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LifeStraw or Grayl GeoPress to replace water bottles when traveling?

Anxiety about losing a trip to sitting on the toilet because your stomach didn’t like the drinking water, can get a lot of people reaching for plastic bottled water even though they’d opt for reusable bottles and tap water back home. This was a concern for your Guide as well. Into my third year now of traveling the world, I’ve tried three water filter bottles so far to ensure I can drink the tap water anywhere. This is a gamechanger for traveling more sustainably. In this article, I’ll take you through the pros and cons of the Grayl GeoPress and LifeStraw systems. 

This post contains affiliate links for the GeoPress and the LifeStraw because I’ve purchased both, use the GeoPress currently, and would get either again.

The LifeStraw Go 24oz stainless steel insulated bottle was the first system I started out with traveling full-time. It climbed up to Choquequirao with me, fit well in my backpack bottle holder, and replaced tons of plastic bottles drinking tap water around the world.

The filter lasted me around a year. But when I went to get a replacement, the store only had short versions, which is impractical for that bottle. So I gave the 24oz to family and picked up the LifeStraw Peak Series.

LifeStraw Peak Series: The Basics

Price: $43.95

  • Takes up less packing space when empty. You can roll it up! 
  • Holds more water: 33oz (1L) vs 24oz (700mL) in the LifeStraw Go
  • Filters bacteria, parasites, microplastics, silt, and sand

The LifeStraw Peak Series is a collapsible squeeze bottle that works well for minimalist travelers and hikers. But there’s a key drawback if you’re hiking with it: you can’t put anything hot in it. Whereas the LifeStraw Go (with the straw removed) can double as a soup bowl.

But a key drawback of the LifeStraw is... the straw

On my travels, the LifeStraw filter was perfect for drinking clean water straight. But the only way to get the water out is by sucking on the straw. So that doesn’t work well for protein shakes unless you mix the protein shake in your mouth. And you can’t pour water for somebody else unless you want their lips all over your straw (no pun intended). For that reason, I switched to the Grayl GeoPress system…

The GeoPress fits in the bottleholder of my Timbuk2 backpack, but it just barely fits. I was impressed with the sturdiness of the Timbuk2. It looked like the GeoPress was really testing its limits. But that bottleholder pouch has held up well with the GeoPress shoved in there.

Grayl GeoPress: The Basics

Price: $99.95
Key Features:

  • Filters viruses, bacteria, protozoan cysts, pesticides, chemicals, and heavy metals
  • Purifies 24 oz in 8 seconds
  • Replaceable purifier cartridge good for 65 gallons

The Grayl GeoPress offers a comprehensive filtration system, capable of removing not just bacteria and parasites but also viruses and chemicals. It’s a bit on the pricier side but it’s quick and thorough purification. The GeoPress is basically an inner and outer bottle, with the inner bottle having the filter on the bottom. That does make the GeoPress bulkier than the LifeStraw Go, despite no increased water capacity. 

How the GeoPress works:

You fill the outer bottle with water, then press down the inner bottle and it fills up with the filtered water. The advantage over the LifeStraw is that I can pour the water out of the inner bottle and use it in anything.

There’s something you should know about this filtering process, though…

The GeoPress drawback: A Test of Strength

The GeoPress boasts a OnePress™ Global Protection system, but if you want to do it in ‘one press’, make sure you’ve been eating your lentils. The filter requires a significant amount of strength to push down. This could pose a challenge for travelers who may not have the same level of physical strength as me or your mom.

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