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Which SteriPen Model?


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  • #1323486
    Mitchell Ebbott
    Spectator

    @mebbott-2

    Locale: SoCal

    I'm thinking about picking up a SteriPen at some point and can't decide between the Adventurer Opti or the Ultra. Does anyone care to share their experiences and opinions?

    #2155140
    Billy Ray
    Spectator

    @rosyfinch

    Locale: the mountains

    I've had the Opti for 3 or 4 season… works great… I think it's the lightest. Batteries are expensive if you buy at a store… MUCH cheaper if you buy on the web… but make sure to buy name brands as the off brands may not work well.

    The Ultra is rechargeable I believe… a problem if you're doing longer trips… probably okay for weekends.

    With the rounded shape of the Ultra you may be able to use it with small mouth water bottles… you need something as large as a Gatorade bottle mount for the Opti.

    b

    #2155144
    Jerry Adams
    BPL Member

    @retiredjerry

    Locale: Oregon and Washington

    I've used Opti, I had problems with batteries losing charge and not working when I wanted. And the rechargeable RS232 batteries didn't work hardly at all.

    It seems like the Ultra is good in that you can charge it using USB cable before leaving on trip, and it will guarantee being totally charged

    If you need more than the nominal 50 liters of water treated per charge, you can bring an external battery with USB charging plug.

    Test it a couple charge cycles before going on trip to make sure it works.

    #2155151
    Adam Kramer
    BPL Member

    @rbeard

    Locale: ATL, Southern Appalachia

    i had an adventurer and sold it because the batteries were expensive. thought i was just going to use a sawyer, but there is something so refreshing about drinking from a stream in 30 seconds on the fly.

    that said, i just picked up a steripen freedom on amazon for $55 shipped after a $15 coupon (on the page). it was the pricepoint and the no battery option that sold me. i will be testing it and if this one is a dud and loses its charge after a day or two, ill send it back for a replacement. they advertise 40 treatments on a single charge.

    http://www.amazon.com/SteriPEN-Freedom-Portable-Handheld-Purifier/dp/B005HG3VYE

    and the $15 off coupon is on the page

    #2155166
    Mitchell Ebbott
    Spectator

    @mebbott-2

    Locale: SoCal

    Adam, I saw that deal but on looking into it further I discovered that the Freedom treats a maximum of 1/2 liter at a time. So I can't use my full-size water bottles with it, and the advertised "40 treatments" means only 20 liters.

    This thread has me leaning toward the Ultra now. Most of the trips I take are short, and even on longer ones I don't see much difference between carrying extra CR123s and carrying an external USB battery pack. The weight should be about the same, and it'd be very nice to start every trip with a full charge. I also like that the Ultra can be used with narrower bottles, I'd have to change less of my system.

    I guess my biggest concern, besides weight, is that the Ultra uses two metal water sensor probes instead of an optical sensor. Roger Caffin's review made it sound like optical is better. Has anybody had problems with the metal probe sensors?

    #2155169
    Andy F
    Spectator

    @andyf

    Locale: Midwest/Midatlantic

    I have the Opti which I use sometimes. It works great. I take the batteries out between trips, and I haven't had any battery issues using name brand lithium batteries.

    The one I have is a free replacement though. The one I purchased seemed a little too dim. I sent it to the manufacturer, and they tested it and determined that the bulb was defective.

    You'll need a cheat sheet of the LED blink codes to determine what's wrong if they indicate anything other than normal.

    #2155170
    Ken Thompson
    BPL Member

    @here

    Locale: Right there

    I have an Adventurer, but want to get an Opti. Don't know why people cry about the cost of the CR123 batteries, I pay about a buck fifty each for Energizers or Duracells. How much do you spend on fuel getting out to the trailhead? Expensive batteries indeed.

    #2155173
    J-L
    BPL Member

    @johnnyh88

    I've been using the Steripen Freedom for a couple months. I haven't had any issues with it so far. The only time the metal water sensor probes didn't trip was when a friend used it for the first time. I wiped them down with my shirt and it worked fine after that. I treat a 1/2-liter at a time in a little water scoop (bottom of old Evernew bladder), but Will Rietveld treats 2-3 liters at a time in a plastic bag with his Freedom by just doing multiple treatments:

    http://southwestultralight.blogspot.com/search?q=steripen

    When I first got the Freedom, I stuck it in my fridge and treated every glass of water I drank. After 10 days or so, I got to the 42nd treatment and it ran out of battery. I like that I can start every trip with a fresh battery. And on longer trips, I can bring along an external battery pack and use it to charge my Freedom and my phone (if necessary). I've also thought of just using Aquamira drops to treat water overnight and use the Steripen during the day. This would extend the battery life of the Steripen and give me a backup at the same time.

