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Best Survival Straw Filter on the Market: Converting Contaminated Water

Survival straws review
Daniel Carraway
Written by Daniel Carraway

Drinking water is the most important thing you need to ensure your health and survival. Not all water in the wilderness is clean or good to drink and drinking bad water can cause diarrhea or a stomach upset, which can dehydrate you further. To ensure your safety, it is important to know the best survival straw filter on the market, so you can have filtered water no matter where you are or your situation.

The best survival straw is a must-have for any outdoor enthusiasts, because you never know when you might find yourself in an emergency. Survival straws are usually small in size and light in weight, so having one in your backpack should not pose any problem for you.

A survival straw ensures that you have fresh, clean drinking water even when the only water available is dirty or contaminated. But not all survival straws are capable of providing you with clean, odorless water. To help you pick the right one, we’ve sorted through all the different survival straws available on the market today and saved only the best for you.

Our Top Picks

Product nameFilter capacityDimensionsDefining featurePrice
LifeStraw Water Filter264.17 gallons8.86 x 0.98 x 8.86 inchesCamping. fishing hunting, survival and preparednessCheck price on Amazon
Web-Tex British Survival Straw52.83 gallons1.34 x 5.04 x 12.91 inchesCamping, fishing hunting, survival and preparednessCheck price on Amazon
Aquamira Water Filter20 gallons8 x 4 x 2 inchesCamping, fishing, hunting, survival and preparednessCheck price on Amazon
H20 Survival Water Filter18 gallons6.5 x 5 inchesCamping, fishing, hunting, survival and preparedness, travelCheck price on Amazon
Outdoor Survival Straw396 gallons2 x 4.5 x 13 inchesCamping, fishing, hunting, survival and preparedness, travel, Boy Scouts, biking, backpackingCheck price on Amazon
Personal Water Filter with Canteen25 gallons1.5 x 6 x 9.5 inchesHiking, biking, kayaking, bug out bag, survival KitCheck price on Amazon

Things to consider before buying

The quality of a survival straw is a very important thing to consider. If you purchase the wrong survival straw and drink water that has not been properly filtered, you may end up contracting a dangerous disease. The things you need to consider before you decide which survival straw is perfect for the job are the following.

Power Source

The best water filters don’t require any special equipment to function. That is why survival straw filters are such a good choice when traveling or camping. They don’t require charging at a power point or special batteries. They can be used straight after opening and you don’t have to be worried about having access to electricity or having any batteries in your pack. As long as you have a straw filter with you, you will be able to filter the water through your straw straight away.

Filtration System

A good water filter will not rely on chemicals to filter the water. The water is filtered directly through the fibers in the straw and so avoids possible ingestion of chemicals that are harmful to you. When drinking from dirty water, all the dirt, germs and bacteria become trapped in the filter, ensuring only good, fresh water is ingested. No chemicals means the water tastes clean and there is no unpleasant residue.

Best straw filter

Filter straws are made of a simple filtration design with no moving parts. This makes it efficient and less likely to break at a critical moment. It also makes them simple to use. By just placing them in the water and using them as you would any other straw makes, it’s easy for both inexperienced and experienced travelers, hikers and trekkers to use.

A scrubbing and filtration system in each survival straw ensures you can get fresh water straight away from any source. Dangerous illnesses and diseases can be found in stagnant or dirty water supplies. These can make the drinker violently ill and in some cases, can cause death. The germs and bacteria are trapped within the filter giving you the freshest drinking water possible.

A carbon filter within your survival straw is an added bonus which ensures that the water is not only good to drink but tastes fresh as well. Different contaminants in water may have a strong chlorine or musty taste, which can be unpleasant and difficult to drink. A carbon capsule blocks any vegetation or chemicals that can cause these bad tastes and allows you to enjoy your cool drink and rehydrate, so you can be ready for the next part of your hike.

Weight

Trying to carry heavy pieces of equipment slows momentum and drains your energy faster. On a long hike or when you are in the wilderness, you need items that can easily be carried. Survival straw filters are light weight and are easily handled.

LifeStraw filter

Most filter straws are small enough to be kept in your pocket, meaning they can easily be accessed when you need them. It means there will always be space to bring along this possibly lifesaving tool, stored away in your backpack or carried on your person.

Filter Capacity

Filter capacity is the amount of times you can use the straw before the filter is no longer effective. Having a large filter capacity means you don’t have to worry about a straw not functioning properly when you need it, especially if you are in a situation where you have an extended need for fresh water and you don’t have access to modern plumbing.

Straw filters can be very economical. They require very little upkeep or intervention to keep it working properly, and one straw will easily cleanse up to 20 gallons of water. This would be roughly up to 320 cups of water before a replacement straw would be needed.

