By: Blonde Two

Mr B2 and I are driving to the far-off land of Up North again soon. Two thirds of our children have adopted it as their second home and the other third lives in the Up North part of Devon.

Last time we went, you might remember (or you might have blocked it from your memory) that we drank some water from the rather brown looking Rochdale Canal. You will be pleased to know that we were testing a water filter at the time didn’t have any nasty after-effects.

A most exciting present from Aunty Starfire (plus the fact that we need to buy some more purification tablets) has got me thinking about water filtering again. My present was a LifeStraw which isn’t a new eco-friendly way of keeping warm in your tent, but rather a neat cylindrical object through which you can suck water straight from a river (but maybe not from a canal or bog!)

The LifeStraw (made by Vestergaard) claims to remove 99.9999% of bacteria (which would include E. coli) and 99.9% of protozoa (including Giardia and Cyptosporidium). Now I am not sure what damage 0.00001% of bacteria and 0.01% of protozoa could do; but it seemed only fair to try and find out. I have been back in Up-North this week visiting and thought that it would be a good (or very bad) opportunity to test my LifeStraw out in the jolly old Rochdale Canal.

As well as being small enough to fit in my day-sack pocket and much lighter than another two litres of water, the LifeStraw is easy to use; easy that is, if you don’t mind lying on the river bank, dangling your hair into the water and sucking very hard.

Blonde Note: Good wild camping habits such as carrying poo out or making sure that it is a long way from water courses, contribute to keeping our waterways free from nasties such as Giardia, which can be spread by humans as well as other mammals. In some countries like New Zealand, Giardia is common.