There are perhaps hundreds of Lifestraw reviews out there, so I wouldn’t be surprised if our readers already know what the Lifestraw is. However, one thing these reviews don’t go over is the Lifestraw Go and whether or not it’s worth your money. See, they only discuss the main features of the Go, something we could look up ourselves. What they fail to recognize is that, in the end, their readers want to know one thing and one thing only: is it worth it?
There is no doubt the Lifestraw Go is more expensive than the typical bottle. All it is is a typical bottle, save for one piece which is the popular Lifestraw. That piece by itself is what everyone is after. Is that worth purchasing, and spending a few extra dollars for? Will it last? Is something like this worth stuffing in my hiking backpack? Do not worry, AA readers. I’ve had the opportunity to bring, use, and drink out of the Lifestraw Go for several months now. Since we now have an outlet to share our experiences, I will try to answer the numerous questions something like this entails.
Before I begin, I’d like to preface that I am not being paid by Lifestraw with this review. I purchased the product online using my own money because I was genuinely curious if a filter-based bottle actually worked. Besides, my family and Gary’s family hike together frequently. I decided that bringing along a product like this would be worth the money I paid for it. Do not read the other Lifestraw Go reviews who’s authors have been paid off by the company. I’ve personally received numerous offers from various companies requesting a paid review of their product. The company will pressure authors into writing an unreasonably positive product review or else their sponsor money goes away. These things happen a lot in the blogging world, so just be cautious when reading another Lifestraw review.
Now, let’s get into it.
Lifestraw Review: Products
This is the part that most likely confuses people the most. Which product is it? Well, there are two that are the most frequently purchased. There is the standard Lifestraw filter and then there is the Lifestraw Go.
The regular Lifestraw is just the filter itself. This was the original product and what has perhaps sparked an entire industry of water filters. The Lifestraw personal filter was also the inspiration for the water filter bottle, which leads us to the next product.
The Lifestraw Go is a water bottle with a variation of the Lifestraw inside of it. Essentially, instead of sipping out of a water filter, you bring along a bottle that has a smaller filter inside of it. This can be much handier if you have a backpack to hike with. It’s also more convenient because you can carry water along with you, in case you don’t see another body of water in a while. This Lifestraw Go review is based on the water bottle version, so keep that in mind. I opted for the Go because it is just much easier to find water if it’s already enclosed with you. This is better suited for my personal needs because we travel and hike a lot, so in weather conditions where water is not as naturally available (eg. hiking the desert terrain in Red Rock Canyon), the Go really stands out.
Lifestraw Go vs. Lifestraw
I’ve already discussed what each product is, but here I’ll go over some more useful points before you buy either of them.
The Lifestraw water filter itself costs considerably less than the Lifestraw Go bottle. That is because all you get is a water filter and no container to store water in. You would have to find a source of water (like a puddle) and drink straight out of that, rather than putting the water inside a bottle and drinking from there later on.
Both the Lifestraw and Lifestraw Go carry the same type of filter, though you cannot replace the Go’s filter using the Lifestraw personal filter. To replace, you would have to buy a separate Lifestraw Go replacement filter, which doesn’t cost too much anyway. Both filters are able to be used for up to 264 gallons and remove the same percentage of waterborne bacteria.
— Check out the LifeStraw personal water filter or the Lifestraw Go bottle —
Lifestraw Go Review: Pros
I absolutely love my Lifestraw Go. It has so many benefits to it and I definitely find it useful because I am outdoors so often. Here I will list and discuss some of the things I loved about the Go bottle. Keep in mind that I have been able to use it for several months across many different hiking trips.
The Lifestraw Go filter is nothing short of amazing. If you haven’t already tried something similar, I would recommend purchasing either the Lifestraw or the Go right away. There are so many different water filters out there but I prefer LS because they have done it for years and are a brand I trust. If I’m drinking water from natural sources, the last thing I wish to do is skimp on a good water filter. The straw I drink natural water from has to absolutely filter out the bad bacteria, otherwise there’s just no point.
I was unable to test Lifestraw’s claim that their filter can remove 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria and 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites. However, I can attest to the taste of the water from numerous sources I’ve taken from. Regardless of whether I took from a small pond in the forest or a waterfall in one of my Colorado hikes, the water had no aftertaste. For comparison sake, I ordered one of the off-brand water filters on Amazon (there are plenty of them) and while it was decent, there was a mild aftertaste that I did not like. The Lifestraw Go did not have this problem and it makes me feel more comfortable to drink out of it.
