I took the LIFESAVER bottle on a Scout Night Hike, a short journey along a six-mile section of the Essex Way.Initially, I thought that the LIFESAVER bottle looked quite bulky and has clearly been built to take a few knocks and was more reminiscent of thermos flask than a drinks bottle – actually all it needed was the screw-on lid that would double up as a cup. I was concerned that the bottle would be too large for the day sack that I was intending to take with me and was more than a little worried about the additional weight this bottle would add to my kit.To my surprise, the bottle fitted comfortably into the side pocket of my day sack, making the bottle easily accessible. Despite the rugged design, the bottle was lightweight and, knowing that it had been raining for the past few days and that I had the full intention of filling up the bottle en-route, I had the unexpected luxury of not having to carry water with me from the start of the walk.Obviously, the rather unique nature of the LIFESAVER bottle was of great fascination to both my scouts and leaders alike. They were keen that I test the bottle to its extremes and so, a mile into the journey, they found a gloriously muddy, slurry-filled, roadside puddle so that I could fill the bottle.With cold fingers the base of the unit was still simple enough to unscrew and, after making sure that the top was securely closed, the bottle was dunked into the puddle. I screwed on the base back on, gave the bottle a quick shake to remove any excess water and pumped the bottle a few times. I may have been a little over-zealous since when I popped open the lid, and pulled out the teat; the water sprang out far too quickly to drink from. However, it did demonstrate that the water was clear and I was soon able to take a drink once the flow eased.
Once the scouts, leaders and I got over this remarkable ‘magic trick’ we continued the rest of the journey continuously pointing out lakes, streams, ponds and more puddles that could be used to fill up the bottle. In fact, I was over the moon to see the scouts honing their map-reading skills to identify water-ways that were close by.The scout motto is ‘be prepared’ and whilst the LIFESAVER bottle might seem a bit much for a six mile hike, it performed to the letter. I might have been in no real danger of dehydration but I could have easily caught all manner of nasty diseases from that muddy puddle. I’m glad to say I didn’t. I would feel comfortable providing a bottle to a group of scouts, confident that they would be able to operate the bottle and drink clean, filtered water.In the past I have used a mixture of iodine and neutralizing tablets but I can quickly see the LIFESAVER bottle becoming a standard part of my kit and I look forward to an opportunity to try it out again.
Mark G, Essex