SteriPEN which one?

11:31 a.m. on November 18, 2011 (EST)
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I'm looking at picking up a SteriPEN of off EBay for my up coming trip to Thailand. Which model(s) would you pick and why, and or which one(s) would you shy away from.

Their's the Adventure, Adventure Opti?, Sidewinder hand crank model new and expensive, Light pen, Journey LCD, Freedom, Traveler, Classic, Solar charger option (again expensive), Protector. And then there are the accessories that would make using the SteriPen much easier, safer, more rewarding experience. What are your experiences with and or all of these? I'm at the moment planning on taking either a First Need Purifier or a much heavier PUR Explorer and some Micropur MP1 Purification Tablets(or a comparable product). The list of what I'm taking is ever changing based on many things including weight. However the SteriPEN seems like an item that would fit in very nice in instances where I don't actually need a full purifier. As I have so much info to go over and things to take care of it would take far to much time to try and figure out all the differences as well as the Pros and Cons regarding the different models involved here. I wanted to stay away from batteries but there is only so much one can do. The Sidewinder is large and expensive. The solar option is expensive. What do you think? I've read previous posts regarding the SteriPEN and have heard that it is some what touchy and I and on having other options as stated above. Whaddya think?

 

11:46 a.m. on November 18, 2011 (EST)
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I have the adventurer, its a love hate relationship. It has failed me in the field before. When it works its awesome. Many of the original and older model steripens are quirky and can fail or otherwise be a royal pita at times.

However, the new series the Opti ones are lightyears ahead of the older models. If your going to get a steripen buy the Opti, i would probably recommend the adventurer opti. I have yet to see, or otherwise hear about a failure with the Opti's. They changed around the sensor, which is what was causing most of the failures in the other models. The Opti is far worth the price.

I picked up my original adventurer off of steep and cheap for like 35$ a while back and I am glad I only paid that for it. If I would have paid original retail i would have been furious. Always carry a spare set of batteries and some alcohol prep pads to clean the sensors if needed. Oh, and commit the instructions/manual to memory or bring it with you, there are alot of ways to fix problems in the field or identify what the problem is if you have the manual. Most errors show up as a code of flashing lights.

12:30 p.m. on November 18, 2011 (EST)
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I have the SteriPEN Classic and have not yet used it. It got 25 5 star reviews on Amazon and particularly one from use in Nepal, which won me over.  You can read the reviews here.

 

4:32 p.m. on November 18, 2011 (EST)
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Rambler mentions having had failures with the Adventure. The Adventure works by having the two electrodes immersed in the water. There have been many "failures" because people unknowingly do not get both electrodes into the water or partially lift one electrode out while stirring, or when the batteries are getting low. I have had an Adventure for many years now, and never had a failure (except running out of battery). That's what I used on Kilimanjaro, and what the local guides use on the mountain. I also have the solar charger. The charger is a bit slow (what do you expect from such a small panel?), but does work to charge the batteries in 5-6 hours if you are carrying it on top of your pack in the sun on a sunny day. My other alternative is to plug the charger pack into my large foldable solar panel, in which case it takes about 2 hours. Be sure you get the rechargeable RCR123A batteries.

The Adventure Opti replaces the metal electrodes with an LED-sensor combination that reduces the electrode error possibility. I keep intending to get one, but since I haven't had the problem, keep putting it off. It will use the same solar charger case.

The SteriPen does purify the water, since it kills or inactivates all the critters (read my 4-part water review). People seem to be continuously misunderstanding what the terminology means (I repeated it in another thread recently.)

What you want for drinking is for the water to be potable. Filters in general will make the water potable by filtering out protozoa, bacteria, and (for the filters with pore-size smaller than 2 microns) some viruses, plus some of the particulates that make the water turbid. Some filters add an iodine resin matrix to kill viruses. Boiling (actually raising the water to 155 deg, pasteurization temperature, is sufficient) will kill most critters, except for some encysted protozoa and bacteria. Halogens (iodine, chlorine, and chlorine dioxide tablets) will also kill or inactivate most critters, but require a minimum of 30 minutes and in some conditions over 4 hours to work, depending on the halogen, water temperature, turbidity, and pH of the water. Ultraviolet radiation, such as Steripen and solar exposure, will also make the water potable and potentially sterile. None of these will remove industrial, mining, or agricultural runoff, which means you may have pesticides, ferilizer, or heavy metals still in the water.

