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Any of you folks have knowledge and experience using Lifestraw ?

I've heard a lot of good things about it, but when I look at the specs for it on the REI web site, it only talks about filtering out biological contaminants (like bacteria or parasites).

That's great, but how does it do in waters that may have chemical contaminants or heavy metals?  I do most of my camping and hiking in Texas where quite a few of the waterways where I like to play are listed by the state's environmental quality commission as contaminated with appropriate health advisories against eating fish caught in those waterways.  If the fish can be contaminated with PCB, dioxin, mercury etc., then I assume I don't want to be drinking the water there myself, even with a Lifestraw.

Is there a filtration device that can handle chemical contamination?

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The MSR Sweetwater Microfilter states that it does heavy metals. $200

I carry a Katdyn Hiker, which has a carbon core that is very good at removing taste and smell issues.  It easily handles bacteria and protozoa, as well as chemicals. One one of our regular backpacking/kayaking routes there is a small camp with a non-potable faucet.  The katdyn filter completely removed the strong sulfur smell and taste that a Sawyer filter did not.  No need for drops as well, although I also carry a SteriPen. 

 

Edited by MikeS72
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1 hour ago, mrkstvns said:

Any of you folks have knowledge and experience using Lifestraw ?

I've heard a lot of good things about it, but when I look at the specs for it on the REI web site, it only talks about filtering out biological contaminants (like bacteria or parasites).

That's great, but how does it do in waters that may have chemical contaminants or heavy metals?  I do most of my camping and hiking in Texas where quite a few of the waterways where I like to play are listed by the state's environmental quality commission as contaminated with appropriate health advisories against eating fish caught in those waterways.  If the fish can be contaminated with PCB, dioxin, mercury etc., then I assume I don't want to be drinking the water there myself, even with a Lifestraw.

Is there a filtration device that can handle chemical contamination?

Very few filtration devices can handle chemical contamination or viruses.  I wouldn't worry too much about occasionally drinking that water with the fish advisories. Why? Biomagnification.  The fish have high concentrations of those chemicals because they are towards the top of the food chain. The concentration of the chemicals goes up each level of the food chain that the creature is on.  The water itself probably doesn't have high levels of those contaminants.  

 

That said, for biological filtering I would recommend the Sawyer mini over the Lifestraw.  They are about the same price, but the Mini can filter much more water, and has much more versatility. In addition, it has a smaller pore size than the Lifestraw (which means it can filter out smaller biologicals).  

 

https://alloutdoorsguide.com/sawyer-mini-vs-lifestraw-comparison/

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20 hours ago, perdidochas said:

That said, for biological filtering I would recommend the Sawyer mini over the Lifestraw.  They are about the same price, but the Mini can filter much more water, and has much more versatility. In addition, it has a smaller pore size than the Lifestraw (which means it can filter out smaller biologicals).  

https://alloutdoorsguide.com/sawyer-mini-vs-lifestraw-comparison/

Thank you, perdidochas.  I looked at the reviews on that Sawyer Mini and am impressed.  While it looks a bit more complicated than the Lifestraw, the increased flexibility of the device coupled with a significantly longer lifespan looks like a winner to me.

I see that REI sells the Sawyer Mini as well as Lifestraw, both for the same price.  I'll be buying the Sawyer filter....

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7 hours ago, mrkstvns said:

Thank you, perdidochas.  I looked at the reviews on that Sawyer Mini and am impressed.  While it looks a bit more complicated than the Lifestraw, the increased flexibility of the device coupled with a significantly longer lifespan looks like a winner to me.

I see that REI sells the Sawyer Mini as well as Lifestraw, both for the same price.  I'll be buying the Sawyer filter....

You are welcome. I've researched it some, and came to that conclusion.  I have two Minis (bought for me as gifts, never used, but sometimes carried), and a Sawyer 3-in-1, which is an older model (pre-Squeeze) that I got on sale at the Scout shop. I've had good luck with the Sawyer.  

