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Steripen Opti still the way to go?
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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) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
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.

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.

Stu Pendious
(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

Matthew Hoskin

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

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 ...


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

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 S
(brendans) - 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.