Aside from the air we breathe, drinking water is the single most important resource in any survival situation. If you don't have water to drink, you could be dead in as little as three days. However, unless you live in the middle of a barren desert, it's rare to be without any form of water source. The real threat of terminal dehydration comes from something far more insidious: drinking contaminated water.

The Dangers of Contaminated Water

This mountain stream may look tranquil, but drinking the water untreated could easily spell death.

This mountain stream may look tranquil, but drinking the water untreated could easily spell death.

Finding a source of water can sometimes be difficult, but it's nowhere near as difficult as finding a source of clean water. The vast majority of natural water sources are jam-packed with microbiological contaminants like harmful bacteria and parasites. Hint: those are both things you do not want to drink.

There's only one thing worse than trying to survive while severely dehydrated—trying to survive with dysentery and vomiting while severely dehydrated.

Water droplet on a leaf highlighted by the sun

Microbial contamination is invisible to the human eye. Even crystal clear water can make you seriously ill.

So, it's apparent that water purification is a top priority for survival, but what's the best way to accomplish this? Boiling water can be effective, but it's also a very time-consuming and labor-intensive process. You've got to gather wood and kindling, make sure it's dry enough to light, figure out an ignition source, and wait for your water to reach a boil. Even then, unless you have a canteen or heat-resistant vessel to use, you'll be SOL.

Fortunately, there's a better way to purify water quickly—and we're going to be giving it away for free to one lucky reader (more on that later).

What is LifeStraw?

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter in use 2

If you've ever spent any amount of time looking into how to stay hydrated in a survival setting, you've almost certainly heard of the LifeStraw line of products. These innovative devices remove contaminants using hollow fiber membrane micro filtration with a 0.2 micron pore size.

This means that dirty water goes into the LifeStraw, microorganisms are physically removed, and safe drinking water comes out. No batteries, no pumping, and certainly no waiting for water to boil.

Lifestraw logo

All LifeStraw filters (such as the original LifeStraw and LifeStraw Go water bottle) remove 99.9999% of bacteria and 99.9% of protozoa from water, while the larger LifeStraw purifiers (such as LifeStraw Family) can also remove 99.999% of viruses. The filters can be used to purify 1,000 liters (264 gallons) of water, and the purifiers will work for a staggering 18,000 liters (4,755 gallons).

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

The LifeStraw had a huge impact in developing nations, and is now widely used for emergency preparedness.

The LifeStraw was originally introduced in 2005 by Swiss-based company Vestergaard, as a humanitarian aid tool for people living in developing nations. It has been deployed and used extensively in countries such as Haiti, Pakistan, Thailand, Kenya, and Rwanda.

The personal straw filter was a massive success among those who didn't have access to safe running water, and for relief in locations where natural disasters contaminated the water supply. To this day, thousands of LifeStraw filters are being distributed for free in countries around the world by humanitarian organizations.

Regardless of the water source, LifeStraw is effective at removing virtually all bacteria and parasites.

Given the success of LifeStraw's personal filter, it soon became popular as a consumer product for survival and emergency preparedness kits. The straw-like filtration technology was later applied to in-home use with the launch of the LifeStraw Family in 2008, and in 2014 was adapted into a refillable water bottle, the LifeStraw Go.

The LifeStraw Giveaway

The giveaway includes 3 products: LifeStraw Family 1.0, a LifeStraw Go, and a LifeStraw Personal Filter.

From left: a LifeStraw Family 1.0, a LifeStraw Go, and a LifeStraw Personal Filter.

The team at LifeStraw (and their North American distributor Eartheasy) have generously provided us with 3 products to give away at random to one lucky OG fan. This will be OFFGRIDweb's first online giveaway, and we're excited to be able to give something back to those of you who continually support the site. Just like RECOIL magazine, we plan to offer many more giveaways in the future, so keep an eye out for them as a recurring feature on the site.

Below, we'll explain what's included in this giveaway, and how you can enter to win. It's 100% free and takes only a few seconds to submit.

1) The LifeStraw Personal Filter

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter Package Front

The one that started it all. The LifeStraw hand-held filter weighs only 2 ounces, meets FDA and EPA standards for drinking water, and leaves no chemical aftertaste. As we mentioned before, it can filter out 99.9999% of bacteria and 99.9% of protozoa from 1,000 liters of water—enough to use every day for a year for all your drinking water.

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter Package Rear

The LifeStraw makes a great addition to any survival kit, and has an MSRP of $19.95.

2) The LifeStraw Go

LifeStraw Go 3

The LifeStraw Go is one of the newest additions to their family of products, and provides an all-in-one way of purifying water on the move. Rather than stopping to drink at a water source, you can simply fill the sturdy 22-ounce bottle with water from a lake or stream, screw on the cap, and filter the water as you drink it from the flip-top bite valve. It even includes a carabiner to clip the bottle onto your pack.

LifeStraw Go Package Front

The LifeStraw Go uses the same filtration technology as the standard LifeStraw, so it too will remove 99.9999% of bacteria and 99.9% of protozoa from 1,000 liters of water. The MSRP is $29.95.

3) The LifeStraw Family 1.0

Unlike the standard straw and Go water bottle, the LifeStraw Family 1.0 is both a filter and a purifier. This means that it removes the same bacteria and protozoa removed by the filters above, but also 99.999% of viruses.

lifestraw family 2

The purifier can process 18,000 liters (4,750) gallons of water at a rate of 9-12 liters per hour, after which the filter should be replaced.

The LifeStraw Family is ideal for purifying water at home, at your base camp, or in any sort of group setting. Just hang it from a rafter, and fill it as shown in the video below:

The LifeStraw Family 1.0 is currently sold at an MSRP of $74.95.

4) Bonus Items

OFFGRID morale patch black 01

The elusive OG morale patch. They're not for sale, but you can win one here.

We've seen comments on our Instagram page asking about how to get our OFFGRID morale patches. There are currently only two ways to get these patches: meet one of us in person at a show or event, or be the lucky winner of one of our giveaways. So, if you want a morale patch, now's your chance.

We'll even throw in a copy of the latest issue of our printed magazine for the contest winner.

Enter the Giveaway

So, to recap, here's what one random fan will win:

  1. LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
  2. LifeStraw Go Water Bottle Filter
  3. LifeStraw Family 1.0 Home Water Purifier
  4. OG Velcro-Backed Morale Patch
  5. A Copy of the Latest Printed Issue of Our Magazine

Giveaway Starts: Sunday, 1/3/2016 @ 10am PST
Giveaway Ends: Monday, 1/11/2016 @ 12pm PST

The giveaway is open to people ages 21 and over and who reside in the USA only. Winner will be contacted after announcement with any questions needed to fulfill giveaway. Once winner is contacted and requirements verified, we'll ship the prizes via insured ground shipping.

If you want a chance at winning the LifeStraw items listed above, follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter giveaway module below. One (1) RANDOM entrant will be chosen as the winner.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

STAY SAFE: Download a Free copy of the OFFGRID Outbreak Issue

In issue 12, Offgrid Magazine took a hard look at what you should be aware of in the event of a viral outbreak. We're now offering a free digital copy of the OffGrid Outbreak issue when you subscribe to the OffGrid email newsletter. Sign up and get your free digital copy

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