Steripen water filter

12:10 p.m. on January 24, 2010 (EST)
14 reviewer rep
41 forum posts

I've been thinking about ditching my Katadyn water filter and giving the Steripen water filter a try. My main concern was battery life, but according to the manufacturer you can get hundreds of uses out of a couple AA's. I assume the cold weather will kill them faster, but we do the majority of our backpacking April through October so no big concerns there. Supposedly, the Steripen UV treatment kills 99.999% of bacteria, viruses, etc... The water sources we encounter in Montana are pretty pristine as is, so we have that to work with. Steripen has me sold on the product, but I'd like to hear from someone that's actually been using this system.

6:49 p.m. on January 24, 2010 (EST)
403 reviewer rep
185 forum posts

Hi Kleon

The SteriPen is a good choice. I have used a SteriPen for a few years now. I have the Adventurer model with the solar charging case that takes CR123 batteries. I had alot of problems with the solar charging system until SteriPen sent me some new prototype batteries to replace the factory ones. After that the solar system worked fine. I am however switching to the Classic model that takes AA batteries, that way all my electronics will take the same battery and I only need to carry one solar charger.

The UV system works well as long as there is not a lot of turbidity in the water. The clearer the water the better the disinfection you will get. I have performed many coliform specimens in the laboratory to verify the performance of the UV system and I can tell you it works. It will not change the taste of the water however, which is something you may miss if your current system has a carbon filter.

I carry a "Bota of Boulder" in bottle filter along with my SteriPen so that I have a backup system. The way I see it is if you have to carry a bottle you might as well have one you can put a filter in if you need to... I have had no operational problems with the SteriPen and it can realistically treat about 20 liters on new batteries and about 15 liters on rechargeable. The model I have was a little tricky to operate at first but once I read the directions that changed! Duhh...

Also, I do not know how well it will work in cold weather. All my usage was between 40 to 110 degrees.

Best wishes...

9:19 p.m. on January 24, 2010 (EST)
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153 forum posts

Using lithium batteries helps in the cold. It's a great system, but I would carry some kind of backup. If you're already carrying a stove then you're set there. Otherwise carry some purification tablets. I've never had any problems with my steripen, but I've heard quite a few people who claim that theirs will occasionally refuse to work.

8:36 p.m. on January 26, 2010 (EST)
848 reviewer rep
3,902 forum posts

I've used a SteriPen for several years and like it and would recommend it. I also carry chemical treatment as a back-up.

You can see user reviews here, if you haven't already:

Also, check out Bill S's 4-part article on water treatment. Part 4 covers the different methods for treatment.

1:20 p.m. on January 27, 2010 (EST)
28 reviewer rep
63 forum posts

The guy I do most of my hiking with uses the steripen adventure. He really loves it. We have not used it in the cold yet. The pen will purify up to a liter (there is a 1 liter and half liter setting). I am pretty sure they advise against using it for filling bladders/reservoirs, but you can always sterilize a bottle then dump it in. It is pretty quick and incredibly convenient in areas with lots of water. I was in the Adirondacks with some guys with a Katadyn (hiker, or hiker pro I think) and they were faster filling up at the beginning or end of the day when we had a ton of water to purify. For smaller amounts the steripen is king though, there's no set up.

One last note, as you have probably figured out, it doesn't actually do any filtering, so you will end up drinking anything suspended in the water. A coffee filter secured with a rubberband seems to do the trick though.

11:30 p.m. on January 28, 2010 (EST)
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41 forum posts

Nice! Thanks for all the input guys. I'm definetly going to pick one up. My katadyn has a small puncture in it and leaks when pumping, so I'm due for a replacement. I figured the Steripen would be a good way to streamline and carry less water weight. 99% of the places I backpack have plenty of water, so I figured I could carry a liter bottle and fill it up as needed, versus carrying a 100oz bladder around all day. 100oz = 6.5lbs! It seems like a no brainer now. That's a significant amount of extra weight to lug around when it's not really necessary. I would rather carry 2lbs of water in a liter bottle, and the saved 4.5lbs in Snickers. Thanks again guys.

5:36 p.m. on January 30, 2010 (EST)
47 reviewer rep
241 forum posts

I used one in the Sierras last summer for two weeks, same battery. You can find the batteries in camera stores. Hennessy Hammocks sells a funnel that is attached to a cap that will fit on a platypus bottle. Over the funnel, attach a piece of mosquito netting, or a piece of a nylon stocking (pantyhose!) with an elastic band and you have a nice way of screening out "floaties". The water in the Sierras is so clean you do not need to pre-filter.

With so much water along the JMT, I found I did not need to carry any as I hiked. My cooking pot is a 1 liter one, so I would stop at a stream, fill the pot, clean the water with the steri pen, drink the liter on the spot and hike on. In the evening I would drink a liter when I arrived in camp, then use iodine pills( or use Aqua Mira) to my three liter platypus which I let sit overnight, so I would have water ready for the AM. That just saves a little time.

Many do not purify sierra water, but I did along the country.

BTW any sailors out there? A piece of nylon stocking makes a great tell-tale when attached to a sidestay.

The Hennessy funnel is their "Automatic fly tensinoer"

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