Anti-Bacteria

The most important job of your straw filter is to prevent germs and bacteria getting through. Most straws promise a 99.9999 percent rate of filtering out these contaminants and preventing you from becoming sick. There are many sickness and diseases which can be found in water. One common example, E.coli is caused by contamination of water by human fecal matter. It can cause cramping, diarrhea, vomiting and fever.

Anti-bacterial straw filter

Diarrhea is a gut infection which attacks the bowels and cause liquid and frequent fecal movements. Symptoms can include cramps, nausea, weight loss and a constant need to go to the toilet. Another dangerous example is dysentery. Dysentery is an inflammation of the gut which causes extreme diarrhea which results in bloody stools. Dysentery also includes vomiting, nausea and a high fever and is very contagious.

Bacteria in the water can even attack your organs. Hepatitis attacks the functioning of the liver and causes swelling and pain. A liver is the important part of the body’s process of removing toxins that are harmful to your health. The impact on the liver can cause pain, fever, tiredness, bruising, joint pain and swelling.

Parasitic infection also attacks the gut, causing vomiting and diarrhea. They are spread through fecal matter in the water, and contracted through swallowing or drinking the contaminated water.

The impact of these symptoms on your body is definitely not ideal when it comes to survival. It may cause dehydration, tiredness and inability to continue on your trip. That is why a straw filter is an extremely valuable part of any travelers or survivalists kit.   

Extra Features

Some water filters come with a water canteen which provides a place to store water. This gives you the ability to carry water with you, which is an advantage when you don’t know when you will next have access to water. This gives you the ability to use the straw with the canteen and ensures you always have a supply of safe drinking water with you.

Best products on today’s market

Now that we’ve gone through the important features you should look for in a survival straw, next we’ll cover some of the best survivals straws available today that fulfill all of those criteria.

LifeStraw Water FilterLifeStraw Water Filter

Price: Approximately $15

Filter capacity: 264.17 gallons of contaminated water

Dimensions: 8.86 x 0.98 x 8.86 inches

Specific features: Filters up to 1000 liters of water; removes bacteria; removes viruses; removes protozoa; it has a hollow fiber membrane; no chemicals or batteries; also removes Giardia, cryptosporidium, e-coli and salmonella; meets EPA Standards

Best use: Camping, fishing and hunting, survival and preparedness

The LifeStraw Water Filter is an award winning product which has been used both for humanitarian aid and by outdoor enthusiasts since 2005. The product is perfect for any situation you might find yourself in. In a survival situation Lifestraw would be able to run without access to electricity or batteries and is simple to use.

While traveling, it is good to be aware of the quality of the water you are drinking. The Lifestraw allows you to drink the local water with no concern for your health.

It is also light weight and small enough to hold in your hand or place in your pocket, making it perfect for a long hike or a trek. As a fisherman and hunter, you don’t want to be carrying a bulky pack along with the rest of your gear.

The Lifestraw allows you to take advantage of the local spring or river for your drinking water. Water is filtered through a special hollow fiber membrane which catches any dirt or harmful bacteria. It is simple to use.

All that is needed is to remove the caps and to place the end in the water. Then, drink through the straw until you are no longer thirsty. The filter can easily be cleaned by the user blowing through the straw. This should be done after every use of the straw.

PROS:

  • It is light for carrying and storage
  • A trusty award-winning product
  • Is very effective at filtering water. Removes 99.9% of contaminant in the water
  • Does not use chemicals to clean the water
  • Produces clean, tasteless water
  • Great capacity

CONS:

  • Not effective for filtering chemicals that have dissolved in the water
  • Not effective for filtering saltwater—only freshwater
  • You need to suck a bit harder than usual to get it going. This may drain your stamina especially in high-altitude areas

Related: If you’re still worried that the LifeStraw filter would not be able to give you the level of water purity you need, consider using it in conjunction with these Potable Aqua Water Tablets. These tablets are especially effective at eliminating bacteria.    

Check the price on Amazon

Web-Tex British Survival StrawWeb-Tex British Survival Straw

Price: Approximately $45

Filter capacity: 52.83 gallons of contaminated water

Dimensions: 1.34 x 5.04 x 12.91 inches

Specific features: Fresh water from any river, creek or other water source; removes any harmful contaminants, chemicals and other poisonous substances; filters dirt and other debris; Web-Tex Surviva pure purification system; post purification scrubbing system

Best use: Camping, fishing, hunting, survival and preparedness

The Web-Tex British Survival Straw has a special filtration system to ensure nothing harmful comes through the straw. These filters and pre-filters are made to last so you don’t need to worry about it not working when you need it. These EPA approved filtration devices make this straw a solid and reliable system.

This survival straw promises instant fresh water when you place straw in any water source and suck the water up through it. Most survival straws only really filter bacteria and protozoans without eliminating any chemical compounds that might have dissolved into the water, but that is not the case with this straw. It’s capable of filtering chemicals and other poisonous substances.

