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Filter vs Steripen
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Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: What about taste? on 08/16/2011 13:40:40 MDT Print View

Hi David,

You're right to ponder workflow, as UV differs from the other options.

If the water needs prefiltering, I have a small mesh bag that fits over any opening up to the standard Nalgene lid (whatever that diameter is--can't recall). It removes debris and visible swimming things, but won't reduce cloudiness or anything microscopic. (I don't think UV is the best answer for cloudy water in any case.)

The Adventurer will fit in a mid-size container opening--such as a Gatorade bottle--so I generally use something like that. Light, strong, more or less free.

I don't find it a problem pouring from such a bottle into a narrow-neck container. Another reason to prefilter before treatment.

This system won't be a good match for refilling a hydration system on the go unless it's carried outside the pack. But a couple liter bottles in side pockets are just as handy.



Matthew Swierkowski
(Berserker) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What about taste? on 08/17/2011 10:23:37 MDT Print View

To David Vo, I didn’t realize you wanted all the nitty gritty details. Ok, let me just lay out a typical day then. Usually I start off the morning hike with water that was gathered and treated the night before. So we’ll go from there. The first water stop of the day while hiking goes like this: I stop, pull out my empty 4 liter platy (which is usually folded up and strapped to the outside of my pack), collect however much water I want to treat into it either by dipping it in the source (if there is room) or by scooping the water from the source with the Snowpeak 900, rinse the pot with a small amount of pre-filtered water from the platy (just to get rid of debris), fill the pot, treat the water with the Steripen and finally pour the water into my clean container for consumption. Each subsequent time I stop during the day I follow the same process, and empty out the platy when finished to be folded up and placed back on my pack.

At camp I pretty much do the same thing where I fill the entire platy up either by dipping in the source or scooping water using the pot, and then follow the same steps for treatment to consumption as outlined above. I treat water on an as needed basis at camp, so the platy just sits around camp with the remaining untreated water in it till the morning when I empty it to start hiking.

Hope that clears things up for you.

Darren Bagnall

Locale: El Portal, CA
SteriPen problems on 08/25/2011 10:47:50 MDT Print View

I have a love/hate relationship with the SteriPen. I love the simplicity and when it works, it is fast. Unfortunately, I have had big problems with mine. I used both a classic and an adventurer on the PCT this year and last. With both models I have very frequent shut-off problems. Halfway through treatment the unit shuts off and flashes red. The red flashing last waaay too long, then I have to reset and try again. I have had this happen up to seven or eight time per liter. So frustrating.

It's interesting to read about the Opti in this thread as possibly that is a solution. I have also been told the unit gets built up humidity in the bulb with frequent use and the humidity plays havoc with the sensors. Additionally, all these errors make you use more of the batteries than you should be forcing me to carry extra batteries. The 123 batteries that the adventurer that are hard to find and expensive and its the only thing I carry that takes that battery so it really is extra weight.

Does anyone have similar experience with the SteriPen? I feel like its a technology that is not yet ready for prime-time. I am hoping they improve with newer models but, in my opinion, SteriPen is not ready for the trail just yet and I would not recommend.

Brendan S
(brendans) - MLife

Locale: Fruita CO
"Filter vs Steripen" on 08/25/2011 11:20:14 MDT Print View

I have an Opti and love it. I've never had a single problem and it's seen LOTS of use.

Ben H.
(bzhayes) - F

Locale: So. California
why multi-staging with steri? on 08/26/2011 14:10:32 MDT Print View

I've been reading the in-depth steripen treatment techniques and am wondering why use so many containers? I recently purchased my steripen, but I haven't been able to use it on the trail yet.

This was my plan: 1) take wide mouth drinking bottle and cover the mouth with prefilter (bandana) 2) submerge bottle into water source 3) let debris free water fill the bottle 4) remove bottle from water and prefilter from bottle 5) stick steripen in bottle and treat water 6) give high fives and enjoy tasty clean water!

What am I missing? Why do I need three water containers? I understand if the source is a shallow pool, I may need something to scoop what out of it. I would use my cup or pot. Still that is only two containers.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: why multi-staging with steri? on 08/26/2011 14:37:01 MDT Print View

No compelling reason as far as I know. You can use a larger container and run multiple cycles if you can ensure you've stirred properly and have adequate contact time with all the water. This will be much easier with a smaller container.



Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Many bottles; Sawyer Squeeze on 08/26/2011 14:41:19 MDT Print View

Some of us use multiple water containers with the Steripen because we don't want to carry "heavy" Nalgene wide mouth bottles. Platy bottles or commercial water bottles are so much lighter, but have tiny mouths that the Steripen won't fit into. So I carry a Nalgene "canteen" with the lid cut off, making it just a one liter heavy plastic bag. I use that to dip water out of the sources and treat with the Steripen, then pour it into my Platys. Still much lighter than the Nalgene bottle.

On another note, I picked up a Sawyer filter. Lighter (dry) even than the Steripen, filters quickly, 0.10 micron filter, very long life. I've used the Sawyer filter before and liked the results as a gravity filter, but it was a lot of fussing to get everything set up, and then took awhile to do the job. This seems very quick, no fuss, quicker even than the Steripen. So far I've only tried it with tap water, but it'll go on my next hike!

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: "Filter vs Steripen" on 08/26/2011 15:37:15 MDT Print View

Another Steripen (Adventurer) failure here.

It failed just past the warranty period but with only about a dozen outings. Bummer!

I learned my lesson not to count on electronics in the field.
I went back to my ULA Amigo Pro gravity filter and have been quite confident with it although it weighs too much.

So, I recently bought the Sawyer Squeeze filter and WOW! I do love it for it's ease of use, packability, and it's 2.5 ounces!!!

Bryan S
(bswiz) - F
To Steripen users... on 08/29/2011 13:26:47 MDT Print View

One question I've had for the Steripen is, what do you do about the water around the rim of the (for example) Nalgene that doesn't get treated?

That is, if you submerge a Nalgene and fill it, then treat it with Steripen, the water inside is presumably safe to drink. But if I now want to drink directly from the Nalgene, isn't the rim/threaded area contaminated with untreated water? Does wiping it off with a bandana clean any bad stuff enough to be safe? Or is it just such a small amount of water that it isn't a big deal (although I thought I read it only takes a couple drops of bad water to get sick from giardia or something else...)?


Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: To Steripen users... on 08/29/2011 14:29:53 MDT Print View

Hi Bryan,

If I follow the guidance correctly, you're supposed to put the cap on loosely then invert and rinse out the threads with treated water.

Alternatively you can pour the water in using a funnel from another container, being careful to not splash raw water on the treatment container. The same precautions hold for chemical treatments.



David Lutz

Locale: Bay Area
Water on the rim.... on 08/29/2011 16:41:15 MDT Print View

I drink the water from the small hole on the MSR cap I use. Or the MSR hose attached to the cap. So I don't actually drink from the rim.

So I just call that good and get on with it.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Opti on 09/01/2011 19:39:12 MDT Print View

After several years of using ClO2 tablets, I recently switched to a Steripen Opti. I didn't really mind the taste of the Cl2 in the water, but the wait time- 4 hours (although I rarely waited the full 4 hours) was a bit of a hassle.

I'm really liking my switch, I use a 2 liter platy cut ~ 3" above the 1 liter mark to treat the water (less than 1 ounce)- the cut platy is VERY easy to fill (unlike a non-cut platy) and readily stands on it's own- hit the switch on the Opti once and agitate (stir) until the light goes out (~90 seconds) and you now have drinkable water- where I hike (the Rockies) water generally is very clear and also tastes very good. I haven't had any glitches with the Opti thus far and appears battery life is very good (I also switched to a CR123 headlamp to keep batteries interchangeable)

I do keep a few ClO2 tabs in the unlikely event something were to go awry.

If your filtering for a large group a filter might be a better (quicker) option, for a couple of people I think it's going to be tough to beat the Opti

one other scenario where a filter might trump the Opti is you have very turbid water, although that's likely going to prove somewhat problematic for a pump as well- a pre-filter would be beneficial for either in those waters

Andy F
(AndyF) - F

Locale: Ohio
Re: "Filter vs Steripen" on 09/02/2011 11:02:42 MDT Print View

I very seriously considered the Steripen, as shown in my posts above. I decided to go with the Sawyer Squeeze 0.1 micron. It's simpler and more reliable because there are no batteries or electronics. Also, prefiltering is necessary with the Steripen if you're concerned about worm eggs, like I am.

"worm-free since 1971" (as far as I know anyway o.O)

Edited by AndyF on 09/02/2011 11:04:05 MDT.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
worm eggs on 09/02/2011 18:11:54 MDT Print View

curious what kind of worm eggs you have in your water?