Whether trailing running, hiking, or planning for an emergency… clean portable water is critical for your well being. While most are familiar with the name brand of LifeStraw, this guide presents 11 LifeStraw alternatives for your consideration.
- 1 Why You Need Portable Water
- 2 What is a LifeStraw?
- 3 Reviewing 11 LifeStraw Alternatives
- 3.1 Sawyer Mini Water Filter
- 3.2 Katadyn BeFree Water Filtration System
- 3.3 GRAYL Ultralight Water Purifier
- 3.4 Platypus GravityWorks Water Filter System
- 3.5 MSR TrailShot Pocket-Sized Water Filter
- 3.6 Survivor Filter PRO
- 3.7 Flex Multi-Function Water Filtration System
- 3.8 RUNACC Water Filter
- 3.9 Katadyn PRO Water Filter
- 3.10 Sawyer Products PointOne Squeeze Water Filter System
- 3.11 Etekcity Water Filter Straw
- 4 Conclusion
Why You Need Portable Water
You may need portable water if you hike or backpack in remote areas where you don’t have access to clean drinking water. It helps reduce the risks of getting sick from drinking the water, and it allows you to fill up multiple bottles to bring with you as you hike or trail run. LifeStraw is one such option for portable water, but further in this guide we present 11 alternatives to LifeStraw.
What is a LifeStraw?
LifeStraw is a water filtration system that is very lightweight, compact, and portable. It gives you access to clean emergency water sources from virtually any type of flowing or stagnant water. LifeStraw uses a filtration system to get rid of bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and chemicals.
Reviewing 11 LifeStraw Alternatives
The following 11 alternatives to LifeStraw are listed in no particular order but include descriptions with pros and cons.
Made for those who want to drink directly out of a body of water, this is a very small water filter system. It weighs in at about two ounces, and it measures five inches by one inch. You can drink directly from a stream with it, or you can use the threads to attach it directly to a bottle for an easy refill.
It comes with a .1 micron filter system, and this allows it to catch all of the pathogens that could make you sick. There is a 16-ounce refillable pouch that lets you carry a decent amount of water with you between filling it. At below $20 per unit, this is an affordable option.
- Available in four colors
- Can purchase packs of one, two, and four
- Very small and lightweight
- Can take time to fill up
- Everything is plastic
- Ideal for outdoor recreation, hiking, camping, scouting, domestic and International travel, and emergency preparedness
- High-performance 0.1 Micron absolute inline filter fits in the palm of your hand and weighs just 2 ounces; 100% of MINI units individually tested three times to performance standards by Sawyer
- Attaches to included drinking pouch, standard disposable water bottles, hydration packs, or use the straw to drink directly from your water source
The Katadyn BeFree is a squeeze-based portable water filter, and it weights in at three ounces. You’ll get a .1 micron filter and a .6 liter capacity that you can use jut about anywhere. You can pair it with a three liter Hyrapak, and you get around 1,000 uses per filter.
You can clean this system by pouring hot water with soap in and swishing it around. When you want to store it, you can simply detach the top from the bottom and stow it in your pack. The clean reservoir allows you to ensure you get clean water each time you drink out of it.
- Has a .1 micron filter
- Can get up to 1,000 uses per filter
- Very lightweight
- Filters are fragile in near freezing temperatures
- May have problems with the filter/top seam
- 0. 1 micron water filter removes harmful organisms like bacteria 99. 9999% and protozoa like giardia & Cryptosporidium 99. 9%, surpassing EPA standards
- Collapsible 0. 6L hydrapak soft bottle flask packs down small to fit in tight spaces (pant or jacket pockets, purses, cycling jerseys, fly vests
- EZ-clean Membrane is simple and easy to clean by simply shaking or swishing the filter to clean debris, no backflushing or extra tools required
This one press water filter is compact, lightweight, and fast. You put your dirty water into it, press down, and the water passes through the filtration system. It comes with three filter layers to catch and lock tiny pathogens, and you can easily filter 16 ounces of water in 15 seconds.
You can drink straight from the bottle, or you can pour your purified water into another container. It comes in four colors, and it can safely remove 99.9999% of viruses, bacteria, and protozoan cysts.
