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jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
Steripen Opti still the way to go? on 02/25/2013 13:53:54 MST Print View

so the light finally went on for me and I want to get a steripen to compliment my other filtration system. (Hope the light on the steripen will go on!) Any comments on the best model? I read about the classic's draining of batteries while off; is that fixed?

Thanks, sorry to beat a dead horse here.

Konrad .
(Konrad1013) - MLife
steripen on 02/25/2013 14:40:00 MST Print View

I'm pretty sure there is a new version of the steripen that is lighter and rechargable. I haven't been following them closely though and do not know how well received it's been. Rechargeable would be great on short hikes...thru hikes, not so much.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: west coast best coast
Re: Steripen Opti still the way to go? on 02/25/2013 14:42:40 MST Print View

I strongly recommend the one that takes batteries. If you really want rechargeable, you should get rechargeable batteries.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Steripen Opti still the way to go? on 02/25/2013 14:46:04 MST Print View

For feedback, would be more helpful if you tell us about:

(1) your other filtration system
(2) your expectation of your water system - pick any or all below:

1. treat viruses
2. treat bacteria
3. treat protozoa (eg giradia, crypto, etc.)
4. clarify water
5. improve water taste

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
"Steripen Opti still the way to go?" on 02/25/2013 14:55:43 MST Print View

Ben: good points. I want to use the steripen for quick and easy backpacking hydration on the go. I use a Katydyn squeeze bottle filter otherwise, but it's not easily accessible while I'm hiking. I picture the steripen in my little front "fanny" pack and an empty gatorade bottle attached to my hip belt. Scoop, sterilize, go. I understand that any steripen kills all the baddies that I'm worried about on the West coast.

I want a battery version, not a rechargeable.

I don't like the idea of a wait time for aquamira.

If I like and trust the Steripen, then I may move to a Sawyer Squeeze instead of the Katydyn.

Edited by book on 02/25/2013 16:04:07 MST.

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Steripen Opti still the way to go? on 02/25/2013 14:57:26 MST Print View

I have the adventurer and I'm pretty happy with it with a couple exceptions which I'll get to shortly. It uses the CR132A batteries which aren’t a problem for me but some prefer AAs for resupply logistical reasons.

The only dings I'd give the adventurer are 1) that the shape isn't conducive to using it with a Gatorade, Dasani, etc bottle. Some people have modified a Gatorade cap and invert the entire bottle to make it work (My work-around for the next backpacking season will be to chop a 2L platy bottle and use that), and 2) I also have a hard time seeing the LED and UV light during the day but I've learned to work with it.

I don't regret buying it but I'd choose one that takes CR123A or AA batteries in lieu of rechargeable and make sure that you get one with a tapered neck for better bottle compatibility.

I travel overseas often and spent a month out of service due to a Pakistani bug so I appreciate that it kills everything in the water. It’s super quick too so I don’t have to mess with filtering or mixing chemicals. I carry Chlorfloc packets or Chlorine Dioxide tablets as a backup but I haven’t had a problem with it in the year I’ve owned it. The battery cap is known to let water in so don’t completely submerge it.

Brandon =Þ
(Beeen) - MLife

Locale: California
Re: Steripen Opti still the way to go? on 02/25/2013 15:14:05 MST Print View

I was a very excited adopter of the Steripen, and loved how I could just fill and go without much hassle. Yet, I didn't have a trip using it where it didn't fail for some reason or another. Also when dealing with scummy pond water for the first time using the Steripen, I longed for a more traditional filter. I personally lost confidence in using an electronic device for my water treating needs, and since decided other options worked better for me anyway.

When the water is likely pretty clean already, and debris won't be a big issue, I just take a little bleach solution. If I'm going to be dealing with somewhat grungy water, I use Sawyer Squeeze system. If I'm going with the girlfriend, I take a big group Katadyn gravity bag, as she goes through water like a fish and demands some level of charcoal filtration for taste improvement.

That said, I talked to a guy with much more experience backpacking than myself, and he loved the thing and claimed no back-country problems with it. Although, he also owned a small backpacking store and was basically trying to sell me one.

Nick Larsen
(stingray4540) - F

Locale: South Bay
Re: Steripen Opti still the way to go? on 02/25/2013 15:17:11 MST Print View

Check out the sawyer squeeze filter.

