The Glacial Stream Water Filter is The Easiest To Use Of All Water Filters I’ve Tested To Date!
When I first received the Glacial Stream Water Filter I was taken back by how small it is, just a little bigger than a Bic pen! It is so small, I was a little skeptical it could do as expected. However, after taking a closer look at the technology packed into this tiny water filter and contacting the manufacturer, I am very impressed!
Overall, this is a very sturdy water filter for its size. It is only 8″ long and 3/8″ in diameter. It can easily fit into a purse, breast pocket of a jacket, suitcase, small day pack, survival kit or bug out bag. This makes it ideal for traveling, especially if you are flying and can only take a few pieces of luggage with you.
Unlike the Lifestraw and other straw type water filters, the Glacial Stream water filter is very discreet. You can use it anywhere without looking like a paranoid tourist, and people will simply think you are using a straw. If you pulled out a Lifestraw water filter in a restaurant you might get a few odd looks – but not with the Glacial Stream water filter.
The Lifestraw and Survivor water filters require a fair amount of sucking to draw water through the filter. This is not the case with the Glacial Stream, it requires about half the suction of these other water filters which makes it the easiest water filter to use of all of these type of water filters I have tested. That said, do keep in mind you still have to use a fair bit of suction to draw water through the filter, but that is just the way these filter systems work – with any of these type of water filters.
76% of reviews on the Glacial Stream on Amazon rate it at 5 stars and 19% at 4 stars, which is very good overall…
View 37+ Reviews on Amazon.com
How Does The Glacial Stream Water Filter Work?
There is a lot of technology packed into this little water filter. Take a look at the images below to see the break down of all the parts. The first image shows cut-away views and the second image shows the whole inside view of the filters used in the Glacial Stream water filter.
As you can see in the above images the Glacial Stream uses 5 filters to provide safe drinking water, and even filters out many chemicals and heavy metals the LifeStraw and Survivor filters do not. The most impressive part of the design is the activated antibacterial charcoal filters that improves taste and even filters out VOC’s.
What Does The Glacial Stream Water Filter Protect You From?
The patented technology along with 3 micro filters and activated charcoal filters out 99.999 % of Bacteria, Heavy Metals, and Protozoan Parasites such as E.Coli and Giardia. Glacial Stream had their water filter tested at an independent Lab and I’ve include the test results below (source: Glacial Stream website).
INDEPENDENT LAB TEST RESULTS*
E. Coli… 99.99%
Giardia lamblia… 99.99%
Klebsiella pneumonia… 99.99%
* Subject to your particular water source. Results may vary depending on quality of water source
Glacial Stream Lab Report?
Currently there is no link on the Glacial Stream website to a Lab Report to verify the lab results noted above. I have recently contacted them asking for a link to the Lab Report that I can post here. When available, I will be sure to provide the link here.
Legal Disclaimer by Glacial Stream as posted on Amazon.com
Filtering Media Laboratory Tested and meets E.P.A and F.D.A standards. The Straws were tested accordingly to the EPA 1987 protocol microbiological water purifier testing; the results show that the Glacial Stream Water Filter Straws meet and exceed the EPA requirements of LOG 6 reduction for bacteria and LOG 3 reduction for protozoan parasites. Results may vary depending on water source.
Overall, the Glacial Stream easily exceeds the filtration capabilities of comparable water filters using a straw design and similar technologies. With 5 stage filtration including the addition of the Activated Antibacterial Charcoal filters, this water filter is ahead of many of the others currently available.
Is The Glacial Stream Durable & How Much Water Can it Filter?
Although it is not indestructible, it is not far off. You would have to be very careless with the Glacial Stream water filter to break it. You can be sure that when packed in a purse, pocket or travel bag it will not get damaged. Of course, it does have delicate parts inside so it would be in your best interests to be careful with it and store it where it will not likely get damaged. It took a fair bit of rough treatment before I could break the Glacial Stream.
How Much Water Can The Glacial Stream Process?
Glacial Stream says that their water filter can filter up to 200 gallons of water. This of course, is under ideal conditions. In my experience, if you want to be on the safe side and realistic with your expectations (with any portable water filter), cut these estimates in half.
So, play it safe and allow for 100 gallons of water. Which is more than enough for a long trip anywhere in the world. And since these filters are so small, bring 2 or 3 along for each person on any trip. Because of there small size, it would be easy to lose these on a trip – especially if it involves hiking, a safari, camping or frequent travel from one locale to another.
