It’s important to have clean and drinkable water in any outdoor excursion, survival situation or emergency such as a natural disaster. As an outdoor enthusiast, you are likely to come across some water streams that are dirty to even draw water from. It is also a mammoth task to travel long distances with bottles of water that is purified from home. The best solution is to consider the water filtration system that helps you purify water and drink it instantly.
Having a water filtration system will allow you to remove harmful bacteria, protozoans and/or viruses from water sources such as lakes, rivers, ponds, creeks, and even questionable tap water. On the market, you’ll find many types of water filtration systems such as pump-style filters, gravity/squeeze bag filters, ultraviolet lights, or filter straws.
When shopping around for a water filter, it’s important to evaluate your intended uses, quantity of water you will need to filter, and the maximum weight and size of filter you’re willing to haul around. If you’re looking for a lightweight, portable and compact filtration option, then consider investing in a filter straw. You’ll be able to drink directly from any water source, and depending on the model you may have the versatility of attaching a water pouch for larger quantities of water.
This article will outline the important features to consider when investing in a filter straw and also give product reviews to help you decide which will be the best survival straw filter on the market for you and your outdoor needs. Before we delve into the important aspects to consider before buying these filters, let’s give you a glimpse of the products’ differences in the table below. We have chosen the micron size, longevity and the weight of the filter as some of the important features to consider.
|Product Name||Microns Pore Size||Longevity in Liters||Weight||Price|
|Lifestraw 40161502||0.2||1000||2 oz||Check price on Amazon|
|Survival Hax Micron||0.01||1500||3 oz||Check price on Amazon|
|H2O Survival B00GUR||0.1||1500||2 oz||Check price on Amazon|
|Sawyer Mini||0.1||378541||2 oz||Check price on Amazon|
|Etekcity 1500L||0.01||1500||2.1 oz||Check price on Amazon|
|Life Defender B014AXR||0.01||1500||2.4 oz||Check price on Amazon|
|EC Technology T-N10WS001||0.2||1000||2.6 oz||Check price on Amazon|
|Acquapura Premium||0.01||1500||2.12 oz||Check price on Amazon|
|Survivor Filter B06XGQ||0.05||100 000||3.05 oz||Check price on Amazon|
Things to consider before buying
It’s important that you know the specific features of a survival straw filter before making any purchase. Because there is a wide range of these products on the market, the choice of one can be overwhelming for novice buyers/users. We have discussed important aspects below to help narrow your search.
Level of Filtration
The ultimate purpose of water filtration systems is to remove pathogens that are harmful to the human body if ingested. The level of filtration refers to what is removed from the water via filtration. Some of these harmful pathogens include:
Protozoa which are a group of parasitic organisms feared most out of all the waterborne illnesses. They’re single celled organisms that are able to survive in cold water for weeks or even months at a time. If ingested, protozoa can cause intestinal problems and illnesses such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium.
Bacteria are the easiest to treat and filter out since they are larger than viruses and protozoa. Some examples of harmful bacteria that can be found in the water include: E.Coli, Dysentary and Campylobacteriosis.
Viruses are very small and in order to remove them a filter needs a pore size of at least 0.02 microns. They can also be eliminated by using iodine, chlorine dioxide or a UV purifier. Some examples of harmful viruses include Hepatitis A and Rotovirus. Overall, viruses are a larger threat in less developed countries than they are in North America.
Heavy metals, pesticides and fertilizers are also harmful to ingest, but in order to be strained out, a filter needs a charcoal component to trap these chemicals.
There are a few filter materials that are used for Straw Filters and you need to know which one is the most effective one and suits you best:
Ceramic is an earthen material that makes for a long lasting filter medium. They can get clogged easily, but can be cleaned just as easily. To help eliminate chemicals, you can find ceramic filters which have a carbon core.
Fiberglass filters are more fragile than ceramic ones, but they’re very effective at eliminating particles.
Hollow fiber filters consist of many hollow u-shaped micro-tubes. Water flows through the tiny pores and into the core, which is where pathogens are strained out.
Silica depth is made up of multiple levels of different sized silica sand. In order to catch different sized particles and organisms, the water flows through the different density levels, from the largest to the finest.
