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SteriPEN Adventurer Water Purifier REVIEW
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Brian James
(bjamesd) - F

Locale: South Coast of BC
Re: SteriPEN Adventurer Water Purifier REVIEW on 03/02/2007 10:56:12 MST Print View

I think these things would pay for their own weight by reducing the amount of water you carried. If you can treat in 2 minutes total, that means you'll be able to drink an extra litre by the end of your rest or lunch stop. 1 litre is 35oz off your back when you get back on the trail.

With Aqua Mira, the product itself weighs almost nothing but you're walking for 15-30 minutes with 1-2L (=35-70 ounces) of extra weight before you even *start* drinking.

I also think that if a water stop only takes 2 minutes and doesn't involve removing your pack, you'll do it more often. Thus if you are in terrain that crosses a water source every hour or two, you will hardly have to carry any water at all. Everyone talks a lot about reducing their base weights, but the most cost-effective weight reduction possible is your water weight.

Reducing water weight is how I justify having a hydration tube: the first two swallows pay for the weight of the tube. After that, I can drink the first litre in 20 minutes and the next litre in 40, thus keeping myself nice and hydrated as well as nice and light.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: 5000 gallon filter. 1 oz. $30 on 03/02/2007 12:33:04 MST Print View

James, not enough info there to make an in-depth evaluation. Even the "Learn More: Survival Straw" link has very little detail as to the precise construction and modus operandi of the "Survival straw".

Assuming it is as good as they say it is, then i would make only one comment about it:

it is intended as a stationary, on-demand purifying device to be used with larger bodies of water. unless one somehow adapts it into an on-the-go water reservoir system, such as an in-line filter, one isn't going to be carrying any water with them if all they have is the Survival Straw. Sure, one could fill up a water bladder, of sorts, and then periodically stop, open the water bladder, dip the Survival Straw into the water bladder and drink. However, splicing it into a home-made hydration system, using off-the-shelf components, so that it functions as an on-the-go inline filter/purifier would be a better way to go. Camel-bak makes such an inline filter (used by our Armed Forces, by the way) already. There are others also.

If you feel that my quick perusal of the Survival Straw webpage has yielded some gross conceptual errors about its nature and use, PLEASE post back and correct me. I'd appreciate it.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: SteriPEN Adventurer Water Purifier REVIEW on 03/02/2007 23:04:25 MST Print View

Hi Dondo

> I was going to use a Heineken can as a purifying container/drinking mug. The diameter of the opening is about 2.75" across and the depth is about 5.75". Is this a good size to use or should I go for something shallower?
It would do, with a good bit of stirring, but wider and shallower would be a little better. The pot shown is our 1.5 L MSR Titan cooking pot.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
re alloysafe on 03/02/2007 23:15:06 MST Print View

> I have it as part of my in-home emergency kit, and have been using it backpacking/daypacking for a few years. But I can never find any reviews of it! Either it really works or I have just been really lucky...

Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it?

I note with fascination the huge list of independent lab test reports offered as proof that it works. I also note the large amount of technical information as to how it works. And finally, I note the EPA-style %reduction figures quoted for all the bugs.

Much too good ...

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Freezing Conditions on 03/02/2007 23:20:31 MST Print View

Hi Brett

> have only had the chance to take the Steripen on one 3 day trip (in which the temperature never broke 20F and went as low as 8F). I found that the battery performance did suffer, and it was necessary to warm the unit up inside my jacket before treating water to be able to run a full cycle. My thought is that at a low enough temperature the batteries have difficulty generating enough voltage to satisfy the Steripen.

I believe the company does recommend warming everything up just as you said.

It may be very helpful to remember that, apart from the Energiser e2 lithiums, ALL the rest of the lithiums have a water-based electrolyte and, like alkalines, they all freeze up in the cold. They won't work below freezing!

(The e2 batteries don't use water and will work, with decreasing performance, down to -20 C or something like that.)

John Garberson
(Montana) - F
SteriPen and UV Transmission on 03/03/2007 09:58:09 MST Print View

Apparently, the water container blocks damaging UV from the SteriPen user. Yet, there is a generally successful method of using solar UV to treat water in glass or plastic bottles, . So, one party says UV can't go through the plastic/glass to get out, the other says UV goes through the plastic/glass to get in...? Are we talking different UV wavelengths here? Or angle of incidence? I don't want to revisit my high school me out. :)


paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: SteriPen and UV Transmission on 03/03/2007 13:28:13 MST Print View


SODIS does work - it is generally recommended that SODIS be allowed six hours to perform its disinfecting work on non-turbid water. Is it UV-A, UV-B, or UV-C that is doing the work. Frankly, i don't know, but i bet Dr. Caffin could tell me/us. I think it takes so long b/c the container (glass or plastic) does work pretty well to prevent UV wavelength light from penetrating.

