SteriPEN Opti Review

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Home Forums Campfire Editor’s Roundtable SteriPEN Opti Review

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    Addie Bedford
    BPL Member


    Locale: Montana

    Companion forum thread to:

    SteriPEN Opti Review

    George Matthews
    BPL Member


    Nice review.

    Good shot of light at work.

    Kathy A Handyside
    BPL Member


    Locale: Southeastern Michigan

    Very interesting review! I've often wondered how the SteriPEN would work. I am on thyroid medication and so I can't use iodine for purifying water, so I have to use chlorine dioxide or a filter (or both). The SteriPEN seems much more convenient and faster to use than ClO2. Thanks for the information! Cool photo of the SteriPEN at work, BTW!

    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member


    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    Hi George

    > Good shot of light at work.
    Thanks, but it took a sequence of 5 shots in a bracket to get the one I wanted!


    Nick Klockenga


    Locale: Chicago Area

    Just curious.

    > filtration is faster but quite heavy, and (with one expensive exception) is not able to deal with viruses

    Which filter is the 'expensive exception' ?

    Great review, simple, to the point, just what I wanted to know.

    BPL Member


    A pump filter that can handle virus? I would say the First Need Purifier. Not the lightest or most compact, but this is the "do it all" option — fast and easy to use too — and reasonably light.

    Roman Vazhnov


    Is there some lightweight filter that can be added to Steripen to deal with industrial/agricultural chemicals?

    Robin Evans
    BPL Member


    Bottle filtration units can be very light:

    The Super Delios is only 58g, yet filters most nasties:

    If you want to filter viruses as well the Travel Tap is 158g:

    I can't understand why anyone wants to use anything else. These systems are light, reliable, require no power and fool proof. They are also very cheap over the life of the product.

    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member


    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    > Is there some lightweight filter that can be added to Steripen to deal with
    >industrial/agricultural chemicals?

    Good question. You would need a fairly good activated carbon filter at least. That is not hard to create of course. In general we dodge those situations, but this is not always an option.


    Dan L
    BPL Member


    I've heard that, although it neutralizes bacteria and viruses, that there can still be (harmless) live larva and other small swimming things in the water after treatment.

    Does anyone know if that's true?

    Michael Davis


    Locale: South Florida

    I have always loved the concept of UV treatment and so I purchased the Steripen Adventurer. However, after the thing stopped working for no apparent reason, I have gone back to gravity filter with tablet backup. There is simply less to go wrong and therefore more reliable.

    I'll wait a year to see how long these last, but right now, I'm pretty ticked at the Steripen folks for sucking $100 out of my pocket for nothing in return.

    bob ferrari


    I took a steri pen to Kyrgyzstan in 2005. It stopped working – just stopped – the 2nd time we went to use it. I don't think I'll ever trust one again.

    Chris Benson


    Locale: Boulder

    Nice tip regarding the battery isolating strip. I also found the cap on the older adventurer troublesome to remove.

    I know this wasn't a direct comparison, but I'd be interested in seeing a head-to-head comparison on number cycles each gets from a fresh battery.

    Keith Selbo


    Locale: Northern Virginia

    "Is there some lightweight filter that can be added to Steripen to deal with industrial/agricultural chemicals?"

    Yes, the Katadyn Carbon Cartridge (REI $14.95) will remove many chemicals. It definitely removes the chlorine I add to my water to kill viruses before I filter it. Here's my setup. The black filter is a Sawyer bacterial filter, the grey filter is the Katadyn charcoal filter. One end screws onto my a Platypus "dirty" reservoir, the other snaps into my hydration bladder.

    sawyer and katadyn combination

    As Roger said, it's heavier than a Steripen but I leave my steripen at home in favor my always reliable and labor saving filtration system. All my hiking partners have made similar setups to mine after one or two trips with me. The gravity filter does all the work while you relax or tend to other chores. It only takes a few minutes and has the added benefit of removing most chemicals.

    John S.
    BPL Member


    The opening paragraph gives only the pros of UV and only the negatives of boiling, filtration and chemicals.

    UV treatment cons-
    1. must carry backup
    2. uses batteries
    3. must protect the product from damage
    4. not the lightest solution
    5. must use heavier water container with wide mouth opening
    6. must use described procedure (agitation/stirring) to properly treat water
    7. best used only above 32 degrees F
    8. device not waterproof
    9. must use extra treatment in murky water
    10. contains mercury

    Dean F.
    BPL Member


    Locale: Back in the Front Range

    Speaking of Sawyer…

    Sawyer makes an 0.02 micron filter that is rated against viruses. So, I guess all I'm saying is that there is more than one filter that will remove viruses.