The micron size of a water filter refers to the pore size of the filter medium. The pore size determines what pathogens will be strained out of the water. The smallest virus is 0.02 microns, while the smallest bacterium is 0.2 microns. Make sure to find a water filter with a micron size of at least 0.2 microns or smaller to ensure effectiveness.
Longevity of Filter
Prior to use, it’s important to know how many uses, or how many gallons of water a filter can handle before maintenance or replacement. Each filter has a different capacity so be sure to keep track.
Also make sure that your water filter is cleaned and maintained regularly to ensure its effectiveness and longevity. Straw filters typically last between 1000-1500 liters (264-396 gallons), but some go above and beyond to filter up to 100,000 liters (26,417 gallons) of water.
Each water filter takes a different amount of time to complete filtration. In general, a filter medium with a larger surface area will have a faster flow rate. Filter straws are some of the smallest and most compact filtration systems on the market, so they’ll typically have a slower flow rate than gravity or pump filters. For water filters, a flow rate that’s greater than 1 liter per minute is considered to be very quick. Typically, filter straws will not reach this fast level of filtration.
Weight and Size
For any outdoor excursion, it’s important to consider the weight and size of your gear. When looking to invest in a water filtration system, it’s important to assess where you’re going and how long/how far you’ll be traveling without a clean and reliable drinking source.
Straw filters are typically 6-9” in length, but some have additional features such as water pouches, extra filter pads, or a back-flush syringe which you will also need to take into account when packing. Now that you’re familiar with the important features of a water filtration system, it’s time to take a look at some of the most popular survival straw filters on the market.
Best Product On Today’s Market
Price: Approx. $16
Size: 8.86 x 0.98 inches
Specific features: removes waterborne bacteria (LOG 6), removes waterborne protozoan parasites (LOG 3), filter medium is a hollow fiber membrane, longevity of the filter is 1000 liters, filters up to micron size of 0.2 microns.
Best use: For hiking, camping, mountaineering, alpine climbing
Description: The LifeStraw 40161502 is an award winning survival straw that has been used worldwide since 2005. It’s made of BPA free plastic and a hollow fiber membrane that traps pathogens inside, allowing only clean water to escape.
It does not, however, filter chemicals, salt, viruses, heavy metals, nor does it improve the taste. Although its pore size is not small enough to remove viruses, the LifeStraw does an exceptional job at filtering bacteria and protozoan such as Salmonella, E-coli, Giardia and Cryptosporidium.
It has no moving parts, requires no batteries, and can effectively filter water without the use of iodine, chlorine or other chemicals. It’s ideal for any light packing backpacker, camper, hiker, traveler, boy scout, hunter, or for emergencies.
The LifeStraw has also been distributed for humanitarian aid; for example, the Haiti earthquake, Pakistan floods and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. It takes only about 3-5 seconds of sucking to start the flow of water through the straw. With the LifeStraw you can drink straight from a bottle or straight from a stream, puddle, creek or pond.
You can easily backflush the straw by blowing air into the mouthpiece to purge remaining water trapped in the filter. If you’re looking to invest in a filter straw for a survival/emergency preparedness kit, the LifeStraw comes in a sealed bag for easy emergency storage.
- 3 to 5 seconds to suck water
- Removes the harmful bacteria and protozoan
- Does not use chemicals to purify water
- No moving parts that can wear prematurely
- Affordable straw filter
- Doesn’t filter the chemicals
- Doesn’t filter salt
- Its micron size is large to filter the viruses because of their tiny size
- Doesn’t improve taste
Related: To purify water in large quantities, we recommend the Potable Aqua B01MG1 Water Tablets. The iodine will penetrate the cell walls of the water-contaminating microorganisms to destroy them. However, you will have to wait for 30 minutes before drinking water after treating it with these tablets.
H2O Survival B00GUR
Price: $20 – $30
Weight: 2 oz
Size: 6.25 x 1.25 inches
Specific features: Removes bacteria, protozoa, algae, sediments, heavy metals and cysts, has a filter medium of hollow fiber membrane, pre-filter and the anti-bacterial carbon with silver. Filters up to 0.01 microns, so it filters even the viruses, and has a longevity of 1514 liters.
