For trail runners in search of a reliable lightweight water filter, the LifeStraw Peak Series Collapsible Squeeze 650 ml Bottle with Filter ($33) is among our top recommendations. If your backcountry long run extends more than a couple hours, you’re going to need to refill your water, and with all the lightweight and portable filter options available these days, there’s no excuse to play Giardia roulette and risk an infection that could sideline you for weeks.
Members of the iRunFar team tested this filter this past spring, summer, and fall, using it on many different runs. We drank from it directly and used it to refill other bottles and bladders. We also used it as means for water purification while traveling to Thailand and Bhutan for two months.
It has an actual weight of 102 grams and will filter out more than 99.99% of bacteria, protozoa, parasites, microplastics, silt, and other tiny particles that you don’t want to drink.
We love this filter so much that we named it runner-up water filter in our Best Water Purification for Trail Running guide.
LifeStraw Peak Series Collapsible Squeeze 650 ml Bottle with Filter Features and Specifications
The LifeStraw Peak Series Collapsible Squeeze 650 ml Bottle with Filter includes a soft flask, filter, and drinking straw. The drinking straw has an attached cover that screws on to protect the mouthpiece from dust or contamination.
The entire system is about 10 inches in length and four inches in width when full and can compress into the size of your fist when empty. LifeStraw says the microfilter is able to filter up to 2,000 liters of water.
This filtration system is definitely burlier than comparable filters. The filter, which is the most delicate part of any filtration system and typically cannot withstand hard drops, is encased in a protective plastic case. The nearly-opaque soft flask also feels thicker than a typical soft flask, adding to our impression of its durability.
We’re around three quarters of a year into using the filter now, but we’d trust this soft flask to last for many more miles without developing leaks. Finally, the dust cover on the drinking straw is built for the long haul. It’s made of a thick, hard plastic and we appreciate that it screws on securely. I’ve broken the cap on a similar filter by dropping it on a ceramic tile floor, and I’m confident that this cap could withstand the impact.
Even with all these more durable materials, the system still packs down fairly small. For transport in my hydration vest when I’m not regularly drinking directly from the bottle, I like to remove the filter from the flask and roll it up to pack them together in a back pocket. Depending on your vest, the system might also fit rolled up in a front pocket for easier access.
Together, the pieces can shrink to about four inches in length and a 2.5-inch diameter — small enough to be held in a medium-sized hand.
We’ve tested the filter when filled with water and found it to fit the front soft flask/bottle pockets of a variety of hydration vests, including those made by UltrAspire, Ultimate Direction, Kailas, CamelBak, and others. It doesn’t really fit into the front bottle pockets on Salomon packs. The bottle fits perfectly into several tube-style waistbelts, too, including those from Naked, UltrAspire, Salomon, and more.
Overall, we’re impressed that LifeStraw has packed so much durability into such a lightweight and portable system.
LifeStraw Peak Series Collapsible Squeeze 650 ml Bottle with Filter Performance
In the field, the LifeStraw Peak Series Collapsible Squeeze 650 ml Bottle with Filter is super easy to deploy and operate. With the water filter removed, simply dip the soft flask into water and put the filter into the bottle. There’s a maximum fill line on the outside of the water bottle, but it’s not easy to see how much water you have since the bottle is dark and nearly opaque.
If you overfill the bottle, the extra water will be displaced when you put the filter in and spill over the edges, potentially getting your hands or clothes wet. The bottle has a harder plastic material around the top to help you hold it steady while you screw the filter in place.
From there, you can either drink directly from the mouthpiece or use it to refill your other soft flasks, bottles, or hydration bladders. The 650-milliliter capacity is more than enough to refill standard hydration vest soft flasks, which are usually 500 milliliters, and two rounds of filtration will refill most hydration bladders.
I especially liked that the filter worked quickly out of the box. Sometimes filters require a handful of uses before they allow water to flow through easily. It didn’t take much effort to squeeze the water through this filter, making my refill stops quick and efficient.
If you notice the filter slowing down, you can clean it using LifeStraw’s backwash accessory, which is included with the system. While the filter is rated for up to 2,000 liters, its lifetime will depend on the type of water you’re filtering. The lifespan will significantly decrease if you’re filtering water that is murky or silty.
We have passed a couple hundred liters through our devices so far, including backcountry water sources and tap water in foreign countries, and the filter is still moving water through it at the high speed of day one.
LifeStraw Peak Series Collapsible Squeeze 650 ml Bottle with Filter Overall Impressions
There’s a lot to love with the LifeStraw Peak Series Collapsible Squeeze 650 ml Bottle with Filter — namely, its burly-but-lightweight materials and easy packability. It functions as well as any trail runner could hope or expect, efficiently filtering water with a high flow rate through its microfilter and eliminating 99.99% of bacteria and other microbes you don’t want in your drinking water. As with most filters, this one does not remove viruses. You’d need some sort of ultraviolet or chemical treatment to get rid of those.
Although this system is lightweight and easy to transport in a hydration vest, it is not the smallest or lightest system on the market. While this system only weighs 102 grams, there are comparable products that weigh less than 60 grams. That said, I would argue that for those extra grams, you get a lot more durability. If you know you’re rough on your gear, the extra grams are probably worth it.
My main gripe with this filtration system is that unlike some comparable water filtration systems, you can’t clean this one in the field. If the filter gets clogged, you need to use the backwash syringe with clean water to clear it — and this would likely require being at home with a faucet and running water. This slightly limits this otherwise excellent water filtration system’s use on far-flung adventures or multi-day backcountry trips.
If you’d like to learn more, check out our Best Water Purification for Trail Running guide where we named it a top water filter.
Call for Comments
- Have you used this water filter? What’s your take?
- Is a highly durable system worth some extra grams?
- Do you have a favorite water filtration or purification system for trail running?
[Editor’s Note: If you’re affiliated (i.e., an employee, ambassador, etc.) with a brand, please share your relation in each of your comments on this article. Thanks!]