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Lifesaver Liberty Water Purifier Bottle Review

Water Purifier at Lake

The Lifesaver Liberty Water Purifier Bottle is an all-in-one water purifier system with a pass-through water pump that can also function as a water bottle. The unit is very simple to use, but you must take care to prime the pump before using it for the first time and it must always be stored with a half-inch of water left in the filter chamber. The system is best used for bulk water filtration or emergency preparedness because it has a high flow rate, but is heavy and awkward for personal backpacking use.

Lifesaver Liberty Water Purifier Bottle

Reliability
Weight
Treatment Capacity
Speed
Ease of Use

Good for groups

This pump purifier has an innovative pump that makes it easy to process large quantities of water but is over-engineered if you're just looking for a water purifier unit for one person.

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Specs at a Glance

  • Dry weight: 22 oz
  • Rated as a purifier. Removes:
    • Virus – 99.999%
    • Bacteria – 99.9999%
    • Cysts – 99.99%
  • Filters up to 2,000 liters
  • Flow rate: 1.2L/minute
  • Replacement filters available
  • FailSafe technology – Once the filter membranes are clogged, water can not pass through, keeping users safe
  • BPA and BPS free

The filter itself is cylindrical and about the size of a regular Nalgene water bottle. The top of the filter has a screw-off cap connected to the body of the filter with a rubber lanyard. This cap must be removed to fill up the water canister inside the filter. The bottom of the filter has a pump that screws open with a couple of twists and allows the user to pressurize the filter canister to pump water directly from a water source or to drink water straight from the drinking spout under the top cap.

The purifier unit is only compatible with wide-mouth storage containers.

The filter comes with a five-foot “scavenger hose” with a filter ball and float. The hose system is common to many other pump-based filters on the market, such as those that come standard with the MSR Guardian or the Kataydn Hiker Microfilter. The hose slides onto an intake nozzle near the bottom of the filter and right above the pump. By screwing off the top cap of the filter, the mouth of the filter bottle can screw on to the top of any threaded wide-mouth bottle.

By screwing the filter onto a Nalgene bottle, attaching the 5-foot hose and placing it into the water source, 4-5 pumps pressurize the filter and begin to siphon water into the clean water bottle. The pump works best when the canister is full of water prior to pressurizing for pumping. Once a siphon is established, a few pumps here and there is all it takes to filter water for use.

The Lifesaver will purify a bit over one liter of water per minute – that is if you have properly primed the pump and have not let the base filter membrane dry out during storage. If that’s not done, water will still flow but it will be a trickle and repeated pumps will not speed up the process, but cause the filter bottle to over-pressurize and leak. This filter is a pressure vessel and care must be taken not to over pump the canister or it will stress the system.

Priming the Pump

To prime the pump, before the first use (it only needs to be primed once after purchase), the user must do the following:

  1. Remove the top lid and fill with clean water
  2. Put the cap back on and let it sit for 5 minutes
  3. Remove the cap and pour out the water
  4. Fill again with clean water and screw on the lid
  5. Pump three times
  6. Remove the lid and turn the water flow valve on and pump out water from the filter
  7. Repeat all steps one more time and it will be ready to use
  8. Once primed, keep a ½ inch of water in the bottle at all times – if the membrane dries out, the system will shut down or water flow will be permanently slow
  9. After it is primed, it should not take more than 5 pumps to pressurize the canister and ensure a steady water flow
Personal water filter
Scooping Water from the lake is so much less efficient than using the scavenger hose

What makes this water filtration system unique is its ability to function as a scoop and drink water bottle. The canister holds up to 14 oz of water in the main chamber, and after unscrewing the top lid (with the cap covering the drinking spout), you can dip the canister into the water source, screw the lid back on, pump three times and then remove the cap, turn up the water flow value and drink clean water. If hiking or camping near plentiful water sources, this feature could eliminate the need to bring a water bottle, but a water bottle is required to filter more water than what the canister can hold if you plan to use it to cook or for anything other than a quick drink for personal hydration.

Assessment

The Liberty Lifesaver Water Bottle Purifier would not be my first choice for backpacking use.  While the pressurization and siphon action of the canister means that it can pump water at a fast rate and with less effort than a conventional backpacking water pump, the canister is bulky and awkward to carry.

The integrated water bottle feature seems more like a novelty than a virtue to me. It does not hold enough water to make it possible to eliminate the need for a second water bottle, which makes me question why you would need the built-in water bottle feature at all. I love gear that can do two jobs on the trail, but this filter does not seem to eliminate the need for an additional water container to make it effective for anything more than a quick drink.

Personal water purification
The Liberty’s core value is in bulk purification, not individual use

In a situation where weight, bulk, and extra accessories are not as important, this filter may be a good choice and will definitely be a serviceable option for ensuring clean drinking water in camp or in an emergency. I could see this filter being effective for car and RV camping, rafting or canoe trips, and emergency preparedness. The pressurized siphon action of this filter significantly reduces the need to pump continually when pumping several liters or gallons of water, which means less arm fatigue.

The fact that you need to initially prime this filter and then always store it with a half-inch of water is concerning to me. If you are like me, and you hate reading directions, you may find yourself having to purchase an expensive replacement filter right way. With so many lightweight, small volume, easy to use and affordable ways to filter water in the backcountry, I do not feel that Lifesaver has improved upon the concept with this product. It does the job for sure, and the pump canister-pressurizing feature does eliminate the need for the constant pumping required with other filters, but this product feels over-designed and more complicated than necessary.

About the Author

Erik Birkeland is an avid hiker with a backpacking problem, that is, he just can’t seem to get enough. Living in Duluth, Minnesota with the Superior Hiking Trail just outside his backdoor, daily hikes and weekend treks fill his free time while he contemplates the next big adventure. He has completed numerous backpacking trips into such diverse landscapes as Escalante, the Wind River Range, the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, the BWCA, Isle Royale National Park, and even Iceland. While he hasn’t gone the farthest, fastest, nor the ultra-lightest; he does aspire to establish as many trekking BKTs (best known times) as possible - meeting the wilderness as it is, by simply getting out there.

Disclosure: Lifesaver provided SectionHiker.com with a sample for review.

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