LifeStraw Peak Squeeze Review
Cons: Extra maintenance to maintain microfilter
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LifeStraw Peak Squeeze
$37.95 at REI
|$29.97 at Amazon|
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$14.95 at REI
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|Pros||Excellent design and quality, durable and lightweight, versatile filtration options, extended filter life||Lightweight, adaptable, easy to use, lifetime guarantee||Lightweight, inexpensive, kills all pathogens (including crypto), reliable||Easy to use, lightweight, packable||Easy to use, super packable, lightweight, cheap in comparison to other filters|
|Cons||Extra maintenance to maintain microfilter||Not great for group use, better if you replace the bags||Takes a long time to kill crypto, slight taste to the water, chemical treatment||Not safe to use long-term, lower value than other chemical treatments, poor taste||More expensive then other chemical treatment, chlorinated taste, does not kill Crypto|
|Bottom Line||This filter is an excellent choice for lightweight and durable collapsible bottle filtration||Simple filtration that is lightweight and reliable for individual use||These drops are a reliable and lightweight option to carry all over the world||This can be used as an emergency treatment system, but not much else||This is the lightest chemical treatment option out there|
|Rating Categories||LifeStraw Peak Squeeze||Sawyer Squeeze||Aquamira Treatment...||Potable Aqua Purifi...||MSR Aquatabs|
|Water Quality (20%)|
|Durability & Maintenance (20%)|
|Treatment Time (15%)|
|Weight & Packability (15%)|
|Ease of Set-Up (15%)|
|Ease of Filtration (15%)|
|Specs||LifeStraw Peak Squeeze||Sawyer Squeeze||Aquamira Treatment...||Potable Aqua Purifi...||MSR Aquatabs|
|Type of Filter/Purifier||Squeeze||Squeeze, in-line, on-the-go||Chemical treatment||Chemical treatment||Chemical treatment|
|Measured Weight (entire kit)||3.8 oz||5.7 oz||3.0 oz||2.3 oz||0.1 oz|
|Number of Liters (L)/Gallons (gal) per Lifetime||2000 L / 500 gal||378,541 L / 100,000 gal||114 L / 30 gal per package||25 L / 6.6 gal||60 L / 16 gal (30 tabs)|
|Filter Media or Active Ingredient||Hollow-core membrane microfilter||Hollow fiber||Chlorine dioxide||Iodine and Tetraglycine Hydroperiodide||Sodium dichloroisocyanurate|
|Effective Against Bacteria?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Effective Against Protozoa? (Giardia,Cryptosporidium)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes (Giardia = yes; Crypto = no)||Yes (Giardia = yes; Crypto = no)|
|Effective Against Viruses?||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Effective Against Chemicals?||No||No||No||No||No|
|Effective Against Heavy Metals?||No||No||No||No||No|
|Removes Particulates (sediment, microplastics)?||Yes||Yes||No||No||No|
|Filter Pore Size||0.2 microns||0.1 micron||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Advertised Flow Rate||3 L / min||1.7 L / min||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Dimensions||9.48 in x 4.8in x 2.67in||11 x 6 in||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Storage Capacity (L)||1 L||2 L||N/A||N/A||N/A|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Peak Squeeze is our top recommendation for a collapsible bottle filter, with options to either suck through the filter directly from a stream or fill the collapsible soft bottle and squeeze the water into your mouth. You can also remove the filter and use the bottle for storage if there is a great distance between water sources. The durable, intuitive, and versatile design, as well as the fast flow rate and simple maintenance, made this our favorite option out of all the collapsible bottle filters we’ve tested.
For this metric, we assess the quality of flavor produced by each filtration system as well as the bacteria, parasites, and protozoa the filter can remove from the water, thereby making it safe to consume. The Peak Squeeze protects against bacteria and protozoa and meets the U.S. EPA and NSF P231 drinking water standards for the removal of bacteria and parasites.
This filter excelled in the more turbid sandstone waters of the Virgin River in Zion National Park, as it also removes silt, sand, and cloudiness greater than 0.2 microns, the size of the filter. However, we did notice a need to backflush after filtering in substantially turbid water. Overall, this versatile and lightweight filter produced fresh and clean water while protecting our testers from the harm of bacteria, protozoa, and microplastics.
Durability and Maintenance
For this metric, we assess what each filter requires to remain in top performance and the durability of each component. The Peak Squeeze corrects many of our previous durability complaints with other filters that we’ve tested. The soft collapsible bottle is made of BPA-free plastic, and we experienced no rips or tears during our testing period.
