Finding your go-to travel essentials can be difficult, whether it’s the perfect neck pillow, shoes or backpack. However, if your packing list includes a normal water bottle, we’ve found a better option that you’ll want to take on every trip from now on.
We all know that staying hydrated on a flight is one of the most important things you can do for your body — and to help you fend off jet lag. Not to mention, staying hydrated is easier with a good travel bottle. We got our hands on the LifeStraw Peak Series Collapsible Squeeze Water Bottle, and it’s an absolute must-have for any traveler or camper.
This water bottle is so versatile we think every traveler and camper should have it. It boasts a built-in filter, so you can fill it up and drink water from basically anywhere, whether it’s a river or a bathroom sink. And since it’s collapsible, you can always find space to bring it along.
What we liked about it
The LifeStraw Peak Series Collapsible Squeeze Water Bottle is the most versatile bottle we’ve ever used. We’ve tested tons of water bottles over the years, but thanks to this bottle’s collapsible design and built-in filter, this is our new go-to for any sort of adventure.
The LifeStraw Collapsible Bottle’s top-notch filter really makes it stand out from other water bottles we’ve tested. You can refill almost anywhere, thanks to LifeStraw’s membrane technology, which the company says removes 99.999999% of bacteria, 99.999% of parasites and 99.999% of microplastics, silt, sand and cloudiness. With the LifeStraw bottle, you can feel comfortable drinking from a lake if you’re on a multi-day backpacking trip, or even from an airport sink if you’re in a different country and don’t know if you should trust the tap. This way, you won’t have to buy single-use plastic bottles when you’re abroad, making the LifeStraw bottle a more sustainable pick too.
We tested the LifeStraw bottle’s filtering ability ourselves and were seriously impressed. While we didn’t put the filtered water under a microscope to look for parasites, the dirt-filled water we put into the bottle came out crystal clear. A head’s up to anyone who’s sensitive to taste: The water that came out of the bottle did have a little bit of a lingering flavor from the dirt, but it wasn’t so strong that we wouldn’t drink the water.
On top of the bottle’s filtering capability, we absolutely love its collapsible design. It folds down to about the size of an average hand, meaning you can easily stash it in any travel backpack and take it on the go. The collapsible build also means that you can squeeze water out of the bottle, allowing you to refill other water bottles with clean water from the LifeStraw’s filter.
On top of its fantastic features, the LifeStraw Collapsible Bottle is also super durable. It survived our drop tests without a scratch, and the material for the bottle itself is thick and tough. The only part of the bottle we could see breaking is the cap. That being said, it would take a pretty big impact to crack the hard plastic.
What we didn’t like about it
The ability of this bottle to collapse gives it the versatility that we absolutely love, but the bottle has basically no structure, so its size and shape are as fluid as the water inside of it. That means it can’t stand up on your desk throughout the workday, and it’s slightly harder to hold on to than a traditional plastic or metal water bottle.
Because the bottle doesn’t have any sort of structure, we wish it had a larger loop on its cap to make it easier to carry. It does have two small loops on the cap, but only one of them is big enough to put your finger through, and the other is meant for a carabiner so you can clip it to a backpack.
Another factor to consider with this bottle is its flow rate. It actually has quite a high flow rate compared to other water filters, but you won’t be able to drink as fast as a traditional water bottle. Squeezing the bottle helps you drink faster, and during our testing, the flow rate wasn’t a big issue. But if you’re someone who prioritizes the ability to chug water fast, you may want to consider a non-filter bottle.
Lastly, cleaning and maintaining the water bottle’s filter can be a bit of a pain. Although it’s not dishwasher-safe, cleaning the actual bottle was easy with a dish brush. But if you’re not going to use the filter for more than one month, LifeStraw recommends storing it in a saline solution. This helps keep the filter membrane at its highest performance but requires some extra work. And if the bottle’s flow rate starts getting slower, you’ll probably have to backwash it, though a syringe is included for this purpose. All in all, the LifeStraw Collapsible Bottle requires some extra care in order for top performance.
How it compares to other bottles
The other bottles we’ve tested have largely featured double-wall insulation, which means they can keep your beverage — be it water, coffee, tea or whatever else — piping hot or ice cold. The LifeStraw Collapsible Bottle can’t do that, but we think its collapsible build and filtering ability make it better for travelers who want to stay hydrated more than they need to carry hot drinks. If you’re looking for a water bottle to sit on your desk all day, check out one of our favorites like the Yeti Rambler or the Healthy Human Stein. But if you’re traveling internationally or camping and want clean water, the LifeStraw is your best bet.
There are other collapsible bottles and rigid bottles with filters, but we really think the combination of a collapsible bottle with a filter makes for the ideal travel bottle. There aren’t a whole lot of bottles that have both these features like the LifeStraw, but the Katadyn BeFree is similar and a popular option with backpackers. You’ll most likely run into a lot of other basic water filters like the Sawyer Squeeze, which comes with a fill pouch and an adapter to screw onto most plastic bottles that you can buy. We’ve used the Sawyer Squeeze, and while it makes filtering water easy, both the bag and the filter itself weren’t very durable. If you want a filter that can screw on to single-use plastic bottles, the Katadyn BeFree or the LifeStraw Peak Series Straw are both good options.
If you’ve ever gone on a trip and ended up buying plastic water bottles because you were scared of the tap water or wanted to go on a long hike but didn’t want to carry all your water and weigh down your bag, you should seriously consider the LifeStraw Peak Series Collapsible Squeeze Water Bottle. It comes in two colors (blue and gray) and two sizes (650 milliliters and 1 liter) to match your needs, and it’s truly the most versatile bottle we’ve ever used.
If you’re OK with a slower flow rate and a bit more upkeep than a traditional water bottle, we think you’ll love the LifeStraw Collapsible Bottle and end up taking it on every adventure.
Looking for a travel credit card? Find out which cards CNN Underscored chose as our best travel credit cards of 2022.