NEW YORK

DM

It’s the bane of every hiker’s life: what to do when you run out of water.

Is it safe to drink from the nearby stream? Would you risk sipping from that pond over there? Is your level of thirst greater than your willingness to spend the next four days doubled over in the bathroom? Why didn’t I just pack my Brita water filter?

But now there’s an answer: a straw-shaped portable water filter that enables you to drink safely from any body of water - even from a puddle. Or, in fact, from a toilet.

Now available to buy online via Firebox, the 22cm-long LifeStraw was originally developed by Danish manufacturers in 2005 as a solution to the devastating problem of unsafe drinking water in the Third World, where one child dies every 15 seconds as a result of drinking dirty water.

That year it was named Best Invention of 2005 by Time Magazine and Invention of the Century by Gizmag, and in 2006 it was heralded by the New York Times as ‘a water purifier that could save lives’. Forbes Magazine called it ‘one of the ten things that will change the way we live’.

The straw’s powerful purification pipe removes 99.9999 per cent of water-borne bacteria plus many other parasites, including E-coli, campylobacter, vibrio cholerae, pseudomonas aeruginosa, shigella and salmonella.

And it will safely filter at least 1000 litres of water. (There are only about 13 in your toilet cistern, so plenty to go around.)