Most water filters require regular backflushing to maintain optimal flow rates, and the maintenance required by the Peak Squeeze is rather straightforward. Simply disconnect the membrane microfilter from the top cap by twisting counterclockwise, attach the backflush syringe, and submerge in fresh water while using the syringe to draw water up and down the other side of the filter. LifeStraw recommends repeating as necessary, and our testers found that after a few backflushes, the filter would return to a faster flow rate.
It is also worth mentioning that LifeStraw recommends that the filter be stored in a saline solution (one teaspoon of salt in purified water enough to cover ) to keep the filter from drying out and preserve the hydrophilic properties of the membrane.
This metric is pretty straightforward as we simply time the filtration process from start to finish and record our notes. While the Peak Squeeze delivered a competitive time, it did not come close to the advertised flow rate of 3 liters per minute. In some instances, it would be difficult to even refill the collapsible bottle three times within one minute from certain shallow water sources. Our testers were more consistently recording 35 seconds to fill one liter of water, and for a lightweight, collapsible option, this time is highly competitive.
Routine maintenance is recommended if you want to maintain the optimal flow rate, especially after filtering in more turbid water sources, like peak spring runoff in the mountains, as the snow is melting at a fast rate, thereby carrying lots of dirt and silt into pristine water sources. While the Peak Squeeze can filter sand and silt, a little maintenance afterward goes a long way to speed up treatment time.
Weight and Packability
For this metric, we romped through the deserts surrounding Zion and Yosemite National Parks, assessing the overall weight and how cumbersome the filter was to pack while not in use. The Peak Squeeze did not disappoint. Weighing in at 3.8 ounces, including the filter and soft bottle, this filter is not as light as other ultralight options that we tested; however, it is worth its weight in gold due to the versatility and durability of the filtration system.
Easily fitting into the chest pocket of an ultralight trail running vest or in the side pocket of a larger backpacking pack, these few ounces aren’t enough to register when you’re moving through the mountains. While our testers love the larger size, it is also worth noting that if you are looking for a smaller option, the LifeStraw Peak Series also offers a 650ml bottle that weighs even less, at 3.2 ounces. In our opinion, carrying an extra ounce or two is worth the consistency and durability you’ll find in this lightweight and collapsible option.
Ease of Setup
For this metric, we note the ease of assembling each product out of the box and beginning the filtering process. The Peak Squeeze scores well in this category due to its no-fuss setup. We love the streamlined design, only containing a soft bottle, backflush syringe, and hollow-core membrane microfilter. If you’re planning to use this filter as a straw, where you simply place the filter in the open stream and suck water directly through the filter and into your mouth, this filter is ready to go right out of the box. If you’re planning to utilize the soft bottle provided by LifeStraw or another compatible bottle, simply remove the filter from the box, attach the compact filter to the desired bottle via a screw top, and scoop water directly from the stream before squirting it into your mouth.
Ultralight missions that took us through parts of Zion National Park and the Eastern Sierra Nevada were great testing grounds for this setup. Shallow water sources were no longer an issue, as we could simply choose which filtration method worked best on the fly, and the straightforward setup of either method didn’t come close to slowing us down on the trails.
Ease of Filtration
Out of all the soft bottle designs that we tested, the Peak Squeeze is perhaps one of the simplest and most consistent for a microfilter of its size. While it does take more effort to suck water through the straw directly from the stream rather than to fill the collapsible bottle and then squeeze water through the filter, we love the versatility that allows us to do either.
The straw or squeeze design allows for on-the-fly decision-making during long-haul backcountry adventures. The straw method is great for when your water source is too shallow to fill the soft collapsible bottle or when ample water sources abound. And the squeeze method provides a faster and easier filtering technique. The filter can also be removed from the soft bottle, allowing one liter of water storage.
The versatile performance of the Peak Squeeze is worth every penny. Peace of mind is worth the small investment for a filter that won’t let you down on backcountry missions when you need it most. Multiple filtering methods, overall durability, a competitive filtering time, and a straightforward setup are just a few of the features you’ll get. Overall we were impressed by the performance of this soft collapsible bottle filter, often alleviating some of our complaints from other similar models that we’ve previously tested, all for an affordable price.
The LifeStraw Peak Squeeze is our top recommendation for a collapsible bottle filter. LifeStraw successfully corrected our previous complaints regarding the durability and maintenance of other collapsible soft bottle filtering systems by creating an easy-to-use and reliable filter that is the epitome of versatility. The straw or squeeze options set this filter apart from the rest while also featuring a super-fast flow rate and sleek, lightweight design.
— Trish Matheny
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