Best use: Camping, hiking, backpacking
Description: The H2O Survival B00GUR Survival Straw not only removes bacteria, protozoa, cysts, algae, spores, sediments, and heavy metals, but it also avoids damage of carcinogens (such as trihalomethanes) and eliminates the growth and reproduction of micro-organisms. It’s a multi-layer hierarchical filter that consists of a pre-filter, an anti-bacterial layer and a hollow fiber ultra-filtration membrane.
The pre-filter attaches to the bottom nipple for turbid water. The bottom nipple can also accommodate a 3/8″ OD x 1/4″ ID silicone hose to get hard to reach water. The second stage of filtration is made up of safe antibacterial activated carbon with silver, so there’s no need to use iodine, chlorine or other chemicals.
The last stage is a dampening system with an ultra-filtration membrane for maximum filtration effectiveness that also improves taste and odor. It comes with a resealable storage bag, back-flush plunger, extra filter pads, and a water filter bag that can be used to collect, store or filter water.
The water filter bottom has a screw-on, designed for standard 64oz plastic pop bottles or 28oz seltzer style bottles. It’s easy to use and maintain, and is easy to spot in your pack with its blue body and bright orange end caps. The H2O Survival Straw is best used for backpackers, hikers, preppers, campers and anyone who wants to be prepared for emergency disaster situations.
- Second stage of filtration using the activated carbon with silver, so it negates the need for chemicals in treating the microorganisms
- The last stage of filtration improves taste and the efficacy of the straw in optimizing filtration
- A water filter bag to store more water
- Re-sealable storage bag for the filter to ensure safety and portability
- Micron size of 0.01 microns to even remove the tiniest viruses that other filters are not capable of removing
- Relatively expensive, but quite reasonable considering its multi-layer filtration
Related: For maximum performance, you may also consider combining this filter with the H2O Survival LYSB01 Water Filter from the same company. It comes with the adaptor that can easily be screwed onto other bottles, such as coke or the hydration bag. It also comes with the neoprene sleeve on the hydration to carry it along with sunglasses, keys or knives.
Survival Hax Micron
Price: Approx. $16
Weight: 3 oz
Size: 7.5 x 1 inches
Specific features: Removes waterborne bacteria and protozoan parasites, filter medium of coconut activated carbon, filters up to 0.1 microns, and has a longevity of up to 1500 liters.
Best use: Backpacking and camping while drinking water in lakes or rivers
Description: The Survival Hax Micron Water Filter Straw has been redesigned to be smaller, lighter and more durable than before, making it versatile for any survival or emergency preparedness kit. Not only does it remove 99.9% of waterborne bacteria and protozoan parasites, but it can also filter out mud.
It features a bottom attachment that allows you to screw on the filter straw to any standard plastic bottle. This feature helps you collect more water for later use when you head into the wilderness with water streams far away. It means that you can squeeze water through the filter with ease.
It comes with an extension tube that allows you to drink more comfortably from any water source. The tube can also be used as a first aid tourniquet. This survival straw features a signaling mirror inside the top of the straw, a removable whistle on the cap for emergencies, and a compass for emergency navigation. Another new addition is its durable carabiner for easy backpack attachment.
- Filter mud whenever drinking in dirty water streams
- Filters 99.9% of bacteria and protozoan
- Bottom attachment can be screwed to any external plastic bottle or bag to collect and store more water
- Relatively cheaper
- Has an extension tube to drink directly from streams
- Comes with the detachable whistle on the cap for emergencies as well as the compass to navigate the road
- Its durability of 1500 liters isn’t sufficient
- Filtration incapable of filtering the viruses because of the micron size of 0.1 microns
Related: For an efficient removal of viruses of 0.05 microns, you may consider the Survivor Filter B06XGQ6X Reusable Water Filter in addition to this filter straw. It lasts up to 100 000 liters. The internal filter stages can be replaced to increase its longevity than its competitors. That’s why it’s a reusable filter.
Price: Approx. $20
Weight: 2 oz
Size: 5 x 1 inches
Specific features: Removes all bacteria (LOG 7), protozoa (LOG 6), filter medium of hollow fiber membrane, filters up to 0.1 microns, has a life cycle of 100 000 gallons of water
Best use: Filtering dirty water from rivers, lakes
Description: The Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System is a more compact version of the award winning Sawyer PointOne water filter. It removes 99.99999% of all bacteria such as salmonella, cholera, and E.coli, and also removes 99.9999% of all protozoa such as giardia and cryptosporidium.
