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Steripen Journey is a poor product
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Eric Riddick
(50Miler) - F
Steripen Journey is a poor product on 04/24/2008 21:01:15 MDT Print View

I purchased a Steripen Adventurer, but returned it because it does not mate with the Steripen pre-filter. I exchanged it for the new Steripen Journey, which is advertised as mating with the Steripen pre-filer.

I received the Journey yesterday from REI. I took it home, tried it out and found it does mate with the pre-filter, but ONLY if you leave the Steripen in the vertical position and don't move it around.

If I moved the Steripen Journey around to try and agitate the water as recommended, I found the Steripen gave me a sad face on the LCD and shut off.

I found the only way I could successfully agitate the water with the Journey, was to use it without the pre-filter. In other words, just like the cheaper and lighter Steripen Adventurer.

What is up with this company? They advertise it will work with their pre-filter, well I expect that means it will be able to agitate the water without the thing losing contact and shutting off.

I also sent an E-mail to Steripen months ago asking if they were ever going to come out with a pre-filter for the Adventurer...they never even replied to my E-mail.

Today, I returned the Steripen Journey to REI. I found it way overrated and overpriced.

Also, the Journey instructions specifically mention the fact it wont kill bugs on the threads of the bottle and lid...IMO making it worthless for being reliable at purifying water.

I don't understand the attention this UV technology is getting. The fact that it doesn't kill stuff on the threads, bottle top and rim of the bottle makes it problematic and iffy.

I'm going back to chemicals for my water.


Rob Blazoff
(Genetic) - F

Locale: Out back, brewing beer in BPA.
stir on 04/24/2008 21:26:46 MDT Print View

I wouldn't try to stir the water in a bottle with the prefilter in place. I would only stir water in a glass or cup with the Journey.
I would think the best way to get the water swirling is by moving the bottle in a small circular motion.

Pouring off a bit of treated water onto the threads is how they are typically dealt with.

Eric Riddick
(50Miler) - F
Re: stir on 04/24/2008 22:08:33 MDT Print View

Steripen recommends you actually move the steripen around the bottle to agitate it. They specifically say that failure to do that will result in not enough water being exposed to the UV light. I cant see how moving the bottle around will move enough water...seems very much a haphazard way to get the water exposed to UV.

This whole UV light thing sounds good on paper or on a website, but until they overcome this problem of unpurified water being left on the threads, lid and rim of the bottle, to me its less than 100%. In other words, unreliable. Just small amounts of pathogens can cause a person to become sick.


Roleigh Martin
(marti124) - MLife

Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Re: Steripen Journey is a poor product on 04/24/2008 22:22:22 MDT Print View

I used the Adventurer for the last 15 day hike I did in the High Sierras and will use it on the JMT this July. I use a MSR Coffee Filter (which nicely fits inside the Nalgene bottle lid) to rid any sediment out of water, the pre-filter was a joke, water went so super, super slow thru it. I hold the Adventurer upside down and slowly stir it around the water in the Nalgene bottle. I know the MSR Coffee Filter can't deal with pathogens, but the Steripen will sterilize them -- the Coffee Filter takes care of the visible stuff, the Steripen takes care of the invisible stuff. Works like a charm and the Steripen Adventurer is lighter than the Journey and cheaper. See my gear list for a pic of the MSR filter with a link to it.

Eric Riddick
(50Miler) - F
Re: Re: Steripen Journey is a poor product on 04/24/2008 23:00:26 MDT Print View

I agree that the Steripen pre-filter is a joke. I found the same, it takes forever to fill the bottle with the filter on. I mean it was so slow it was in unusable. The company that makes this Steripen Journey needs to stop advertising it will mate with their pre-filter if you cant agitate the water with the pre-filter in place.

I used the Adventurer on a short trip a few months back. What a *fun* experience that was! OK its biggie for me I do a lot of night hiking nowadays. I fill my nalgene wide mouths with that pre-filter on it from a stream. It wouldn't fill because I couldnt find a place deep enough to just submerge the bottle upside down.

I ended up spending about ten minutes standing on the edge of the stream...much longer than normal for me on water refills. Boots got wetter than normal. I finally got disgusted and took the pre-filter off, just filled the bottle the regular way like I always did and just dropped chlorine dioxide tabs in the bottles. Wow...the chlorine dioxide tabs was sooooo easy compared to Steripen.

Chlorine dioxide and Potable Aqua...SIMPLE...effective...SIMPLE...reliable...the chemicals get on the threads of the bottle, the lid and rim area.

Steripen...a pain in the butt, expensive, heavier than chemicals, the pre-filter DOES NOT WORK.

Just seems like its a poorly designed concept to me. I mean, UV light kills bugs better than anything. GREAT! But what about the bugs left on the threads, rim and lid? The UV light doesn't touch water on those places.

UV light in a coca cola bottling plant is a much different environment than the back country.


Roleigh Martin
(marti124) - MLife

Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Re: Re: Re: Steripen Journey is a poor product on 04/24/2008 23:35:20 MDT Print View

I do not use a prefilter with my steripen, I bring along a cheap, 1 qt plastic drinking cup (sturdy enuf to last the hike though) that I use to pick up water and pour the water cleanly into the Nalgene bottle, not touching the lip edges or threads. (Yes the MSR Coffee Filter is inside the lip, so the water is being poured thru the bottom floor of the Coffee Filter) - I hold the Nalgene bottle upright, and I put the Adventurer upside down into the water (after removing the Coffee Filter.

