Feb 27, 2007 at 9:13 pm #1222084
@bugbombLocale: South Texas
Companion forum thread to:Feb 28, 2007 at 9:14 am #1380414
Nice review! Have you compared the Steripen to the AquaStar unit? I picked up an AquaStar a couple of months ago but haven't used it much yet except in kitchen trials. It does solve the problem of downwards UV light transmission in larger containers since you can screw it tightly onto a Nalgene soft canteen and swirl the water around so it is evenly "lit" by the UV.
I've found CR123 batteries to be quite inexpensive if you buy them in bulk. Lithium's have a shelf life of 20 years (they lose only a small percentage of their total strength in that time) so there's really no downside in buying them that way.Feb 28, 2007 at 9:42 am #1380423
@bugbombLocale: South Texas
It's not a direct comparison, but check out:Feb 28, 2007 at 9:44 am #1380424
The rechargers for the batteries for both the Aquastar and the Adventurer style steripen are commercially available. I have had a set of rechargables working for dozens of charges so far – and they were pretty cheap.
Here is a line to Aquastar's site which has the batteries and charger that should work in the new Adventurer model Steripen.
http://www.uvaquastar.com/standard.aspx?elid=291&bid=1Feb 28, 2007 at 11:20 am #1380439
@backcountryLocale: Northeast US
I have a Steripen adventurer(owned it since December) and like it a lot. As the article above mentioned, it does make you re-think your gear load-out because of the need for a container with a wide enough mouth for the unit to fit through. I was previously a filter user, and would fill my bladders through an adapter that fit on the end of my hydration tube. Instead I now carry a single 32oz Nalgene along with two 20oz plastic beverage bottles (which have a concave grip area that allow them to be bungied to the straps of my pack). I do all the purification inside the Nalgene and pour the water into the 20oz bottles. I don’t consider carrying a Nalgene to be ideal and am looking for a lower weight alternative.
I have only had the chance to take the Steripen on one 3 day trip (in which the temperature never broke 20F and went as low as 8F). I found that the battery performance did suffer, and it was necessary to warm the unit up inside my jacket before treating water to be able to run a full cycle. My thought is that at a low enough temperature the batteries have difficulty generating enough voltage to satisfy the Steripen.
To echo Eric's thoughts above – you can save a lot of money by purchasing the CR123 cells in bulk online. I was able to get them for $1.60 per cell by purchasing as few as 12 at a time. (Note: these are high quality Panasonic lithium cells) Unfortunately I don’t have enough data to report on the number of uses I get out of these cells.Feb 28, 2007 at 11:51 am #1380445
>I don’t consider carrying a Nalgene to be ideal and am looking for a lower weight alternative.
The Nalgene Cantene (1 liter: 2.1 oz) is much lighter and has the same wide mouth.
> I found that the battery performance did suffer, and it was necessary to warm the unit up inside my jacket before treating water to be able to run a full cycle.
I've had the same experience with the UV AquaStar and AquaStar Plus.Feb 28, 2007 at 12:05 pm #1380447
In the instructions, there is a defined method for removing the cover(hold cover so angled part is away from you, then pull cover towards you). If you follow these, it snaps off easily, otherwise it is as challenging as the article says.Feb 28, 2007 at 12:14 pm #1380449
Oddly enough, if you really like the Nalgene bottles instead of the flexible Cantene, the old-style Nalgene (milky white) is a little lighter than the newer clear polycarbonate Nalgene. Don't remember the exact measurements, it isn't much, but it's definitely a real difference. I haven't compared any of the other brand "knock-offs".Feb 28, 2007 at 1:15 pm #1380457
Great review , Roger. Thanks for putting this together.
I've been saving an REI gift card since my birthday waiting to combine it with the current REI 20% off coupon and dividend, so the review couldn't have been more timely.