- Three-layer filtration system
- Removes viruses and bacteria
- Has a fast flow rate
- Have to replace the cartridges after 300 cycles
- Can be more expensive, especially with the filter cartridges
- COMPACT: 16 oz. purifier bottle makes safe, clean drinking water from virtually any freshwater source
- FAST AND EASY-TO-USE - Ideal for international travelers, hikers, and emergency prep kits
- AWARD WINNING [OnePress] design — Just Fill from any sketchy freshwater source, then Press on a low surface (e.g. ground), then Drink safe water, anywhere
While this is a slightly larger emergency water filtration system that resembles and IV bag, and it can filter up to 1.75 liters of water every minute. You get a reservoir system that can hold up to four liters.
This system can trap and keep microbes down to 0.2 microns in size out of your water. There are bottle fill systems and faucets with this system that shut when you don’t use them. In turn, this reduces the amount of water you waste each time you use it. At $120, this is a slightly more expensive option, but it can be worth it.
- Very user-friendly
- Can quickly filter water
- Holds up to four liters
- Slightly bulkier to store
- Tubing can be more fragile
- High-capacity, gravity-fed, hollow-fiber water filter system is ideal for group and family camping, outdoor adventures, and emergency preparedness
- Meets all EPA/NSF guidelines for removal of 99.9999% of bacteria and 99.9% of protozoa, including giardia, cryptosporidium, E. coli, salmonella, cholera
- No pumping required; reservoir fills easily and hangs from a tree to deliver four liters of filtered water for cooking and washing in 2.5 minutes
The filter comes housed in a durable silicone case that uses a hollow fiber system to get rid of contaminants in your water that could make you sick. At just over five ounces, this is a lightweight and compact option.
You can fill up to one liter per minute while using a single hand, and it works well for ultralight backpackers. It’s 99.9999% effective for bacteria and protozoa, and it also filters out chemicals like iodine and chlorine. You’ll get a relatively inexpensive but ultra-portable water filter each time you use this product.
- One handed operation
- Traps 99.9999% of particulate
- Pocket sized and very lightweight
- Hose is shorter and prone to clogging
- Squeeze action can be tiring
- Pocket-sized lightweight water filter cleans water on-the-go for hiking, camping, traveling, and emergency preparedness
- Drink directly from the source or fill a water bottle or hydration pack; easy one-handed operation filters one liter in 60 seconds
- Ultralight (5 ounces) and compact (6x2.4 inches), it fits in a stash pocket for trail runners, hikers, and mountain bikers
A slightly bulkier entrance on the list, the Survivor Filter PRO comes with a three part filtration system that can filter out viruses, algae, protozoa, bacteria, heavy metals, pesticides, and chemicals. The pumping action is much easier to work for extended times over a squeeze model.
This is a slightly larger setup, but it could be a good choice to take out to more remote areas. The ABS shell is durable, and the filter is medical-grade. It’s capable of screening 10,000 liters before you need to change it. You get a lifetime warranty against damage or defects.
- Comes with a carrying case
- Has an easy pump action
- Gives you 99.999% filtration capabilities
- Slightly bulkier design
- Only runs at 500 millliters per minute
- Independently Tested in the USA to show 99.999 percent filtration removal of tested Virus, bacteria, parasites and reduces heavy metals, unpleasant tastes and odors
- Proven protection against any unwanted objects in your drinking water; Reduces Heavy Metals and Improves taste, thanks to Dual Hollow Fiber Membrane (Ultra Filters) and Carbon Filtration - 20 times more efficient than the competition at 0.2 microns and none of the Competition Comes Close with Our Heavy Metal Removal
- Shell is ABS Material (Same Material Used on Car Bumpers), Polysulfone Medical Grade Ultra Filter (Same Material Used in Visors of Apollo Astronauts), Food Grade Activated Carbon and Handle Contains Steel Bar Inside for Extra Support. BPA Free
This alternative system lets you fill up your bottle with dirty water, screw the filter onto the bottle, and squeeze it to get clean water out. You’ll get a 0.2 micron fiber filter with a carbon fiber filter that removes pesticides, heavy metals and bad taste from your water.
It lasts through filtering around 500 gallons or 2,000 liters, and you can simply switch the cartridges out and continue. The water bottle is a soft and collapsible design that is easy to store between uses. You can screw it onto a water bottle, water bladder, and more.