If anything does contaminate the edges/lip however, it's never gotten me sick, however the water in the High Sierras is very clean to begin with. The Steripen is fast, only 90 seconds for a whole liter.

Charles Grier
(Rincon) - M

Locale: Desert Southwest
Steripen Journey is a poor product on 04/25/2008 09:31:07 MDT Print View

I have no experience with the Steripen Journey so I can't comment on it. But, I have used a Steripen Adventurer for nearly 2 years now with complete satisfaction. But, I don't try to treat the water in my drinking bottle. I took a 2 liter plastic pop bottle (BPA free), cut the top off, marked 0.5 and 1.0 liter levels on the side and use that for the dipping and stirring. The bottle bottom fits neatly over my rolled sleeping pad so takes no space to speak of and weighs about 0.8 oz. When you finish sterilizing the water in this little "pot", you pinch the edge to form a pouring spout and pour the water into your bottle; no nasties on the threads or cap.

Like any new technique, UV sterilization requires adopting new methods; you might want to try the above. The thing I like about UV is that it gets everything in the water including the crypto cysts. Moreover, UV leaves the water free of that swimming pool taste.

Use chemicals if you wish but be aware that the problems mentioned with UV sterilization are not really problems.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Steripen Journey is a poor product on 04/25/2008 11:07:02 MDT Print View

Bottle rims and threads aside, the supplied pre-filter is useless against brown river water, freshly churned up after a rainstorm. This can compromise UV's purifying ability -- just when you need it the most.

But I wouldn't trash the technology or the product in one broad stroke. UV purifiers are light as heck and a delight to use with reasonably clear mountain streams. Much depends on your water source, and your own methodology/preference.

Edited by ben2world on 04/25/2008 11:09:30 MDT.

Steve B
(geokite) - F

Locale: Southern California
I'm with Charles on 04/25/2008 11:40:25 MDT Print View

I use the method Charles described, but with a cut down 1.5 L bottle. And the bottle is a great place to put a Caldera Cone. I suppose both of those could go over a protected closed cell foam pad.


Simon Harding
(SimonHarding) - F
Steripen on 04/25/2008 13:01:49 MDT Print View

I have to admit I had misgivings about the steripen, but when I thought about it I can not think of any time in all my years growing up running around the woods and in my adult life in which I drank water from a cloudy source. So I wasn't terribly concerned about the filtering.

I admit that the prefilter is a POS. I never used it. It seemed clunky and stupidly designed. A typical gimmick type accessory aimed by a manufacturer at increasing profits.

That said, the product works wonderfully for me. When we backpack we usually each carry a plty and I carry a soft sided nalgene bottle (the old, original non clear nalgene) becuase I do not trust the Platys enough to rely solely on them. We scoop the water with the Nalgene or a cloth kitchen sink/water carrier (when we hike with the kids) and sterilize the water in the nalgene and pour it into the platys. Works great.

The electronic aspect of this deivce made me nervous, but it worked great all last summer with no hiccups at all, and it is far lighter than a filter, especially my old MSR waterworks.

I don't like using chemical purification, so this was a perfect solution for me. it is by no means perfect but no method is.

We take care to wipe the "wild" water away from the threads and lip as needed, adn slop a bit of treated water to wash it away.

I had giardia once, and that was enough. I drank water treated with this device for probably three weeks total last summer, all over Oregon, and I did not get ill.

I think it is a fine device and is among the good options out there.

And we never prefiltered. never needed to.

Eric Riddick
(50Miler) - F
Re: Steripen on 04/26/2008 10:23:43 MDT Print View

>I had giardia once, and that was enough. I drank water >treated with this device for probably three weeks total last >summer, all over Oregon, and I did not get ill.

Ive never had giardia once...I want to maintain my track record. Ive known several people who got sick because they were slackers and drank from crystal clear mountain streams without first treating their water. They didn't have a fun experience and I can tell you everybody Ive known who caught it, REALLY was emphatic about treating their water afterwards.

These people who tell you its "OK" to drink untreated mountain water are romantic fools, IMO.

Personally, I see Steripen's lack of ability to get that UV light onto the threads, lid and rim of the bottle as a potential products liability case, probably with design defect as the issue. Any microbiologist will tell you that even small amounts of pathogens left on the threads or rim of the bottle can make you sick.

Somebody ought to design a UV light purifier that will do a more thorough job and get that UV light onto the rim, inside lid and threads. All chemicals get splashed onto those areas, every 13 year old Boy Scout is taught to screw the lid on loosely, shake the bottle up good and make sure some of the chemically treated water gets splashed onto the inner lid and the outside threads.

To me, thats the basics. This Steripen thing is getting away from the basics of backcountry hygiene.

While in the relatively clean back country waters of the USA and Canada, giardia might be the worst thing you will catch. But if you go overseas and use that thing, you are risking it. Would you use Steripen in Africa, Asia, Central or South America with all kinds of deadly viruses, bacteria and protozoa in the water? Just because Steripen does a bang up job of neutralizing nasties in the bottle doesn't meant squat when their are a bunch of nasties left on the rim, threads and lid.

Wiping the threads and rim with a cloth seems like a not thorough approach to being sure pathogens are gone. Those suckers are tough...they can survive easily.

I was very excited about the UV light thing and was really excited when I got the Adventurer and later, the Journey. But when I opened them up, tried them out and read the instructions and saw all the warnings, my enthusiasm wained. I'm just old school with regard to treating my back country water. I never have been sick from drinking that water because I treat it...and I intend to keep it that way.