ZAP Water Clean Fast!

The New York Times had an article yesterday about a different type of water cleaning device which caught my attention. Although it has been awhile since I have done some extended backcountry camping, water treated with iodine really was something I really never looked forward to. Yuck!

The same technology that is used in water and wastewater treatment plants around the world, now fits in the palm of your hand. We are talking about a handheld microbe zapping ultraviolet light generator that disinfects water fast, called the SteriPEN™. Microbes don’t have a chance. The UV light destroys DNA which prevents microbes from reproducing. The SteriPEN™ is good for 10,000 treatments or 2,500 gallons of water. The AA batteries are reported to last for about 100 treatments before they need to be replaced.

SteriPEN™ automatically delivers the appropriate dose duration and then shuts off. Dose time ranges from 38 to 48 seconds for 16 ounces to 90 seconds for 1 quart (or 1 liter). Now, UV does lose some of its effectiveness in murky water. In those situations it may be necessary to pre-filter the water. Not too bad!

You can buy it from Amazon for roughly $77, SteriPEN Classic Handheld Water Purifier

The reviews seem positive, but has anyone else used this?

1 Comment

  1. I’ve used water filters in the backcountry for over 10 years and have come to prefer MSR’s ceramic cartridge style filter. The only drawback I’ve found is the need for frequent cleaning when filtering water with a high concentration of fine particles. Otherwise I’ve been very satisfied with overall filter performance. That said, I did pick up a steri-pen a few years ago to try it out. I found that it’s more compact than the filter, but with four AA batteries it weighs more. It is much quicker and takes less effort to purify water than the hand-pumped filter. However there are two serious drawbacks for back-country use. First, I found it didn’t perform reliably at higher altitude on Mt. Rainier. I couldn’t get it to function above 8,000 ft in 40 degree temps. Second, there’s no guarantee of 100% effectiveness in silty water with suspended fines. While I’ll continue to use my trusty MSR filter for backcountry travel, I haven’t gotten rid of the steri-pen. In fact I’ve taken it with me while travelling in Costa Rica and Baja where it has proved to be very handy.

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