The Lifesaver Jerrycan is an all-in-one filtration and water storage system, capable of filtering 20.000 liters of water on a single filtration cartridge. It will provide you with clean and safe drinking water that's free of viruses, bacteria, cysts and other parasites. With the Lifesaver Jerrycan at hand you can venture out further than ever before. But is it as good as they say and will you really use it once on the road?
During our 2017 Europe roadtrip we relied on a clean source of water every day. We used to fill up our Front Runner jerrycan at the most random taps, which honestly was a bit of a risk. We were always on the lookout for a fresh and assumingly safe tap. Once we started planning the South-America expedition we decided to up our game and invest in a reliable and portable filtration system.
Now, with the Lifesaver Jerrycan in our arsenal, we feel much safer. With the amazing filter capabilities of this jerrycan we know our water is safe to drink, wherever we go. But is this rugged piece of gear worth the investment, will you really use it and what are the pros and cons?
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What is the Lifesaver Jerrycan?
The Lifesaver Jerrycan is an all-in-one filtration unit that provides you with safe and clean drinking water and a storage solution. It is designed to support expedition groups, adventurers, overlanders and families when venturing out. The jerrycan can hold up 18,5 liters of water and is designed to store dirty water that can be filtered whenever there is demand for it.
The jerrycan is very easy to use. Lifesaver likes to describe it as: Fill - pump - drink. A description which pretty much covers it. You simply screw out the pumping unit and fill the jerrycan with (dirty) water. Once you screw the pumping unit back in place you can start pumping it, pressurizing the entire jerrycan. So now, when you open the tap, the water starts to flow through the filter and is ready to drink.
The Lifesaver jerrycan is one of only a few that will filter out a wide range of contaminants. The main filter cartridge itself prevents bacteria, cysts, viruses and parasites from getting through. Whilst the optional carbon filter block takes out the less tasty and chemical contaminants like chlorine. This combination is golden and makes sure your water is safe and pleasant to drink. Therefore it's not only useful in the wild, but also on a campsite with chlorinated water.
To prove that the filter truly works it's tested by independent parties and complies to the strict NSF P248 standard of the US Army Public Health Center, or in layman's terms; it works very well! It filters out at least 99,9999% of bacteria (Log 6), 99,99% of viruses (Log 4) and 99,9% of cysts (Log 3). You can confidently drink the water wherever you are.
So what are the pros and cons after 6 months of fulltime use on the road, according to our experience?
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- Easy to fill by taking out the pumping unit.
- Big pro of a jerrycan in general is the fact that you can fill it up at any tap or river, which is not possible with a fixed watertank system.
- The pumping unit feels fairly stable and brings the jerrycan up to good pressure.
- It provides you with a descent flow, thus easily filling up your bottle.
- The filter, if combined with the activated carbon, also filters out unpleasant tastes.
- It's made of robust and sturdy plastic, is up to the task of overlanding and can withstand a punch or a fall on the river banks.
- No need to charge anything up with electricity, which is nice.
- We have filled it up in rivers, lakes and puddles and haven’t gotten sick. Guess it works well.
- The knob to start the water flow feels a bit wobbly. But hasn’t shown any signs of failure yet (six months of daily use).
- If you use the shower attachment (sold separately) you will probably be a bit disappointed with the pressure coming out. Especially if you also have the carbon block installed.
- The complete jerrycan and its spare filters are expensive.
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Should you buy the Lifesaver Jerrycan?
If you live (mostly) off-the-grid you definitely should! It provides you with the freedom to fill up your jerrycan wherever you want. Once you have this piece of gear it doesn’t matter where you are, as long as there is a source of water you’ll be fine.
It will provide you with more freedom than ever before. If you’re stationary for a week you don’t need to worry about bringing loads of water. We bought it to make sure our drinking water was safe, but were surprised by the freedom it provides. This will be a big gamechanger for people that are staying in one place for more than a few days. Thanks to this jerrycan we could self-isolate and go into lockdown, whilst wildcamping in a remote region of Portugal at the end of 2020. The Lifesaver provided us with safe drinking water and made it possible to stay in one place without going to the store to buy water.
If you’re the type of traveler that lives off-the-grid or goes to remote places this jerrycan should be part of your kit. There really aren't that many rugged options to provide you with safe drinking water. Most options require a dedicated fixed watersystem or electricity, or don't filter out viruses. This is one of a few that truly works for overlanders and has proven its worth time and time again. If you're not considering a fixed (and probably more expensive) water solution, than this is the portable unit you should buy in our opinion. We won't venture out without it.
If you would like to hear more about our experiences with the Lifesaver Jerrycan feel free to send us a message!
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We store the Lifesaver jerrycan inside the vehicle, preventing theft. But we also have a Front Runner jerrycan on the back of the vehicle, which we use to fill up our drinking bottles when driving. We often use the Lifesaver jerrycan to filter water from the river and use it to fill up the Front Runner jerrycan on the outside, which is more easily accessible.
It does take quite some time, but isn’t bothersome when stationary in one place. To fill up our Front Runner with the Lifesaver jerrycan it takes about one hour and some pumping action in between. That's with the carbon block installed, which reduces the water flow coming out. We often fill the Front Runner jerrycan when having a coffee and breakfast.
For the Land Rover Defender people that are reading this: it will fit in the Front Runner jerrycan holder that mounts to the side of the vehicle. But the holder needs a small adjustment to make the pumping unit of the Lifesaver fit. Pretty easy and it will work well. Only downside is that the holder doesn’t cover the filter unit of the jerrycan, so if thieves are around it's a bit of a risk.
Disclaimer: we are not sponsored by Lifesaver and have bought this product ourselves. This review is fully independent.