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Steripen Question

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Re: Steripen Question

Postby nyker » Thu Jul 04, 2013 5:13 pm

To add my two cents: I've used a steripen for 5yrs (the old yellow/black versions).

I got them originally due to their light weight and convenience. The UV also kills viruses, which for going abroad is helpful. However, after several annoying issues, I now carry another filter by Sawyer.

Problems with Steripen (at least my versions, perhaps they have been corrected in later models):

1. the batteries are very short lived and expensive and not always available places you travel, so you need to carry a few spares, and these also might not be viable by the time you need them.

2. the underwater light is barely visible under bright sunny conditions and its hard to see if its working correctly

3. The red indicator light often comes on after 10 seconds, indicating nothing has been properly "zapped" and you never really know if it has worked.

4. doesn't filter particulate matter, so you still need to run it through a shirt/linen/coffee filter to get out bugs, rat hair, silt, minute pieces of fecal matter, etc.. taking more time, (a pain when you are either in a summit rush to beat weather, or its 20 degrees out).

5. the glass bulb is fragile, despite having a hard cover, and if it breaks, you are SOL.

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Re: Steripen Question

Postby zinj » Fri Jul 05, 2013 2:10 pm

I used the Steripen last summer after finally replacing my never-trusty MSI pump which had the irritating habit of passing my test run at home but failing at elevation. For the Steripen, I used rechargeable NiMH batteries but they were depleted after only a few uses.

This summer I'm going with Li-ion batteries which should last longer -- even then, I'm taking a second pack.

My backup is iondine tablets. The trick here is after you let them work for 30 min (incl on threads of bottle), you toss in like 1/8 to 1/4 of an ordinary vitamin C tablet and shake.

The yellow color disappears instantly, and the taste is no longer metallic -- it tastes weakly of lemons which is way better than Iodine flavor
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Re: Steripen Question

Postby TallGrass » Sun Jul 07, 2013 4:06 pm

Kiefer wrote:I've used the Steripen for upwards of six years. I've NEVER gotten sick. I don't 'wash' or 'rinse' the threads of the bottle either.


A Testimonial isn't always a Test, no more than a rectangle --> square. The last bit clearly leaves open the possibility that the water was never infected.

THIS would be a test:
Take a group of hikers with the chosen form of filtration/purification and have each procure and filter 1 liter of water from a 5-gallon bucket labeled "Infected with Giardia (x%/concentation)," drink that liter, and then hang around for the weekend to "share feedback, results."

My hypothesis is some who "use" the same product would fall ill while others would not. Even a coffee filter will pass a "test(imonial)" if tap or bottled water are used, much less fresh precipitation.

Disclaimer: I started with Cl02 but switched to a Sawyer squeeze (no batteries) but keep the ClO2 tabs as back up as they weigh practically zilch and take up just a sugar packet of space.
Not sure if I'll do more 14ers. The trip reports are too tiring. :wink:

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Re: Steripen Question

Postby SkaredShtles » Sun Jul 07, 2013 7:02 pm

I recently "migrated" from an old Pur Hiker filter to a Sawyer squeeze filter. At 3oz (less than the Steripen w/batteries) and quite a bit less $$ it seemed to me a better option than the Steripen. Besides - I'd be forever caught in the wilds with dead batteries. 'Cause that's the way I roll. :mrgreen:

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Re: Steripen Question

Postby kmetz » Mon Jul 08, 2013 1:45 pm

Are the sawyers durable? I've heard of the seals failing after less than a season of use. Have either of you experienced that?

I opted for a steripen adventurer and used it in peruvian backcountry (used the prefilter attachment, only took water from springs) and managed to not get sick. I know the technology is based on hard science and has a proven track record, but but the steripen stills seems a little too "magical" for me to fully trust.

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Re: Steripen Question

Postby GregMiller » Mon Jul 08, 2013 2:08 pm

TallGrass wrote:THIS would be a test:
Take a group of hikers with the chosen form of filtration/purification and have each procure and filter 1 liter of water from a 5-gallon bucket labeled "Infected with Giardia (x%/concentation)," drink that liter, and then hang around for the weekend to "share feedback, results."


Come now, to really test this, you need to have a control group :twisted:
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Re: Steripen Question

Postby nyker » Wed Jul 10, 2013 8:07 am

GregMiller wrote:
TallGrass wrote:THIS would be a test:
Take a group of hikers with the chosen form of filtration/purification and have each procure and filter 1 liter of water from a 5-gallon bucket labeled "Infected with Giardia (x%/concentation)," drink that liter, and then hang around for the weekend to "share feedback, results."


