Should your kit include a LifeStraw?
LifeStraw is a simple and widely celebrated water filter which removes more than 99 per cent of bacteria and 99.9 per cent of protozoa (single celled organisms) by the time water is sucked from one end of the straw to the other. While the original LifeStraw can filter up to 4000 litres of water, newer and larger versions of the LifeStraw can filter up to 25 times that while also removing 99.9 per cent of viruses and microplastics from water.
Bushcraft and survival expert Peter Bindon says he keeps a LifeStraw in his kit because water is essential in every situation, not only survival circumstances.
“The LifeStraw is certainly portable. I am sure that it is robust enough to stand being knocked around in a pocket or a day-pack for a couple of days and it is certainly cheap enough. The aspect of the LifeStraw that I have not examined is how well it performs in water with a lot of suspended matter in it,” said Peter.
“This is usually the downfall of most filtering systems. It can only be overcome by either settling out the suspended solids over time or by a pre-filter system.”
While more sophisticated versions of the original LifeStraw like the LifeStraw Community model do offer purification, they still don’t remove chemicals (like arsenic) or salt from salt water.
“A difficulty that raises its head is that surface water is so scarce in most of Australia that unless you are venturing out in the rainy season wherever you live, you might not find water to suck up. After all, most survival situations in Australia seem to be solved after three days – or else they are terminal!” said Peter.
“I always make sure that I am carrying a couple of litres of clean water so that I don’t have to think about getting more supplies for a while, and during that time I can set up a pre-filter system if necessary so that after a day I can be ready to move again.”
Verdict: The LifeStraw is a relatively cheap, small and long-lasting addition to your kit when heading into the great Australian outdoors. Although you probably don’t want to rely on it, it may prove its weight in gold in a survival situation.