Purification is a higher level of removal of critters, turbidity, and chemical contaminants. Despite the statements made in the ads, backpacking filters, halogen pills, and boiling do not purify water in the technical definition of the term.

Sterilization means a level needed for surgical procedures. You are unlikely to need to go to this level, which is extremely difficult in the field.

5:25 p.m. on November 18, 2011 (EST)
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I've only owned and used the Adventure Opti.  It's not right up there with my American Express card - I don't leave home without it!  Has worked flawlessly 100% of the time.

5:44 p.m. on November 18, 2011 (EST)
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Green coconuts.  Unless the coconut has been damaged it is sterile. You can even take it intravenously. You just need to climb up and get one.

As for the pen.  I know you want to stay away from batteries but unless you are going to be where you can charge one regularly I would go with one that runs on AA cells. I'm a bit suspicious of the button cell models and how long they will last and ease of obtaining them. The lithium AA cells are fairly light compared to alkaline and Nimh rechargeables. The light models use reflected light from the led to let it know its in water and double as an emergency flashlight.

Personally for weight and ease of use I would look at the sawyer squeeze or gravity fed. They have a .02 micron gravity fed that will filter viruses. The flow rate is not that fast but what do you expect.

What flow rate can I expect from my PointONE Filter.pdf

What can I expect as a flow rate from my Viral purifier.pdf

I put some really nasty lake water through mine and it comes out very clean. I didn't get a chance to run enough to clog it though.

6:09 p.m. on November 18, 2011 (EST)
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I don't have a flow rate to compare, but was pretty happy testing the Sawyer Squeeze. (have not yet had time to put up my test). However, even with its .02 micron rating, when I go to Nepal, all my water will be squeezed through the Filter and followed up with a SteriPEN. Belt and suspenders....this is the trip of a lifetime and no bug from the drink gonna take me down! 

6:22 p.m. on November 18, 2011 (EST)
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Gift

Is it a .2 or .02? I know that they are planning on releasing a .02 I just didn't know it was out.

The advantage of doing the filter then UV is that the filter is very good at protozoa and bacteria and will get rid of some of the turbidity. It takes the full 90 seconds to kill protozoa with the UV but viruses die in a much shorter period.

7:39 p.m. on November 18, 2011 (EST)
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I almost picked up the Sawyer gravity fed off  ebay.  It went cheap $36 It was listed at .02. I personally like filters. Take the tablets too. I wouldnt trust my trip on batterys

8:04 p.m. on November 18, 2011 (EST)
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I know you're supposed to use a certain battery with them, cause it'll last longer which in the field you may not have access to, but a buddy of mine complained bout that it died to quickly so he sold it, for like 20 bucks... I told him that and I saw him start kicking at his own butt. 

it says it somewhere in the directions, and mine are 7hrs away from me.

8:22 p.m. on November 18, 2011 (EST)
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giftogab said:

I don't have a flow rate to compare, but was pretty happy testing the Sawyer Squeeze. (have not yet had time to put up my test). However, even with its .02 micron rating, when I go to Nepal, all my water will be squeezed through the Filter and followed up with a SteriPEN. Belt and suspenders....this is the trip of a lifetime and no bug from the drink gonna take me down! 

 Be very aware that it isn't just the water. Barb's parents did an around the world trip for their 50th anniversary, being very careful of the water and food. In the luxo hotel they stayed at in India, the hotel found out it was their 50th, so put a bottle of whiskey in their room, along with a cooler full of ice cubes ("on the rocks", don'cha know?). They forgot that the ice might not have been made from purified water. They both got very ill ("Gandhi's Revenge"). Moral - watch out for the ice!

