The retired SEAL next door told me that filter straws were all they carried on missions through the desert. Good enough for me. I thought I would give the LifeStraw a try. My only hesitation is virus elimination. Apparently, not such an issue for us in North America. I would be more cautious if I were in the Afghan desert. The Lifestraw is rated to remove virtually all bacteria and protozoa parasites (more than 99.9 percent) that can contaminate water. The units also do a fine job of reducing any particulate matter in the water.
First stop was an open pothole in the Utah desert. Clear water, lots of moving organisms. Looked good. I was confident the filter would keep the fauna and silt out of my teeth. I pulled the 2 ounce, 1 inch diameter by 9 inch tube from a side pocket of the pack. Dipped in the edge of the water and sucked. It took a moment and a bit of effort, but once it started I got a fairly good flow of water. A refreshing gulp of neutral tasting water. Then the procedure is to step back and blow air throw the unit to clear it after drinking.
Next stop: water flowing from a seep near Mr. Grandstaff’s Canyon. This time the LifeStraw was hanging around my neck by the lanyard. Easy to tip into the water once you crouch down. Another intense draw, but once the first flow started I could enjoy the really cool water. The only grumble being without a hose you have to lie down in the rocks at water’s edge to use the LifeStraw. So quit complaining and get a cup.
Good for 1000 liters (264 gallons) of filtered water. They also make a Family LifeStraw with a bucket to draw water and hose to filter 16,000 liters of water, enough to last a family of 5 for three years. In celebration of the U.S. retail launch, both Eartheasy and Green Beetle will donate one LifeStraw® for every ten sold.