Outbound Collective logo

A must-have tool for outdoor cooking with family!

By: Stephanie Harper + Save to a List

This article is brought to you by LifeStraw.

We always find ways to get outside as a family as our kids get closer to going back to school. We like to pick an activity that's easy to do and doesn't require a lot of clean-up in a place we can return to throughout the year. This week, we decided to cook midday ramen and spend some time at one of our favorite watering holes. 

My partner James and I took our youngest family members - Poppy and Bucky - out with us. We tested our new LifeStraw Peak Series 8L + 8L Gravity Water Filter System with Safe Water Storage Bag and were super impressed by its uses and how simple it was for Poppy to use. 

Now that we have this filter, we are dreaming of new ways we can use it. We absolutely loved using the 8L Gravity System & Safe Storage Bag during our accessible getaway.

A father holds a water bladder bag while demonstrating how to use it to his daughter. They are standing in a clear stream.
Filling up the bladder right at our water source.

Ready, set, out of the box

Before we began our adventure, we packed all our essentials: food items, utensils, water bottles, a dog bowl, and some camp supplies for our outdoor kitchen spread. We usually bring a jug or plastic container with a spout for our water, but today we packed the 8L LifeStraw Peak Series Gravity System & Safe Storage Bag instead. Thanks to this convenient setup, we didn't need to bring a filter and a container.

When we got to the watering hole, we picked out a spot to set up our kitchen. James and Poppy took the Gravity System and went straight to the water to fill it up so it could begin the filtering process. From fill-up to use, it took about 15 minutes for enough water to stream down into the bladder for use. It was quick, and the perfect timing to get everything else unpacked and prepare ingredients for the ramen. 

Two blue water bladders hang from a tree to filter water.
There are two bags: one for "dirty" water and one for "clean" water.

The 8L LifeStraw Peak Series Gravity Filter & Safe Storage Bag System has two bladders, one for “dirty” water and one for “clean” water. The caps that secure each bladder are wide and easy for small hands to close. I chose a spot to hang the system behind our camp table so we could quickly access potable water. 

The tube that runs from one bladder to the next is nice and long, which gives you positioning and hanging flexibility. It also comes with a carabiner, which we used to clip onto another rope and gave our bladders even more leverage to hang lower.

A close-up of a camp table. An orange and silver stove sits on the table with a tea kettle and griddle on top. Next ot the stove there are two blue bowls with shrimp, greens, and other ingredients in them.
We hung our LifeStraw Peak Series Gravity Filter next to the table for easy access to clean water.

"So fresh and so clean"

After water had filtered down to the "clean" bladder, we filled up Bucky’s water bowl and Poppy’s water bottle. I filled up my kettle, which I used to make the hot water for our ramen. 

When Poppy tasted the water, the look on her face was unforgettable—I think she was surprised by how clean and fresh it tasted! We filled up the "dirty" bladder with about 5L of water (out of the 8L that it could hold), so we had plenty to use for cooking, water bottle fill-ups, and Bucky’s water bowl. 

The water we used came straight from an off-shoot of the Davidson River in Brevard. We knew the waterways were pretty clear there, but additional assurance from this LifeStraw filtration system that our water was clean (and safe from bacteria, sand, etc.) made our trip outside even more enjoyable.

The wide bladder mouths are perfect for kiddos to help.

A new replacement in our camp set

We will definitely use LifeStraw’s Peak Series 8L Gravity Filtration System during camping trips and small outings like we did today again in the future. The idea that we can cut out the time it takes to fill up a jug at home to bring with us is a game changer. Putting this system together was simple and straightforward without any guesswork. 

Here are some of our favorite features:

-The bladders are easy to wash because of their wide mouths. They also allow a good flow of water to enter when filling it. 

-When we carry the system to our site, it’s really convenient to flap it over your shoulder if there’s still water inside of it. (This is especially important for quick, hands-free-herding of kiddos and dogs!)

-Connecting straps and a carabiner makes hanging the filter system under a tree easy to do practically anywhere.

-Poppy navigated its functions on her own, which aligns with our self-autonomy approach as parents.

-The membrane microfilter can last up to 2,000 liters, so we will be using it on many more camping trips.

-Storing the system is a space saver. When it’s not being used, it can easily fold down or lay flat.

A curly brown dog sits in the back of a hatchback SUV. There are several packed-up camp chairs and a LifeStraw water bladder filtration system next to the dog in the trunk.
The system can easily lay flat for storage.

It's always good to have multiple options for storing and hauling a safe drinking water supply. We like how the LifeStraw Peak Series 8L Gravity Filter System is mobile, durable, and easy to use. For our family, mobility and ease of use are critical, but so are storage and clean-up. We are over the moon to have another loved addition to our ever-refined camp set.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Do you love the outdoors?

Yep, us too. That's why we send you the best local adventures, stories, and expert advice, right to your inbox.


Journey to Wyoming’s premier snowmobiling destination: Togwotee Mountain Lodge

Samuel Brockway

Hiking in comfort: a review of Danner Mountain 600 Evo boots

Meghan White

A peek through God's window

Heather Arnold

Big Bend Bound: Crafting Your 3-Day Adventure

Erin Newman-Mitchell

A golden happy hour on the California coast

Hannah Sibley