The life saver bottle, enabling you to drink from the muddiest, most contaminated water you can think of and live to tell tale.
This piece of equipment filters out all of the nasty bugs and parasites that can cause diarrhoea and vomiting.
The science bit.
There are hundreds of bacteria, parasites, fungi, viruses and cysts within water that if consumed could potentially cause life threatening illness. Hepatitis A, Cholera, E.coli, and Leptospirosis to name but a few serious common illnesses associated with drinking water.
Whether you are abroad or simply trekking in our glorious countryside in the UK, getting potable water is essential in remaining hydrated and healthy. If you are stuck out on the hills and drink contaminated water, you may go down with an illness in a matter of hours. Dangerous if you are in the middle of no where.
Whilst there are numerous similar devices on the market the Life savers simplicity is its favour. Other devices I have used require lengthy periods of pumping through a chlorinated filter and a carbon filter, something that can be both time consuming and energy sapping.
All that is required with the life saver is to unscrew the bottom cap, fill with a water source, pump 3 times and drink away as if drinking out of a sports bottle.
Another great thing is that no chemicals are used. The smallest microbial hazard within water that can cause us humans harm is 5 microns in size. The Life saver filters to 4 microns. In simple terms it takes out every possible bug that can cause ill health. Meaning that no residual chlorine or iodine is required which those of you who have drank it knows tastes horrid!
Another great feature on this product is the filter life is huge! The 4000UF and 6000UF models will filter up to 4000 and 6000 litres respectively. I have the 4000UF model. Whilst the life of the filter is great, another fantastic point is that once the filter has filtered its limit of water, it automatically shuts off not allowing any risk or hazardous bacteria to pass through the system.
1 Litre of water weighs 1 kilo, so when planning for walks or treks the use of a life saver can significantly reduce you carrying weight, obviously you will have to do a bit of map appreciation to identify a water source on route, but an additional 6 kilos could mean more rations or warm clothing!
As stated the use of the life saver is simple. It is important to read the instructions however, as a know-all I did not and did not prime the filters properly meaning that my first sip was a weird sweet taste. In order to maintain the integrity of the filters; they are covered in glycerine which needs to be washed off prior to proper use. This is done by simply rinsing the filter and membrane a couple of times with fresh water. Once this is done the life saver is good to go.
There is no need for continuous pumping either, as the container is pressurised, 2 or 3 pumps is all that is required for a steady flow of potable water, there is no need to suck like you would on a sports bottle either also meaning that the water will flow out of the bottle whilst in any position, great for when cooking or filling other vessels.
As the filter system 'filters' it can sometimes result in the membranes becoming blocked, this can simply be fixed by taking the filter out of its housing and rinsing under a tap once you have finished.
An additional 2 great features include a prefilter sponge, which can initially stop grit etc from entering the filter system which could potentially damage it, but also where you are unable to submerse the bottle to fill it, the sponge can be used to mop up the precious life juice and squeeze into the life saver (Ray Mears or Bear Grylls style!).
The other is the activated carbon filter. This screws into the lid, and can act as an additional barrier to any chemical or heavy metal contamination! Great if you have to drink contaminated water over a prolonged period of time.
If there is a down side to this bottle I would identify these few;
The price is high, but when you consider the technology and potential usage of the bottle I would say it's worth it. I can see myself needing to buy another one in some time.
The bottle is quite large, but again considering the weight saved when carrying this it's a necessary evil.
Membrane care, the booklet states that the filter must be kept wet once initially used to prevent the nano pores from closing. Again not a huge problem to leave a few ml of water in, but this is not covered in a warranty should you forget. A costly mistake if you do so.
In short, this really is a life saving piece of equipment that I think is amazing. I have used a piece of bacteriological analysing equipment I have at my disposal (Coli-alert) and measured a contaminated water source before and after passing through the life saver with fantastic results. The water source in question was heavily contaminated with Total coliforms (bacteria) and E.coli (faecal matter). After passing through the life saver not one single bacterium was found. I was absolutely amazed and now take this bottle of every expedition I undertake. I fact, when in a group we take one between 2 to significantly reduce our carriage loads.
A must to regular outdoor enthusiast, canoeist, walkers, mountaineers, over seas traveller's even military personnel or NGO's working within refugee camps!