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Backpacker Magazine – Online Exclusive

Gear Review: Solar Powered Backpacking Gear

Five of our favorite solar items to make your next trip brighter, safer, and less stinky

by: Joel Nyquist

PAGE 1 2 3 4 5 6

SteriPEN Adventurer Opti with Solar Charging Case
Pure water anywhere

The SteriPEN Adventurer was just named a recipient of Backpacker’s Editors' Choice Award, so you know it’s awesome. And by upgrading to the solar charging case you get the same great chemical-free, pump-free water treatment that’s entirely solar-powered. The protective case holds your SteriPEN and charges the included 2 sets of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. You use one set while the other one is being charged. The solar panel doubles as the case lid, and is moveable to best catch the sunlight (see inset photo above). While attached to the top lid of my backpack in Shenandoah and on the flanks of Pikes Peak I was able to capture enough light each day to purify my daily water and never ran out. Since there isn’t a meter to gauge how full the batteries are, I recommend setting the case in a sunny windowsill for a few days prior to going out to be sure you’re topped off. SteriPEN says it takes between 2-5 days for a full charge depending on solar conditions, which is fine because each charge lasts for around 30 liters.

The Specs:
10.5 oz.
PAGE 1 2 3 4 5 6

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Star Star
May 10, 2014

The website that you supplied with this post does not in any way lead me to the specific product that you have just reviewed. It does lead me to a sight that has steri-pens, but not the one mentioned above, with the solar panel, battery charging case. Could you provide the exact link to that product, Mr. Nyquist?

May 04, 2011

it didnt switch on for me...took it back to the store, tried 3 more reutrns, still didnt work....

Joel N
Mar 16, 2011

Backpackerzac- The manufacturer doesn't recommend water over 120 for the cap, and over 150 for the BPA-free bottle (included with the Lightcap 300 model). They said the plastic *may* deform slightly.
As for freezing temps (I'm assuming that's the root of your temp question), what happens with any bottle is the moisture freezes between the threads, which can make the cap be frozen on, or can sometimes deform the cap and make a small gap, but that can happen with any bottle. It's not any more or less likely with the Lightcap.

Joel N
Mar 16, 2011

Steve- The shower head is threaded/screw-on. I actually carried it about 1/2 mile inside my pack (loaded with water) and none leaked out.

Mar 16, 2011

Does the shower head on the solar shower have a good shut off valve? I own a different brand that has a leaking problem with the push/pull valve.

Mar 16, 2011

Will the lightcap withstand boiling temperatures and is it leakproof in all temps?

Mar 15, 2011, maybe not for through hiking, but perhaps for surfing.

Mar 15, 2011

This I like. As a throat cancer survivor with radiation fried salivary glands and no spit I will be able to find my W/B at night without fumbleing around the tent.


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