You need to drink more water. Who doesn’t? But what if you’ve gone full-social distancing and headed off across the meadows, moors and mountains? Cue the LifeSaver Liberty, which is, by our reckoning, one of the best water bottles for hiking (and, in fact, one of the best reusable water bottles in general. Not only will it help you cut-down on single-use plastics, bit it can also remove 99.99% of viruses and bacteria from water.
Any water. From anywhere. Even a puddle or a dank-looking stream that you can’t get a bottle into easily fill.
Here’s what outdoor types – and even international travellers – need to know about the ingenious LifeSaver Liberty, the worlds’ first and only portable water purifier with an inline pump combined.
LifeSaver Liberty purifying water bottle review: Design
It’s a solid product that’s very obviously designed not for urban travel and commuting, but for hiking, backpacking, camping, camper-vanning, cycling and sailing. That’s obvious from the very tough build, though its construction doesn’t use harmful and persistent bisphenol A (BPA) and bisphenol S (BPS) chemicals found in most plastics. It’s actually made from ‘SteriTouch’ antimicrobial material, say its makers.
LifeSaver Liberty purifying water bottle review: Features
The Lifesaver Liberty’s key feature is a 15-nanometre filter that it removes 99.99% of bacteria, viruses, protozoa, parasites, fungi and cysts in any kind of water to exceed international drinking water standards (NSF/ANSI P231 if you must know). That’s done purely by using a hand pump – with the purified water coming through a drinking nozzle at the top. That’s fine if you can scoop up some water from a stream or you’re using this product to purify tap water while travelling abroad.
However, water isn’t always that easy to get. Cue its 152.4cm/5ft. scavenger hose, which you can use to fetch water from a hard-to-reach place, such as a ledge, a rocky brook or anywhere where you can’t dip a bottle into. The hose has a sediment filter on the end and attaches to a valve on the side of the pump, which can then be used to draw up water into the main compartment.
LifeSaver Liberty purifying water bottle review: Size
The LifeSaver Liberty looks like a water bottle, but it’s heftier and heavier than the kind of reusable water bottle you might take down the gym. It weighs 425g/15oz when empty and measures a plump 80x80x254mm/3.15x3.15x10”), though it’s easy enough to hold in one hand. It takes 400ml/14oz of liquid, which is a shade less than some of the best reusable water bottles. However, there’s physically more to the LifeSaver Liberty concept than just the drinking bottle; the hand-pump weighs a further 126g while the extra tubing another 109g in its drawstring bag.
LifeSaver Liberty purifying water bottle review: Price
At £124.99 the Lifesaver Liberty costs a lot more than rival reusable water bottles, but that’s hardly a surprise considering the easy-to-use and reasonably long-lasting water purification tech that’s inside. Replacement cartridges for the Lifesaver Liberty are available for £49.99.
The only real annoyance is that while each cartridge lasts for ages, an ‘activated carbon disc’ – which neutralises the taste of water – only lasts for 100 litres (though it makes no difference to the safety of the water, only the taste). A pack of three costs £19.99.
LifeSaver Liberty purifying water bottle review: Performance
Two things to know about it right from the off are that it needs priming at home before you use it in the wilderness (which entails two pumping sessions with clean tap water) and that it needs to remain moist, so you must keep a bit of water in it at all times.
After that, it’s a cinch to operate. With the pump removed, and some (possibly dodgy) water let inside the main tank, all you need to do is replace the pump and move the handle up and down about five times. That gets the water flowing through the filter, which – hey presto – produces purified, safe drinking water. You can then open the top cap, move a nozzle to depressurize the bottle, and a spurt of purified water comes out. The other way to use it is with the hose, which is also easy to use once you get the hang of it; it’s really important to move the foam ring to just behind the sediment filter so that it floats – and you get clear water from the top of a river rather than the murky stuff from the depths. With the hose attached and the bottle upside down, it then works as an inline water filter, with purified water coming from the top’s drinking nozzle straight into another water bottle, a cup, container or a hydration bladder.
The package only comes with one filter, but since it’s rated to purify 2,000 litres of water we’re overly concerned anyone’s going to need to replace one anytime soon … unless you’re planning to live permanently out on the moors.
LifeSaver Liberty purifying water bottle review: Verdict
It’s tempting to say that the LifeSaver Liberty is for the outdoors. With a rugged and utilitarian design, it’s definitely designed to be stuffed in a backpack and used to drink from rivers and streams. It also means you can take less water with you into the wilderness.
However, the LifeSaver Liberty will prove just as useful to anyone headed to countries where tap water is suspect. In places like India, Africa and remote areas most international travellers simply buy bottled water – and a massive amount of it – but with the LifeSaver Liberty you don’t need to. If you’re serious about cutting down on single-use plastics and don’t want your good work to be undone the moment you arrive somewhere where tap water is unavailable or undrinkable, the LifeSaver Liberty is a great option.