    #2155180
    Mitchell Ebbott
    Spectator

    @mebbott-2

    Locale: SoCal

    Oh! I hadn't even thought about just running the cycle twice. Here's from the Freedom manual:

    Can I use Freedom to treat more than 1 liter at
    a time?

    No, we do not recommend it. You may treat 1
    liter volumes by repeating the 48-second
    treatment a second time (96 seconds of total UV
    exposure time). Freedom’s effectiveness is ONLY
    tested and certified on volumes up to 1 liter."

    I think I've found a winner!

    #2155204
    Billy Ray
    Spectator

    @rosyfinch

    Locale: the mountains

    "I also like that the Ultra can be used with narrower bottles, I'd have to change less of my system."

    I doubt the Freedom can be used with small water bottle openings.

    billy

    #2155216
    Eric Blumensaadt
    BPL Member

    @danepacker

    Locale: Mojave Desert

    My Adventurer Opti works better than my former (lost) Adventurer with the metal electrodes. Glad I got it.

    I even have the old Adventurer solar charging box and rechargeable CR123 batteries in case the SHTF in 'Vegas. (i.e major earthquake, stripper strike, puta strike, meteor strike, zombie apocalypse, etc.)

    Hey, that zombie apocalypse could happen and that's because "The Government" keeps phoo-phooing the idea which makes it a real threat according to many highly regarded conspiracy web sites.

    Remember, "If it's on the internet it must be true."

    #2155272
    Stephen Barber
    BPL Member

    @grampa

    Locale: SoCal

    I've been using the Adventure Opti for several years now with no problems. I use good batteries, which I buy off the net, and remove them between trips. No regrets.

    #2155277
    Valerie E
    Spectator

    @wildtowner

    Locale: Grand Canyon State

    I've had the Opti for a while, and have used it (with internet-purchased brand-name batteries) on the JMT with no issues.

    I just bought an Ultra, which I think will become my main Steripen (with an external battery pack). I intend to keep the Opti, as a backup (and to use in situations where recharging would simply be too difficult).

    If I remember correctly, the Freedom, while lighter and smaller, will only give you 20 liters per charge, which would have been a problem for me on the JMT.

    Edited to add: Most of my trips are 6 nights or more (with 2 of us), so 20L of water treatment would NOT go very far for me, and we'd need several re-charges, which I would find too inconvenient. YMMV.

    #2155289
    Cameron M
    BPL Member

    @cameronm-aka-backstroke

    Locale: Los Angeles

    The Freedom is the lightest and smallest. If you have a solar cell or battery charger, the USB-only seems to be a non-issue, I have not heard any reports about performance failing more for USB than batteries. ALL STERIPENS TAKE THE SAME AMOUNT OF TIME!!! 48 seconds for the Freedom for 1/2 liters, 90 seconds for the others at 1 liter. And yes, you can do a double zap for 1 liter, so they are all the same. It is easy as I fill my 700 cup up to 1/2 liter and then just leave the pen sitting there, I don't even waste time holding it, and no special wide-mouth container required. Even if you don't have USB capability, what is the worst that can happen if you run out of charge when you are carrying backup Aquamira anyway? I have only been able to use it on one 3-day trip, so my experience is limited, but so far, I am sold!

    #2155301
    Billy Ray
    Spectator

    @rosyfinch

    Locale: the mountains

    "The Freedom is the lightest and smallest"… yes, for a weekend trip. but if you have to take an extra battery pack or solar cell charger then it is no longer the lightest.

    b

    #2155424
    Mitchell Ebbott
    Spectator

    @mebbott-2

    Locale: SoCal

    I have a 2200 mAh USB battery pack that weighs 2.5 oz. The Freedom's battery is 1000 mAh, so that should be enough to give it two full charges and treat 60 liters. Let's say 50, just to account for charging inefficiencies.

    That puts the Freedom + battery pack (5.1 oz, 50L) right on par with the Ultra (4.9 oz, 50L), and gives the option of leaving the battery pack behind on shorter trips.