    Why does Sawyer get no love? :o)

    I mean, seriously, everyone should be using these things.

    That said, I've been dying for an excuse to try a UV treatment system. I guess I'm holding out for UV LEDs.

    Mark Roberts
    BPL Member


    Locale: Lapland

    I don't own one, but my experience of other people who have travelled with me with on is that in each case they malfunctioned after a day or two of use, either through a fault in the unit or battery problems.

    I'll stick with my Sawyer filter (which those with a broken Steripen ended up using also). I just think that anything relying on electronics and batteries is too unreliable for such a vital task.

    Rick Dreher
    BPL Member


    Locale: Northernish California

    Hi Daniel,

    I briefly addressed this in my BGT review of the Meridian Design mUV.

    Based on five or so years' experience with UV, it's preferable to use a prefilter of some sort before treating, at least one fine enough to keep out multi-celled critters. This is pretty easy to do.



    Greg Mihalik


    Locale: Colorado

    Regarding Filters –

    Most of the time they work, and continue to work, as advertised. But on my last trip, pumping "optically clear" water, the Hiker Pro gave it up. There was no forewarning.

    On Day 4 it just became incredibly hard to pump. I was on a 5 day hike, but if it had been a 10 day hike it would have been a real struggle to pump water. Including this trip, we had run less than 50 gallons through the filter. (It is rated for a nominal 200 gallons.)

    I called Katadyn customer service and they said "Yep – It Happens". Apparently there both sediments and algae that are not "visible" but readily clog the filter.

    I have used a Hike Pro for years and years and this was a first.

    Much as I dislike it, I'll now be taking something as a backup, "just in case".

    Evan McCarthy
    BPL Member


    Locale: Mid-Atlantic

    I've used versions of the SteriPEN for years without any malfunction. You need to sleep with it/stick it in your coat pocket during colder periods, but other than that I love the ease and speed of using it. I bring a bandana and keep whatever cup/bowl container I naturally use for the outing near the outside of the bag so I can scoop from a stream, strain through the bandana (also dual use), and have treated water a couple minutes later. The Nalgene canteen or normal one liter gatorade bottle work great for water storage.

    Rick Dreher
    BPL Member


    Locale: Northernish California

    Agreed, keeping the unit warm is important, which of course becomes a challenge treating snowmelt water. And I can't emphasize enough to only use top-quality batteries. Many cheap generics don't seem to provide enough current for the demands of running that UV tube.



    Greg Mihalik


    Locale: Colorado

    Is the mUV you reviewed viable or dead?
    Seems like a lot of failures initially…

    sean mcintyre


    I've been using the Steripen Classic with the same set of batteries for over a year now– at least 30 nights in the wilderness, quite possibly more. And I have never taken the batteries out of the machine.

    I find that it works perfectly with a gatorade bottle.

    I have had only one instance where it failed me and that was because I left it in my pack overnight in below freezing temperatures and then pulled very cold water from a lake in the morning.

    The Steripen has been so reliable that I stopped bringing any kind of back-up.

    Rick Dreher
    BPL Member


    Locale: Northernish California

    Hi Greg,

    I had and ultimately returned three units due to the same problem: an eventual inability for the battery to charge. To the best of my knowledge, the battery was an RCR123.

    After I returned unit three Meridian stopped sending replacements, so my coda to the BGT piece is the mUV gets an "incomplete." While it lived I liked it a good deal.

    I see the website has this note:

    "Thanks for your support and input. We are now redesigning the mUV to better suit our customer requests. Please check back for product availability. (June 2010)"



    p.s. All this UV chit-chat has me wondering whatever happened to the Camelbak All Clear UV unit that was basically a repackaged UV Aquastar?

    Tim Heckel


    Locale: 6237' - Manitou Springs

    Questions about Adventurer->Opti
    Did the thumbscrew battery cap arrangement change?
    Is it any easier to see whether or not the unit is working when in bright light? This is my primary complaint with the Adventurer. In bright light, eg over 11,000' on a sunny, clear day, I cannot see if the bulb is lit or not. Even the wee LED is hard to see.

    For all you that have experienced "failures", using good batteries is key. My Adventurer has been dead-on reliable.

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