A question. I noticed that you are using a pot to purify the water and discourage the use of deeper containers. My plan for well-watered mountains is to drink up as much as I can right at the source and carry very little between sources. I was going to use a Heineken can as a purifying container/drinking mug. The diameter of the opening is about 2.75" across and the depth is about 5.75". Is this a good size to use or should I go for something shallower? Thanks.Feb 28, 2007 at 1:18 pm #1380459
Brett or Eric, do you have a good source for batteries?Feb 28, 2007 at 1:28 pm #1380462
Unlike Brett, I didn't get the name-brand batteries – mine are a "store brand" (which I DO worry about, but so far everything's been fine). I got mine at batteryspace.com and paid roughly $1.00 each.Feb 28, 2007 at 1:53 pm #1380465
@pjLocale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
For Secondary (i.e., rechargeable CR123A batts)
For Primary (i.e., non-rechargeable CR123A batts)
Streamlight brand = 12 for $18.95
Surefire brand = 12 for $21.00
Titanium brand (recommended by the "guy" at Flashlight Reviews – he has test data comparing the "Ti" brand to some of the "big guys") Singles, or MATCHED PAIRS, and TRIPLETS = $1.00 each
NOTE that this $1 per batt is even if buying only ONE batt!
Test Data for Titanium brand vs. Surefire and BatteryStation-brand
be sure to look at the different graphs. Performance changes depending upon current draw. The Ti brand appears that it might have an "overactive", so to speak, PTC (positive temperature coefficient) protection that may account for its high current performance.
Note that for ~50 cents less per cell than most others, Titanium brand is a VALUE with, generally, just a bit less performance than the more expensive "big boys".
Battery Station (a bunch of brands)
Expensive KODAK and Sanyo brands
hope this helps. i'm still looking for another link i came across 2-3wks ago (96 cents each). i'll post back if i can find it.
Sorry 'bout the URLs. Hyperlinks no longer work for me after 2+ yrs of successful hyperlinking and posting to others to teach them how to mark up a HTML Anchor mark-up. The hyperlink doesn't display properly, nor work, and upon editing my Post containing the HTML, the HTML is mangled badly and is no longer what i typed, viz. the HREF portion is stripped out of it and is completely gone! Don't know why. Only started happening somewhat recently for me.Feb 28, 2007 at 1:54 pm #1380466
I have the Steripen Adventurer, but I have not had an opportunity to try it yet.
For batteries, try: https://www.all-battery.com/index.aspFeb 28, 2007 at 3:21 pm #1380471
@halfturboLocale: Northernish California
While I've not used the Steripen, I've used a UV AquaStar for two seasons. My rule of thumb on batteries is that in cold weather, or for any destintion where the water's bound to be cold (say, <45 F) to use only name-brand batteries (e.g., Energizer, Sanyo, Duracell). I've not surveyed all the generic brands out there, but have been disappointed by the cold performance of those I've used. A number of times I've had the unit not cycle on new generics, but would on my used name-brand backups.
In warmer conditions though, there seems to be little significant difference and the cost savings are definitely warranted.Feb 28, 2007 at 4:17 pm #1380478
Will a baggie (e.g. quart or half gallon) stop enough UV-C to be safe?Feb 28, 2007 at 5:32 pm #1380489
@halfturboLocale: Northernish California
Yup, between that and the water it should do the trick.Feb 28, 2007 at 7:20 pm #1380499
For me, I was really dissapointed with the prior version of this pen. It ate batteries like no tomorrow, and I found it very finicky in cold weather. Maybe they have improved this model, but I vowed after fussing with the pen on two prior backpack trips, and having the batteries drain where I had to keep my fingers crossed if the water had been purified, this product is not for me.Mar 1, 2007 at 4:38 pm #1380620
Thanks to everyone for the replies. I think I'm going to try some of the Titanium brand that pj suggested and have some name brands along as a spares.Mar 2, 2007 at 6:23 am #1380702
Can you folks review this product? I have it as part of my in-home emergency kit, and have been using it backpacking/daypacking for a few years. But I can never find any reviews of it! Either it really works or I have just been really lucky…Mar 2, 2007 at 7:04 am #1380711
@mataharihikerLocale: NW Wisconsin
I prefer the original unit as I use AA betteries in my camera so move them back and forth.