I switched to it from the steripen. It's lighter and faster.

Get rid of the bags that come with it though. Use two one liter bottles or bladders. One clean, one dirty. I use the dirty one to fill the clean one using the filter, then fill the dirty one. When I'm done with the clean water, I either use the filter to refill the clean bottle from the dirty, or drink straight from the filter attached to the dirty bottle.

P.S. claims to work on Protozoa and bacteria, and good for something like a million gallons.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Steripen Opti still the way to go? on 02/25/2013 15:22:02 MST Print View

I use the Opti in winter so I don't have to deal with freezing filters.

The biggest thing to be careful about is to have good batteries, and maybe some spares. Stay away from rechargeables-- they just aren't as reliable, especially in cold weather.

Good lithium primaries are the way to go.

And always thoroughly test the unit before each trip. I failed to do that once and the batteries were too weak to work. Luckily I had some clean snow to melt and drink.

Edited by T.L. on 02/25/2013 15:23:30 MST.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Steripen Opti still the way to go? on 02/25/2013 15:39:51 MST Print View

The newest (and heaviest) version is the SteriPEN Ultra. It has an internal battery.

See John Abela's review of this unit and a brief comparison of all units at Hikerlighter.com

http://hikelighter.com/2013/02/25/steripen-ultra-the-new-heavier-steripen

Matthew Hoskin
(mattgugel)

Locale: Kanangra-Boyd NP
Streripen on 02/25/2013 15:44:14 MST Print View

I have the FREEDOM model - it has the rechargeable batteries (fixed), and also has a neat little led flashlight built in, that you rotate the device 3 times to the right with your wrist to activate light! . The cable/connection is mini usb , the same as most Samsung smartphones, which makes it easy to carry only 1 cable if you have a similar device connector. I have had zero issues with it, and it works as stated. I carry a solar panel and battery pack on most trips, so if I need to recharge, it is no issue, however I think you can treat 40lt's of H2O before needing to recharge. Well worth the $$$

J. Lopes
(Jay_NJ) - F
opti on 02/25/2013 16:01:50 MST Print View

I've used the adventurer opti with a good 100 liters of water since getting it a couple years ago and never had a problem (predominately weekend trips). At the time I bought the steripen I also bought a zebralight which took cr123a batteries as well. This let my spare set of batteries provide duel use and in a pinch borrow from either/or device to sterilize water or provide light.

When I moved last year i lost the bag of about 25 or so spare generic cr123a batteries i had and it sort of pushed me to using aquamira again. While i find the steripen to be great device, i sort of prefer aquamira drops on most trips.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Steripen Opti still the way to go? on 02/25/2013 18:45:12 MST Print View

http://www.steripen.com/compare/

John West
(skyzo) - F

Locale: Borah Gear
Re: Re: Steripen Opti still the way to go? on 02/25/2013 19:04:12 MST Print View

I really like my Adventurer. I got it towards the end of the season last year, so I probably only have 30-40 liters through it, but it has performed flawlessly so far. Only thing I'm not a big fan of is the fact it uses those CR123 batteries, which are pricey and can be hard to find. Just make sure your batteries have enough juice in them before each trip.

Rick Sutton
(rickcsutton) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: Steripen Opti still the way to go on 02/25/2013 19:45:35 MST Print View

I used the SteriPEN Adventure Opti for several trips 2 years ago and it worked well. I had issues with a friends identical pen the previous year, yet. I was able to eliminate those issues by drying off the tube after each use. We had issues when we had tried to use it for several liters at a time.

Last year, I like the idea of the Sawyer 3-way inline water filter and decided to give it a go. It only weighs 3 oz, no bags, no extra batteries, and it will gravity feed as well. I always carry a bladder so it worked out well. I too bought the SteriPEN as I thought this would speed up my water gathering time, yet, I found it really wasn't that much faster than just getting out my bladder, filling, and walking again.

Because I understand any filtering device can fail, I always take drops as a backup. This being said, I personally feel there is a greater chance for the electronic device to fail than a filter, and given the filter weighs less than half the pen, I sold the pen.

