Feb 25, 2013 at 12:53 pm #1299697
so the light finally went on for me and I want to get a steripen to compliment my other filtration system. (Hope the light on the steripen will go on!) Any comments on the best model? I read about the classic's draining of batteries while off; is that fixed?
Thanks, sorry to beat a dead horse here.Feb 25, 2013 at 1:40 pm #1958571
I'm pretty sure there is a new version of the steripen that is lighter and rechargable. I haven't been following them closely though and do not know how well received it's been. Rechargeable would be great on short hikes…thru hikes, not so much.Feb 25, 2013 at 1:42 pm #1958572
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
I strongly recommend the one that takes batteries. If you really want rechargeable, you should get rechargeable batteries.Feb 25, 2013 at 1:46 pm #1958574
Ben 2 WorldParticipant
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
For feedback, would be more helpful if you tell us about:
(1) your other filtration system
(2) your expectation of your water system – pick any or all below:
1. treat viruses
2. treat bacteria
3. treat protozoa (eg giradia, crypto, etc.)
4. clarify water
5. improve water tasteFeb 25, 2013 at 1:55 pm #1958577
Ben: good points. I want to use the steripen for quick and easy backpacking hydration on the go. I use a Katydyn squeeze bottle filter otherwise, but it's not easily accessible while I'm hiking. I picture the steripen in my little front "fanny" pack and an empty gatorade bottle attached to my hip belt. Scoop, sterilize, go. I understand that any steripen kills all the baddies that I'm worried about on the West coast.
I want a battery version, not a rechargeable.
I don't like the idea of a wait time for aquamira.
If I like and trust the Steripen, then I may move to a Sawyer Squeeze instead of the Katydyn.Feb 25, 2013 at 1:57 pm #1958578
I have the adventurer and I'm pretty happy with it with a couple exceptions which I'll get to shortly. It uses the CR132A batteries which aren’t a problem for me but some prefer AAs for resupply logistical reasons.
The only dings I'd give the adventurer are 1) that the shape isn't conducive to using it with a Gatorade, Dasani, etc bottle. Some people have modified a Gatorade cap and invert the entire bottle to make it work (My work-around for the next backpacking season will be to chop a 2L platy bottle and use that), and 2) I also have a hard time seeing the LED and UV light during the day but I've learned to work with it.
I don't regret buying it but I'd choose one that takes CR123A or AA batteries in lieu of rechargeable and make sure that you get one with a tapered neck for better bottle compatibility.
I travel overseas often and spent a month out of service due to a Pakistani bug so I appreciate that it kills everything in the water. It’s super quick too so I don’t have to mess with filtering or mixing chemicals. I carry Chlorfloc packets or Chlorine Dioxide tablets as a backup but I haven’t had a problem with it in the year I’ve owned it. The battery cap is known to let water in so don’t completely submerge it.Feb 25, 2013 at 2:14 pm #1958586
I was a very excited adopter of the Steripen, and loved how I could just fill and go without much hassle. Yet, I didn't have a trip using it where it didn't fail for some reason or another. Also when dealing with scummy pond water for the first time using the Steripen, I longed for a more traditional filter. I personally lost confidence in using an electronic device for my water treating needs, and since decided other options worked better for me anyway.
When the water is likely pretty clean already, and debris won't be a big issue, I just take a little bleach solution. If I'm going to be dealing with somewhat grungy water, I use Sawyer Squeeze system. If I'm going with the girlfriend, I take a big group Katadyn gravity bag, as she goes through water like a fish and demands some level of charcoal filtration for taste improvement.
That said, I talked to a guy with much more experience backpacking than myself, and he loved the thing and claimed no back-country problems with it. Although, he also owned a small backpacking store and was basically trying to sell me one.Feb 25, 2013 at 2:17 pm #1958588
@stingray4540Locale: South Bay
Check out the sawyer squeeze filter.
I switched to it from the steripen. It's lighter and faster.
Get rid of the bags that come with it though. Use two one liter bottles or bladders. One clean, one dirty. I use the dirty one to fill the clean one using the filter, then fill the dirty one. When I'm done with the clean water, I either use the filter to refill the clean bottle from the dirty, or drink straight from the filter attached to the dirty bottle.
P.S. claims to work on Protozoa and bacteria, and good for something like a million gallons.Feb 25, 2013 at 2:22 pm #1958592
I use the Opti in winter so I don't have to deal with freezing filters.
The biggest thing to be careful about is to have good batteries, and maybe some spares. Stay away from rechargeables– they just aren't as reliable, especially in cold weather.
Good lithium primaries are the way to go.
