how to get fresh water from life straw


When you prepare for a natural disaster or the end of the word one very important Item for our survival is the ability to obtain fresh natural water. As our body is made up of over 60% water we need a constant supply of H2O to replenish and clean our internal body system.

Often when my family goes camping we usually have to bring our own fresh water, usually in the form of 20L containers or we rely on a freshwater stream. The problem with relying on a river or stream for our water, is we don’t know the quality of the water.

There could be a dead animal upstream which is contaminating the water or a farmer has released some chemicals into the river. This is why I needed an outdoor water filtration system. So I started to look into a product from a company called LifeStraw.

Best camping water filter

Portable water filtration system  LifeStraw Mission 5 & 12  LifeStraw Family 1.0
Filters out  Bacteria and Protozoa  Bacteria and Protozoa
Filter Micron  Size / Type  0.2 Micron, Hollow Fiber Membrane  0.2 Micron, Hollow Fiber Membrane
 Weight  5 Liter: 13 oz (368 grams) 12 Liter:15 oz (425 grams)  1.6 lbs (725 grams)
 Flow Rate 5 Liters / minute and 12 Liters / minute  12L (3.2 gallons) / minute
 Colapsable Yes No
 Uses Backpacking, internation travel, overnight camps, hiking. Backpacking, internation travel, camping
Where to buy

How can we purify water while camping?

The old method of boiling water or using iodine tablets are effective but some of us don’t want to be adding chemicals to our drinking water to kill off the bugs.

Whats more is the above methods don’t filter out the impurities in the water.

This is where Life straw comes in. They started off by developing a single person purification device called the Life Straw personal filtration device. This tiny low-cost water purification device is currently being used by millions of people in 3rd world countries as well as people like me looking for a cheap portable water purifier for hiking and camping.


Water purification systems for camping

Water Purification Systems for Camping life-straw bag

I have been looking for a high flow portable water purifier for my outdoor expeditions with my family. I was very excited to learn that Life Straw has developed 2 products that can filter up to 12 liters an hour of dirty water using nothing but gravity to do the work. These filters have a lifespan of 18,000 L so even if you use it every day to drink 5l of clean water it will last for around 10 years.

Whats great is all you have to do is fill the 12L or 5L storage bag and let gravity do all the hard work. Filling your thermos or hydro flask is now an easy task as you can walk away and do something else.

I do prefer the collapsible bag type of water storage purification system. It’s easy to transport and doesn’t take up much room.

lifestraw filter cleaning procedure

I have a few of these personal life straws in my preppers bug out bag. Light and small perfect. But I was now after a larger model for my whole family. These new Mission water purifiers have ticked all the boxes.

I like that it’s compact and portable. Perfect to fit into a backpack or overnight bag. All that’s required is to hang it up in a tree and let gravity pull the water through the 0.02-micron filter. There are 2 different size models available. 5l and the bigger 12L both do the same job just with different water storage bag sizes.

This special filter removes virtually all bacteria (99.9999%), protozoa (99.99%), and viruses (99.999%) that can contaminate your water. Once I filter out the river water I store it in a big 20L jerry can.

This clean water is perfect to drink, wash and use as liquid for our MRE camping packs when we need a fast food snack.

How to use the Life Straw Mission 5L and 12L models

  1. Fill the Lifestraw blue storage bag to the white line. Don’t fill any higher as you need room to fold over the top of the canvas bag.
  2. Hang the Life Straw dirty water bag over a strong tree branch or another elevated object. We will use gravity to do our water purification.
  3. Open the dirty water red back flush tap for 10 seconds to remove any trapped air bubbles in the microfilter.
  4. Close the red tap and open the clean water blue tap. The flow rate will slowly improve. It will take around 5 minutes to fill 1 L

How to flush out your LifeStraw Mission water filter

 It’s a good idea to backflush your High volume life straw every day. This will improve the flow rates and keep the microfilter in top working condition. Failure to do a backflush will cause a slower filtration time. It can also cause the microfilter to fail over time.

This microfilter is the most important piece of the portable water filtration system. It acts just like a sponge that traps all the microscopic particles in the tiny holes. This is why it requires a backflush every now and then to blow out the pores and open them up again.

Recommended Life Straw flush procedure

  1. Close both the clean and dirty water taps
  2. Fully squeeze the red bulb 3 times making sure to wait for the bulb to re-inflate each time. This will back flush the micro filter
  3. Open the dirty water red valve to flush out the system. Make sure to have some water in the canvas bag to do the flush out procedure.
  4. Do these steps from 1-3 a few times until the backflush water runs out clear. Your LifeStraw water purification system is now ready for your next camping trip.

Life Straw Specs.

  • Gravity-fed, high-capacity, hollow membrane water purifier; ideal for group and family camping, outdoor activities, and emergency preparedness
  • Removes virtually all bacteria (99.9999%), protozoa (99.99%), and viruses (99.999%) that can contaminate water; easily fillable in lakes and streams
  • Compact roll-bag reservoir available in 5-liter (1.3 gallons) or 12-liter (3.1 gallons)
  • Easy to use and clean as it has no chemicals, batteries, or moving parts.
  • Ingenious carry strap and is foldable for storage and portability.
  • Lifetime filtration capacity of 18,000 liters (4,755 gallons); produces flow-rate of 9-12 liters (2.4-3.4 gallons) of purified water per hour provided you do regular backflushes.


My families health is very important to me. I love that we can now go out camping and just pack the Lifestraw water purification system. The kids will take turns, to refill the water storage bag every few hours.

We just let it filter into a 20L water jerry can. This way we never run out of fresh water.

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