Rudolf Abraham Travel Hiking Outdoor Writer Photographer Gear Reviews

LifeStraw Go Filter Review by Rudolf Abraham

The LifeStraw Go is an effective, convenient and reliable water filter which I’ve now been using for around two years. It’s easy to use, and little different from carrying a flask – except that it will provide you with safe drinking water, whether collecting from a stream, a lake or a tap in a city with questionable water quality.

The Go uses a two-part filter system: a membrane microfilter with a pore size of 0.2 microns, which removes 99.999999% of bacteria (including E. coli), 99.999% of parasites (including Giardia and Cryptosporidium), and 99.999% of microplastics; and an activated carbon filter which reduces chlorine, organic chemical matter, pesticides, silt, sand and cloudiness, removing odours which then translates into an improved taste. The membrane microfilter lasts up to 4,000l (this equates to around 5 years of daily use – or looked at from another perspective, that’s 8,000 fewer 0.5l single use plastic water bottles to pollute the environment with), the activated carbon filter lasts up to 100l. After that, simply replace the carbon filter or membrane microfilter as and when required.

There’s no ‘waiting time’ as with some other water purifying methods – simply remove the lid, fill the bottle from a water source, screw the lid back on and drink through the silicon mouthpiece, which folds down into a notch when not in use. It’s a bit like drinking through a straw – you don’t need to tip the bottle as you usually would, which might feel a little strange at first. The large mouth of the flask makes it very quick and easy to collect water from a stream, waterfall or pool.

water filter lifestraw reviewPhoto: At a spring after heavy rain on the Juliana Trail, Julian Alps, Slovenia

I’ve had the Go for over a year, during which time I’ve carried and used it on extended treks in the Julian Alps, as well as hiking trips to the Vercors, and hikes in Taiwan and South Korea among other places. To be honest in the Julian Alps, which has plenty of good springs, I wouldn’t usually think about filtering water – however, after successive days of heavy rain when runoff from surrounding slopes and hillsides was washing into the wooden spouts from which you usually collect water at a spring, I was very happy to have a the LifeStraw filter with me.

The Go is available in 650ml and 1l sizes. I have the 650ml version, which weighs 221g and is 23.5cm in height – so not the most lightweight or compact choice, but no less so than a drinking flask of the same size (if minimal weight/size are priorities, LifeStraw also have filters with collapsible ‘squeeze’ pouches in their Peak Series – which brings the weight for the 650ml size down to just 110g – as well as the very nifty, bare minimalist Straw, a mere 65g).

As well as plastic, the Go bottles are also available in stainless steel, with a double vacuum wall to keep your water nice and cool. The stainless steel version is again available in two sizes, 710ml (as opposed to 650ml) and 1l, and is obviously somewhat heavier.

There’s now a new version of the Go. While this maintains the same essential characteristics and specs as the earlier model – the efficiency and lifespan of the filter system remains identical, and they’re still BPA-free – but the weight and height are slightly different (the 650ml size now weighs just a smidgen under 250g, with a height of 28cm). Moreover, the newer version offers a couple of improvements.

The first of these is that it has a new leak-proof top – effectively a large, removable ‘cap’ which completely covers and protects the silicon mouthpiece beneath it, and which doubles as a convenient handle. If I had one very slight niggle with the original version, it was the fact that the mouthpiece – despite having always remained securely in its closed position when required to and never having leaked – is still susceptible, potentially, to getting dirt and dust on when the bottle is carried in a pocket on the exterior of a pack, as it most likely will be. With the introduction of the cap/handle of the newer model, this niggle just went away. The second improvement is the use of 50% recycled plastic in the bottle and filter.

The Go comes in several choices of colour including (in the new version) a wicked Kyoto Orange and Laguna Teal).

As is probably already obvious, I really like the LifeStraw Go – and expect to be using mine for a long time to come. In fact I like it enough that I now have two, the original version reviewed and pictured here as well as the new version.

LifeStraw filters began their journey in 2005, having been developed from a filter system introduced in 1999 to eradicate Guinea worm disease, by LifeStraw’s parent company Vestergaard. Their Give Back program means that for every LifeStraw filter purchased, a school child in need receives safe water for an entire school year, through the distribution of community purifiers – and the company always commits to work with a school for a minimum period of five years, providing training and employing local staff.

For more information on the LifeStraw Go water filter click here.

Given that there are several choices within the LifeStraw range, which one should you get? For overall convenience, the Go, either in BPA-free plastic or stainless steel, depending on whether you value a lighter weight bottle vs a heavier one which will also keep your water cool. Either way they’re great for day and even multi-day hikes, as they are for using as everyday refillable water bottles (just remove the filter so you’re not using it unnecessarily). For longer multi-day treks where weight is more crucial, the Peak Series collapsible squeeze pouch is the way to go.

Review date: May 2023 | Updated: October 2023 | Back to reviews

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