Cool Products to Know About: The LifeStraw

water from faucetWe are fortunate here in our country.

We can turn on a faucet and fresh, clean water comes out of the tap. Not so in most third world countries.

But even here, the days are gone when we can take a break during our hike, and simply quench our thirst from that nearby cool running stream.

I don’t pretend to be an authority on water, but when expert wilderness survivalists say it’s no longer safe to drink any wilderness water without first boiling it, I take notice. Even those who claim not all wilderness water is contaminated, also agree that even the most remote possibility of getting an infection isn’t worth the risk of not purifying your drinking water.

And what about city water after a natural disaster, such as floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes. Could you tell if the water is contaminated or not? Remember Hurricane Sandy? Their one main concern was getting drinking water, and they had no electricity to boil it.

Illness from contaminated water can be life threatening when you don’t have access to a nearby medical facility.

Why is water so important?

You’ll hear me repeat this Rule of 3’s more than once on these pages.
We can survive 3 hours without shelter – 3 days without water – 3 weeks without food.
Water is right up there with shelter and fire. It’s life or death stuff.


SteriPEN in box
There are some great products out there, such as the SteriPEN, developed to help those who are traveling in third world countries have safe drinking water, without using plastic bottles. A handheld Ultraviolet water purification system, it’s now available to help those who live in third world countries to obtain safe drinking water.

But even if we’re not traveling abroad, the SteriPEN could be useful here at home, during water boil advisories, or anytime the water is suspect. I keep one handy with my home emergency supplies.



LifeStrawSome companies, such as LifeStraw, originally developed their product for use in natural disaster emergencies, when water is often contaminated. And now their products have become popular with backpackers and outdoor enthusiasts.

I’m partial to the LifeStraw because it’s lightweight (just 2 oz) and extremely easy to use. It requires no electrical power, batteries or replacement parts. You simply use it just like a straw, to suck water directly from the source: a stream, pond or even a puddle.

How does it work? It uses an advanced hollow fiber membrane technology that filters up to 1,000 liters (264 gallons) of water to 0.2 microns. It filters out protozoa and bacteria. It doesn’t use iodine and is BPA-free. And it meets US EPA drinking water standards.

I think you’ll agree that it’s a useful piece of equipment to have handy. I keep one in my car emergency pack. And make sure I bring it along for backpacking and camping trips.

I hope you found this information helpful.

What water purifying products have you purchased?








  1. Mike Sirota

    Sounds like a weird–but useful–product. At least you didn’t indicate that a user could suck water from the toilet. 🙂

    • indy

      Ha! Very funny, Mike. I bet you can – but it’d have to be a life or death scenario for me! 😀 Yeah – this one is so simple to use, no worries about using the proper amount of iodine tablets or bleach to purify the water (which just kinda creeps me out) and it is super lightweight for your backpack.



  1. Survival: Got Water? Is it Safe to Drink? | Indy Quillen - […] SteriPen is a handheld Ultraviolet water purification system, developed to help those traveling in third […]

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