Having plenty of clean water on the trail with you is absolutely essential, and for the past few months, I have been using the LIFESAVER Jerrycan 20000UF Water Purifier. This jerry can has built-in filtration and a pump, and I am going to share some pros and cons so that you can decide if this is a jerrycan you want to take on your next adventure.
Since this equipment is part of the Recon Gear Series, I am also going to give it a Recon Gear Score based on practicality, quality, and price, which should hopefully help you make a decision on whether or not it’s the right product for you.
LIFESAVER is a company that makes water and filtration systems, and this is only one variety of their jerry cans. Now, I think this jerry can has a lot of cool features that are worth talking about. To start off, this is a 4.9 gallon can that has some very durable walls, which I’ve been very impressed with. I’ve thrown this around the back of the truck, and while the plastic does have some little abrasions, it’s held up really well. (Well, except for one little thing that I’ll talk about later.)
What I do like about the can’s design is that it’s got these indentations on its exterior surface that can be used with straps to secure it in place. I was actually making use of them to put some straps on to hold it against the truck bed. It even has holes in the center that could allow for you to pull rope through and mount it that way.
On top, it has is a very sturdy handle, and then there are two ports on each side of the handle. The port to the front is the pump and is the larger of the two, which means this is the side you would fill up with water. Now, the cool thing about this is that it’s got a filtration system which we’ll talk about, so you could put in clean (or, not so clean) water and you’re going to be okay. It has a pump system which just screws right in (it’s also your lid) and then you can unscrew the cap, which allows you to start pressurizing. The good thing here is that it doesn’t take a whole lot to pressurize and once it’s ready, you just screw the cap right back on.
Once the system is pressurized, you’ll be able to use the other port, which is the water tap. You can press on the tap to release the pressurized water or you can press and turn to allow for a continuous flow of water from the jerry can until you undo this. If you unscrew and remove the water tap, the first thing you’ll notice when you take it off is a little carbon filter inside the cap, which helps clean out the chlorine, get rid of odors and bad taste, and the best part is that it’s replaceable—there are some discs that you can simply swap in and out.
Underneath the water tap cap, you’ll notice a pretty massive filtration system that you can pull out of the jerrycan. LIFESAVER claims that this will filter out 99.9% of bacteria, viruses, and microbial cysts, so you know the water you’re drinking is going to be clean and safe. This means, if you wanted, you could run down to the river, fill it up, and have some clean filtered drinking water.
You may be wondering what the “20000UF” in the name stands for. What it means is that this jerry can is supposed to be able to filter up to 20,000 liters (or 5300 gallons) of water before you have to replace the system. I think that’s a great solution.
Going back to the water tap, I’ll now bring up my first issue. Surrounding the water tap on three sides is plastic that provides some protection for the slightly protruding spigot—as long as the spigot is facing one of those three protected sides. However, one thing that I had a challenge with was when I put the jerry can in the back of the truck, with the spigot facing the unprotected side, along with some of my other gear that was not secured the way it should have been (100% my fault), causing the spigot to break off. Sadly, because the spigot was busted, I was not able to plug in the shower system.
The shower system is actually super nice and works really well, both for showering and washing dishes. Thankfully LIFESAVER sells replacement parts—spigots, taps, pumps, filters, even new hoses. Buying the new tap ended up costing me about $19, so that worked out in the end and I have not had any other problems so far, I’ll just need to be more mindful when I’m packing my stuff for future adventures.
When I’m at camp, I’ll typically set the jerry can on its side so that the water tap is easily accessible—say, if I wanted to wash my hands really quick. I also keep a bucket underneath it when I’m washing dishes, to collect that excess water so it doesn’t splatter. The truth is I don’t use the hose all that often. Most of the time, I just use the water straight from the tap.
My Overall Thoughts
I’ve used several different water systems over the years, even as basic as just going to the grocery store and picking up a bunch of one-gallon jugs and taking those with me for trips lasting multiple days—arguably not the best way to do it. I’ve also used the Rotopax jerry cans, which are nice but they don’t have a filtration system or a pump, which means you have to make sure you are only putting in clean water every time. I even used a water port system, which was a nice little system that was actually pretty similar to the LIFESAVER jerrycan, but it didn’t have the filtration like this one does.
Overall, I think this is a nice, all-encompassing solution. Plus, it has multiple purposes—drinking, washing dishes, and taking a shower. It’s great to have when you’re out on an adventure, but what if you’re in an emergency preparedness situation? I mean, in Southern California we’ve had some pretty big fires and if, for some reason, I had to bail out, I’m taking this jerry can with me because I know that wherever I go, if I get near water I can filter it to make sure that my family and I have clean drinking water.
If you decide this jerry can is right for you, there is an Amazon affiliate link below that you can use to purchase it or you can also find it on the TrailRecon Amazon shop (disclosure: I make a small commission from purchases made through links in this post).
Recon Gear Score
Practicality: This jerry can is extremely practical because water is a basic requirement and this offers a way to store, filter, and dispense it, all in one package. Plus, it comes in a jerry can container, making it adaptable to many storage systems already in existence, unlike other water systems that have unique shapes and sizes. Having pressurized water really is a luxury that isn’t a necessity, but sure is nice. When it comes to a piece of gear that provides clean drinking water and a system to wash your dishes, your hands, and shower with, whether it be on a camping adventure or in an emergency situation, it really doesn’t get more practical than this. Considering all this, I’m giving it a score of 10 for practicality. – Score: 10/10
Quality: The quality of this jerrycan is good, but the plastic (only three months old) is seeing some signs of wear-and-tear, making me worried about how this jerry can will hold up after two years of being beaten up pretty good. The breaking of the water tap was my fault and it was easily replaced, so I’m not too concerned about that. The only other issue I have is that in my experience with manual plastic hand pumps, they do eventually fail. This one seems pretty stout, but time will tell how long it lasts. For all these reasons, I’m giving it a score of 7 for quality. – Score: 7/10
Price: This one is kind of tough. You could buy a standard jerry can, pick up an external hand pump and a filter, all for under $100. But those components may not work seamlessly together like this does. So, there is definitely some convenience in paying for a product that’s all in one. $299 is still a little steep for a water can, but this is a good piece of gear. I would probably buy it again and, in my opinion, it is worth a little extra expense, so I’m giving it a score of a 6 for price. – Score: 6/10
Final Score: I think this is a pretty good piece of gear—having everything all in one package is a nice convenience. There are a lot of other good water systems out there, but I think I’ll keep using this one for a little while longer. – Recon Gear Score: 23/30
Get the Lifesaver Jerrycan 20000UF Water Purifier at the TrailRecon Amazon Store