Not mentioned in the review but the most useful accessory I have made by Steripen is the Pre-filter. I thread this onto my Naglene bottle, dip the bottle into the river or lake, remove the filter cartridge and plug the UN unit into the top. It makes a watertight seal so you can invert the Naglene and move the water around…
This removes floaties which can just be rinsed off the filter cartridge…I love this Pre-filter almost more than I love my Steripen….Mar 2, 2007 at 9:56 am #1380751
@bjamesdLocale: South Coast of BC
I think these things would pay for their own weight by reducing the amount of water you carried. If you can treat in 2 minutes total, that means you'll be able to drink an extra litre by the end of your rest or lunch stop. 1 litre is 35oz off your back when you get back on the trail.
With Aqua Mira, the product itself weighs almost nothing but you're walking for 15-30 minutes with 1-2L (=35-70 ounces) of extra weight before you even *start* drinking.
I also think that if a water stop only takes 2 minutes and doesn't involve removing your pack, you'll do it more often. Thus if you are in terrain that crosses a water source every hour or two, you will hardly have to carry any water at all. Everyone talks a lot about reducing their base weights, but the most cost-effective weight reduction possible is your water weight.
Reducing water weight is how I justify having a hydration tube: the first two swallows pay for the weight of the tube. After that, I can drink the first litre in 20 minutes and the next litre in 40, thus keeping myself nice and hydrated as well as nice and light.Mar 2, 2007 at 11:33 am #1380776
@pjLocale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
James, not enough info there to make an in-depth evaluation. Even the "Learn More: Survival Straw" link has very little detail as to the precise construction and modus operandi of the "Survival straw".
Assuming it is as good as they say it is, then i would make only one comment about it:
it is intended as a stationary, on-demand purifying device to be used with larger bodies of water. unless one somehow adapts it into an on-the-go water reservoir system, such as an in-line filter, one isn't going to be carrying any water with them if all they have is the Survival Straw. Sure, one could fill up a water bladder, of sorts, and then periodically stop, open the water bladder, dip the Survival Straw into the water bladder and drink. However, splicing it into a home-made hydration system, using off-the-shelf components, so that it functions as an on-the-go inline filter/purifier would be a better way to go. Camel-bak makes such an inline filter (used by our Armed Forces, by the way) already. There are others also.
If you feel that my quick perusal of the Survival Straw webpage has yielded some gross conceptual errors about its nature and use, PLEASE post back and correct me. I'd appreciate it.Mar 2, 2007 at 10:04 pm #1380847
> I was going to use a Heineken can as a purifying container/drinking mug. The diameter of the opening is about 2.75" across and the depth is about 5.75". Is this a good size to use or should I go for something shallower?
It would do, with a good bit of stirring, but wider and shallower would be a little better. The pot shown is our 1.5 L MSR Titan cooking pot.Mar 2, 2007 at 10:15 pm #1380850
> I have it as part of my in-home emergency kit, and have been using it backpacking/daypacking for a few years. But I can never find any reviews of it! Either it really works or I have just been really lucky…
Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it?
I note with fascination the huge list of independent lab test reports offered as proof that it works. I also note the large amount of technical information as to how it works. And finally, I note the EPA-style %reduction figures quoted for all the bugs.
Much too good …Mar 2, 2007 at 10:20 pm #1380851
> have only had the chance to take the Steripen on one 3 day trip (in which the temperature never broke 20F and went as low as 8F). I found that the battery performance did suffer, and it was necessary to warm the unit up inside my jacket before treating water to be able to run a full cycle. My thought is that at a low enough temperature the batteries have difficulty generating enough voltage to satisfy the Steripen.
I believe the company does recommend warming everything up just as you said.
It may be very helpful to remember that, apart from the Energiser e2 lithiums, ALL the rest of the lithiums have a water-based electrolyte and, like alkalines, they all freeze up in the cold. They won't work below freezing!
(The e2 batteries don't use water and will work, with decreasing performance, down to -20 C or something like that.)
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