I used a Steri-pen for 9 days in the Wind River Range and it worked great! I purchased the nalgene bottle that fits tight with the steri-pen then transfered water over into other containers.Didn't use the steri-pen bottle for anything else except for collecting water.
I too have had the red light come on when I've replaced the batteries with new Surefire lithiums; but yet have had it work with a different set of Surefire lithiums. I don't know if the pen is sensitive to the batteries or if the one set of batteries was slightly defective though they were fully charged (checked before and after trip). Still always carry bleach as a backup. Steripen really needs to explore and solve this problem.
I just updated my wishlist. THanks!
Read the directions about using sterilized water to flush out cap and threads. I bought one for a trip to Africa and was the only member of my group not to end up with a parasitic infection. Excellent easy to use, durable. Also it was recognized by airport security and passed with my carry on domestic and international flights, though the batteries had to be removed for my domestic flight home.
You can always "bleed the threads"; Back off the cap a quarter-turn, tip-over your water bottle and let the clean water wash it out.
Granted, this method is probably more "legit" for chemically treated water. But once the clean water washes through, you've effectively diluted anything down to ppb.
If you put the lid on underwater, there are no droplets. I'm still looking for a way to use the UV from the Sol. Still, this works well.
My friend and I have tried two different steripens on two seperate trips. Both times it failed. We changed batteries and double checked the manual with no luck. Luckily I had my reliable MSR filter for a backup. As I prepare for backpacking trip #30 this Sept., I'll just stick with the ol' tried and true MSR.
I too had problems with the red light coming on all the time - a close look at the manual revealed that users are instructed to very gently stir the water with the pen as it sterilizes. I've had no problems since doing this.
I love the idea of the steripen and I do own one. But myself and 2 of my friends have had recurring problems with the device. I finally replaced mine when every time I put it in the bottle the red light came on after about 10 seconds. New batteries made no difference. Are we missing something, after all all 3 of us can't be idiots. Of course I had backup iodine pills.
I'ved used a steripen for years now and only have good things to say about it. It's fast, effective and it's never let me down. My particular model comes with a filter that fits over a nalgene bottle in case you run into real turbidity...I've never needed it. I can sterilize an entire seasons worth of water on one set of batteries, although I always bring spares just in case.
It's true the steripen won't sterilize the mouth of the bottle that may have drops of water on it. I simply wipe off the mouth of the bottle and let it sit for a minute or two, preferably in the sun. This has worked 100% of the time.
Before my backpacking buddies even have their old school filters out of their packs I'm already back at camp mixing up a drink. Highly recommended.
A good reason not to use a steripen - cross contamination is inevitable unless u carry an extra bottle for collection and store it separately. Not to mention the batteries. Devices can fail, manual filters can be fixed and or cleaned. No thanks Steripen.
Question. When he was filling up his plastic water bottle from the hole in the ice, could he have contaminated his water bottle by dipping it in the source, an area not affected by the steripen?
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