straight up is:
- PWFs in this class will not remove all heavy metals, chemicals or viruses from water. Be sure your not collecting from a ‘body of water’ where there is run off from cities, industrial areas, large agricultural pastures or sewage outlets. The more natural your water source the better
- They will not filter salt from seawater or any water containing salts. Yep, your own Pee is outta the question too. You hear me Bear Grills?
- Always be diligent when filtering your water. Ensure that you avoid any waterborne diseases by being careful not leak, drip or spill unfiltered water into your filtered water or on surfaces you will put your mouth on
WAIT…WHAT? NOT GOOD ENOUGH?
You’re still not 100% convinced that your filtered water is gonna be safe to drink? That’s ok…I get it, I personally am a bit of a ‘Germophobe’ and I took a bit of convincing (I got my head around it eventually). Let me run one more thing by you that will hopefully put you at ease. Two words, Water purification…PURINIZE is a water purification solution that will provide an extra line of defence if you’re unsure of the quality of water you wish to filter. This stuff’s different to a lot of other water purification drops on the market in that it’s all natural
You simply pour some into your water prior to filtering it and it uses a process called coagulation-flocculation (or CF) to remove up to 200+ nasties from the water including the things I mentioned earlier like heavy metals, chemicals & viruses
The only downside is you have to wait for about 60 minutes for it to work. The upside…you’re left with clean, safe drinking water with no chemical aftertaste
If you have been looking at buying a portable water filter straw for camping then I hope I have provided enough info to help you make confident decision. I honestly reckon it will be quite some time before another company comes up with something better than the Sawyer Mini water filtration system
For convenience, versatility, peace of mind and value for money, it’s hard to beat