PROS:

  • Purification and filters which promises a great, fresh tasting drink
  • Filters chemicals and poisonous substances
  • Filters bacteria and any other life forms that might have contaminated the water
  • Post purification scrubbing system keeps the straw clean

CONS:

  • Quite expensive

Related: You never know just what you would need when you are out there in the wild. Water is the most basic requirement, but it’s not the only one. If you truly wish to be prepared for all kinds of situations, you should also take this Web-Tex Sol95 Sewing Kit DPM with you.

Check the price on Amazon

Aquamira Water FilterAquamira Frontier Water Filter

Price: Approximately $11

Filter capacity: 20 gallons of water

Dimensions: 8 x 4 x 2 inches

Specific features: Prevents protozoan cysts; affordable and doesn’t need to be replaced often; removes almost 100 percent of cryptosporidium and Giardia; a special coconut shell filter to make sure you are drinking water without any contaminants

Best use: Camping, fishing, hunting, survival and preparedness

The Aquamira Water Filter is a great filter for hiking, camping or survival. It weighs less than one ounce and allows you to easily drink from any water source without worrying about any contaminants within it.

Its particular strength is against the cryptosporidium and Giardia in the water and helps you avoid these water-borne diseases. The special coconut filter prevents bad tastes and any stench, leaving you with only good, clean water.

PROS:

  • Easy to carry and store
  • Simple design and easy to use
  • Allows you to drink water without a bad taste or stench
  • Filters cryptosporidium and Giardia
  • Affordable price

CONS:

  • The straw seems rather flimsy
  • It’s a carbon-based filter so you’ll probably taste dust in the water for the first few draws
  • A bit difficult to suck water out of it

Related: For a similarly-priced product that does not have the same charcoal-dust problem as the Aquamira Water Filter, consider this WINSEE Personal Water Filter. This water filter may not be as effective at eliminating cryptosporidium and Giardia, but it’s great in general.  

Check the price on Amazon

H20 Survival Water FilterH20 Survival Water Filter

Price: Approximately $21

Filter capacity: 18 gallons

Dimensions: 6.5 x 5 inches

Specific features: Able to combat most bacteria, viruses and other contaminants; it is able to filter a large amount of water before being discarded

Best use: Camping, fishing, hunting, survival and preparedness, travel

The H20 Survival Water Filter is marketed as the perfect straw for travelers. New to the US, the straw already has a large fanbase in Europe and is sure to impress the US market. The straw makes it easy to travel with peace of mind that you won’t accidentally become unwell from a local water supply and ruin your vacation.

When visiting a foreign country, it is always advised that you boil the local water before drinking it in case it holds harmful bacteria or viruses.

The straw is the perfect size to carry around with you, either on your person or in your luggage its easy use means that your children can also each have their own straw. One straw filters over 17 liters and protects against most contagions which can be found in the water. It outperforms most other filter straws in its capacity and its proven ability to keep you safe.

PROS:

  • Its simple design means it’s perfect for the entire family to use
  • A small and simple design means it is easy to carry with you
  • Great filtration capacity
  • Able to filter all kinds of contaminants in the water—even traces of metal

CONS:

  • May leave a bit of a weird taste in the water
  • A bit difficult to suck water through it
  • Contains iodine

Related: Although the H20 water filter can be trusted, it’s best to not leave anything to chance. By testing how contaminated the water really is using this Water Quality Tester, J.B.W., you will be able to determine whether you should drink from that water source or go look for another one.

Check the price on Amazon

Healthy Body Outdoor Survival StrawHealthy Body Outdoor Survival Straw

Price: $20 – $45

Filter capacity: 396 gallons

Dimensions: 2 x 4.5 x 13 inches

Specific features: A perfect filtration at 0.02 microns; tested to make sure your water device performs how it is supposed to and provides you fresh and clean water; 9 percent efficient against parasites and bacteria; 9 percent able to combat bad odors and taste; able to use up to five years after purchase

Best use: Camping, fishing, hunting, survival and preparedness, travel, Boy Scouts, biking, backpacking

The Healthy Body Outdoor Survival Straw is perfect for those who enjoy the great outdoors and activities where they won’t have access to water from tap. To enjoy your adventures, you need to keep healthy and to do that, you need a source of fresh water or the ability to remove the germs and bacteria from a contaminated source.

The survival straw is small enough to take with you everywhere and is lighter than a drink bottle.

It means you can take water from any water source and enjoy a fresh and clean taste. In the outdoors it is important to keep yourself hydrated and the outdoor survival straw gives you the ability to do just that.