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  • 1 year later...

I used LifeStraw LSFX01GB01, I took this backpack on a trip to PA It's very light, easy to use and eco-friendly. I had a hard time getting it to work initially. You have to use pistons for things to work out. The water came out slowly and I filled a bag with 3 bottles of water and still had water left to use after dinner. I was shocked to see how well it filters! I scooped the water from the cistern and once it was filtered, it tasted so good!

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On 9/18/2019 at 12:07 PM, mrkstvns said:

Any of you folks have knowledge and experience using Lifestraw ?

I've heard a lot of good things about it, but when I look at the specs for it on the REI web site, it only talks about filtering out biological contaminants (like bacteria or parasites).

That's great, but how does it do in waters that may have chemical contaminants or heavy metals?  I do most of my camping and hiking in Texas where quite a few of the waterways where I like to play are listed by the state's environmental quality commission as contaminated with appropriate health advisories against eating fish caught in those waterways.  If the fish can be contaminated with PCB, dioxin, mercury etc., then I assume I don't want to be drinking the water there myself, even with a Lifestraw.

Is there a filtration device that can handle chemical contamination?

I don't have specs on Lifestraw, but I do know that the vast majority of those contaminants are fairly heavy and if you simply scoop out a bucket/bag or whatever of water and let it sit for 10 minutes before filtering it, much of the nasty will sink to the bottom.  It's also just a good way to prolong filter life.  At a bare minimum I generally have the scouts filter water through a piece of fabric before running it through a water filter.  Saves on the backwashing.

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  • 1 month later...
On 5/25/2021 at 9:12 PM, andrewjp said:

I used LifeStraw LSFX01GB01, I took this backpack on a trip to PA It's very light, easy to use and eco-friendly. I had a hard time getting it to work initially. You have to use pistons for things to work out. The water came out slowly and I filled a bag with 3 bottles of water and still had water left to use after dinner. I was shocked to see how well it filters! I scooped the water from the cistern and once it was filtered, it tasted so good!

After a while I used it again because i have a short trip and i am not sure about the country where i go. The filter still works very well.

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Posted (edited)

All, you would do well to review the CDC recommendations for treating backcountry water.

Bottom line up front: When in backcountry, best option is boiling.  When in possible chemical contamination/heavy viral load areas,  filtering AND chemical treatment are recommended.

https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/pdf/drinking/Backcountry_Water_Treatment.pdf

(Main page link https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/travel/backcountry_water_treatment.html )

https://www.msrgear.com/blog/water-treatment-101-viruses/

I teach classes on this at our Scouting University, with discussions on the different pathogens (and sizes of them), and the difference between nominal versus absolute pore sizes in filtration systems.

https://www.wqa.org/learn-about-water/common-contaminants/bacteria-viruses

Most Lifestraw products are rated at 0.2 microns absolute... viruses are smaller than 0.1 microns, so most Lifestraw products won't cut it, except Lifestraw Mission (0.02 microns)

https://lifestraw.com/pages/how-our-products-work

 

Edited by InquisitiveScouter
Added CDC main page link
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  • 4 weeks later...
On 9/18/2019 at 12:07 PM, mrkstvns said:

Any of you folks have knowledge and experience using Lifestraw ?

I've heard a lot of good things about it, but when I look at the specs for it on the REI web site, it only talks about filtering out biological contaminants (like bacteria or parasites).

That's great, but how does it do in waters that may have chemical contaminants or heavy metals?  I do most of my camping and hiking in Texas where quite a few of the waterways where I like to play are listed by the state's environmental quality commission as contaminated with appropriate health advisories against eating fish caught in those waterways.  If the fish can be contaminated with PCB, dioxin, mercury etc., then I assume I don't want to be drinking the water there myself, even with a Lifestraw.

Is there a filtration device that can handle chemical contamination?

Yes....  www.seychelle.com     
 

For base camps.... make my own using Berkey black filters and stainless steel stock pots

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