And always thoroughly test the unit before each trip. I failed to do that once and the batteries were too weak to work. Luckily I had some clean snow to melt and drink.Feb 25, 2013 at 2:39 pm #1958602
@wandering_bobLocale: Oregon, USA
The newest (and heaviest) version is the SteriPEN Ultra. It has an internal battery.
See John Abela's review of this unit and a brief comparison of all units at Hikerlighter.comFeb 25, 2013 at 2:44 pm #1958604
@mattgugelLocale: Kanangra-Boyd NP
I have the FREEDOM model – it has the rechargeable batteries (fixed), and also has a neat little led flashlight built in, that you rotate the device 3 times to the right with your wrist to activate light! . The cable/connection is mini usb , the same as most Samsung smartphones, which makes it easy to carry only 1 cable if you have a similar device connector. I have had zero issues with it, and it works as stated. I carry a solar panel and battery pack on most trips, so if I need to recharge, it is no issue, however I think you can treat 40lt's of H2O before needing to recharge. Well worth the $$$Feb 25, 2013 at 3:01 pm #1958615
I've used the adventurer opti with a good 100 liters of water since getting it a couple years ago and never had a problem (predominately weekend trips). At the time I bought the steripen I also bought a zebralight which took cr123a batteries as well. This let my spare set of batteries provide duel use and in a pinch borrow from either/or device to sterilize water or provide light.
When I moved last year i lost the bag of about 25 or so spare generic cr123a batteries i had and it sort of pushed me to using aquamira again. While i find the steripen to be great device, i sort of prefer aquamira drops on most trips.Feb 25, 2013 at 5:45 pm #1958678Feb 25, 2013 at 6:04 pm #1958685
@skyzoLocale: Borah Gear
I really like my Adventurer. I got it towards the end of the season last year, so I probably only have 30-40 liters through it, but it has performed flawlessly so far. Only thing I'm not a big fan of is the fact it uses those CR123 batteries, which are pricey and can be hard to find. Just make sure your batteries have enough juice in them before each trip.Feb 25, 2013 at 6:45 pm #1958703
I used the SteriPEN Adventure Opti for several trips 2 years ago and it worked well. I had issues with a friends identical pen the previous year, yet. I was able to eliminate those issues by drying off the tube after each use. We had issues when we had tried to use it for several liters at a time.
Last year, I like the idea of the Sawyer 3-way inline water filter and decided to give it a go. It only weighs 3 oz, no bags, no extra batteries, and it will gravity feed as well. I always carry a bladder so it worked out well. I too bought the SteriPEN as I thought this would speed up my water gathering time, yet, I found it really wasn't that much faster than just getting out my bladder, filling, and walking again.
Because I understand any filtering device can fail, I always take drops as a backup. This being said, I personally feel there is a greater chance for the electronic device to fail than a filter, and given the filter weighs less than half the pen, I sold the pen.
I think you will enjoy the pen if you get one and it works for you. It does seem the reviews are better now than in the early days. I also found using a 1L platy with the top cut off worked real well with the pen. It rolls up into nothing so you can store it close to the pen for easy access and the side mouth makes using the pen real easy. Maybe it was a personal thing for me, yet sitting there and twirling that pen for several liters, just wasn't that enjoyable.Feb 26, 2013 at 1:18 am #1958771
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
The Opti is what we take when we bother.
A lot of the time we are just careful about sources.
But … I must say the Sawyer does interest me. Maybe …
CheersFeb 26, 2013 at 6:49 am #1958803
two years w/ the Opti, lots of liters of water treated- no malfunctions
like one of the others posted I switched my headlamp to a Zebralight (CR123) to have spares either way in a pinch- I bought a tester and insure my batteries are tiptop before heading outFeb 26, 2013 at 6:59 am #1958806
I used an Opti for a while
First, I tried rechargeable batteries but they only lasted for a few pints per battery.
Then I got brand name batteries. First set of batteries treated about half as much as they said, but that's okay, I could work with that.
Then, I used one set of batteries to treat one pint on one trip. Took it on next trip and they only treated a few pints before failing.
I returned it. Just too complicated to make it work reliably. Also, it's hard to push button to get it to work sometimes.
Sawyer Squeeze is the same weight and so much simpler. Except they say not to freeze it and where (when) I go it sometimes freezes. If they could just resolve that problem…
If you do use Opti, always carry a spare set of batteries.Feb 26, 2013 at 8:36 am #1958842
Jerry Adams: Sawyer Squeeze is the same weight and so much simpler. Except they say not to freeze it and where (when) I go it sometimes freezes. If they could just resolve that problem…
That is a very very good point Jerry.