I think you will enjoy the pen if you get one and it works for you. It does seem the reviews are better now than in the early days. I also found using a 1L platy with the top cut off worked real well with the pen. It rolls up into nothing so you can store it close to the pen for easy access and the side mouth makes using the pen real easy. Maybe it was a personal thing for me, yet sitting there and twirling that pen for several liters, just wasn't that enjoyable.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Steripen Opti still the way to go? on 02/26/2013 02:18:52 MST Print View

The Opti is what we take when we bother.
A lot of the time we are just careful about sources.

But ... I must say the Sawyer does interest me. Maybe ...

Cheers

Edited by rcaffin on 02/26/2013 02:19:32 MST.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
two years w/ the Opti on 02/26/2013 07:49:04 MST Print View

two years w/ the Opti, lots of liters of water treated- no malfunctions

like one of the others posted I switched my headlamp to a Zebralight (CR123) to have spares either way in a pinch- I bought a tester and insure my batteries are tiptop before heading out

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Steripen Opti still the way to go? on 02/26/2013 07:59:14 MST Print View

I used an Opti for a while

First, I tried rechargeable batteries but they only lasted for a few pints per battery.

Then I got brand name batteries. First set of batteries treated about half as much as they said, but that's okay, I could work with that.

Then, I used one set of batteries to treat one pint on one trip. Took it on next trip and they only treated a few pints before failing.

I returned it. Just too complicated to make it work reliably. Also, it's hard to push button to get it to work sometimes.

Sawyer Squeeze is the same weight and so much simpler. Except they say not to freeze it and where (when) I go it sometimes freezes. If they could just resolve that problem...

If you do use Opti, always carry a spare set of batteries.

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife

Locale: www.hikelighter.com
Re: Re: Steripen Opti still the way to go? on 02/26/2013 09:36:11 MST Print View

Jerry Adams: Sawyer Squeeze is the same weight and so much simpler. Except they say not to freeze it and where (when) I go it sometimes freezes. If they could just resolve that problem...


That is a very very good point Jerry.

I have had to throw away one Squeeze already because I forgot to keep it warm at night and it got down to 28(f) and I used it before I went to sleep and it had water inside of it.

I read a number of basically the same accounts from Thru-hikers in 2012 that also had to toss their Squeeze because of them freezing.


With a SteriPEN and a set of Energizer Advanced Lithium Batteries, that would just not be an issue, eh!

Brendan Swihart
(brendans) - F - MLife

Locale: Fruita CO
AW rechargables for Steripen on 02/26/2013 09:42:10 MST Print View

I've used these for at least a couple years with my Opti. I've never run out of batteries or had any issues on a trip. These are high quality and I believe I read somewhere the only rechargeables that Steripen recommends.

http://www.lighthound.com/AW-RCR123a-Protected-750-mAh-Battery_p_114.html

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
"Steripen Opti still the way to go?" on 02/26/2013 10:14:27 MST Print View

I don't like carrying water if I can help it; in the Sierras you usually don't have to. Also the water is usually very clear. However I'm realizing that I don't drink enough water if I have to take off my pack to access my Katydyn water bottle. Hence the Steripen. Rick, the idea of a 1 liter roll up bottle is great. I don't like carrying even an empty bottle on my pack harness or belt if possible. Hopefully I can just stick the roll up bottle and Steripen into my belly pack and be done with it. Since I'm thinking of a lot of one liter pit stops during the day, sort of on the go, to keep my water consumption up, I'm hoping the Steripen will perform well. In camp I can use alternative methods--Sawyer?--for larger amounts of water. (I boil, so cooking water is not an issue.)

At the moment I like the idea of lack of fiddle factor with the Steripen over the Sawyer on the trail for 1 liter amounts of water. But as usual, opinions seem split on the reliability of the Steripen. Still, people seem to write that it's better for smaller amounts of clear water. This is what I picture using it for. And I'll bring back up batteries!

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: Steripen Opti still the way to go? on 02/26/2013 10:15:31 MST Print View

" have had to throw away one Squeeze already because I forgot to keep it warm at night and it got down to 28(f) and I used it before I went to sleep and it had water inside of it.

I read a number of basically the same accounts from Thru-hikers in 2012 that also had to toss their Squeeze because of them freezing."

Did you throw away the filter because you noticed a problem, or just as a precaution?

