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Backpacker Magazine – Editors' Choice 2011

Editors' Choice 2011: SteriPEN Adventurer Opti

This ultralight water purifier is fast, easy, and leaves zero aftertaste.

by: The Backpacker Editors

SteriPEN Adventurer Opti (Courtesy Photo)
SteriPEN Adventurer Opti (Courtesy Photo)

Our testers have tried every water-treatment method available, and for most trips and most conditions, this one beats them all. Why?

1) It’s half the weight of the lightest filter.

2) It’s much faster than chemical treatments (90 seconds for a liter, compared to 30 minutes to four hours).

3) It doesn’t change the taste of delicious alpine water.

4) It eliminates all microorganisms (bacteria, protozoa, and viruses), making it a great choice for North American wilderness and developing countries alike. In short, it’s near-perfect for almost all backcountry water treatment. SteriPEN has been perfecting the use of ultraviolet light—a proven purification method long used by municipal water-treatment facilities—in portable, handheld devices for a decade, and this unit is the lightest and most reliable yet, which is why it has cleared the bar to earn our highest award.

During almost a year of testing, from the Rockies to California’s Trinity Alps to Capitol Reef to New Zealand’s busy tracks, the Adventurer never failed. Not once. Simply push the single button (once for a liter, twice for a half liter), dunk the wand into your water bottle, and gently stir until the green light comes on. Then drink up.

The Adventurer’s new optical sensor has had no trouble with even icy snowmelt (and it doubles as an emergency flashlight). According to SteriPEN, two CR123 batteries treat up to 100 liters, and the UV bulb lasts for 8,000 treatments. Caveats: You need a widemouthed bottle to dip in, and it’s not the best choice for turbid water (a $15 prefilter is sold separately). $100; 3.8 oz. (with batteries);

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Star Star Star Star Star
Holiday Hiking
Sep 10, 2013

Holiday Hiking in the southern part of the asia continent there lays a tiny rectangular kingdom squeezed between two hugely populated countries, China to the north and India to the south, this country is Nepal a world of its own. Holiday Hiking is a type of tourism, involving exploration or travel to remote, exotic and possibly hostile areas. Holiday Hiking is rapidly growing in popularity, as tourists seek different kinds of vacations. The land of contrast is presumably the exact way to define the scenery of Nepal for you will find maximum world highest peaks high high up above the clouds determined for the gods above. Straight, active and attractive learning experience Holiday Hiking that engross the whole person and have real Hiking Mt. Everest, Kanchenjunga, Daulagiri, and Annapurna and many more are there for the offering for mountain-lovers, Hiking and travelers.

Star Star
John Kay (pesky)
Mar 25, 2013

Okay, I had this for my 5 months of constant camping on the Appalachian Trail. Not only did my steripen often fail to function, but other trough-hikers were constantly having the same trouble. Often the pen will turn on when not in water ( there goes the battery) and more often, the pen won't turn on when it is immersed in water ( no germ killing). I know people who did the whole trail without treating their water so it is hard to say how effective the pen is when those people never got sick. The pen is fine for shorter trips. Mine didn't start malfunctioning until about a month in. I returned it, as I did my previous larger steripen ( for the same reason). Now I use a gravity filter ( from the AT I've gone to Hawaii, New Zealand, Australia and now Indonesia). Also note, the steripen and filters to not remove careful out there.

Star Star Star Star Star
Trekking in Nepal
Mar 01, 2013

Acute Trek Pvt Ltd an indoor outdoor trekking and tours operative takes you that further way to guarantee you has an unforgettable adventure that you have been dream of. Whether you are looking for a quiet gateway, a memorable outing with a family or an exciting nature adventure. We, Acute Trek Pvt Ltd are here to offer you with the best progressive information and itinerary leading focused and modified as per your requirements. Acute trek is an attempt to encourage Nepal to the exterior world while striving to defend an aged tradition as well as conserve the surroundings for generation to come.

Sep 11, 2012

Ads must be filtered!

May 24, 2012

I've used the steripen adventurer for three seasons in the North Cascades and Olymic peninsula

Batteries can be troublesome. Had to take them out, rub the contacts, and warm them up more than once. Sometimes I was never sure it worked properly, with the flashing lights and all (reading the instructions thoroughly helps- duh)

Still, I carry tablets as a backup and always test the batteries before leaving home
Still, a cold bottle of alpine water w/o chemical taste is pretty nice

Apr 21, 2012

Sounds great, but I would much rather stick to my Aquamira Water Treatment Drops. Works everytime guaranteed and I can treat 30 gallons (113.5 Liters) of water for $ 14.95. Which happens to be 13 more liters than the Steri Pen and saves you $85.

Sorry about the Plug for Aquamira, I am in no way affiliated with them but have been using them for a couple years now and they are great for any type of water you come in contact with that can be considered drinkable. I think people try to make water treatment more difficult than it is by purchasing all these expensive products for no reason other than being a gear nerd. The Aquamira water treatment products are also EPA tested and approved. Not sure if the Steri Pen is or not. But I would much rather treat more water and still have the extra $85 in my pocket for other cool things.

My 2 cents.

