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Returning my Steripen
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Yang Lu
Returning my Steripen on 07/11/2012 18:19:11 MDT Print View


I bought SteriPEN a few months ago. After using it a couple times, now I am seriously thinking of returning it to REI. Before I do that I want to hear your opinions as I really wanted to like this device.

My main concern is the status indicator LED. It is so small and almost impossible to see in day time. This basically makes it so awkward to use. I want to confirm the treatment is good but I just cannot see the light clearly. It was really frustrated. Do you have the small issue?

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Returning my Steripen on 07/11/2012 18:32:32 MDT Print View

I returned my Steripen and got a Sawyer Squeeze

Even with new batteries, sometimes the Steripen didn't work

Button too hard to push

In general, it's a complicated electronic gadget, Sawyer Squeeze is so much simpler and weighs the same

Sawyer Squeeze isn't perfect. Platypus bag threads don't quite match, so it leaks water which can drip untreated water into the treated water - so don't use Platypus. Sawyer bags can burst - be careful? Evernew bags are supposed to be better - but they're not available.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Pay yer money and make your choice on 07/11/2012 18:48:56 MDT Print View

The Steripen is complicated electronics and may futz out on you. The batteries may die. If you lift it too high out of the water bottle you'll take the sensor out of the water, and you'll end the cycle. Some find the buttons hard to push - they actuate on release, not on the push. The on/off light isn't bright enough (new one on me). It doesn't kill or filter tapeworm eggs from moose or raccoons.

The Sawyer Squeeze bags break and dribble dirty water into the clean. The Platy bags don't mate well and dribble dirty water into the clean. The Evernew bags work but can't be found. The Sawyer doesn't eliminate viruses. The second season you use it, the "lasts forever" filter can get real slow, even after bleach treatment before storage and plenty of flushing.

Pumps are heavy, boiling takes too long, uses too much fuel, and gives you hot water (not always a bad thing!), iodine and chlorine taste bad, aqua mira takes time.

Let's face it - there isn't a perfect solution. Just decide which one you prefer, and use it consistently.

For me, it's Steripen for solo or two, gravity filter for a group. YMMV.

Nathan Hays

Locale: San Francisco
Re: Sawyer over Steri on 07/11/2012 18:53:47 MDT Print View

I have to agree with Jerry. I so loved the idea of the steripen and it is dang easy to use on the run (well hike anyway). I bought a Sawyer 3-way inline, and inserted it into the hose of my bladder. That avoids all issues with fittings (platy, katy, etc.) and with flimsy sawyer bags. I use my bladder as a squeeze.

It's actually faster to squeeze a liter through the filter than it is to use the steripen. Also, it is FAR quicker to just load dirty water into the bladder and start sucking away.

steven franchuk
Re: Returning my Steripen on 07/11/2012 20:12:56 MDT Print View

Why do you need to see the LED. All you need is a watch and your eyes to tell if the treatment was done. 0.5l takes 48seconds to treat. 1L takes 90 seconds. just activate the pen, put it in the water and look at your watch. If the UV bulb stays on for the required time your Ok. If the UV lamp turns off too early it didn't work.

All water purification methodes have there limitations. You just need to use a methode that best meets your needs. UV is fastest and kills everything but tapeworms. Chemicals take longer and again don't kill tapeworms. Filters take care of everything but viruses.

Tim Cleary

Locale: Lost
Personally I like my Steripen on 07/11/2012 20:15:09 MDT Print View

I am definitely intrigued by Sawyer squeeze however. Not sure what I would have bought if those were both options. I like the Sawyer weight, but I like the speed of the Steripen. I am mostly on the AT so it is typically running water without filtration issues.

The real comment I wanted to make is thank goodness you bought it from REI. They are fantastic return wise. I have been a member for 25 years and for the first time returned a pair of pants this year. No questions asked, no receipts needed, just walked out with a replacement in 5 minutes.

Yang Lu
Re: Re: Returning my Steripen on 07/11/2012 22:06:31 MDT Print View


I totally understand what you mean and that was what I originally expected. However, the truth is at day time you will have hard time to determine whether UV lamp is really on. And if you accidentally move the pen out of the water during your stirring the water it will shut off. It actually happen to be a couple times when I stir vigorously. So I figured the green light is pretty important to ensure the safty.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Steripen Adventurer on 07/12/2012 00:37:31 MDT Print View

My Steripen Adventurer works fine. I only need to see the UV light to know it's working. Even in the tropical sun of the Philippines or the Mojave Desert all I have to do is shade the water bottle with my body to see the UV light.