    You're right that the Freedom can't be used with a Smartwater bottle though. That's not a huge deal though, I can swap it for a squeezable bike bottle or a Gatorade bottle without adding too much weight.

    #2155425
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    A buddy talked me out of getting a Steripen because of concerns that they need a certain container shape and opening size. Since use 1.5L deer park bottles the pen did not seem like it would work as well. Would probably also be heavier than other solutions.

    I'd pick up the Steripen if I just wanted something to treat tap water in 3rd world countries. For backpacking I'm still on Chlorine drops. Might switch to sawyer squeeze just so I can drink sooner at watering holes.

    #2155428
    Andy F
    Spectator

    @andyf

    Locale: Midwest/Midatlantic

    Many use the Steripen in their cooking pot or the bottom of a cut-down Platypus or Nalgene Cantene, then pour the water into their narrow-mouth container or hydration bladder.

    #2155432
    Richard May
    BPL Member

    @richardm

    Locale: Nature Deficit Disorder

    Many use the Steripen in their cooking pot … then pour the water into their narrow-mouth container or hydration bladder.

    +1

    Usually I tank up then fill my bottles. The cook pot (450ml) stays in a pocket with the Steripen where it's easy to get to.

    #2155461
    Derek M.
    BPL Member

    @dmusashe

    Locale: Southern California

    I suggest that you go with the Ultra…

    Reason: So that you can report how it works out for you, I'm looking to get one myself!

    #2155468
    Billy Ray
    Spectator

    @rosyfinch

    Locale: the mountains

    "That puts the Freedom + battery pack (5.1 oz, 50L) right on par with the Ultra (4.9 oz, 50L), and gives the option of leaving the battery pack behind on shorter trips."

    And the Adventurer Opti weighs 3.6oz with two CR123 batteries that I have found good for an 8 day trip.

    An extra two CR123 batteries weights 1.2oz… so 3.6 + 1.2 = 4.8 oz is good for 16days… or if you are setting a food cache your spare batteries can be put in the food cache. Conclusion: the Opti is the lightest Steripen option for week long trips.

    While rechargeable things are nice, keep in mind that after a few year they will hold less and less charge.

    Bill

    #2155480
    Cameron M
    BPL Member

    @cameronm-aka-backstroke

    Locale: Los Angeles

    ""The Freedom is the lightest and smallest"… yes, for a weekend trip. but if you have to take an extra battery pack or solar cell charger then it is no longer the lightest."

    A battery solution is more practical and lighter for some. Like many others I am committed to carrying an iPhone with its attendant need for a power bank or solar cell, so that fact swung me towards a USB solution. Opti 3.8 oz + two batteries 1.2 oz = 5 oz for 16 days. Freedom 2.6 oz + .3 oz mini charge cable = 2.9 oz. for 2,650 miles.

    Like most EXTREMELY IMPORTANT issues discussed in these forums, it just depends…

    #2155481
    Jerry Adams
    BPL Member

    @retiredjerry

    Locale: Oregon and Washington

    You could have other devices that are USB rechargeable like GPS, radio, flashlight,…

    A bit of a paradigm shift from replaceable batteries

    #2155486
    Billy Ray
    Spectator

    @rosyfinch

    Locale: the mountains

    "You could have other devices that are USB rechargeable like GPS, radio, flashlight,…

    A bit of a paradigm shift from replaceable batteries"

    Yes… a paradigm shift… from a pure nature experience to toting all the trappings of city life I go out there to get away from… but I under stand the addiction :)

    billy

    #2155488
    Mitchell Ebbott
    Spectator

    @mebbott-2

    Locale: SoCal

    Let's face it, if we wanted a "pure nature experience" we'd be on a bushcraft forum, not a backpacking forum. Gear is part and parcel of the BPL ethos, for better or worse. If I can save weight and complexity by bringing my iPhone instead of a camera, book, and notepad and let it function as a GPS in a pinch, I'm gonna do it.

    But that doesn't seal the argument for a USB rechargeable SteriPen. Every new device adds power requirements. If you can use the same UBS battery pack to charge your iPhone and SteriPen that you previously used for just the iPhone, then you were carrying too big a battery pack before. On the other hand, if you're carrying a solar cell the math changes and a rechargeable SteriPen comes out on top.

    All the same, I'm still leaning toward the Freedom. Most of my trips are short enough that I won't need more than the internal battery, and I like the idea of starting every trip with a full charge without wasting money or landfill space on CR123s.

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