They claim to outperform the LifeStraw in the capacity of water you can drink before replacing the straw, and a high level of filtration means you don’t have to worry about parasites or bacteria contaminating the water you are drinking. It also makes the water tastes clean and removes all trace of pollution so you can be satisfied with every sip that the water is fit for your consumption.

PROS:

  • A light and easy to carry product for the outdoors
  • Supplies you with tasteless and odorless water
  • Great capacity
  • Good for filtering all kinds of contaminants in the water

CONS:

  • On the expensive side
  • You need to suck on it strongly before you get to drink

Related: If you’re looking for a more affordable option that is a complete package of all the things you need in order to survive out there in the wild, this Emergency Survival Kit w/ Personal Water Filter Survival Straw is just the thing for you. It has everything you need ranging from a survival knife to a first aid kit.

Check the price on Amazon

TrekUltra Personal Water Filter StrawTrekUltra Personal Water Filter Straw

Price: Approximately $20

Filter capacity: Up to 25 gallons in poor quality water

Dimensions: 1.5 x 6 x 9.5 inches

Specific features: It has been tested against EPA standards to provide you the best filtration possible; comes with a canteen; comes with a flush kit to extend the life of the product; it comes with a carry kit to make it even easier to carry it while traveling

Best use: Hiking, biking, kayaking, bug out bag, survival kit

The TrekUltra Personal Water Filter Straw is made in the USA and is of a high standard. It is for anyone who finds themselves frequently outdoors or for those who are concerned with being prepared for natural disasters. You can just place it your pack in its special protective carrying case and know you will always have access to fresh drinking water.

The resin within the product kills the bacteria and germs instead of just trapping them in the filter. It has been proven to be 99 percent effective against the removal of bacteria and several filters means that no bacteria will be getting into the water you are drinking.

It also comes with several accessories which make it even more efficient. The back flush tool gives you the ability to clean it and help you make your straw last longer, and a canteen means you can take some water with you if water is found infrequently in the area you are in.

PROS:

  • Small size and simple design
  • Comes with a flush kit, a carry kit, and a canteen
  • Great value for money
  • Effective filtration system—also good for removing traces of metal and chemicals

CONS:

  • It’s a bit difficult to suck water out of it
  • Filter capacity is quite low

Related: This water filter is effective enough on its own, but if you’re still worried about the quality of the water or if you’re planning to drink from a really dirty or muddy water source, be sure to have some of these Aquatabs Water Purification Tablets with you.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrap Up

Water straws are a vital piece of equipment that you should not forget to purchase for your camping and outdoors activities. If there is a natural disaster, fresh water can quickly be tainted and a water straw in your preparedness kit means you can have fresh water no matter what your circumstances are.

Survival straws are also important for outdoor enthusiasts. No one wants to be caught unprepared in the wilderness. That’s why you need to always carry a survival straw with you on your trips. Lack of clean water is a traveler’s worst enemy. By carrying a survival straw with you, you’ve at least got that front covered so you can focus on other things during an emergency.

Sawyer mini staraw

The above candidates could easily be the best survival straw on the market. What are your experiences? Please share in the comments below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Daniel Carraway
Daniel Carraway

Daniel Carraway joined our team last year. He is a gear freak when it comes to hiking, climbing and camping. He went to REI Outdoor School to meet new people and learn best practices. Don’t even try to argue with him about the latest backpack or ice axe, he tried most of them. Daniel’s dream is to climb Mount Everest.

  • Andrew Richardson

    The Aquamira Water Filter is great as you can drink from a mud puddle and it still taste clean. One time, I was camping and it started raining so I threw up the poncho and put my metal cup out to collect water (I like to use as much water from the environment as possible). The pigment from the poncho came off and the water tasted like smoke (the poncho collected the smell). I tasted the water pre filter and it was foul, undrinkable; but with the filter it was clean and cold.

  • Daniel Carraway

    Wow, that’s great to hear! Nothing like clean and potable water to drink especially when you’re thirsty and tired. I have my trusty LifeStraw since I remember. I thinks it’s one of the firsts handy water filter to come out in the market. I’m really dumbfounded on how science and technology have made our lives easier and safer. These are great products – don’t leave home without these inside your bag.

  • Alex Lauther

    It was about a year ago when I first saw this Sawyer mini from a hiking buddy. At that time, I was using an MSR Guardian purifier which was actually quite heavy, so I bought the same brand as hers. It was definitely worth trying. It was so lightweight and inexpensive, plus it is easy to drink from. The only thing I don’t like is that it cannot treat large quantities of water well. I drink water a lot so it was kind of a disappointment. Nevertheless, I’m still using it in some places where I can’t bring my vehicle.

  • Daniel Carraway

    Hi Alex! If you want something that can purify a lot of water – say a thousand liters, then your best bet is the Lifestraw. I’ve been using this award winning straw and man, this straw is excellent! Don’t take my word for it – buy it and see!

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