I often find a way to test products even when I'm not supposed to be working. In fact, most of the products I review were tested outside working hours, as sadly, no one will pay me for running around all day testing running shoes and running watches. However, I took the two-birds-with-one-stone concept to the next level when I used the LifeSaver Wayfarer to filter well water in Mallorca for my family members and me.
Let's back it up a bit. LifeSaver offered me its Wayfarer a few weeks ago, which is supposed to be the safest hiking water purifier out there (LifeSaver's words, not mine). I didn't have any hikes planned because the weather was awful, but then I remembered – more like, realised – that I had a family holiday coming up in Mallorca. I thought, 'I could use the Wayfarer to filter tap water on my holiday and see what happens'.
Luckily, the weather in Mallorca was insanely hot, and there were no air cons in our bedrooms either, so we needed plenty of water. Upon arrival, we also noticed that there was a well in the garden, along with a pale on a chain, which suggested the well wasn't just used for decoration. Me being me, I immediately started assessing the possibility of using the Wayfarer to filter the well water instead of the tap water.
What could go wrong?
There were four of us, me, my wife, my 10-year-old son and my mother-in-law, who is over 70 (she's in excellent shape for her age, I must say), which complicated things slightly. That's one thing poisoning yourself with contaminated water abroad; making all your family members ill is a whole different situation.
To reassure myself that I was making the right choice, I scoured LifeSaver's website for more info on the Wayfarer. It turns out it's the only hiking water purifier that’s been fully tested to exceed NSF/ANSI P231 standards and is said to remove 99.9999% of bacteria, 99.99% of cysts and 99.999% of viruses. A good start!
It can purify up to 5,000 litres (1,320 US gallons) of water and has a replaceable activated carbon disc –that's effective for up to 100 litres. The carbon filter reduces chemicals and heavy metals such as chlorine, lead, nickel and cadmium and improves taste and odour.
With these stats in mind, I got to work. Opened the lid to the well, lowered the pale, gathered some water, and pulled it back up, ready for filtering. The Wayfarer has a rotating pump handle and two hoses, which makes it pretty intuitive to use. I popped the Scavenger In Hose in the pale and the Out Hose in a water bottle, and off I pumped.
All's well that ends well
Full disclosure, the water coming from the well didn't look terribly dirty, but once I filtered it, it looked almost too clean not to try. We were all looking at the cool, clean water in the bottle, contemplating whether we should make that leap of faith. Interestingly, it was my mother-in-law who drank from the water first; then I joined in. For the rest of the afternoon, I was busy assessing all my bodily functions to see if anything felt off.
It didn't, so we all started drinking the water, and, surprise-surprise, we all survived the trip. Not only that but we were also well-hydrated and used way less plastic than usual when abroad, as we didn't have to buy bottled water every two seconds. This, on its own, is a strong selling point of the Wayfarer, although I know other companies, most notably LifeStraw, have similar water purification systems.
I might have been uncertain about the LifeSaver Wayfarer before I first used it, but now I'm fully on board with the technology and will keep on using it in the future on hikes, holidays and more. You never know when you'll need a reliable water filter, especially in the UK, with all our fresh water getting fully contaminated with sewage water these days.
The LifeSaver Wayfarer is available to buy now directly from LifeSaver for a recommended retail price of £94.99 (approx. $118/ AU$ 185). A replacement cartridge costs £47.99 (approx. $59.8/ AU$ 93.6these need changing after every 5,000 litres), and you can buy a three-pack of carbon discs for £20.99 (approx. $26/ AU$ 40.9). Check out T3's best water purifier guide for more info on these products.