My theory is that if you shake out the filter real good so there is mainly just water inside the tubes, that those tubes can stretch because that's what happens when you backflush the filter, so they shouldn't be damaged by freezing.

So far, I've taken my filter on three winter trips, but just barely got below freezing, so my filter should be fine because I put it in protected location. There were drops on the outside that didn't freeze, so inside should be fine.

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife

Locale: www.hikelighter.com
Re: Re: Re: Re: Steripen Opti still the way to go? on 02/26/2013 10:27:16 MST Print View

@Jerry,

The Sawyer Sqeeze is a legit Absolute One Micron filter. Even a single ice-crystal forming inside of it is going to be big enough to cause damage to pore size of the filter where the crystal formed - thereby turning it from an Absolute one micron filter into a Nominal one micron filter, or worse.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Steripen Opti still the way to go? on 02/26/2013 10:57:43 MST Print View

"The Sawyer Sqeeze is a legit Absolute One Micron filter. Even a single ice-crystal forming inside of it is going to be big enough to cause damage to pore size of the filter where the crystal formed - thereby turning it from an Absolute one micron filter into a Nominal one micron filter, or worse."

I can't disagree with you, especially because Sawyer says to discard if it freezes, but

When a water pipe freezes and breaks, there's a restriction like a valve. As the water freezes down the pipe, the water expands, there's no room to expand through the restriction so large force is applied to pipe and it breaks.

If an ice crystal forms in a pore, I don't think there would be huge force applied to the sides of the pore.

If the water in a tube froze, the tube would expand a little, but so what?

When you backflush the filter, the tube expands a little, include the size of the pore, which releases any particle entrapped. That's the same force as if it froze.

Sawyer's statement just says they don't know if freezing it would damage it, so just in case, throw it out if you think it might have frozen.

But, like you reported, it's common for backpackers to encounter freezing conditions.

If the filter is actually tolerant of freezing, it's too bad, because that's the one big problem with this filter.

But they just ignore it????

Sorry to rant - just a pet peeve of mine : )

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Classic User on 02/26/2013 11:17:48 MST Print View

I am a big fan of the Classic because it uses AA batteries, cheaper, longer life and more common than the other types.
The Classic works well with standard soda bottles, quick and easy, no pouring water from one container to another.

It doesn't seem to make sense to rely on rechargeable, unless you only do short trips
Sometimes you need to go a long ways before you can buy batteries and when you do, it may be at a gas station that only carries AA batteries.

The Steripen really shines over chemical treatments because you can drink immediately and don't have to carry water waiting for the treatment to finish.

I find it quite reliable, but I do carry Aqua Mira just in case.

I will never go back to filtering my water, the Steripen has worked so well for me.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Lartnec Nagihcim
Re: Classic User on 02/26/2013 12:16:22 MST Print View

I have a Classic also but barely use it as I think its too heavy, its good to know that other folk are stilling using them :-)
I tend to switch between the Steripen and one of 3 different filters in my gear box, also just bought Aquamira tabs to try out.

Chris S
(csteutterman) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: two years w/ the Opti (battery tester) on 02/26/2013 12:20:53 MST Print View

Mike,
Which battery tester do you use? And would you recommend it? I've got a bunch of batteries that could use some testing.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Classic User on 02/26/2013 12:23:44 MST Print View

The Classic maybe heavier than other Steripens, but only by a couple ounces. It is still lighter than chemicals or most long distance filters.

Chemicals require that you carry treated water several miles before you can drink and so averages out to be much heavier.

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife

Locale: www.hikelighter.com
Re: Classic User on 02/26/2013 12:26:22 MST Print View

...and the important part is that it uses AA batteries and not those stupid CR123 batteries... which might be great for some gadgets, but not hiking gadgets... when was the last time you were in some small trail town store on the PCT/CDT/AT that had those things!!

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Steripen Opti still the way to go? on 02/26/2013 12:29:02 MST Print View

Thanks to John for the comparison link.

Here's a clarifying quote from that link"

"Similar Models: Classic, Traveler, Emergency & Defender are the same device just targeted to different needs with just a few variances. UV lamp on the Classic & Defender lasts 8,000 treatments while Traveler & Emergency lasts 3,000 treatments (noted below). The Classic comes with AA Lithium batteries included, while Traveler & Emergency do not come included with batteries. Classic now comes included with a pre-filter, while Traveler, Emergency & Defender do not. We are asked this a lot so we have added this info to make your selection easier."

