For 5 months, we travelled through Central Asia on vintage motorbikes, starting from New Delhi and heading back to Brussels, our hometown. We wanted to experience adventure away from the beaten path and make authentic encounter with the local population. Such a journey need careful preparation and a quest for the right equipment. When looking for solutions for drinkable water, we were fortunate enough to be supported by LifeStraw.
We did travel extensively before this trip, mostly in touristic areas and sometimes hiking in the nature. We did manage to find ways to get water in most of these areas, either by buying bottled water in small shops or using pills to threat the water chemically (and waiting for the it to be effective). We were curious to try a filter for the first time and this review relate our experience.
In a sentence, the LifeStraw filters were the most underrated items in our luggage’s when we left for India. We didn’t know that our LifeStraw Go would be our best companions for the whole trip.
There are two things travelers should pay attention to when travelling:
Filthy water and plastic bottles.
First, be aware that in remote or poor countries, the quality of the water you find in nature might probably not be suitable for drinking. You can try, of course, but you might deeply regret it. Even in huge cities like New Delhi, you are better not to trust any small street shops selling water in plastic bottles, even if they look like they are closed. You can’t trust somebody selling you a supposedly closed plastic water bottle. Most of the time they fill it from the sink and reseal the bottle to make higher margins.
At first, you don’t get it, or don’t believe it. Then comes the nausea and the diarrhea…and you start to understand that this was no joke and you must be careful if you don’t want to spend half of your trip on the toilet.
If you are in the city and can find comfort nearby then you might accommodate to it but as soon as you leave for the unknown, trust us, it is not recommended to have digestion issues… especially while riding a motorcycle!
The second reason why water is source of trouble is that, if you can’t drink it from natural sources, you must carry it yourself. And when the sun is hitting 40°C, you better have a few liters with you all the time! That makes a lot of weight to carry and a lot of garbage to throw away. This is not comfortable, nor ecological…
This is where LifeStraw, a portable water filtering solution, came into the trip. It would enable us to drink water basically from anywhere and with the assurance that we would not have any consequences on our immune system.
We used three different LifeStraw products on our trip across Asia and Europe:
The LifeStraw Steel, a metallic straw which enables you drink directly from the water source. It is light, super strong, and small So you can attach it almost anywhere on your bags or even in your pockets.
The LifeStraw Go, the bigger version from the LifeStraw Steel. It is basically a bottle with a threaded cap and the filter inside. It fills up to 650ml of water so you always have a little spare water with you. For this adventure, we made custom supports for the LifeStraw Go on the bike itself, so we could drink easily while riding the bike which was super convenient. You can attach it to your backpack or even your belt. It has really become an all-time companion for us.
The LifeStraw Mission, it is the biggest volume from the LifeStraw products we tried. It has a 12 liter bag to filter from and a purifier for viruses. It is particularly convenient when camping. The water stays in the bag, suspended on a tree or whatever high stuff you can attach it to, and slowly filters the twelve litters of water while you set up camp.
Why would we need to use LifeStraw in Central Asia?
Traveling in Central Asia, fresh water is always available. The rivers crafted the landscape and still flow in the valleys, everywhere. Using a custom-made rack for the bottle on our bikes, the Go was always accessible, enabling us to refill it even when we were standing on the bikes.
Motorcycling in hot climate, having a constant access to pure water is of prime importance. We were worried we wouldn’t feel thirsty until too late, worried by many other issues on the road. Thanks to the LifeStraw, we didn’t have to wait hours for a pill to be effective or to wait for the next village to buy bottled water. The water from LifeStraw is directly filtered, keeping its freshness. Nothing is better than the feeling of drinking icy water from a waterfall that’s along the road.
Using the LifeStraw, we forgot about all the issues that the common traveler would face when looking for water. A great example of this was when we saw teams of travelers from the “Mongol Rallye” in Murghab, a remote village in Tajikistan. They were lining up in front of the only shop of the village to buy large supplies of bottled water, to stock them until the next shop which was a very long distance. What a pain this is, when the water is expensive and it will be hot in a few hours. We were so accustomed to using LifeStraw all the time that we totally forgot what it was like travelling without one.
Last but not least, using a LifeStraw will considerably reduce your ecological footprint. Garbage collection is less than optimal in Central Asia, let alone PET bottles recycling. Few things are more devastating that seeing a beautiful panorama ruined by empty plastic bottles lying around. With LifeStraw, no plastic bottles are used, just a VERY durable flask that can sustain many abuses. Our LifeStraw Go had fallen from several stories high, fallen from our bikes at 70 kph… and not a single leak could be found in over 5 months of daily use!
Not only did the LifeStraw products save us a lot of money, they also help us dramatically reduce our ecological footprint.
Our only recommendation? Be ashamed to have ever traveled without one. The LifeStraw Go is perfect for every occasion, the Steel for when you want a robust and light filter, and the Mission when you go camping and need large amount of water for cooking and drinking.
There is only one way to show you the beauty of Central Asia and it is through this video