Glacial Stream Shelf Life & Life Expectancy
The Glacial Stream water filter comes in a sealed tube and the manufacturer claims the shelf life as indefinite provided the seal is not broken. However, plastic does breath and one would be wise to set their own reasonable shelf life on any of these types of water filters. I personally would give it a 10 year shelf life with full filtration capacity, and up to 25 years with some loss of filtration capability, mainly with the Activated Charcoal filter.
I say this because of the nature of activated charcoal filters (also called Activated Carbon Filters). These filters will absorb molecules from air and water as soon as they are exposed. With more exposure, they gradually become less effective. It is the same with respirator mask that use these types of filters, and to extend their life span, are kept in sealed containers.
Hence the need to keep these filters in the provided sealed tube until you need to start using them. Do not remove the water filter from the tube until you are ready to start using it – e.g. when you leave on a trip.
How Long Will Glacial Stream Water Filter Last Once Opened?
Provided your water sources are reasonably clean (free of sediment, algae, scale and debris), 6 months is the maximum life span. After this, the Activated Carbon Filter, as well as the other 4 filters will likely reach capacity. You will know when the filter is near expiry as it will become increasingly difficult to suck water through the straw.
Personally, I would not wait until it becomes difficult to suck water through the straw. If used daily with questionable water sources, I would grab a new one each month – or after an estimated 50 gallons of water. If I was camping and just using these in North America, where water is reasonably clean, then I would use it to it’s full capacity.
Can You Use The Glacial Stream in Freezing Temperatures?
If unopened and never used, yes! But, once water has passed through the filter it must be protected from freezing or it will be damaged. Freezing water inside the filter will expand and render the components ineffective and unsafe!
Using The Glacial Stream Water Filter?
The basic use is simple and what you would expect. Simply put it in water and suck through the straw. The first time you use the filter it will take a little extra suction to get the water flow going. (typical with all straw filters). But once started, the Glacial Stream water filters is easy to suck water through. Much easier than any other straw water filter I have used.
Storing The Glacial Stream After Use…
All straw water filters will retain a little water after use and this may leak out afterwards. If you are concerned about this, keep the water filter in the tube the Glacial Stream was shipped in as a storage container to prevent leaking in your purse, pocket or bag. If you can find a better storage container even better.
After use, briefly blow back through the filter to remove as much water as possible and if time allows, let it sit upright for 5 minutes or so before putting it away.
WORD OF CAUTION:
If you store your Glacial Stream water filter in a sealed tube after use, it is possible to contaminate the mouth piece with water that leaks inside the storage tube. It is not always possible to make sure it is as dried off completely and stored upright, so as a precaution, use silicone caps to seal off the mouth piece.
I found these caps on Amazon (click on image to view) and they are available in various sizes. They are not made for this purpose and I have not tried them yet, but they are silicone and should work. Do not use latex rubber or latex caulking gun caps as they are porous.
Alternately, you may be able to use these on both ends of the filter and find you do not need to store the filter in a tube – I will have to try this 😉
By the way, if you cap both ends, might be a good idea to buy two colors so you can use one for the mouth piece (maybe blue), and one for the intake (maybe white or clear). You wouldn’t want to put a contaminated cap on the wrong end.
How Does The Water Taste Using The Glacial Stream Water Filter?
In my testing, as with all of these straw type filters, there was a faint plastic taste when first used it. But, after about 3 – 8oz cups of water, the taste was good. Much better and faster than any other straw filter I have tested.
What the water itself will taste like will really depend on the source. Water from a lake or pond will never taste as good as a glacial fed stream in the mountains of North America.
Overall, I found the taste of water through the Glacial Stream to be the best out of all filters I have test so far. Note however, I am in North America and cannot speak for what you may find if you are in parts of Africa or Asia where water is often very polluted or bacteria laden.
Glacial Stream Water Filter Summary:
Of all the straw type water filters available, this has become my favorite. Mainly due to it’s size and capability, especially with the activated carbon filter! Sucking water though this filter is fairly easy and and you won’t look like a paranoid tourist using it in a restaurant or public area.
I couldn’t really pick fault with it except a fault that I would include for all straw type water filters; and that is the lack of a storage tube to store it after use. these type of filters all leak a little and it would sure be nice to have a water proof storage container to keep them from leaking in a purse, pocket or pack where you might keep it after use.
As far as price goes, considering what these tiny filters can do, they are a good deal for the $12 to $14 dollars they sell for (subject to where you buy them). I also hope that Glacial Stream decides to offer these in family packs at a little bit of a discount – as you are sure to order at least 6 or more once you buy the first one.
If you have used the Glacial Stream water filter please leave a comment below… especially if you have used them in locations overseas where water sources are highly questionable!