Practically, enough UV-C is prevented from exiting the container during purification, with Steri-Pen or AquaStar that it apparently/supposedly/hopefully (you pick the right word) isn't a problem. Me? I don't look at it when it's on.

I've always disagreed theoretically with the UV can't get out/through theory. Why?

1. other's experience, viz. SODIS, as you mentioned

2. my own experience. when i was a senior & a grad student, i would prepare all of the media and run/teach the Microbiology labs at the College i attended (now an august University!!) as part of a paid Fellowship. Each semester, in about the second lab, i would have the students conduct an experiment.

We'd innoculate petri dishes containing agar and place them on a shelf in front of the close glass windows (sunny or cloudy - no matter). I'd have a control left behind some equipment in a shaded area. We'd start removing them beginning after 20min exposure and working our way up to 2+ hours. I'm really sorry, but my "old-timers" is acting up and i'm forgetting the longest period of time - somewhere b/t 2 and 4 hrs, IIRC. Then, after 24-48 hrs incubation at 37C (body temp), we examine the petri dishes for bacterial growth. The control petri dish which was in the shaded area for the entire period of time ALWAYS displayed growth. However, the longer a petri dish was exposed to the sunlight shining through the closed windows, the less growth they had. At some point, again, i must apologize, i've forgotten the exact point, in terms of minutes of exposuret to the sunlight, at which no visible growth occured, but there were always those that showed no growth that had been exposed longer.

Oh, i should add also that besides the closed glass windows, the plastic petri dishes had their tops on them too!!

UV (not sure what "band", A, B, or C, but maybe one of the Docs who participate in these Forums will be kind enough to Post and tell us) is thought to cause cataracts later in life. So, I don't stare at my container when I use a UV-C purifier. Of course, we probably get a lot more UV from the sunlight - hence, the need for a good pair of sunglasses.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: SteriPen and UV Transmission on 03/03/2007 14:27:44 MST Print View

Hi pj

> SODIS does work - it is generally recommended that SODIS be allowed six hours to perform its disinfecting work on non-turbid water. Is it UV-A, UV-B, or UV-C that is doing the work.

From Wikipedia (faster than typing myself!):
Sunlight is treating the contaminated water through three synergistic radiation mechanisms.
UV-A (wavelength 320-400nm) which react with oxygen dissolved in the water produces highly reactive forms of oxygen (oxygen free radicals and hydrogen peroxides) in the water. These reactive forms of oxygen kill the microorganisms.
UV-A also interferes with the reproduction cycle of bacteria by damaging their DNA
Infrared heating the water. If the water temperatures raises above 50°C, the disinfection process is three times faster.
The combined effect of all three mechanisms is greater than that of each individual components.

The SteriPEN Adventurer uses UV-C to kill the bugs. Much shorter wavelength, more energetic photons.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: Re: SteriPen and UV Transmission on 03/03/2007 16:59:00 MST Print View


Many thanks. UV-A...this answers a lot of questions and explains a lot of things. I can now accept what the Mfrs claim, viz. that UV-C doesn't escape. UV-A is probably the wavelength band that was also involved in producing no growth in that simple Microbiology lab demonstration.

BTW, the nobel prize winning physicist, Richard Feynman claims that he was the only human to get a unobscurred view of the first nuclear detonation. While others used *VERY* dark goggles to view (for fear of the large amounts of UV light produced by the bomb), Feynman viewed only through the glass window of an US Army jeep, since as he explained it, he knew that the window would stop the UV light from damaging his eyes. I've never read that he developed cataracts, though he only lived to be about 70yrs of age, IIRC. I guess the UV produced must have been mainly in the shorter UV-C wavelengths??? I should have remembered Feynman's account of the incident, and incorporated it into my thinking on this subject. I guess the viewing distance was also a factor (inverse square principle of radiating energy) for any amounts of UV-A and UV-B produced.

"I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something." - Richard Feynman [this quote seems to have some application to this particular subject and my lack of proper understanding on which band of UV comes into play both in SODIS and the little demonstration in Micro lab.]

Roger, if you've never read Feynman's little autobiography "Surely you're joking Mr. Feynman" [subtitled "The Adventures of a Curious Character"], you should borrow a copy from the local library (even my little town's library had it). It's a great little read which, yrs ago, I couldn't put down until late at night when i finished it. I've read it twice, i enjoyed it so much.

Edited by pj on 03/03/2007 17:16:01 MST.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
UC C transmissivity on 03/03/2007 17:33:15 MST Print View

I found this note in SteriPEN's FAQs:

"While very few materials are transparent to UV-C, there are a small number of uncommon materials that are. These include optical grade quartz (the SteriPEN™ lamp material) and a few fluoropolymers in the Teflon family – both unlikely materials to be used for drinking containers."

