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Here's a lightweight, inexpensive purchase alternative to the pump-style water filters we rent, for about the same price as a one-week rental of a pump filter - the "Life Straw". Noted as the "Best Invention of the Year" by Time magazine, it surpasses EPA guidelines for E. coli, Giardia, and Cryptosporidium - the bad boys of intestinal problems when out in the wilderness. When measured in micron protection, it's as good as the pump filter - about .2 microns. Neither pump filters nor this Life Straw will capture all viruses, but at least in North America water-borne viruses aren't much of a problem. Chemical or ultraviolet treatment, or boiling, is required to kill viruses.
The LifeStraw is basically a small diameter tube about 8 inches long with membranes inside that do the filtering, all weighing in at only 2 ounces. All you do is place one end in the water source and draw thru the 'straw' via its mouth piece. The water source can be the original (puddle, lake, river, etc), or, your normal water container that you have filled up from the original water source. For example, open up your Nalgene bottle, dip in a lake, and then drink out of the Nalgene thru the LifeStraw. After you've had your fill of water, just blow back thru the mouth piece to clear out any debris in the filter. See more pictures and information on the Life Straw.
Each LifeStraw is rated good for 264 gallons, at which point it will start to become too hard to drink thru. Time to buy another one at that point. That filtering capacity is the same as the replaceable cartridges on most pump filters, but at less than 1/2 the price.
The advantages over pump or even in-line filters is cost, weight and convenience. The advantage over renting a pump-style filter from us is that this purchase is yours to keep. There are some disadvantages - it's not a great option for multi-users; you're drinking more slowly thru a straw versus gulping from a bottle; and there's no easy way to get filtered water into another container for cooking or powder mixes if that is important to you.
LifeStraw is a great option for campers and backpackers who want a super lightweight and inexpensive replacement or backup to their current water treatment setup. Day hikers should include one in their pack in case the tap water they packed at first runs out before making it back to the car. Also great for emergency preparedness in your vehicle or as part of your "bug-out" kit.
Read from our article data base for more information on hydration and water treatment options.