7 forum posts
I bought the Steripen Journey for a car-to-car Direct Exum in a day climb up the Grand Teton last weekend. Fast and light was a necessity and since there were several water sources along the way, it seemed a sensible alternative to carrying the several liters of water necessary for such a long and serious pursuit (7,000 ft elevation gain, 15 miles of hiking, six pitches of 5.6-5.7 roped climbing and another 1,500 ft of 5.5 climbing which we soloed unroped, and then the descent).
The unit seemed to work when we tested it at home but when we NEEDED it, at 4:15 am and 4.1 miles in at 9,000 ft., the light would quit after a few seconds and the battery failure icons would show. We tried warming the batteries (it was mid 40's Fahrenheit, not even cold), removing them and cleaning the contacts, replacing them, warming them more... no use. Fortunately I brought iodine as a backup and had to use it or we would have had to bail on a climb we have planned for weeks and were in the middle of. Later in the day when the weather warmed up even further, the Steripen STILL wouldn't work. We continued on and summited the Grand Teton and made it back to our car at 9:30pm, 19.5 hours car-to-car, thanks to bringing the iodine.
After returning home I tested it and it worked at 84 degrees ambient temperature, but when I put it in a 40 degree refrigerator for 5 minutes, it failed again. I measured the voltage on the brand new, stock 3 volt batteries (Energizer Lithium photo batteries) at 2.87 volts each, only 4% below their max voltage so that was not the problem. I further spent a half hour with Hydro-Photon's Tech Support Engineer today who had me measure the voltage at the probes which was 3.25 volts (apparently perfect). With no idea what was wrong with this brand new piece of junk, all he could do is offer to replace the unit. Oh and when I pressed him, replace the shipping charges I would incur. Heck, REI would do that for me in a heart beat without all the trouble of having to pack it up and mail it back. But rather I'm going to just return it to REI and GET MY MONEY BACK.
I really wanted to see what this company was made of so I pressed them further, explaining how upset I was that it didn't work on our trip, but all they would offer is to replace the unit - sort of like having someone t-bone your brand new Porsche and then the insurance company has some hack do a lousy job of "repairing" it, like that makes it right, "Is that the best you can do for me, after what I went through because of this thing", and he replied, "Well what more do you want?", and I said "I want you as a company to do your best to make it up to me and I don't think I should have to tell you what I want. I want you to make it right, and just sending me another one of these things isn't doing any more than REI will do for me, and it's not even their fault." I really wanted to see what this company was willing to do. So he came back with, "It sounds like you're trying to extort money out of me." (!!!) So I replied, "It's not about the money, I can blow $90 in a bar in a night, I just want to know how concerned you are about having a happy customer and making things right for them." He wouldn't budge, despite me having worked with him on the phone for half an hour doing all his little tests for him, etc., not even offer me a lousy extra set of batteries. THAT's what kind of company Hydro-Photon is. So I told him, "We're done, I'm not wasting any more time field-testing and trouble-shooting this thing for you", and I hung up.
I'll return this thing to REI and stick with my MSR filter with iodine as a backup until a different, ETHICAL company comes out with a RELIABLE product. A company that cares about a person more than a twenty dollar bill. Don't trust your health, your safety or your life to this piece of junk, it is unreliable and it's not just me who says so, the track record sucks, check it out online for yourself. Moreover, it's made by a company who doesn't care about their customers, doesn't really care if you get Giardia because it fails, doesn't feel they have own any responsibility for endangering you with an unreliable device, doesn't feel accountable to make their customers happy or make it right for you, all for what, $30 or $40 bucks profit?