Interestingly, they also note the air/water interface is an effective UV reflector.

If all that weren't comfort enough, we also have the inverse square law working in our favor. It would probably take a lot of effort to receive eye damage from one of the UV treatment gizmos. (Staring at the bare tube, perhaps?)

Thomas Jamrog
(balrog) - F

Locale: New England
Batteries for Steripen Adventurer on 03/04/2007 05:01:55 MST Print View

Surefire brand = 12 for $20.00

Regarding the LLBean deal . It is correct. Surefire 123A 10 year shelf life . 12 for $20. I bouight two boxes in the store yesterday. The salesman says they sell out very quickly, as a single battery ( while a named brand ) sells for $9 each! They are not in the Freeport, ME Main store, but in the Hunting and Fishing Store. As always , if you are not happy, bring the rest of them back with the slip and satisfaction guaranteed!
Tom Jamrog

John Garberson
(Montana) - F
UV behavior on 03/04/2007 09:56:09 MST Print View

pj and Roger -- Thanks!!

Victor Karpenko
(Viktor) - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Re: Batteries for Steripen Adventurer on 03/04/2007 11:23:58 MST Print View

Here are a couple of other sources for cheap batteries in case you don't have access to LL Bean

Surefire 12 for $21,_SureFire).php

and with toooo many other choices

Frank Ramos
(frprovis) - F
steripen and helminthes on 03/04/2007 20:40:07 MST Print View

Roger Caffin writes: "But more importantly the presence of a small amount of dirt or organic matter in the water will not greatly affect the operation of UV light." However, Natick labs gave a bad review of the steripen because it doesn't work in turbid water:

I have said this before, but I will reiterate. The primary threats to hikers from water are (a) poisonous chemicals, such as AS (the spell checker says that the metal with this chemical symbol is profanity) or the toxins released by algae blooms (b) helminthic parasites. A healthy adult with a normal immune system will suffer no more than minor distress from the protozoa or virus found in North America or Europe. Some type of of bacteria from in North America and Europe, such as particularly nasty s trains of e.coli might kill a child, but they are unlikely to kill an adult. All viruses, bacteria and protozoa found in North America and Europe can be shaken out of the body with relative ease and pose no long term danger to a healthy adult.

Chemicals can kill, but these are a minor consideration other than in the desert.

Helminthes, on the other hand, are a real danger. Anywhere there are canines (dogs, wolves, foxes, coyotes) there is the potential for hydatid cysts from echinococcus granulosus tapeworm. This can cause very severe illnesses. Currently, this tapeworm is common in all arctic regions (Alaska, Canada, Siberia) where it cycles between wolves and caribou/deer and similar prey. This tapeworm is also very common in the Alps, where it is carried by a combination of foxes and small mammals such as mice and voles. This tapeworm is/was very common in many sheep-rearing areas, such as Iceland, New Zealand, Australia, the entire Mediterranean area, Patagonia, where it is carried by a combination of dogs and sheep. The cycle is completed when dogs are allowed to eat the entrails of slaughtered sheep. This is not done in the United States or most of Northern Europe, and hence the disease is not common there. But there is nothing that says these worms couldn't be introduced and then be perpetuated by coyotes/wolves eating raw sheep. Supposedly these worms have been eradicated recently in New Zealand by a long campaign of veterinary care of the sheep.

Anyway, if you are hiking in any part of the world where there are canines, meaning all of North America and Europe, there is the potential for very dangerous helminthes in the water. Perhaps not now, but these worms could easily be introduced accidentally, such as by wolves migrating down from the Arctic into temperate North America.

Hydatid cysts are a major health problem in the poor sheep-rearing countries of the world, such as Turkey. The cycle is as follows. Unvaccinated sheep-dogs are carriers of the worms, the worm eggs come out in the dogs intestinal output (I tried to use the technical word, but the spell checker says this is profanity), little children playing around the dogs get the eggs in their mouths, the eggs hatch and burrow into the body where they form cysts. These cysts grow slowly and after a dealy of about twenty to thirty years, the person has major health problems. Treatment is quite risky, especially if the cyst is in the brain or heart.

I have been unable to find information as to the probability of ingesting worm eggs in water. It is certainly possible and the National Park Service in the Lake Superior area warns about these worms. But perhaps this is just cover-your-ass behavior on their part. I suspect the likelihood is much greater than commonly thought, and the reason we don't hear more about these worms is that there simply aren't that many people in the backcountry and the damage take 20-30 years to develop and it takes a trained physician to even recognize that the damage is due to worm and not something else. In Turkey, where hydatid cysts are common, physicians knows to suspect worms when someone in their 30's shows up with all sorts of strange symtoms. I'm not sure if doctors elsewhere are so informed.

