Works well but is better suited for base camp or cabin…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $96
Works well but is better suited for base camp or cabin use rather than backpacking.
- No batteries
- BPA free bottle
- Bulky bottle
- Labor intensive
This is my third Steripen, I also use an Adventurer and a Classic. I originally bought this because it did not require any batteries which would be one less thing to worry about. As far as basic operation goes they all work the same.
I got this Sidewinder about 6 months ago and in that time I have had no issues or problems with it at all. It works just as the manufacturer says and since I have not acquired any waterborne illnesses, it obviously disinfects as advertised.
The Sidewinder in action.
The sidewinder has two LED lights on each side of the base to indicate operation status.
The lights illuminate red when there is a problem such as low cranking speed or failure to complete cycle and illuminates green to indicate successful cycle operation.
While the product works well and just as is advertised, there are a number of issues that negate its use in backpacking, and make it more suitable for use in situations as a base camp or a rural cabin.
The first issue is that it is labor intensive until you get used to the operation. The hand crank has just enough resistance to get you a little tired by the end of the cycle. It can also be challenging to maintain the continuous operational crank speed needed to maintain the disinfection cycle. Once I got used to the Sidewinder these really became a non issue though. Just a matter of getting used to something different.
The second issue is the noise. It is very noisy when turning the crank especially if you have to treat multiple liters of water. For me this is a major issue because it seems to interrupt the peacefulness and purpose of being in the backcountry. Though I wonder if it might be a good bear deterrent...
The bottle that it comes with is BPA free, which is a plus. However it is kind of bulky compared to regular sized water bottles and will not fit into some regular water bottle holders. Since it takes the standard size bottle mouth though, almost any bottle can be swapped in its place. It would also be a good idea to keep an extra bottle on hand so that one can always be mounted on the Sidewinder and thereby protecting the UV bulb from getting damaged in the backpack.
Over all I am pleased with the Sidewinder. It works well and does a good job of disinfecting water and making it safe. I just don't think it is suited for backpacking. A combination of its overall bulk and its excessive noise make it a better candidate for base camp or cabin use.
Where to Buy
SteriPEN Sidewinder is the world’s first battery-free, portable UV water purifier.
The Sidewinder features an exclusive UV system that destroys waterborne bacteria, viruses and protozoa such as giardia and cryptosporidium. Its hand-powered system is as efficient as it is effective: just 90 seconds to purify one liter of water.
The Sidewinder purification system includes a SteriPEN Pre-Filter for use prior to treatment if the water contains particulates, as well as a one-liter Tritan BPA-free bottle.
The battery-free Sidewinder is extremely packable and portable. Plus, with no parts to replace or filters to clean, the Sidewinder is always ready to go. It’s economical too: the Sidewinder purifies 8,000 liters at less than 2 cents per liter, about 5 cents per gallon.
Here's what other sites are saying:
Always ready, the SteriPEN Sidewinder is a long-life, storable water purifier that destroys waterborne microbes that could make you sick. The Sidewinder is the first portable UV water purifier to require no batteries; the device purifies 8,000 liters of water 1 liter at a time; cranking 90 seconds for each. The long lasting Sidewinder purification system includes a one-liter Tritan BPA-free bottle and SteriPEN Pre-Filter for use prior to treatment if the water contains particulates. With the Sidewinder, you can crank up safe drinking water anywhere, anytime.
The SteriPEN Sidewinder is a hand-powered, battery free UV water purifier. Simply attach the Sidewinder to the provided bottle, turn upside down, swirl the water a few times, and then crank the handle! This storable, long lasting purification system ensures safe drinking water wherever you go! Ultra-violet (UV) lamp safely sterilizes water, destroys over 99.9% of bacteria, viruses and protozoan cysts, including Giardia, E. Coli and Cryptosporidium without altering the taste or pH of water and without added chemicals SteriPEN Sidewinder is portable, easy to use, tapered shapes fits most bottles, including wide mouth No battery, hand crank requires no outlets, batteries or charging Simply crank until the flashing green light indicates water purification is complete Ready for emergency situations or times when fresh water supply is disrupted 8,000 UV usages UV Lamp: 8,000 1L treatments Includes Tritan(TM) BPA-free bottle and SteriPEN(R) Pre-Filter
Fill it, Crank it, Drink it! The SteriPEN Sidewinder is the first portable UV water purifier to require no batteries and purifies 1 liter of water in 90 seconds.
Great for camping and emergency use, the hand-powered SteriPEN Sidewinder water purifier requires no batteries and is capable of purifying 1 liter of water in just 90 sec. Sidewinder purifier does away with pumping, chemicals, test strips, extended timekeeping and filters; leaves no aftertaste, will not clog and does not require lubrication. Sidewinder is simple to use: just fill the included 1 liter bottle with water, screw it onto the Sidewinder purifier, flip the unit over and start cranking. Small LEDs indicate when purification is complete; purifies 1 liter (32 fl. oz.) of water (cold or warm) in a minute and a half. Innovative SteriPEN system uses UV light rays instead of chemicals to purify water for drinking. Ultraviolet (UV-C) light rays safely sterilize clear water by destroying 99.99% of protozoa (including Giardia and Cryptosporidia), bacteria and even viruses. Long used by municipal water districts and bottling companies, low-level UV-C light treats water safely, and unit's light will not damage eyes or skin when used properly. SteriPEN protects you from risks that cause botulism, cholera, dysentery and typhoid, just to name a few. Operates best with clear water, but if that's not available, no worries-the SteriPEN prefilter clears particulates and debris from water. Prefilter fits the included 1 liter bottle and other water bottles with 63mm wide-mouth openings; pour source water through filter, and clean water enters bottle. SteriPEN UV lamp provides up to 8,000 treatments. Includes SteriPEN Sidewinder water purifier, prefilter, 1 liter water bottle and instruction manuals; water bottle is made with BPA-free Tritan(TM) copolyester.