Last summer, when Barb and I did an archaeological and anthropological tour of Peru before my environmental research expedition, one part of the tour was to view the Inti Raymi festival. We were provided with a box lunch. As a result of my eating something in the box lunch that Barb didn't, I spent from 4AM the morning after through that whole day and part of the next "researching" the sanitary facilities in various locations between Cuzco and Lake Titicaca - "Inka's Revenge". I'm not sure what it was, but can narrow down to 2 of the lunch components, both cooked and sealed in packages, one having a bit of an off taste, neither eaten by Barb. I very rarely react even to street vendor foods or water out of the tap in 3rd world countries. Moral - watch out even for what appear to be commercially packaged foods.

The SteriPen and filters would have done no good in either of those cases.

11:32 p.m. on November 18, 2011 (EST)
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ocalacomputerguy said:

Gift

Is it a .2 or .02? I know that they are planning on releasing a .02 I just didn't know it was out.

The advantage of doing the filter then UV is that the filter is very good at protozoa and bacteria and will get rid of some of the turbidity. It takes the full 90 seconds to kill protozoa with the UV but viruses die in a much shorter period.

 I could have sworn it was the .02 when I ordered it but now it seems it is .01......but no worries with the SteriPEN back-up to finally clear it out so I get both filtration and purification.

11:37 p.m. on November 18, 2011 (EST)
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Bill S said:

 Be very aware that it isn't just the water......

The SteriPen and filters would have done no good in either of those cases.

 Bill...I have had the privileged of traveling to many places including a summer in the Philippines and to South America. I drank only pop on the Philippines and then with a straw. No revenge. BUT....I got something in Uruguay that did me in for a couple days......I appreciate the reminder. But I will not be eating ice and our food is very controlled by the trekking company so am hoping my risks are minimized. I can control how my water is treated though, and that will be with my two punch system.

1:35 p.m. on November 19, 2011 (EST)
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Hey Apeman,

I have used several and have stopped trialling at the,

SteriPEN Adventurer Opti Water Purifier

I love the convenience of the small size and many uses with the one set of batteries.

The only fault that I have is with the ugly mug, i.e. me, not keeping it into the water enough to keep it on.  It is really a very simple unit/device to use.

In addition to this unit I have also bought the,

SteriPEN FitsAll Filter

I only take the uppwer wider half of the funnel.  The half with the filter that prevents visible particles from entering my water bottle when dunking in a stream or water ever other way use my be choosing to fill your bottle.  I have a original soft 32oz bottle and it fits very well.

If you are at all concerned about eh battery capacity there is a solar charger offered by SteriPEN

Good Luck and please do write about your trip.

5:52 p.m. on November 21, 2011 (EST)
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i have used a steripen traveler primarily for international travel, work and play.  it was inexpensive and it is somewhat heavy.  it requires Nimh batteries (rechargeable AA batteries) to work properly, according to the literature.  mine has never failed, and i have never gotten sick from water i purified using it. 

this type of purification has a few shortcomings worth noting.   first, as the instructions note, it doesn't purify water that splashes the threads of your water bottle.  so, if you dip a bottle in an unsafe stream/pond, you risk getting sick.  same if the water is fairly turbid.  a prefilter usually helps with visible particles.  for the bottle threads, try your best to wipe them dry, then shake the bottle with the top mostly (but not tightly) screwed on so you get clean water splashed onto the threads.  wipe dry again and you should be OK. 

regarding steripen vs. alternatives, i think the safest alternative is a filter with a chemical additive - significantly enhances the effectiveness over the filter-only route.  MSR markets its Sweetwater filter and liquid for that purpose.  Frankly, you could use any filter you like, but also bring along a small container with some ordinary bleach and a squeeze top or eye dropper that allows you to add liquid a drop at a time.  add a few drops of bleach to each liter of water.  the liquid acts faster than halogen or other tablets, and i think the taste is a little more bearable. 

6:27 p.m. on November 21, 2011 (EST)
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leadbelly2550 said:

add a few drops of bleach to each liter of water.  the liquid acts faster than halogen or other tablets, and i think the taste is a little more bearable. 

+1 

July 24, 2014
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