The problem with an article like this, with a headline like the one above, is that when I'm writing I already know that you've come here purely to see my humiliation - to watch the fool dance - and, really, everything else here that I write in the meantime is to a large degree pointless.

A big chunk of you have probably already scrolled to the bottom of the page for the video and the pics. Maybe you've even let me know how disgusting you think I am without reading what I have to say. And I get it.

But for those of you who are still here, maybe those who are hoping for some reasoning, for some justification why any presumably sane man would do such a thing, then I guess I should talk about the LifeStraw...

Credit: Life Straw

It might be the start of 2017 and your Instagram might be letting everybody know you're hitting the gym with all of the excitement of a dog going out into winter's first snow but, outside of your privileged bubble of fitness apps and post-work out selfies, the world's still a pretty grim place.

One in 10 of the world's population does not have access to clean water, and more than 315,000 children die every year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation.

The LifeStraw, previously named as a 'best invention' by Times magazine, provides a solution to the problem of unclean drinking water by enabling users to drink it safely from most contaminated sources.

Studies show that the device - which can fit into any standard pocket - is able to remove a minimum of 99.9999 percent of waterborne bacteria, making it perfect for use in on-the-ground relief for humanitarian crises. It could even provide a solution to the devastating problem of unsafe drinking water in the developing world.

Credit: Life Straw

The LifeStraw has recently been seeing an increase in purchases in Britain for reasons outside of its intended use, instead every wannabe Bear Grylls has been adding it to their 'survival kit'.

I'm going to admit that, personally, it's a bit foreign to me. The only time I sleep out in a tent is at a festival, where if you asked around the crowd you'd find the only straw in demand is a rolled up £10 note. But a quick Google search tells me that there are growing online communities of 'survivalists' training themselves for World War III.

You'd think that, in the fallout of a nuclear strike, your frame of mind would be too awry to concentrate and remember anything you planned on an Internet forum years in the past. Who, in all seriousness, would be doing anything other than screaming and shitting themselves after a bomb had blitzed their city?

But that's just me. Maybe I'm wrong. So I tried out the LifeStraw to see what it was made of.


Around this time of year the rain pours down from grey skies around LADbible HQ and mixes together the muck and leaves and tab-ends into puddles of mush - which seemed the perfect first test.

This is probably the closest my experiment got to mimicking the intended use of the straw. Although I'm not sure whether any of the water outside the office was rife with E Coli or Cholera, considering that I collected the water when I was on a Saturday shift, there's a good chance that some sesh-head had spat and/or vomited in the vicinity of the puddle the night before.

My expectations weren't good. But I shut my eyes, and hoped for the best.

Result: Surprisingly pleasant. Although there's no denying there was a slightly earthy taste to it, overall it didn't taste anything like you'd have expected if you were to drink a muddy puddle straight from the ground. In the event of a natural disaster, I think I could even deal with drinking water that tasted like this full time.


Good on chips. Good on fish. Good on pies. Good on roasts. Good on... you get my point. There's not much better than gravy mixed up thick so you can really taste it: none of that watery bollocks masquerading as gravy that you sometimes get. But there were worries here, like: would it clog up the straw?

Result: This was the point at which I came to appreciate just how good these straws were. I was expecting some residual taste of Bisto, but besides saltiness it was pretty drinkable. If a gravy granule asteroid hit earth and I wound up in some gravy-infested dystopia, I would gladly live my last days using one of the straws to drink at the gravy. Hell, life probably wouldn't seem that different.


The straw was faring better than I'd expected so I thought it was time to really put it through its paces. Realistically, no sane man would ever want to turn beer back into water. Let's remember even Jesus used his genetically acquired talents to get him and his friends on the razz - but with a couple of cheap Aldi beers hanging around the house I figured what the hell.

Result: Anyone who has had a Sunday written-off thanks to drinking one-too-many of them, will know that the taste of the four percent 'Galahad' bevvie is far from weak. Yet, after drinking it through the straw, the taste of it was barely different from tap water. I'm not sure whether the straw removed the alcohol from it, but if it didn't there was none palatable.


By this point in the experiment I'd become pretty confident of how good it was and I was wondering what extremes I could take it to. I had ticked off puddle water, gravy and beer - but none of these seemed to hit the real depths of human desperation that the straw was intended for.

Then it hit me. I drank a big bottle of still tap water and headed to the toilet. After I emerged I dodged a colleague's question about the steaming yellow bottle of piss in my hand, 'oh this, no it's nothing, just something I'm doing for an article, nothing to worry about' and headed to put the LifeStraw through it's final trial.

I'd try to describe it, but it's probably better you watch the video...

Result: It's claimed that you taste with your eyes and nose as much as you do your mouth. Nobody wants that with piss.

The LifeStraw promised me to strip down the rotten state of unfiltered urine to something akin to warm white wine. Sadly for me it failed.

After removing the bacteria, all that remained was salt water.

And if you've ever been unlucky enough to swallow a big gulp of sea at the beach, you'll have discovered that salt water is an emetic. Necking my own leak? Fuck that. I have no idea how I held it down.

After this I really had nothing to else to look forward to. I should have started with it. Returning to the office was a weird one, because I had to be professional, look people in the eye and carry on as normal. But I'd just spent my lunch break drinking piss. I had to live with that until I went to bed later that night.

So what did I learn from all this? Well, I guess the LifeStraw will prove pretty useful if President Trump decides to apply the same logic to the nuclear codes that he does to Twitter, but if you're looking to recreate the famous 'piss-to-water' scene from Castaway, you're probably going to have to look elsewhere.

James Dawson

JD here chillin' 2k17.

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