Come now, to really test this, you need to have a control group :twisted:



The problematic thing in this type of experiment is being able to isolate the true cause and the number of factors that must be considered including: (i) the length and variation in incubation period for Giardia - which could be up to three weeks (a time within which, other external contamination/infection might occur via food poisoning, or other vector (water, person-person), (ii) the need to test for a pre-existing infection beforehand (possibly even a latent one) and (iii) ensuring no contamination occured after the fact with another organism (within the maximum incubation period of Giardia); so one would need to control the test subjects (including those within the control group) and perform blood and stool samples before and after drinking the water in question and test for a number of other possible causative factors that elicit similar symptoms (E.coli, Entamoeba (histolytica, dispar spps), bacterial (salmonella) or viral infections (Norovirus) for example. Some of these infections are also asymptomatic in some people thus mandating the need for serological and/or physical confirmation of infection.

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Re: Steripen Question

Postby ezabielski » Wed Jul 10, 2013 8:49 am

Honestly, I think you guys are taking this way to seriously. If I was worried about the water on the threads of my water bottle, I would never go outside.

On the subject of SteriPen, overall I was disappointed with my Adventurer Opti. I thought it had very questionable reliability and questionable battery life. The device and batteries are also too expensive. Aquamira is far more reliable, cheaper, lighter, and you can use it with any bottle. The downside is it takes 4 hours to kill viruses. So if I am hiking in an area known for viruses in the water, I will use my old Steripen.

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Re: Steripen Question

Postby CO Native » Wed Jul 10, 2013 9:04 am

I don't think I'm taking it too seriously. I had one bout with crypto, and that was enough to make me a lot more cautious about the water.

Aquamira (chlorine dioxide) has it's own problems too, like you have to keep the water out of the light while it's being treated or the chlorine dioxide will break down too quickly and cause the treatment to fail. You also have to extend the treatment time if the water is cold, which it always is in Colorado.
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Re: Steripen Question

Postby caseygries » Wed Jul 10, 2013 9:19 am

nyker wrote:
GregMiller wrote:
TallGrass wrote:THIS would be a test:
Take a group of hikers with the chosen form of filtration/purification and have each procure and filter 1 liter of water from a 5-gallon bucket labeled "Infected with Giardia (x%/concentation)," drink that liter, and then hang around for the weekend to "share feedback, results."


Come now, to really test this, you need to have a control group :twisted:



The problematic thing in this type of experiment is being able to isolate the true cause and the number of factors that must be considered including: (i) the length and variation in incubation period for Giardia - which could be up to three weeks (a time within which, other external contamination/infection might occur via food poisoning, or other vector (water, person-person), (ii) the need to test for a pre-existing infection beforehand (possibly even a latent one) and (iii) ensuring no contamination occured after the fact with another organism (within the maximum incubation period of Giardia); so one would need to control the test subjects (including those within the control group) and perform blood and stool samples before and after drinking the water in question and test for a number of other possible causative factors that elicit similar symptoms (E.coli, Entamoeba (histolytica, dispar spps), bacterial (salmonella) or viral infections (Norovirus) for example. Some of these infections are also asymptomatic in some people thus mandating the need for serological and/or physical confirmation of infection.



You guys are thinking way too hard about this. All that needs to be done is a simple bacterial culture and viral load (or PCR based) approach to determine the sterility of the water and therefore the effectiveness of the Steripen vs filter vs boiling, etc.

Also, viruses aren't "alive", so you can't "kill" them. The UV light will mutate their genetic material so they are unable to infect.

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Re: Steripen Question

Postby GregMiller » Wed Jul 10, 2013 9:49 am

caseygries wrote:You guys are thinking way too hard about this. All that needs to be done is a simple bacterial culture and viral load (or PCR based) approach to determine the sterility of the water and therefore the effectiveness of the Steripen vs filter vs boiling, etc.


There you go, taking all the fun out of it. It would be interesting to run your test, though, if there were a way to do it relatively inexpensively/quickly, and see how much the individual user's process affects the end results.

And CO_Native - :shock: - never going to be lazy about water treatment ever. eep.
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Re: Steripen Question

Postby ezabielski » Wed Jul 10, 2013 11:30 am

CO Native wrote:I don't think I'm taking it too seriously. I had one bout with crypto, and that was enough to make me a lot more cautious about the water.

Aquamira (chlorine dioxide) has it's own problems too, like you have to keep the water out of the light while it's being treated or the chlorine dioxide will break down too quickly and cause the treatment to fail. You also have to extend the treatment time if the water is cold, which it always is in Colorado.



A testimonial for every possible outcome. I won't get into an argument about how you know what caused your crypto problem. On the other hand, some people go literally thousands of miles and never treat water.


I've never heard that problem with sunlight and chlorine dioxide. I'd love to read more about it. And I also have not found anything on what constitutes "cold" water. At what temperature does McNett intend for the 15 minute treatment?

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