Drinking out of the straw is pretty easy. The suction rate is a bit slower than a typical bottle, but that is to be expected considering you are drinking out of a filter.
The bottle the Go has is excellent. It is very lightweight, weighing in for me at around 7.8 ounces empty. This makes the bottle easy to carry around, which again is a great selling point for frequent hikers such as myself. I have a hiking backpack with a bottle pouch that I can just slip the Lifestraw Go into. You could also attach the bottle to your waist or to your bag using the carabiner.
It is a BPA free bottle made with a type of fairly hard plastic. This does not feel like one of those bottles that would break easily. I’ve used the Lifestraw Go for numerous occasions, mostly hiking in different environments, from desert terrain to more humid trails. I never drop the bottle, but if I did, unless it’s from a great distance I feel it probably will not break. I mean I’ve had it for nearly a year and all I’ve racked up in damage are small, almost non-visible scratches on the sides.
This bottle does hold 20 ounces of water, which is about average for a water filter bottle. However, if you are going on longer hikes you will probably have to refill every so often. There are also helpful measurement marks on the side.
I don’t usually mention things like affordability when it comes to $30-$40 water bottles. But in the case of the Lifestraw Go, I almost have to. I purchased this a while back and have used it as my go-to water bottle in every hike since. Considering we hike once or twice a month, that is a lot of traveling and usage. Not once did I feel like the filter bottle was going to break. Through the many months, the water still tastes great and the filter has a bit more mileage left in it before I have to replace it. Speaking of which, when I do have to replace the filter (after ~260+ gallons), the replacement is absolutely affordable and worth the price.
I have already purchased 2 more of these bottles as gifts, as well as one more Lifestraw filter just to bring around. They make excellent gifts because they don’t cost too much while providing excellent value and durability over the long term. I can imagine just one Lifestraw Go bottle lasting indefinitely, as long as I properly maintain it and replace the filters when they need to be replaced.
Lifestraw Go Review: Cons
So here we are with the cons. There aren’t many and even despite some of the flaws I’ve personally seen, I do not believe they are enough to dissuade me from purchasing again.
Difficulty in drawing water
If you’ve ever had one of those thick milkshakes where your face hurt after trying to sip some out, you know what this issue is. No water filter should be hard to sip out of, but unfortunately even the best of them do get this issue. The first Go I owned was easy to drink out of, but the bottle I gifted to my wife wasn’t so. Water flow rate was pretty bad, and even though we tried our best, we each were only able to manage a few drops of water out of the straw.
There is a good workaround to this that we found online that helped ease up the straw.
- Detach the carbon filter from the straw. It should come right off and don’t worry, it’s just as easy to put back.
- Use your nails to open up the plastic casing. This one is a little harder to do, but again you aren’t breaking the product by doing so.
How the carbon filter in the Lfiestraw Go should look like
- Check to see if the seam on the carbon bag is stuck facing up. If it is, that’s the problem. While sucking out of the straw, the seam on the carbon bag was preventing any water to pass through.
- Simply reposition the bag so that the seams aren’t on top. You don’t want the seams touching the bottom of the casing either, as that is where the other hole goes.
- Put the cap back on and then put the carbon filter back into the top of your Lifestraw.
After these steps, it should be significantly easier to drink water out of the filter. I’ve only had to experience this problem with one of the three bottles I purchased (the one with the water drawing issue was my wife’s; the one I bought for myself and my brother were fine). I’ve looked around and it seems this issue, while existent, does not happen often. Feel confident in purchasing that you won’t come across this problem, but if you do, fortunately there is a 30-second solution that gets it done.
Potential chemical taste
People have reported tasting some sort of chemical, almost metallic or plastic taste when drinking water out of the Lifestraw. We fortunately have not experienced this in the three bottles we own, so I would chalk it up to some sort of defect. It is not a common problem either, as far as I can tell from numerous forums and Lifestraw Go reviews in video format.
If there is an aftertaste for you, empty out the water and blow out of the filter to extract water from it. Give it a good rinse and continue back-flushing out of the straw. Do this several times until the filter is fresh. It takes a few uses of the straw for it to break in, so by doing these steps you are effectively cleansing it out of its factory state to be ready for use.