Worm eggs are ultra-tough. Ultraviolet light has no effect on them and neither do chlorine, chlorine-dioxide or iodine. The only way to avoid ingesting worm eggs is to filter the water. Luckily, the worm eggs are fairly large, like 15 microns and up, so anything which screens for giardia will also screen worm eggs.

There's tons of information on the internet about worms, but very little about the probability of encountering such worms in places like Sierras or Appalachians. However, there are wolves, foxes and/or coyotes in these places, and thus there is the potential for a problem.

Echinoccous granulosus is just one type of helminthic parasite, but probably the biggest risk for backpackers. There are many other helminthes, all of which produce eggs which are fairly large but immune to UV and chemical treatment.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: steripen and helminthes on 03/05/2007 09:05:53 MST Print View

Frank said, "I'm not sure if doctors elsewhere are so informed."

Oh ye of little faith. I think most docs in the USA will diagnose it in short time by serology or ultrasound and biopsy if needed. I've had only one case, but it was already suspected by the neurosurgeon and radiologist before the biopsy ever came to me. They were right.

I'd say the probability of ingesting worm eggs in the USA is low. Heeding the warnings at Isle Royale NP would be smart. The primary threat to hikers is a motor vehicle accident on the way to the trailhead.

While echinococcosis can cause a lot of grief, most of the cysts (hydatid cysts)are solitary, occur in the liver and most are asymptomatic at the time of diagnosis.

Gene .

Locale: New England
Re: Re: steripen and helminthes on 03/05/2007 16:21:19 MST Print View

Oh great John, that's consoling,...."While E'..can cause a lot of grief, most of the cysts are solitary, occur in the liver, and are asymptomatic at the time of diagnosis."

Yeah, and then what? I had severe liver pains the past few months and sure enough after an MRI of my liver they found a cyst in there; but did nothing to treat me after telling me so?!?

Let me know which doctor(s) are 'on their game' because the one treating me apparently cut this class in med school....

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: steripen and helminthes on 03/06/2007 01:59:17 MST Print View

Frank wrote:
>Roger Caffin writes: "But more importantly the presence of a small amount of dirt or organic matter in the water will not greatly affect the operation of UV light." However, Natick labs gave a bad review of the steripen because it doesn't work in turbid water:

Well, yes, but I think Natick and I are talking about seriously different levels of contaminant!

The first problem with 'turbid water' is that the suspended matter, either organic or clay, will absorb a lot of any oxidant, rendering chemical treatment doubtful, and secondly any filter used will quickly block. If you HAVE to use such water, I suspect that boiling may be your only solution.

I have drunk stinking stagnant water once, when the creeks were all dry and the only water was underground in a pig-wallow in the creek-bed. It tasted awful!*! We survived.

Helminthes - yeah, bad stuff.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Re: Re: steripen and helminthes on 03/06/2007 07:42:18 MST Print View

I hear ya Gene. Most liver cysts are not parasitic and are incidental (and benign) findings while investigating other patient complaints.

More on liver cysts...offtopic I realize.

eric levine
(ericl) - F

Locale: Northern Colorado
Batteries on 03/13/2007 09:34:36 MDT Print View

PJ has already posted my fav. links, but here are some more. I've ordered from all of these, not just browsed.

I believe these are the new 2nd generation NiMH that don't have the big hidden 'wort' of 1st gen. namely, terrible self discharge. Ray o - vac is marketing similar already under the trendy "Hybrid" name. The last thing you need is to hang on the hilltop to see a great sunset on your informal day hike, only to dig out your flashlight and get 2 minutes out of it. (of course, the spare NiMH's in your pack will get you a total of 4 minutes)

2. For HiMH, the best deal and REALLY good charger I've found is the La Crosse 900 ( 900_battery_charger.php) Besides the all important ability to charge batteries singly, it will measure the capacity & also has a rejuvenate mode.

3. Most LED lights will work with rechargable lithiums, but some unregulated lights may not.Tenergy makes a volt limited 3v rechargable lithium which should be safe in most applications.

4. I own a bunch of 123's but really favor rechargables whenever possible due to savings, predictability when topped off, and most important, the environment.

James Pitts
(jjpitts) - F

Locale: Midwest US
Steripen on 03/13/2007 13:47:30 MDT Print View

How do you treat the threads of the container? They get untreated water on them when you dip the container in the water source. With AquaMira, after you add the oxidant, you pour some treated water into the cap and over the threads. How can you treat the threads with the AquaStar? This seems like a pretty big hole in this treatment method to me.