Portable filtration is a brilliant thing. Enabling users to filter water from almost any source, out in the field, on location, quickly and conveniently, they present one of the most useful pieces of equipment imaginable for survivalists, outdoors enthusiasts, those living in rural locations, or anyone who wants the peace of mind of knowing they can always purify their own water.
We have previously taken a look at some smaller portable water filters such as the LifeStraw Go Bottle, (read our review of LifeStraw Go here) which do tend to be more what people might typically imagine when they hear the word “portable.” In contrast to those slim designs, the LIFESAVER Expedition Jerrycan Water Filter is a beast. With a 5 gallon capacity, it can be a serious work out to haul around – but in the right circumstances, it can live up to its name as a life saver both literally and metaphorically.
Testing out the LIFESAVER Jerrycan Water Filter
The LIFESAVER Jerrycan is a 5-gallon metal can with handle in the classic jerrycan style. Equipped with a LIFESAVER microbiological filter, the filter is capable of removing 99.99% of viruses, 99.9999% of bacteria, and 99.9% of cysts, allowing otherwise undrinkable water to be rendered potable. An activated carbon filter further purifies the water to remove taste and odor, making the water not only drinkable but actually pleasant to drink.
Relying on pneumatic pressure to pass water through the filter, the LIFESAVER Expedition Jerrycan is equipped with an air pump handle to create pressure within the can. After a few pumps, you simply release the spout on the front to let filtered water flow out from the jerrycan. This clever design not only makes the jerrycan simple to use, but also allows the water to pass with greater pressure through the filter, providing better filtration. Unfortunately, as cool as the design is, it does suffer from a very low flow-rate, meaning it takes awhile to fill anything up.
The appeal of high-quality portable filters like the LIFESAVER is their ability to take almost any water source – no matter how stagnant or nasty – and render it drinkable. This increase of access to water resources is the key draw of these products, and out of necessity such products must be equipped with a high quality filter.
In this regard the LIFESAVER filter jerrycan performs admirably. Filtering out microbiological contaminants to the National Sanitation Foundation and Environmental Protection Agency standards, the LIFESAVER filter is more than adequate for tackling almost all water-borne parasites, bacteria, and disease-causing agents. It is not suitable to handle certain types of chemical contamination, so it should not be used in events of a chemical contamination of water resources. The filter also has a pretty impressive lifetime up to 5,283 gallons before requiring a replacement filter to be installed. Equipped with LIFESAVER’s FAILSAFE technology, the filter requires more pumps to be used as its lifetime goes on. When filter lifetime is exhausted completely, water will no longer flow through the filter, indicating that a replacement is required immediately.
Of course, you shouldn’t take our word or the manufacturer’s word for the quality of the filtration. Fortunately LIFESAVER products have been tested by Biological Consulting Services of North Florida, an independant laboratory concerned. In their “Biological Filtration Efficacy” study, the LIFESAVER Jerrycan was found to meet an exceed National Sanitation Foundation standards for microbial filtration. Read the full report.
The huge capacity of the LIFESAVER Jerrycan, a whopping 5 gallons, lends itself well to a piece of camping equipment for a large party to account for the whole groups water needs. Or these jerrycans might find themselves at home in the back of trucks or the trunks of cars, as an emergency utility or a practical way of always having a supply of filtered water on hand.
With the design of the LIFESAVER Jerrycan, dirty water is carried in the can itself. No filtered water is actually stored – filtered water is only available when flowing from the filter spout. Empty, the jerrycan weighs about 8.5 pounds. Add the weight of a full 5 gallons of water and you have a whopping nearly 50 pounds of weight with a full load. Of course, you can fill the jerrycan up to your desired level for optimal transporting comfort. It is always nice to know you have the extra capacity – although if you are never using the supersized capacity to its limit, the rather bulky jerrycan and its large footprint might seem a bit unnecessary.
The Benefits of Going Big
If your goal is to just have something which will work as a portable filter to render whatever puddle you find more or less drinkable, a simple personal LifeStraw will do the trick much, much more cheaply, lightly, and simply than this bulking behemoth of a jerrycan. However, there are benefits to being big, and among them is the huge utility the jerrycan affords. While the emphasis on its ability to make tainted water drinkable is extremely important, the capacity of the jerrycan affords its users the ability to take advantage of water’s many other uses besides drinking.
Because the LIFESAVER Jerrycan relies on pneumatic pressure which you pump up, it can be equipped with the incredibly useful LIFESAVER Jerrycan Shower Attachment. Suddenly, this jerrycan becomes a portable shower, sink, and more. Purifying water enough to drink and cook with, the water is also more than suitable for bathing, washing dishes, and whatever other purpose you can put it towards.
Ideal for Campsites, RVs, Remote Locations and More
There are a ton of situations where I could foresee myself being incredibly thankful for the presence of a LIFESAVER Jerrycan. While hopefully for most of us it is something that will never be necessary to use, it is undeniably a brilliant invention which could save many lives in the right (or wrong) circumstances. Built to stand up to the trials of the wilderness and the ruggedness of survival situations, the LIFESAVER Jerrycan has top notch construction and a sturdy, built-to-last feel when in use.
If I ever own an RV, build a campsite or a cabin in the woods, put together a ramshackle fishing shack in the midst of nowhere – I’d want a few LIFESAVER Filtering Jerrycans around, for just in case. The peace of mind such a device provides is immense, letting you know that not only do you have a way to get clean drinking water but also a source of clean running water for washing or other uses is immensely helpful. Topping it all off the jerrycan provides a world-class manner of storing water for long term and in large enough quantity to make a difference for days on end.
We are pretty big fans of the LIFESAVER Jerrycan Water Filter. While the price tag is quite steep at nearly $300 on Amazon, for a piece of high quality, durable survival equipment it is not an unreasonable price tag. In terms of design and construction the jerrycan gets high marks, although we definitely criticize the low flow rate as it can certainly test one’s patience, especially when thirsty.
Ultimately the LIFESAVER Jerrycan is more or less in a class of its own, so it is in some ways hard to judge. However, it is an admirable product performing exactly as advertised, and we award it 5/5 stars.
See the LIFESAVER Expedition Jerrycan Water Filter In Action!
Check out this YouTube video demonstrating the LIFESAVER Jerrycan being used remote Kitale, Kenya to purify well water for a village of locals!
Provides up to 5 Gallons of filtered water
Hose Attachment Enhances Versatility
Heavy & Bulky
- Editor Rating
- Rated 5 stars
- LIFESAVER Expedition Jerrycan Water Filter
- Reviewed by:
- Published on:
- Last modified:
The LIFESAVER Expedition Jerrycan Water Filter is a portable solution to providing up to 5 gallons of water purified with LIFESAVER filtration technology anywhere you can carry it.
Jacob Hatch is the author and founder of Hydration Anywhere. He has been actively writing about drinking water since 2013. These days Jacob spends most of his time investigating water related news, studying environmental issues, reading health studies, and reviewing products like water bottles and water filters.