Steripen Ultra – Junk?
Oct 19, 2023 at 10:51 am #3791373dirtbagBPL Member
I actually used the steripen Adventurer before the ultra.. but the battery compartment actually broke on mine! Not sure how it happened, but it did! Thats why I started using the Utlra..Oct 19, 2023 at 12:30 pm #3791377
“Went to charge it last week.. no screen illumination.
Rechargeable battery failure. Happens all the time to all sorts of devices.
This is why I use either an Adventurer or Classic 3: both have replaceable batteries.
I did have rechargables in the Adventurer at the start, and yes, the batteries failed regularly. So now I only use primary (ie non-rechargable) batteries. Never any problems since.”
I’ll stipulate that my trouble free experience with Steripen is based on the replaceable battery version, not the rechargeable.Oct 19, 2023 at 2:21 pm #3791384Roger CaffinBPL Member
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Something went wrong somewhere! 3791377 was posted by ME (Roger), not by jscott.
The Rovyvon Aurora is an interesting device, but (I suspect) of no use to us. It emits in UV-A and UV-C, but NO power levels are given. The UV-A is of no use in water treatment anyhow; you need UV-C for that. Given the lack of any data, I suspect that the emitted UV-C power may be as low as 1 mW or even lower.
CheersOct 19, 2023 at 2:39 pm #3791386David SugenoBPL Member
@davesugenoLocale: Central Texas
I’ll stipulate that my trouble free experience with Steripen is based on the replaceable battery version, not the rechargeable.
Same here. And I always bring a backup pair of CR123s, just in case.Oct 19, 2023 at 3:10 pm #3791387Russ WBPL Member
@gatome83Locale: Southeastern US
I believe my failure with the 1st Steripen Ultra was indeed the battery. Failure with the 2nd device was either the circuitry or the bulb.
We won’t be talking about #3!Oct 20, 2023 at 6:52 pm #3791406Sam FarringtonBPL Member
@scfhomeLocale: Chocorua NH, USA
Neglected to mention that eons ago I learned that chlorine dioxide is not as effective as Iodine water treatments. There were specific infections mentioned. This was so long ago, and have forgotten the sources, but will try to find it. May have seen it on BPL also.
Was wondering if missed mention of plain old boiling. It is also part of my routine. Boil water, pour just what is needed to dehydrate and heat the food in a covered Ti bowl, and leave the extra to cool and add to tea or slurp for later. Also good in the AM for Instant Breakfast mixed with powdered coffee, but had to give it up.
Of course, the above is only simple due to packing prepackaged freeze dried or dehydrated foods and seasonings, because that’s all I eat in the outback; and know that many others carry fresh foods, or catch fish or the like. Do your own thing. I like an approach that allows more time for hiking, especially if hiking off trail and doing a lot of navigation. Yes I know, stone age map and compass, no other gadgets. Backpacking light did not begin with BPL.
Have also wondered if the only water available is from mucky water; whether chemical treatments, not to mention UV light, provide enough protection from dangerous chemicals invisible in the gunk. Years ago, did a multi-day loop in Bear Mountain Park just across the Hudson from NYC. Any treatment able to purify water there might well be toxic to us. It’s a puzzle, and is part of the reason for carrying the iodine, but only in tablets intended for hikers, and only in limited amounts. It also came in handy as a disinfectant when powdered and rubbed into an infected blister, sore from hiking on rocky ground. Was hiking pain free and on my way in no time.Oct 20, 2023 at 7:21 pm #3791408David HartleyBPL Member
@dhartleyLocale: Western NY
I believe the issue with Chlorine Dioxide is that it is less effective against CryptosporidiumOct 22, 2023 at 8:40 am #3791501Mark HurdBPL Member
@markhurdLocale: Willamette Valley
Larry W is right. The Gear Skeptic series is an excellent resource for gear nerds. Certainly a deep dive on water treatment and excellent referenced info throughout.Oct 22, 2023 at 1:47 pm #3791510Don MontierthBPL Member
@chumangoLocale: East TN
Chlorine dioxide is more effective against giardia and crypto than iodine, but still not ideal.
Boiling is best (reaching boiling suffices, no need to boil for minutes), next best is high quality filtration followed by chemical treatment for viruses if needed.Nov 17, 2023 at 12:21 pm #3793296Tom D.BPL Member
@dafiremedicLocale: Southern California
I’ve used a SteriPen a number of times and never had it fail. The reason I bought it was because I enjoy hiking in the Sierra, where the water is arguable the best tasting in the world IMO and the SteriPen is the only water treatment that doesn’t affect the taste.
However, I went back to my Sawyer Squeeze, as anything with a battery can fail and I found myself not wanting to be concerned with charging the SteriPen during longer hikes.Nov 17, 2023 at 12:41 pm #3793299
“However, I went back to my Sawyer Squeeze, as anything with a battery can fail and I found myself not wanting to be concerned with charging the SteriPen during longer hikes.”
