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Using the SteriPEN over AquaMira: Carrying less water
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Sam Ridge

Locale: North Carolina
Using the SteriPEN over AquaMira: Carrying less water on 11/15/2011 23:15:38 MST Print View

I will preface this thread with the circumstances in which I will be hiking. I will be on the AT in April for a while. The SteriPEN weigh's approx 4 oz. (excludes bag...and AC adaptor for me is dual purpose with my telephony) while the AquaMira averages in at 1.5 -2.0. Two ounces is a huge opportunity to save weight on any normal item but water purification affects the weight of the water on your back in at least some small way.

The SteriPEN purifies in 90 seconds. AquaMira 30. Water sources are going to be numerous so my question is to you, why just not drink up at the source and barely carry a half of a liter (~16 oz)? or none at all?

The counter argument is this. If you really wanted too you could go get water right when you wake up: a bunch. It takes me much less than 30 min to break camp but lets say you need/use all that time and you drink up. Then perhaps you only need a liter midday and get another load of water at camp. Only really carrying 2 pounds more, when compared to the SteriPEN, for an hour to be on the small side (in favor of the counter argument).

My argument is this. Firstly, I can break camp (not cook breakfast) and be on my merry way without going to the water hole to treat w/e. There's more freedom in general. And I know Mikey C has that video on getting to the water source and keeping going but I often find myself getting there and wanting water THEN and maybe a sit and a snack. But my last and main point, is that I think the 2 pounds for an hour number are going to be much higher. On a more consistant basis people are going to purify more than they think they need rather than less. I believe much more.

I just want to drink til I want to stop at the water source. I don't want to lug 1,2,3 pounds of water around on my back waiting for it to purify as I pass even more water sources. I feel like that extra ~3 oz (3%) on purification weight is a great trade for a ~20%- 30% (2/3L-1L of water) reduction in my PACK weight.

I know some people may already be doing this but it's my impression that AquaMira is the far and wide, beloved, favorite among UL hiking enthusiasts. Can't be forever. Eventually AquaMira will fade.

Let me know what you guys think. Is carrying 3 oz for ten hours more exertion than carrying 30 oz for one? Granted other variables constant.

Thank you.


Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Using the SteriPEN over AquaMira: Carrying less water on 11/16/2011 00:03:03 MST Print View

That's why I went to a Sawyer squeeze filter-- just as quick and light as the Steripen but no batteries and it cleans the water. I hike where there is too much water and it seems silly to carry a bunch while waiting for the chemicals to work. I do carry Micro Pur tablets for backup.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Using the SteriPEN over AquaMira: Carrying less water on 11/16/2011 03:27:21 MST Print View

To me, it's a safety issue when hiking alone. If you are injured and cannot continue, it would have been nice to have some amount of water with you. If hiking with a group, go for it and hopefully those batteries won't fail. Battery devices need a backup plan.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: Using the SteriPEN over AquaMira: Carrying less water on 11/16/2011 06:54:56 MST Print View

Yeah, all electrical devices do require a backup of some sort of backup if you will be placing your health at risk with them. Map&compass for GPS, chemical treatments for steripens. Campfires for cooking, etc. Not to say that MuV, Steripen, MIOX, etc are not all good products. All will do the job. With plenty of water sources around, they likely represent the lightest/quickest water available.

The Adventuror (I have used the MuV, and MIOX, too) is my choice for light weight trips. The Sawyer does not catch bacteria from unknown sources, small and viable gardia, viruses, etc. The Steripen doesn't catch tape worm eggs.I have said before that staistics and tests are no guarentee of safety. You may get Crypto even double filtering with too large a filter, or, double dosing with UV, or, following directions with iodine, or, with improper handling using AquaMira. $hit happens. (Oh m'god, a pun...)

Most waters in the north country(at least smaller free flowing streams, ie those without dams) are likely OK. So, I carry no backup for the Steripen through most of my regular hiking areas. For new areas (at least new to me) I do. Spare batteries and a pair of half full mini-droppers only adds 2oz (though a purist may complain about the extra weight.) Instead of my usual liter of water (well, actually 1.2L in 2 gatoraid bottles) I bring one, if I am crossing a lot of water sources. Generally this weighs about a pound. So, I am saving about 8oz overall. Fiddle factor and wait time is virtually eliminated.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Other Idea on 11/16/2011 07:08:09 MST Print View

I ran out of AquaMira once and switched to Iodine tablets. The advantage there was that I could scoop water from a creek, drop the tablets in and keep going without taking off my pack or stopping for long. 30 minutes later I had water. Downsides of Iodine tablets are well know but less fiddle factor was nice. I've gone back to AquaMira for most use but if I was wanting to travel fast I might carry a few iodine tablets easily accessible for the occassionaly time when I don't want to stop to mix chemicals.

Kevin Babione
(KBabione) - MLife

Locale: Pennsylvania
Electronic Versus Chemical - Carrying Less Water on 11/16/2011 07:23:09 MST Print View

My purifier of choice is the mUV but I do carry a handful of tablets in case something were to happen to my mUV. The number of tablets varies from none (if someone else in the group has a filter or other purifier) to four per day of the trip (my average consumption of drinking water).

I don't bother treating water that I'll be boiling for breakfast or dinner which saves my batteries (or tablets) some.

How much water to carry? I'm definitely one who tanks up at sources AND carries a bunch in my pack. I easily drink 4-5 liters a day while hiking in the hills of Pennsylvania. I try to keep track of where the next water source is and estimate how much I'll need in my pack until I get there. I usually have very little left in my Platy Hoser when we reach the next planned source.

On the other hand, a couple of the guys I hike with don't need water when they hike and a liter will last them the whole day.