The Mini is Sawyer’s lightest and most versatile personal water filtration system. It’s a high performance filter that can filter up to 100,000 gallons of water, which is 30 times more than other comparable filters. It features a hollow membrane inline filter that goes above EPA standards for water filtration.
Also included are the cleaning and maintenance instructions, a cleaning plunger, 7” drinking straw and a 16oz reusable squeeze pouch. The Sawyer Mini also offers versatility because it can be attached to any standard disposable water bottle or hydration pack.
This allows you to filter larger quantities of water compared to other filter straws. The Sawyer Mini is best used for outdoor recreation, hiking, camping, scouting, domestic and international travel and emergency preparedness.
- Removes 99.999% of bacteria and protozoa to provide you with clean water
- It can be attached to a standard disposable bottle for water storage
- Filters up to 100 000 gallons of water, which is an advantage compared to majority of filters
- Compact and lightweight
- Its hollow membrane is incapable of filtering tiny microorganisms such viruses with sizes 0.02 microns
Related: To attach the filter to hydration packs, you may get the Sawyer Products SP115 Adapters for hydration packs for ease of attachment. The Sawyer Squeezable B01AOBJ for sawyer point one and mini squeeze water filters may also be a great add-on to this filter.
Price: Approx. $19
Weight: 2.1 oz
Size: 6.25 x 1.9 inches
Specific features: Filters organic and insect contaminants, bacteria, protozoa, legionella, heavy metal ions, volatile organic compounds and chlorine, has a filter medium of a pre-filter, antibacterial carbon filter and a hollow fiber membrane and filters up to 0.01 microns
Best use: Filter dirty water while camping, hiking or backpacking
Description: The Etekcity 1500L Water Filter has a high level of filtration due to its multi-layer filtration system. It comes with a pre-filter that helps clean, extremely turbid water with any organic or insect contaminants.
After that it goes through the hollow fiber ultra-filtration membrane, then an antibacterial carbon filter for double the safety. The filter body is made with ABS plastic, durable enough to withstand the outdoor elements.
The Eteckcity Portable Water Filter also comes with a foldable, FDA approved, 16oz water pouch, a longer straw attachment and a syringe to back-flush the filter for easy cleaning. It can easily be clipped onto gear for quick and easy access.
The straw is also compatible with standard threaded bottles and hydration reservoirs for extended water storage. You can simply fill a water pouch or hydration pack with dirty water and attach to the straw to ensure the water gets filtered. It’s best used for backpacking, camping, hiking, scouting, survivalists, emergency preparedness kit, and survival bags to keep in a car.
- Has a multilayer filtration system with the filter for turbid water
- Second ultra-filtration layer for maximum safety
- Antibacterial carbon filter as the last stage of filtration
- Comes with the water pouch for water collection and storage
- Removes the tiniest waterborne contaminants with its size of 0.01 microns
- Can be attached to external bottles for extra storage of water
- Time consuming to clean it
- It doesn’t come with adapters to attach to external bottles for extra storage
- Durability of 1500 liters is too little
Related: To treat more water to cook in the wilderness, we also recommend the Potable Aqua B01MG10 Water Tablets, although you have to wait about 30 minutes you can use the water. It is nonetheless an effective treatment in large quantities of water.
Life Defender B014AXR
Price: Approx. $23
Weight: 2.4 oz
Size: 1 x 1.6 x 12 inches (package)
Specific features: Removes waterborne bacteria, protozoa parasites, filters up to 0.01 microns, longevity of 1500 liters, filter medium is a coconut shell activated carbon and a hollow fiber membrane
Best use: Mountaineering, backpacking, camping, hiking while filtering contaminated water
Description: The Life Defender Water Filter uses no chemicals during filtration, and also doesn’t negatively affect the taste of filtered water. It can remove 99.9% of waterborne bacteria and protozoan parasites, but it cannot remove chemicals from the water.