"Military Products: The SteriPEN Defender is the same product, same materials as the SteriPEN Classic. Only difference is Defender is assembled in the United States. Protector Opti is the same device and materials as Adventurer Opti."

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Lartnec Nagihcim
Re: Steripen Opti still the way to go? on 02/26/2013 12:39:49 MST Print View

Mine is the one that came with the pre filter and a Nalegene, I say I have about 50 litres treated with mine if at all.

Must get it back out of my gear box.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Re: Re: two years w/ the Opti (battery tester) on 02/26/2013 12:47:25 MST Print View

Chris it's the ZTS Mini Multi-Battery tester- tests all of the common batteries, including CR123's

http://www.batteryjunction.com/zts-mbt.html

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
Steripen Opti still the way to go?" on 02/26/2013 13:16:35 MST Print View

A two year old review on this site complained that the Classic drained batteries even when it wasn't being used, but the Opti had solved that problem. The Opti was preferred. Maybe a newer version of the Classic remedied this problem as well.

Bob: yeah the Steripen comparison page tends to leave me more confused than before. I wish that Steripen would just put all of the good features on one--or every--model; that is, an easy to use switch and easy to read status lights (one model seems to have smiley faces that are visible in sunlight, unlike the indicator lights on other models).

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Battery Draining on 02/26/2013 13:27:36 MST Print View

I think the battery draining issues with all Steripens was resolved with the newer electronics a few years back.

It was really only an issue if you left your batteries in all the time. I always removed mine when I'm not backpacking anyway, to avoid any corrosion issues that happens with any battery operated device.
So I never had that problem.

Texas Chinooks
(TexasChinooks)

Locale: DFW
Steripen Ultra on 06/12/2013 17:58:01 MDT Print View

I'm going to get the Steripen Ultra because it looks like you might be able to stick it in the top of a Platypus bottle (the ones you can roll up when not used) and then invert the bottle. The shape of the Ultra is such that it seals the top unlike my old Steripen Adventurer (which was sadly left beside a swollen river) which had to be held in a much larger opening by the tips of my fingers and wiggled about.

Also, in bright sunlight it was difficult to see if the Adventurer actually turned on.

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Steripen Ultra on 06/12/2013 18:08:59 MDT Print View

"The shape of the Ultra is such that it seals the top unlike my old Steripen Adventurer"

"Also, in bright sunlight it was difficult to see if the Adventurer actually turned on."

You've named the two biggest flaws that I've found with the adventurer. I think they really screwed up when they didn't offer it with the PET bottle compatible collar.

Billy Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
Re: Re: Re: Steripen Opti still the way to go? on 06/12/2013 19:51:16 MDT Print View

The CR123 batteries are indeed pricy if you buy them at a local store... I now buy mine on the internet... about 1/3 or 1/4 of the price!!! But you have to buy a few... though they have a shelf life of several years...

bill

Billy Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
opti with 1/2 liter bottles... on 06/12/2013 20:09:29 MDT Print View

I have the Opt Adventurer... yes it is a disappointment that it does not have the round rubber ring that allows it to seal to a Platy bladder... but...

I found 1/2 liter bottles with openings a little bigger than the standard water bottle... found them in the grocery store where they sell vitamin water... nice bottles... well... the Opt just fits inside the mouth of these bottles... and... I find that in the Sierra (btw... it's NOT Sierras guys)... there are so many streams and lakes that most of the time I can get by just fine with only treating 1/2 liter at a time... saves 1 lb over carrying 1 liter of water!!!

Works for me...

I take a few iodine tablets as backup.... but have never needed them and find that one set of fresh CR123 batteries is reliably good for an 8 day trip for one person... including treating cooking water...

no issues with the Opt Adventurer... has worked flawlessly for a 40 days of backpacking...

bill

Derrick White
(miku) - MLife

Locale: Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada
Adventurer Opti on 06/12/2013 21:13:56 MDT Print View

+ Opti Adventurer

I have used it extensively and has never let me down. It has been fully submerged many times and continues to work. I have got at least 14 days of water from one set of batteries. Carry tablets as back up. Have never used them yet.

Derrick