C'mon, "Not seeing the sensor light" is a non-problem.

I filter out tapeworm eggs, floating crap and small childen with a #1 coffee filter in a small funnel. Same for my hydration bladder where I use Katadyn Clo2 tabs.

Between the Steripen and Katadyn tabs I'm doing just fine.

Edited by Danepacker on 07/12/2012 22:25:41 MDT.

Eileen Duncan
(eileensd) - MLife

Locale: The Sierra or the SF Bay Area
Happy with Steripen Adventurer and Journey on 07/12/2012 13:21:41 MDT Print View

I have two Steripens (Adventurer and Journey) and am happy with both. I absolutely LOVE the ease and how little time the whole process takes from start to finish. Fill a bottle, grab your Steripen, stir for 90 seconds, dry sterpin, put away... be on your way. Last summer my dad borrowed my Adventurer and reported that because it was so easy to use "on the go," he ended up drinking more water, which is great.

Yes, seeing the LED light on the Adventurer requires a certain angle and attention (it is dim and shade helps), but it's never been a big deal. The Journey is heavier, but it has a smile-y face :) When the water is mucky, I filter with bandana first.

I DO actually think it's important to keep fairly steady eye on the LED while you're treating. The reason being, if you're not paying attention, it's not that hard to unknowingly lift the Steripen so it's not satisfactorily submerged. Just a mm or so could make a difference. When this happens the little red light goes on or something flashes (don't remember as I haven't used it since last fall!), but only for a short time. So... when you look back down (after what feels like 90 seconds) and everything is dark, you can't be certain whether 1) you missed the "okay" light and everything is good to go, or 2) you messed up, it turned red, and then shut off. Big difference. This can be frustrating, and I've always just started over to be safe. To avoid this, I try to keep an eye on the LED and also use my watch - this helps avoid any second guessing.

Thumbs up for the Steripen for shorter trips.

Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Ditto on 07/12/2012 15:25:14 MDT Print View

I too have tried to like the Steripen Adventurer. Actually, I did and do like it. However, though it has never failed me on the half dozen trips I have used it on, it has been finicky. Most importantly though, I'm a big proponent of simplicity, particularly in the backcountry. That said, and the fact that I now own a Sawyer Squeeze, I will be selling my Steripen.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Ditto on 07/12/2012 15:41:30 MDT Print View

I am a recent convert to the Steripen Opti. LOVE IT!

Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
Steripen and Sawyer on 07/12/2012 16:22:52 MDT Print View

I have both and like both of them. I haven't used the Sawyer long enough to have a proper opinion but so far so good. On a longer trip I would probably bring both to back up the other.

Todd Hein
(todd1960) - MLife

Locale: Coastal Southern California
Sawyer and Evernew Combo... on 07/12/2012 16:32:09 MDT Print View

I use the Sawyer filter and Evernew bags, an excellent combination. Bags are available at Gossamer Gear under "etc." (maybe elsewhere too).

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Steripen and Sawyer on 07/12/2012 16:37:57 MDT Print View

I loved the Opti

It failed, but I had rechargeable batteries so I discounted this

I got brand name non-rechargeable batteries and it worked pretty good, although not as many treatments per set of batteries as advertised but not unusable

I made a rule - always carry a spare set of new batteries

Then I violated my rule. I had treated maybe 4 pints of water with a new set of batteries on a previous trip and figured they'de be fine without carrying a spare set of new batteries. These only worked for a few pints, then it died. Rest of the trip I just drank untreated water which was fine. If I had followed my rule and had an additional set of batteries I would have been fine.

So, if you use a Steripen, make sure and take an additional set of batteries. If your batteries are anywhere near their end of life, take two sets of spares.

But, just looking at the big picture - what the heck am I doing? rationalizing some high tech gadget that I would like to work. The Sawyer Squeeze weighs the same.

Since I bought the Opti from REI, I just returned it and got a Squeeze. We'll see if I can get a reliable bag...

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Re: Steripen and Sawyer on 07/12/2012 17:40:00 MDT Print View

Yup. Always bring back up. I bring Micropur tabs that weigh all of an ounce. I hate sucking so the Steripen works.