Along with its hollow fiber ultra-filtration membrane, this Life Defender straw also features a coconut shell activated carbon component for superior filtration. It’s made of BPA-free plastic that comes in blue or in a camouflage design. It requires no batteries and has no moving parts, making it an easy to use water filter. It also includes a carrying strap which allows you to easily attach to water filter to your gear.
Having the strap also allows you to put it around your neck when bending down to drink. This way you reduce the likelihood of dropping the filter in dirty water or losing it down stream. The Life Defender Water Filter Straw is ideal for emergency preparedness and for any outdoor activity where you might need to filter water.
- Activate carbon filter for optimal filtration of waterborne protozoan and bacteria
- Capable of removing even the viruses with its micron size of 0.01
- Requires no chemicals to purify water
- Comes with straps to attach to your camping gear or to your neck
- It is lightweight
- Relatively expensive
- Does not remove the chemicals if spilled into the water
- Doesn’t filter salt
Related: As an extra storage, we recommend buying the Survivor Filter B010OLZ Collapsible Canteens. They screw properly in your survivor filter to store more water for later use. You can squeeze clean water easily.
EC Technology T-N10WS001
Weight: 2.6 oz
Size: 10.2 x 2.4 x 5.1 inches (package)
Specific features: Has a life cycle of up to 1000 liters before you can replace it, filters up to 0.2 microns of microorganisms, filter medium of a hollow fiber membrane, removes protozoan parasites and waterborne bacteria
Best use: Filter contaminated water in the wilderness or at home
Description: The EC Technology T-N10WS001 Water Filter Straw Can filter 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria and 99.9% of protozoan without the use of iodine, chlorine or other chemicals. Not only that, but it has met the EPA standards for water filtration, reduces turbidity of the water, and leaves no aftertaste.
It filters without the use of batteries or moving parts that will wear out and reduce the longevity of the product. It’s made up of a hollow fiber membrane filter and a BPA-free Tritan body.
This water filter straw can be easily stored with the caps, to cover the mouthpiece and the end piece. It also comes with a user manual with instructions that are easy to follow for the care and maintenance of the straw filter.
It’s ideal for outdoor recreation, hiking, camping, scouting, domestic and international travel and emergency preparedness. It’s perfect for emergency preparedness kits because it comes in a sealed bag and has no shelf life. However, one of its downsides to consider is that the filtration membrane cartridge can be easily blocked when filtering cloudy water.
- Filters bacteria and protozoan to provide you quality water
- No use of chemicals to purify water
- Hollow fiber membrane filter and BPA free
- No batteries or any other moving part that jeopardizes its longevity
- Lightweight for the convenience of domestic or international travel
- The 0.2 microns size is insufficient to filter the viruses because you need at least 0.02 microns for virus filtration
- The filtration membrane cartridge is prone to block if filtering cloudy water
- Does not filter chemicals
- Does not filter salt
Related: Because this product is currently unavailable on Amazon, you may have the RISEPRO Portable Aqua Personal Filter. It is also a great filter with micron size of 0.01. It provides up to 422 gallons of clean water before you can replace it.
Price: Approx. $18
Weight: 2.12 oz
Size: 6 x 1.2 inches
Specific features: Removes heavy metal ions, chlorine, bacteria, filters up to 0.01 microns to remove even viruses, has a longevity of up to 1500 liters, filter medium of the antibacterial dampening system and the carbon filter with silver ions
Best use: Filter dirty water from the water streams such as lakes and rivers in the wilderness
Description: With the Acquapura Premium Water Filter, no purification tablets are needed to convert non-saline water from lakes, rivers, stream and springs into safe, drinkable water. With its antibacterial dampening system and additional carbon filter with ionic silver, bacteria, heavy metals and chlorine can be filtered out of the water.
Not only that, but its 0.01 micron pore size, out wins many of the other water filters on the market. The Acquapura Portable Water Filter has a flow rate of 400ml / 14oz per minute. Its special mouthpiece and integrated cap have a dust-free design to protect the outer mouthpiece from secondary pollution.
It requires no chemicals or batteries to effectively filter water. It’s lightweight, reusable and easy to use. The Acquapura Portable Water Filter is ideal for camping, hiking, fishing, backpacking, emergency kits and other outdoor activities.
