Note: I received a LifeStraw Go for free from Eartheasy, and I let them know I'd try it out and write a review, but I haven't been otherwise compensated for this post. I also haven't been asked to say certain things, or told how to write this. Questions? Just ask -- I want to be maximally transparent about this kind of thing!
A while back I went to the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee for a long weekend. One thing to know about hiking in Appalachia: There's water everywhere! I remember hiking in the Catskills and going a whole day or more without seeing any water at all. We definitely don't have that problem here. In the Blue Ridge Mountains where I usually go backpacking, and definitely on this trip in the Smokies, there are often multiple stream and river crossings for even a short hike.
It was hot and the water was a very welcome diversion, even if it was astonishingly cold! We explored waterfalls and people (not me) swam in frigid mountain springs and streams.
We went on some long, looong hikes, including up Chimney Top, which has a bare rock vertical climb to the summit, but 360-degree views one you're up! I have a little bit of a fear of heights and had a few minor panics going up, but nothing a short break and deep breathing couldn't fix.
The only problem was, we hiked for a loong time (5-6 hours) and I downed all the water in my water bottle way too early in our hike. For day hikes, I just never really think to bring a water filter and all that business, so even though we were surrounded my water, I couldn't drink any of it. By the time we got back I was parched and grateful for clean water.
The LifeStraw got a ton of coverage when it first came out: I first learned about it a few years ago after traveling to Kenya. Basically, it is a super super super cheap personal water filter. (Water filtration systems are usually around a hundred bucks; the LifeStraw is under $25.) It's basically a straw that filters the water as you drink from it, making potable water from all kinds of distrustful sources, like lakes, ponds, puddles, rainwater, dirty tap water, etc. This is a big deal in the developing world, and also a pretty awesome thing for backpackers, kayakers, hikers, cyclists, etc. And, the company uses a portion of the profits (though I'm not sure how much) to set up water filtration systems in school and communities.
The LifeStraw Go is about $10 more than the regular LifeStraw, and it's basically a LifeStraw wrapped in a 23-oz BPA-free water bottle, meaning it's great for when you want to quickly refill water and keep moving. I tested it out on a hot day at the Eno Rock Quarry.
It's pretty simple! If you unscrew the top + LifeStraw, it's just a regular water bottle made of hard, Nalgene-like plastic. Fill it up....
Screw the lid back on...
And drink! The straw filters the water as you drink.
After you get home, just rinse it really well with clean water and let it dry. The filter lasts for about 1000 liters worth of water,
I was not expecting to be so dazzled by this thing, but it's really empowering to feel like the whole world is your water fountain. It's kind of the way I felt when I first got a Garmin, and I realized I could have track practice anywhere I wanted.
Thanks to Eartheasy, which is a cool company in its own right -- they're entirely carbon-neutral, and they work with Trees for the Future Foundation to have a tree planted for every order placed.