Dan Lemmens
Mar 08, 2012

So now we are adding free advertizing to the Nepal tourism industry and jamming up the reviews for backpacking equipment. What gives? Not liking this.

Jan 26, 2012

Unfortunately, I can not give this product a good review. I bought one of these for use in my wilderness work. Throughout the summer the steripen failed to operate far too often. Stupidly the first time the back up we had was to boil water or selectively select water sources (I call it H20 roulette). We didn't make that mistake again. In addition to often failing, the recharge system was highly unreliable. Sometimes when I read neg reviews I wonder if the poster is a spammer for another product. For this review it is only little ol' me telling you my all too real experience. My co-worker ended up with giardia following this trip. I ended up having to prove that, given the gestation period for giardia, he had clearly contacted giardia in a time period in advance of the steripen trip.

Texas Hiker
Oct 24, 2011

Used it on a 5 day Gila backpacking hike. Worked perfectly every time. I would recommend this item highly.

Mark Roberts
Oct 07, 2011

Overall I was very happy with how light and easy the pen was to use until the batteries died 4 days into a 9 day backpack in Yellowstone. It may have been the cold nights that sapped the battery life, but if you are doing a long trek where water purity is a must, bring extra batteries!

An REI employee guy
Sep 11, 2011

I purchased mine in 2011 and give it four out of five stars.

The Pluses: awesome, small unit. Helps you make new BFFs on the trail when people learn that you can quickly sterilize water for them.

The Minus: the power button. You have to press it really hard for it to turn on, and half the time you'll think it's on when it's not, since there's no tangible feedback from the button itself. So you'll find yourself wasting a few minutes every other time you use it, wondering why the sterilization cycle didn't complete. And that's irritating when you're exhausted and thirsty with many miles and meters to go, the daylight's waning, and the bugs are sucking you dry.

Sep 05, 2011

The Steripen inactivates the micro-organisms - it does not eliminate them, as in removing them from the water. You would still be drinking the dead or dying non-reproducing bodies of the micro-organisms.

Jul 06, 2011

Used it on AT , worked well really easy to use , 15 people no illness , spring water

Jun 12, 2011

i have had this product for 9 months and it has worked out great in my boy scouting career living in washington i have no use for a pump and the symplicty and lightweight of the adventure opti is amasing i have not ever goten sick from the water so i woul always recomend it for a friend
(remeber extra batterys )

Dil Bahadur Chhetri
May 11, 2011

As the New Year blossoms,
May the journey of your life
Be fragrant with new opportunities,
Your days be bright with new hopes
& your heart be happy with love
With the kisses of success in every walk of your life!

May you have awesome “Newyear 2068 Nepali Year”

Respected all,
Heartfelt greetings and best wishes to my all dear friends and well wishes on the joyous occasion of Nepali New Year 2068.
May the new year herald peace and stability in the nation.
Guest is God ‘’Happy tourism year 2011’’
Go with togethers,
Open Invitation for Everyone
Let’s promote to make success ‘The 2011 Tourism Year,
For adventure seeking foreigners and Nepalese who support environmental protection and eco-tourism while enjoying life in Nepal.
Metro Everest Treks/ Metro Eco Hotel is pleased to invite you to experience our excellent services. Relax for Long or Short stays in our Hotel in Thamel.
Visit organic farms and rural villages along the periphery of Kathmandu Valley.
Experience rural life with local folks.
Metro Everest Treks/Metro Eco Hotel offers
Land, Air, and Water adventures.
Land: Mountain climbing, Peak expedition, Regular trekking, Pony trekking, Elephant ride, Jungle safari.
Air: Bungee jumping,
Paragliding, Ultra-light flights, Best view Mountain flight
Water: Kayaking, Canoeing, Rafting. Swimming New Exotic Experiences: Bird watching and Sauna and Steam bath, Hot-spring bath,
Cave visiting and Swimming an naturally.
We will guide you in pilgrimage tours to important Holy places of different Religions: Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim and Christian such as Mount Kailash, Muktinath, Lumbini, Pashupatinath, Hindu/Buddhist Temples, Muslim Masheed(Mosque), or Christian Churches and others.
Special tours can be arranged according to
your budget in Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan and India.
Metro Everest Treks & Metro Eco Hotel
promotes and supports the heart of volunteerism in various
forms of education and social servicesfor exchange of ideas,
cultural exchange and development of Eco-tourism in Nepal.
Avaible of our Discounted Bus & Train Tickets for India,
Chartered Helicopter flights and Airline Tickets
(e-tickets) for Local and International flights.
Rent a car, Van, Bus, Jeep, 4 Wheeler,
Shuttle bus, Rickshaw, Mountain bike(cycle), Motor Bike.
Call us NOW and you will be at Home with our Friendly Staff.
Metro Eco Hotel P.Ltd.
Tel: (00977) 1-4360373/1-4361373
Metro Everest Trek's & Expedition P.Ltd.
Tour's & Travels P.Ltd
City Office KTM-(00977) 1-4700187or 182
Cell phone no: (00977) 9851019046 (24 Hrs).
Fax: (00977) 1-4700182
Email:, The website undercontrution sorry for this inconvenience !


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