- Filter heavy metals, chlorine and bacteria
- Have microns pore size of 0.01 to effectively remove even the viruses
- Has a flow rate of 400ml per minute
- Dust-free designed to protect you against pollution
- No chemicals required to filter water
- Doesn’t remove chemicals
- It filters up to 1500 liters
Related: To store enough water, you need hydration packs. We therefore reckon getting the Sawyer Products SP115 Adapters for hydration packs to screw the filter to the hydration packs or other bottles for additional storage.
Survivor Filter B06XGQ
Price: $30 – $40
Weight: 3.5 oz
Size: 7.1 x 1.4 inches
Specific features: Removes bacteria, heavy metals and viruses, filters up to 0.05 microns, has a longevity of 100000 liters for the internal filter and 1000 liters for the pre- and carbon filter, filter medium is cotton pre-filter, carbon filter and internal ultra-filter
Best use: Filter water from the lakes to drink clean water free of microorganisms
Description: Survivor Filter B06XGQ Portable Water Filter goes above and beyond most of its competitors because it can remove 99.9% of viruses, staph and bacteria, and also heavy metals. Not only that, but it can improve the taste of the water that’s filtered.
It consists of a 3-stage filtration system: a cotton, pre-filter, replaceable carbon filter, and an internal ultra-filter. The ultra-filter has an exceptional filtering capacity of 100,000 liters / 26,417 Gallons and a flow rate of 200ml / 7oz per minute.
And if used with Survivor Filter’s collapsible canteens the flow rate is doubled. It’s made with military grade BPA free ABS material and has a special easy-to-flip-on and off top and mouthpiece. The filter can be used with any water source like a straw or screwed onto most standard water bottles for larger water storage capacity.
It also comes with 5 extra cotton, pre-filters and a detailed instruction manual. This portable water filter is ideal for camping, hiking, trekking, fishing, travel, backpacking, emergency preparedness, survivalists and preppers.
- Removes 99.9% of viruses because of its micron pore size and the 3 layers of filtration
- Improves the taste of water
- Can be screwed on an external bottle for an additional storage
- Replaceable carbon filter if it gets damaged or worn out in quality
- Comes with 5 extra cotton pre-filters
- Doesn’t remove chemicals
- Relatively expensive
Related: To increase the flow rate and for an additional water storage, we reckon getting the Survivor Filter B010OLZ Collapsible Canteens. It screws into the filter to collect water and stands like a bottle when filled with water.
Survival straw filters are a great choice for survival situations, emergency preparedness, or for outdoor excursions that require lightweight gear. Before investing in a straw water filter be sure to evaluate your intended purpose(s) and research various models in order to find the water filter you feel the most comfortable using.
During any outdoor activity or emergency situation, it’s important to have safe, drinkable water, so be sure you make a worthwhile investment in a water filtration system that can ultimately save your life.
With the water filters reviewed in this article, we are confident that you will have a better and informed decision in picking the best product. The important aspects have been highlighted and the related products have been introduced as well. The table given at the beginning has also given you a glimpse about the difference between these water filters.
Liked all our reviewed survival straw filters? Why not consider sharing the information on social media platforms to help others with the information? Many people travel to many places without access to clean water. With these straw filters such occurrences can be ended. If you have any question or suggestion, please leave your comment below.
If you are a frequent camper and hiker, and generally a lover of life in the wildness like me, you will want to make the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter your best companion. Since I can’t always carry enough water to last me my time in the wildness, I make sure my LifeStraw Personal Water Filter is with me at all times. It allows me to drink straight from a lake or stream or wherever I find any water. And its small and light so it’s no trouble at all.
Thanks for sharing your experience Joyce! The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter has been my trusted companion for years. It’s compact and offers superior protection so we get clean, fresh and potable water each time. It’s inexpensive, too.
I have been backpacking for a really long time and I remember a time we did not have straw filters. Access to clean water on the trail was not as easy as it is now. Now I never leave my Mini Water Filtration System by Sawyer Products behind. I can even drink direct from the water body with minimal suction.
Hi and thanks for sharing with us your experience with your water filtration system. I think you should take extra care so you won’t leave it at home, since there are a lot of bacteria, viruses and all kinds of dirt in the water.