Gear Review: SteriPEN Freedom - Backpacker

Gear Review: SteriPEN Freedom

Our favorite UV light water treatment tool just got lighter, smaller, and easier to recharge.


Zapping water with UV light has been my treatment method of choice for the last few years. This latest version from SteriPEN is the best yet. Not only is it lighter (by about an ounce) and smaller (by about an inch) than its predecessor, it’s now rechargeable via a wall plug or USB port. The battery lasted through a five-day trip in Chile, where I treated water for four people. Also cool: no buttons.

Sensors activate automatically when you dip the pen. Just swirl for about 50 seconds, wait for the green light, and your liter is safe. The Freedom still has the limitations of most other SteriPENs: It won’t work in turbid water or narrow-mouthed bottles.

Best For

Backpackers who want easy, fast, reliable, and compact water treatment

Tester Data

> Kristin Hostetter

> Duration Oct. to Dec.

> Locales/conditions Chile, Vietnam, New England; 30 to 90°F; clear water

> “The Freedom doubles as a flashlight. Just rotate your wrist back and forth to magically turn the light on and off.”