- Can use it as a straw or squeeze filter
- Portable and lightweight
- Can filter out heavy metals, bacteria, and pesticides
- Flow rate slows down over time
- Doesn’t catch or filter our viruses
- Versatile water filter from the makers of the LifeStraw Personal filter can be used directly as a straw filter or inline with the included soft touch water bottle
- Attaches easily inline to hydration pack bladders and gravity filters, or simply screw it onto a disposable water bottle
- Advanced hollow fiber membrane removes minimum 99.999999% of waterborne bacteria, and 99.999% of waterborne protozoan parasites (up to 2,000 liters), and filters 0.2 microns; exceeds EPA drinking water standards
Another small and compact system, this water filter uses pump action to clean your water. You can even use the filter without squeezing thanks to the long tube attached to it. The filter system comes with pre-filters that helps remove more impurities.
The filter cartridge lasts around 2,000 liters before you have to change them out. The body is a medical-grade silicone for added durability, and it has a wide design to accommodate other sized systems. You get a collapsible bladder that folds up for easy storage between fills and uses.
- Pump action is easier than squeezing
- Attaches to several hydration packs
- Can pump into a container or drink directly from the source
- Pump tends to deflate after a few uses
- Only works for 2,000 liters between cartridges
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This system can easily handle protozoa, bacteria, and silt. A large majority of the contaminants don’t even reach the filter, but the ones that do get filtered out by the 0.2 micron filter. This ensures that they last longer than other systems, and it makes them easier to clean.
Weighing in at only 11 ounces, this is a compact and lightweight option for backpackers. It takes around 48 pumps to get a liter of water, so this can be slightly time-consuming. This is a mid-range price point filter system that lasts up to 13,000 gallons between cartridge changes.
- Compact size
- Most contaminants never make it to the filter
- Cartridges last up to 13,000 gallons
- Water can freeze and ruin the filter in colder environments
- Doesn’t remove viruses
- Katadyn Hiker Pro Water Filter, Long Lasting for Personal or Small Group Camping, Backpacking or Emergency Preparedness
- Hiker Pro water filter designed four outdoor enthusiasts and international travelers
- Filter's silver-impregnated ceramic element is effective against bacteria and protozoa
This entire kit weighs in at just under eight ounces, and this makes it excellent for people who don’t have a lot of extra storage space. It can fill the average water bottle in just under 30 seconds, and you can use it as a drinkable bottle by itself.
It filters out bacteria and protozoa, and you get a fail-safe built right in that ensures you don’t get contaminated water. You can attach a hose and filter large volumes of water, and it removes 99.9999% of bacteria and viruses. The carbon disks and filter cartridges are easily replaceable.
- Comes with a five-foot hose
- Very user-friendly design
- Puts out clean water at 1.2 liters per minute
- Replacement filters are expensive
- Weighs in at just over a pound
- Lightweight, easy to use portable water filter removes harmful bacteria, protozoa, cysts, sediment, and 100% of microplastics; Perfect for outdoor adventures, travel, or emergency preparedness
- High-performance 0.1 Micron absolute inline filter fits in the palm of your hand and weighs just 2 ounces; 100% of Micro Squeeze units individually tested three times to performance standards by Sawyer
- Built-in and removable flip top sports cap; spray water straight into mouth or bottle from included pouch; also fits standard water bottles with 28 mm threads
Etekcity’s portable water filter removes 99.99999% of bacteria and protozoa each time you use it. It has a three stage filtration system with a 0.1 micron filter to screen out large and small particles. You can drink straight from the water source, attach it to a water bottle, or use it with the included pouch.
You’ll be able to filter out 1,500 liters of water before you have to switch the filter out. The filters themselves are relatively inexpensive to replace. This is a very lightweight and compact system that is easy and quick to operate.
- Replacement filters are expensive
- Weighs in at just over a pound
- Filters can be less durable
- Has a lower flow rate
- SAFETY TESTED: Etekcity water purifier has been tested by German TüV SüD Examination Institute and meet EPA Water Quality Standards.
- ADVANCED FILTRATION DESIGN: Pre-filter to defense large contaminants. Ion-exchange resin to remove chlorine, heavy metal ions, THMs. Activated carbon to eliminate odors. 0. 01Μm hollow fiber UF inline Membrane to filter 99. 9999% waterborne rubbish
- DEPENDABLE ACCESSORIES: Prepared with a Foldable Water Pouch(480ML, 16oz) with D type hook, an Extension Tube(70cm), a Syringe(back wash device), an Inlet Mouthpiece(pre-filtration device with 1 PP Cotton Pad), additional Four PP Cotton Pads
There are a host of LifeStraw alternatives with varying features and drawbacks. Now that you have reviewed the top 11 options for portable water, its up to you to decide what meets your needs. You may want to consider getting two different ones in case the first has a failure (ex. a piece breaking) or gets lost.