Normally I’m a proponent of rechargeable batteries; but in the case of Steripen, I started with a replaceable battery and have 100% success rate over 5+ years, with the one device. And yes, I bring backup batteries (less than an ounce) and iodine for any emergency. Others may choose other emergency, light weight (~1 ounce) chemical backup solutions. I’ve never had to change batteries over that 5+ year period while out hiking, but I tend to only go for 5-7 days. Obviously, I’ve never had to resort to a back up either.
I think the trick with this device is to baby it. I carry it in a belly pack for easy access when hiking. More importantly, I’m not going to futz around digging it out or reaching around and dragging it out of a side pocket. We tend to get impatient and force things. The steripen bulb is glass and wire, or something. Still, when I carry it in a dedicated belly pack, in it’s light carry case, along with a map and lunch, it’s proved to be robust.Nov 17, 2023 at 1:18 pm #3793303Brian WBPL Member
Two of my friends hiked the GC with Steripens. One failed. One worked. That tells me that if you’re going to carry one that you want a reliable back up. Anything better than aquamira as a backup?Nov 17, 2023 at 1:38 pm #3793305
“One failed. One worked.”
Well, yeah, but WHY? the point of my post just above was to suggest that user failure may be the culprit in these sort of stories. But user failure can plague ANY water purifying system (for example, letting a filter drop below freezing overnight, not using a pre filter, etc.).
Steripens can’t be manhandled in the way that a Sawyer Squeeze can. It’s important to adapt yourself to the equipment that you use, as Aristotle says: “The hand is the tool of the tool”. That is, our humanity is amazing because we can adapt ourselves to the tools that we’ve invented. We change our behavior in order to make life better. A Streripen places certain, simple, requirements on us in order for it to function. Failure to recognize those requirements will result in failure of the Steripen.Nov 17, 2023 at 1:59 pm #3793307Brian WBPL Member
They were both brand new out of package. No idea why one worked and one failed. They were fine because they still had one that worked. Not sure what the quality control is like with this product.
I’ve had a Sawyer Squeeze fail on me because I left it in storage and didn’t test before going. That was user error. No idea why these dry out and/or clog on users so quickly.
I think, you’d want dependable filtration when in the backcountry.Nov 17, 2023 at 2:13 pm #3793308
“They were both brand new out of package. No idea why one worked and one failed. They were fine because they still had one that worked. Not sure what the quality control is like with this product.”
I don’t want to beat this point to death, but…it doesn’t matter if both were new out of the package, if one of the two users was clumsy or pushed his or her steripen past the breaking point, and the other didn’t.
and yes, it’s possible that I just lucked out on my Steripen.
I’m only suggesting that blaming “quality control” may or may not be the right answer here. A new user of a new device can, indeed, break that device right out of the box. It takes time to understand the requirements of a new device.
p.s. did the users test their Steripens before going out on their hike?Nov 17, 2023 at 3:10 pm #3793310Iago VazquezBPL Member
@iagoLocale: Boston & Galicia, Spain
I have a Classic three model I bought when this model came out several years ago. Still going strong.
I believe in that span of time I have gone through at least 4 filters I can recall. A couple of years back I decided to just stick to the Stripen and forget about filters. My wife didn’t trust the UV light, so she insisted I did both. Now she’s fine with the Steripen only.
I bought a second Classic 3 used for my son a couple of years back, and still no issues.Nov 17, 2023 at 4:39 pm #3793314Bill KBPL Member
I purchased a Steripen UltraLight in 2022 for a 11 day trip (High Sierra). Did some pre-trip testing and discovered it would not hold a charge. Quickly received a warranty replacement from Katadyn and took that with no problems .. clear water the entire trip
However, the failure of the first one gave me some concern so I had enough MicroPur as a back-up. My 2nd one still works fine but I always have Micro-Pur.
After watching the entire Gearskeptic series on water treatment, I decided if I am concerned about water clarity, I take my Sawyer.
For day hiking, I take the Steripen. For backpacking, I take my SawyerNov 18, 2023 at 5:41 pm #3793368Sam FarringtonBPL Member
@scfhomeLocale: Chocorua NH, USA
David A: Thank you for the reminder about cryptosporidia.
Don M: And thank you for the link to the CDC document. In stating that iodine is ineffective against cryptosporidia, the CDC differs from what I thought was the conventional wisdom. Whatever poison is chosen, agree that the tablets are small and light enough to pack for emergencies.
I’ve had only one bad water experience, diagnosed as giardia. Was hiking south on the Maine AT below the hundred mile wilderness, and scooped up some water from a fast flowing brook. Then came up around a curve in the trail to a marsh that was the source of the brook. It took a couple days for the cramps to begin, but was near the end of the hike where the car was parked, so was able to get to a doctor within a day or two. It was the end of drinking from brooks, no matter how pristine they appeared. Water is now pumped through a filter into a small Ti pot, boiled, and poured into other kitchenware as needed.
So there is no need to carry and use a UV light, and after reading this thread, will not change on that score. The above CDC document states that: “UV might be an effective method in pathogen reduction in backcountry water; there is a lack of independent testing data available on specific systems.” Fans of the CDC may be interested in reading Pandemonium, by Alex Berenson.
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