I have had to throw away one Squeeze already because I forgot to keep it warm at night and it got down to 28(f) and I used it before I went to sleep and it had water inside of it.
I read a number of basically the same accounts from Thru-hikers in 2012 that also had to toss their Squeeze because of them freezing.
With a SteriPEN and a set of Energizer Advanced Lithium Batteries, that would just not be an issue, eh!Feb 26, 2013 at 8:42 am #1958843
@brendansLocale: Fruita CO
I've used these for at least a couple years with my Opti. I've never run out of batteries or had any issues on a trip. These are high quality and I believe I read somewhere the only rechargeables that Steripen recommends.Feb 26, 2013 at 9:14 am #1958856
I don't like carrying water if I can help it; in the Sierras you usually don't have to. Also the water is usually very clear. However I'm realizing that I don't drink enough water if I have to take off my pack to access my Katydyn water bottle. Hence the Steripen. Rick, the idea of a 1 liter roll up bottle is great. I don't like carrying even an empty bottle on my pack harness or belt if possible. Hopefully I can just stick the roll up bottle and Steripen into my belly pack and be done with it. Since I'm thinking of a lot of one liter pit stops during the day, sort of on the go, to keep my water consumption up, I'm hoping the Steripen will perform well. In camp I can use alternative methods–Sawyer?–for larger amounts of water. (I boil, so cooking water is not an issue.)
At the moment I like the idea of lack of fiddle factor with the Steripen over the Sawyer on the trail for 1 liter amounts of water. But as usual, opinions seem split on the reliability of the Steripen. Still, people seem to write that it's better for smaller amounts of clear water. This is what I picture using it for. And I'll bring back up batteries!Feb 26, 2013 at 9:15 am #1958858
" have had to throw away one Squeeze already because I forgot to keep it warm at night and it got down to 28(f) and I used it before I went to sleep and it had water inside of it.
I read a number of basically the same accounts from Thru-hikers in 2012 that also had to toss their Squeeze because of them freezing."
Did you throw away the filter because you noticed a problem, or just as a precaution?
My theory is that if you shake out the filter real good so there is mainly just water inside the tubes, that those tubes can stretch because that's what happens when you backflush the filter, so they shouldn't be damaged by freezing.
So far, I've taken my filter on three winter trips, but just barely got below freezing, so my filter should be fine because I put it in protected location. There were drops on the outside that didn't freeze, so inside should be fine.Feb 26, 2013 at 9:27 am #1958865
The Sawyer Sqeeze is a legit Absolute One Micron filter. Even a single ice-crystal forming inside of it is going to be big enough to cause damage to pore size of the filter where the crystal formed – thereby turning it from an Absolute one micron filter into a Nominal one micron filter, or worse.Feb 26, 2013 at 9:57 am #1958875
"The Sawyer Sqeeze is a legit Absolute One Micron filter. Even a single ice-crystal forming inside of it is going to be big enough to cause damage to pore size of the filter where the crystal formed – thereby turning it from an Absolute one micron filter into a Nominal one micron filter, or worse."
I can't disagree with you, especially because Sawyer says to discard if it freezes, but
When a water pipe freezes and breaks, there's a restriction like a valve. As the water freezes down the pipe, the water expands, there's no room to expand through the restriction so large force is applied to pipe and it breaks.
If an ice crystal forms in a pore, I don't think there would be huge force applied to the sides of the pore.
If the water in a tube froze, the tube would expand a little, but so what?
When you backflush the filter, the tube expands a little, include the size of the pore, which releases any particle entrapped. That's the same force as if it froze.
Sawyer's statement just says they don't know if freezing it would damage it, so just in case, throw it out if you think it might have frozen.
But, like you reported, it's common for backpackers to encounter freezing conditions.
If the filter is actually tolerant of freezing, it's too bad, because that's the one big problem with this filter.
But they just ignore it????
Sorry to rant – just a pet peeve of mine : )Feb 26, 2013 at 10:17 am #1958886
@brooklynkayakLocale: Atlantic North East
I am a big fan of the Classic because it uses AA batteries, cheaper, longer life and more common than the other types.
The Classic works well with standard soda bottles, quick and easy, no pouring water from one container to another.
It doesn't seem to make sense to rely on rechargeable, unless you only do short trips
Sometimes you need to go a long ways before you can buy batteries and when you do, it may be at a gas station that only carries AA batteries.
The Steripen really shines over chemical treatments because you can drink immediately and don't have to carry water waiting for the treatment to finish.
I find it quite reliable, but I do carry Aqua Mira just in case.
I will never go back to filtering my water, the Steripen has worked so well for me.
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