I really like the LifeStraw so when I was asked to review the LifeStraw Family I jumped at the chance. (Click to read my in depth post about the bacteria filtering abilities of this filter)
Like the LifeStraw, the LifeStraw Family was designed to help in third world countries where clean water is not available. In order for it to work in those areas it needs to be light, portable, easy to use, durable, and run without electricity. The LifeStraw family lives up to all of those requirements and makes a nice addition to your preps, especially if you have kids.
We live in the suburbs and although we have water storage, it is limited; if we had an emergency situation where we needed to go in search of water, the problem is not finding water. You can see I took a few pictures of local ponds and fishing holes all within walking distance of my house. The problem is that the water is not drinkable.
Here you can see algae and murky water.
Another shot of the yucky water.
The water does support fish so there is an eco-system present. If you look really close in this shot you can see them.
But there is some trash and chances are we would not be the only ones trying to use this water. So if and when we ever needed to use this resource we would need a good practical filter.
A shot of the LifeStraw Family right out of the box.
There is a direction booklet inside the bag but there are also full instructions on the back of the bag.
Here's what comes in the package. The filter and directions.
I had to find a place to hang the LifeStraw Family. Since it is not a filter I will use continuously I just used an existing hook I had on my patio. I placed a bucket under my water jug to make it the correct height. The plastic hose has to be completely straight and without kinks in order for the water to have a good flow. If I was going to use this filter for any length of time I would hang it at a more appropriate level, because you can see here the hose is not completely straight.
The filter has to be primed before use. You simply fill the pre-filter bucket up and let water out of the bottom valve (the red tap) for a few seconds, then close it back up and open the purified water tap (the blue tap).
Here we are turning on the purified water tap.
A closer look at the set-up. The red bulb is to clean the filter which should be done daily if you are using the filter daily.
Here you can see the water starting to flow.
Here is the water flow. It's not super fast but it's about average for a gravity fed system and we had it on our makeshift bucket set-up. We did try and straighten the hose as best we could. The manufacturer claims the flow rate is 9-12 liters an hour. I would say it is probably a little less than that but that is fine because of all the other benefits this filter offers. As you use the filter the flow rate might improve.
- Gravity fed: No electricity needed.
- Filters 4750 gallons of water: That's enough for a family of 5 for about three years.
- Light weight and portable: It's a little bulky but it only weighs about a pound and a half.
- Ideal for families with small children: If you have children who need clean water at home or are traveling with you this filter allows you (the adult) to filter the water. Other portable bottles and even the LifeStraw require sucking the water through the filter which can be difficult for children and even some adults.
- Removes bacteria, parasites and turbidity from the water: Although this is not the best filter for removing nasty stuff, it is sufficient. There are numerous videos you can view where people put animal feces in the pre-filter bucket and then drank the filtered water.
- Easy to Clean: The LifeStraw family is easy to clean. It just takes a minute to rinse out the pre-filter bucket and flush out the filter.
- Flow-rate: The flow rate is a bit slow.
- Made of plastic: Although necessary for it to be so light weight, it might not hold up to abuse. Few things do! The taps are plastic and the seem to be pretty durable but I probably would not have my boys turning them. Also, the hose probably would not hold up if one of your kids decided to play Tarzan and swing from it.
I would recommend you add this to your preps if you have natural water near you, if you are a camper with children, or you live in an area where your water supply could easily become compromised (some rural areas or maybe an area prone to violent storms).