If that does not work, try pouring one part vinegar and one part water to your bottle. Give it a good shake and let is sit for 5-6 hours. This should get it done, but be sure to rinse it thoroughly after throwing out the vinegar. Also be sure to blow out of the straw to help remove the vinegar. The one thing worse than a plastic aftertaste is a vinegar aftertaste.
Lifestraw Go: Some tips
Here I’ve decided to include a section of helpful tips if you’ve gone ahead and purchased the Lifestraw Go. These are bits of information I’ve picked up after using the product for many months. They are supposed to either solve some small potential problems you may come across or simply help improve the efficiency of the filter so you get more use out of it.
We already went over how to deal with the potential chemical taste you might get from buying this filter. It happens every so often with any filter on the market. The best thing you can do, and you are supposed to do, is “prime” the filter for personal use. These filters come straight out of the factory and have obviously never been used before. There is a chance yours could start tasting or smelling funky. All you have to do is continue rinsing and using the straw until that “new” taste is gone.
Do not forget to back-flush before you refill the bottle. Back-flushing is simply blowing out of the straw before putting more water inside the bottle. It is a water filter and so it filters out the small bacteria in natural water sources. We can’t see it but it is there. Blowing out of the straw will help get rid of that bacteria so it doesn’t clog up the filter. It is not necessary to back-flush between each sip, but you must after each water refill.
Be cautious with your water sources
A general rule of thumb: the clearer or less dense the water (regardless of color), the better the Lifestraw will be able to filter it
The Lifestraw is an impressive water filter that gets the job done. However, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking any source of water is easy enough for the filter to make drinkable. It can remove pesticides and chemical contamination found in water. It can filter out organisms, bacteria, and even small pieces of sediment for the lifespan of the straw.
What it won’t do is remove salt from salt water, so please be careful and don’t try to drink salt water. You would need a very expensive distiller and reverse-osmosis machine for that. It also won’t get rid of heavy metals in water, fluoride, or chlorine. This means you shouldn’t put swimming pool water in the Lifestraw Go, nor should you drink from sources contaminated with heavy metals. This also means that tap water likely won’t be any different than drinking straight from the tap. This is because most tap water in the United States don’t already filter out fluoride and because the Lifestraw Go doesn’t filter fluoride, you would still be drinking it. It does remove harmful bacteria and germs, though, so I guess it is better than drinking straight from the public tap. Still, fluoride is harmful to our systems in large amounts, so avoid drinking tap water regardless.
The main thing to understand here is that as long as you are cautious with which sources you scoop water from, your Lifestraw Go should remain effective. Mountain streams, rivers, ponds, and fresh water lakes are all excellent sources of water to put in your bottle. Ocean water, swimming pools, and in most cases tap water, are not good sources to drink out of. The Lifestraw Go is a great filter bottle, but it is still a sub-$50 product. For that price, it does amazing things to natural sources of water, but only good sources. It cannot do the job that a reverse-osmosis/distiller machine costing several thousands of dollars can do.
Lifestraw Go Review: Verdict
In total, the Lifestraw Go is an amazing product that costs significantly less than its value. As a huge hiking fan, it goes without saying that a water filter this useful and easy to bring around is an invaluable tool. It filters out disgusting living organisms, sediment, and bacteria from water, while also delivering an impressively fresh taste. I purchased three of them, one each for myself, my wife, and my brother. Along with them, I know a few people who have purchased the Go for themselves. Not one of us has ever gotten sick from drinking out of this, and we’ve hiked along trails where there were questionable sources of water.
For the asking price, you get awesome value. This is a product you could take with you for several years (replacing the filter often is necessary, of course) and continue getting your money’s worth. Camping and hiking becomes that much easier and fun due to the peace of mind you get from never really running out of water. It makes for an interesting talking point as well, as people often ask what it does, how it works, etc.
Overall, I am a proud owner of the Lifestraw Go. I’ve owned mine for almost one year, yet I still believe I’m only scratching the surface in terms of product longevity. Do yourself a favor. Read some real customer Lifestraw Go reviews, consider how frequently you will be hiking/camping (even one or two camping trips is enough to see its value), and buy the Lifestraw Go.