Staying hydrated while hiking is essential – it’s as simple as that. However, drinking water from just any source you bump into is never a good idea. Even if it looks clean, a water source could easily be contaminated with bacteria, viruses, or other invisible microorganisms.
Up until now, outdoor enthusiasts hiking to places with questionable water sources had only a couple of options. Some of these included purifying iodine-based tablets, hand-pump water filters, and UV-light-equipped sterilizing pens. Things are a lot better today, though – sophisticated water purification filters and collapsible bottles that you can use on the go are inexpensive and incredibly easy to use.
And when it comes to manufacturers of these life-saving products, none are as well-known as Grayl and Lifestraw. For that matter, we’ve decided to take an in-depth look at four of their most popular purification systems and help you determine which one of these brands is a better choice for your needs.
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Grayl vs Lifestraw – The Most Popular Products
Grayl Ultralight Purifier
Perfect for international travel, Grayl Ultralight is one of the company’s most popular water purification systems. This lightweight and durable bottle is more than capable of transforming dirty water into a drinkable, crystal-clear liquid.
To provide this pristine drinking experience, Grayl Ultralight combines ion exchange technology with activated carbon. In addition to cleansing the water of viruses, protozoa, and bacteria, it also takes care of heavy metals, pesticides, and various other chemicals. The model arrives pre-assembled and accompanied by a simple user guide with a bunch of useful tips.
Grayl states that the Ultralight Purifier is capable of cleaning water at a rate of 2 minutes per liter. However, the filtration process requires some elbow grease – this is, after all, a coffee-press style purifier. Pressing the bottle down can be really difficult at times and will leave your hands sore after repeated use.
One thing we particularly like about the Grayl Ultralight Purifier is how durable it is. The bottle effortlessly survives basic ground drops and won’t get easily damaged when used in the backcountry. Still, make sure to always have an emergency backup system at hand – you never know what may happen.
On the downside, Ultralight’s filter lasts for only 40 gallons (150 liters), which is not something we’ve expected from Grayl. The company attributes this short filter lifespan to the model’s unique virus removal technology. Still, there are a lot of filtration systems on the market that last much longer than this, and many of them are cheaper than the Ultralight Purifier.
- Efficient virus removal technology
- Durable construction
- Low weight (11.45 ounces)
- Short filter cartridge life
A bit pricier than the Ultralight Purifier model, this water bottle is much easier to use and sports a design that is equally durable and long-lasting. While not flawless, it’s undoubtedly one of the best purification systems on-the-go you can buy in today’s market.
Filtering 700 milliliters of water in less than 20 seconds, Grayl Geopress is also one of the fastest products of this type available today. What’s more, this model goes beyond removing just particulates, protozoa, and bacteria. The Geopress also takes care of arsenic, cadmium, lead, and other pollutants that are typically present in questionable water sources.
The bottle itself features heavy-duty construction. Its exterior is made out of thick and durable plastic, while the sound interior infrastructure ensures that the filtration system doesn’t break after a basic ground drop. In terms of weight, the Geopress is slightly heavier than the Ultralight Purifier, at 19.4 ounces.
The manufacturer claims that the Geopress has a bottle treatment time of approximately 8 seconds. In reality, the model takes a bit longer to cleanse the water, but it’s still super-fast when compared to cheap products sold by no-name brands. Still, keep in mind that the treatment time increases significantly when the system is used to treat particularly murky water.
All in all, Grayl Geopress provides a good value for the money with its reliability and versatility. It efficiently removes contaminants and can be used just about anywhere in the world.
- Exceptionally easy to use
- Fast and reliable filtration
- Excellent build quality
- A bit bulky
Well-made, durable, and inexpensive, the Lifestraw Go is one of the most popular products of this type on the market. This colorful bottle works just as advertised – it provides its users with crystal-clear drinking water no matter where in the world they are.
Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first. The Lifestraw Go is a bottle with a small capacity, as its integrated filtration system and the straw take up a pretty large part of its overall volume. In addition, one has to suck on its straw to drink the water, and this is bound to become quite tiring after repeated use.
On the brighter side, the Go has only three components, which, in turn, makes it exceptionally easy to dismantle and clean. In addition, this is a hard-sided, durable bottle made out of BPA-free plastic. As expected, it comes equipped with a replaceable filter, and the manufacturer recommends switching it for a new one after every 4000 liters (1000 gallons).
Lifestraw Go scores high in terms of taste, too. Its integrated activated carbon capsule and the hollow fiber membrane do a great job of reducing bad taste and chlorine. However, keep in mind that the Lifestraw Go should only be used for water – using it for other liquids will cause its filter to trap the flavor.
- Eye-catching & durable design
- Replaceable filter
- Reasonable price
- Small capacity
Lifestraw Personal Water Filter
Out of all the products we’ve analyzed here, this one is by far the most popular. As the name suggests, this is just a filter – it has no storage capabilities. However, it does an amazing job of removing chemicals and bacteria from the water.
Designed for solo on-the-go use, the Lifestraw Personal Water Filter sports a simple, lightweight design and comes at a genuinely affordable price. The model successfully filters protozoa, bacteria, and particulates due to its efficient hollow-fiber filtration cartridge. However, the model doesn’t treat viruses, which is, besides the fact that it has no storage capabilities, its greatest flaw.
The Lifestraw Personal Water Filter weighs only 1.75 ounces and requires no pumping. Instead, it uses the power of suction and allows you to immediately drink water from any source you can access. The model easily slides into a backpack’s side pocket and can even be worn around the neck via its lanyard.
Since it’s incredibly portable and easy to use, it’s no wonder that the Lifestraw Personal Water Filter is so wildly popular. Once we combine its instantaneous water treatment with its low price, we get a fantastic option for short trips into the wild.
- Genuinely affordable
- Instantaneous water treatment
- Lightweight & easy to use
- No storage capabilities
Grayl vs Lifestraw – The Verdict
If you’re serious about hiking and often go on long outdoor adventures, you won’t make a mistake by going for one of Grayl’s purifying water bottles. They are well-designed, durable, and effortlessly remove all contaminants – from heavy metals to viruses.
If you hike only occasionally, on the other hand, Lifestraw’s widely popular Personal Water Filter is your best option. Cheap, ultra-portable, and extremely easy to use, it’s a perfect choice for short hikes to places where water will be plentiful.
I love hiking. From the Camino de Santiago to the West Highland Way in Scotland or simply a great day hike on the weekend. Hiking refreshes me, my mind, and keeps my body reasonably fit. So far I have walked three Camino routes and many other long distance hikes in the UK, Canada, and around the rest of Europe. One of the best was my hike up Ben Nevis.