The OP mentioned hiking the AT...Water locations are well known, but you do have to be careful. I know of at least one shelter in Southern PA where the water source is 4/10 of a mile straight downhill from the shelter. If you were counting on water there is it worth the time and effort to do almost an extra mile instead of simply carrying an extra pound or two of water?

Sam Ridge

Locale: North Carolina
Sawyer squeeze filter on 11/16/2011 09:05:24 MST Print View

This looks great. To Dale: Do you carry a small water botttle? Do you drink straight from the filter? Which of the three bags do you carry if not all? If my research finds no major flaws I may be sold.

I like that its a bag too. If water is low, for example in the fall, then I dont have to dig that big hole or find w/e spot for my smart water bottle. I guess problem could be avoided by bringing a platy and a bottle or w/e... o well.

Michael Cockrell

Locale: Central Valley, Lodi-Stockton, CA
We all need water on 11/16/2011 11:07:11 MST Print View

"On the other hand, a couple of the guys I hike with don't need water when they hike and a liter will last them the whole day."

Wow! Get the researchers on these guys! As their bodies seem to defy science, that they can go hike all day with little water . . . and not be suffering dehydration?

Can they go, say, a week-long hike under these conditions? Or, do they end up spending the next few post-hike days trying to rehydrate?

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: We all need water on 11/16/2011 12:35:28 MST Print View

I don't know what the conditions are like where you are going at the time of year you are going. But if there is water every few hours, I would carry only a small bottle of water and just stop and drink up as needed, carrying extra in the bottle for I don't know, choking? Pill swallowing? Sudden thirst?

If it is hot but water is every few hours or if it's cool and water is further away, I'd carry one liter or maybe 2.

If we're talking the PCT in Southern California, I'd carry 3 liters and tank up my belly at all water sources.

As for treatment, I'd use aquamira and only treat questionable water. It's my OPINION that we're all way too paranoid about water treatment. It's also my OPINION that we get really wimpy about enduring things like hunger or thirst when a little discomfort doesn't equate to outright dehydration or a near death experience.

Kevin Babione
(KBabione) - MLife

Locale: Pennsylvania
We All Need Water on 11/16/2011 12:43:40 MST Print View


I wasn't clear in my post...They drink in the mornings before we hike, at lunch (although this is often part of their liter of hiking water) and in camp at night. I'll usually consume 3-4 times what they drink and thus have to carry a lot more water weight than they do.

Sorry for the confusion - send the researchers elsewhere...

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Electronic Versus Chemical - Carrying Less Water on 11/16/2011 13:11:53 MST Print View

Is Meridian still making a mUV? I still have the older first generation model and was thinking about upgrading, so I checked the web site. I dropped them a note but haven't heard.

From their site:
"Thanks for your support and input. We are now redesigning the mUV to better suit our customer requests. Please check back for product availability. (June 2010)"

Kevin Babione
(KBabione) - MLife

Locale: Pennsylvania
The mUV on 11/16/2011 13:41:21 MST Print View


They have redesigned the mUV but haven't released it yet. I keep waiting. They sent me one of their pre-production models to test in the Spring but I didn't want to post a review until it was available for sale.

The big difference (and it's one I quite honestly don't like) is that they've eliminated the magnetic leads that you attached to a battery to recharge the unit and replaced them with a plug and a USB cable. Now, instead of simply carrying a C or D cell that would recharge the mUV a number of times you have to carry a special USB cable along with a USB power device. I found a small photo cell charger that worked beautifully with the mUV so I'm not all that unhappy, but I did like those magnetic leads.

I suspect you'll hear from Meridian Designs shortly - they've been really responsive to my other requests. I also have a couple of their AquaStar units and they just replaced one (that a buddy dropped in the stream and it filled with water) for just $10.

Sam Ridge

Locale: North Carolina
Alternatives to AquaMira: Carrying less water on 11/16/2011 13:42:26 MST Print View

I knew I could have done more research last night be writing the post. I think if I had done that the title would have be more relevant. Still haven't done too much research though. Mainly just shooting for the big picture. Which is why its in the philosophy blah blah rather than Gear reviews. I don't like my previous title either everyone haha.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: The mUV on 11/16/2011 14:35:14 MST Print View

Thanks, Kevin. You are correct, I got a note from them a little bit ago:
Here is what they had to say:
The new mUV. $49 plus $8 shipping to anywhere in USA. A micro sized uv water purifier for hiking and camping. Measures 4.5 in by 1.75 in. No need to carry extra batteries. Recharge with USB connector (supplied). For information or to order, contact us at:

Apparently, they have just not updated the site.

Kevin Babione
(KBabione) - MLife

Locale: Pennsylvania
New mUV on 11/17/2011 05:33:42 MST Print View

Great - I'll try to write up my review and post it with photos over the next week or so.

scri bbles
(scribbles) - F

Locale: Atlanta, GA
Re: We all need water on 11/17/2011 11:01:55 MST Print View

Science defying indeed! I can think of days I've gone through 5L and was still thirsty towards the end...

Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
I don't carry any on 11/17/2011 11:15:58 MST Print View

I often get jealous when i read of some of you US guys leaving waterproofs at home, and carrying tiny tarps. My climate means that i always have to carry wet stormy weather gear. The upside is that there is always plenty of fresh running water, and i just drink it untreated out of a stream whenever i feel like it. :)

Pepe LP
(PepeLp) - F

Locale: New Mexico
Re: I don't carry any on 11/17/2011 16:02:11 MST Print View

I often get jealous when I read about you guys who have water everywhere. Easier to carry wet weather gear than water! :-) Last month I dropped 900 feet into a canyon and 1.5 miles out of my way to get water at a happened to be dry. Finally found some a few miles away. It was skanky, but the Sawyer filter bottle worked fine.