/ GEAR REVIEW/VIDEO: Clean Water On The Go: SteriPEN Adventurer

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Michael Ryan - on 29 Jun 2008
"Most water filtration systems do not offer protection against viruses, and neither Chlorine nor Iodine can kill Cryptosporidium, a protozoan that can cause diarrhea. Chemical methods are often not completely effective against Giardia. UV treatment is effective against both. These organisms may be present in mountain streams in this country, and in the past I've suffered from an attack of diarrhea caused by drinking untreated mountain water."

Alex Roddie uses the SteriPEN Adventurer on a trip to Scotland and reports back to us.

On the Gear Page at UKClimbing.com: http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/

Direct: http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/review.php?id=1131
Alex Roddie - on 29 Jun 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:
Hurrah! =)
ebygomm - on 29 Jun 2008
In reply to Alex Roddie:

Diarrhoea has an o in it in British English :-)
Alex Roddie - on 29 Jun 2008
In reply to ebygomm:
Damn, knew I should have double-checked the dictionary hadn't reverted to US English! =P
Pids - on 30 Jun 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Nice - use a steri-pen to protect yourself - but with a Nalgene Bottle ?

Warning: Do You Have Nalgene or Other Hard Plastic Drinking Bottles?
If you have any hard plastic bottles from Nalgene, specifically the ‘Outdoor’ series, I may recommend replacing them. You may also want to check out if any other hard plastic drinking bottles you have contain BPA (bisphenol A).


Walmart and other retailers have started pulling Nalgene brand plastic drinking bottles along with other product bottles that contain BPA (bisphenol A) off the shelves this past week. Nalgene is discontinuing it’s popular Outdoor line of bottles that contain BPA and have introduced a new line of BPA free bottles called ‘Everyday’.

This action coincidently follows the government’s National Toxicology Program report that cites potential health risks from BPA. BPA mimics estrogen and in experiments on rats, has linked the chemical to changes in behavior and the brain, early puberty and possibly precancerous changes in the prostate and breast.

BPA is also found in DVDs, CDs and hundreds of other common plastic items.

Canadian officials reported that they are now in talks to potentially ban the chemical completely in the country.

Talk about this potential health risk has been around for almost two years, but companies and governments didn’t take action. It’s too bad that a company like Nalgene has to be pressured by consumers in order to remove a product with potential health risks. In a statement, the company still claims they feel BPA in their bottles doesn’t pose a health risk and are only recalling and discontinuing the line because of consumer concern.

Alex Roddie - on 30 Jun 2008
In reply to Pids:
> Nice - use a steri-pen to protect yourself - but with a Nalgene Bottle ?

I must admit I was a bit concerned that the device doesn't work on a Sigg. I've been searching around for a replacement for the Nalgene with a wide enough mouth.

And of course the whole thing about Nalgenes sounds a bit like a scare to me...
From Rosker, UK distributor of SteriPEN

The model that Alex used, the SteriPEN Adventurer, has a life cycle of 8,000 1/2lt doses. There's a number of ways to view that information. One way is to simply calculate the cost per dose: a fraction over 1p per dose. That doesn't take the cost of batteries into account, so adding on the initial price of the solar charger at £50 would mean you'd never have to buy batteries again; that makes the cost a mere 1.175p per 1/2lt dose, or 2.35p per litre. Compare that for the £4 average retail price of a bottle of 75 chlorine 1lt treatment tablets, which works out to 5.3p per treated litre of water. Plus, with SteriPEN there's no chemical aftertaste and so no need to add in a neutralising treatment which you are advised to do with chlorine or iodine tablets, which are an extra cost on top. Also, on long term expeditions in areas where iodine rather than chlorine treatment tablets are necessary, there is a medical risk to the liver of using iodine over a long period of time. No such risk with Steripen.

If out climbing or on the hills for, say, 60 days a year then a SteriPEN user could get through 3lt of water per day whilst they're out. So, using simple maths, 8,000 divided by 3 x 60, if they were to use the SteriPEN Adventurer then it would last them 44.44 years. Practically a lifetime.

So, when all of this is factored in, it should balance Alex's point that it is an expensive piece of kit. It isn't really.

Alex makes a valid point that in sunlight it may be hard to see if the light is on or not. But, if the light hadn't been immersed in water during the purification cycle then there is a red warning light that shows. So, there's always a visual confirmation with SteriPEN that it's been used okay each and every time. The new model, the Journey, has a ‘smiley’ face on its screen when the cycle is complete.

Looking at the wider environmental angle, another way to view that 8,000 dose capacity is this. Imagine the average European city tourist buying bottled water and then imagine them being able to instead use water from the numerous fountains or water taps that exist and which most tourists wouldn't normally use as a safe source of drinking water. With SteriPEN you'd only ever need one plastic reusable bottle. Without it, you'd get through 8,000 plastic bottles which would all end up in landfill sites. SteriPEN are intending to put this info onto future packaging in a visual icon way so would-be buyers can see its eco-friendly nature.

eraven99 on 30 Jun 2008
In reply to UKC Gear:
Thanks for the Reply, interesting to see some clear figures on how inexpensive it is to run,, maybe I will get one when I get a dollop of cash!
In reply to Alex Roddie:

> And of course the whole thing about Nalgenes sounds a bit like a scare to me...

There are concerns, the Canadian government looked at baby bottles in particular - but there is no evidence of damage to humans yet, just a concern that the issues seen in rats _could_ also happen in humans, but it isn't known if they do. If you are interested download this show: http://wamu.org/programs/dr/08/04/29.php and listen to the experts debate it. It is more a question of how risk is conveyed to the public than anything else if you ask me.

And if you decide to chuck your nalgene bottle out, if you stop by the dustbin to have a swift malboro light when no one is watching - you have your priorities very mixed!
MRJ - on 30 Jul 2008
In reply to Pids:
I laughed when I saw that too.
Wee Davie - on 30 Jul 2008
In reply:

Mountain water is very drinkable in Scotland so you don't have to carry these devices.
The End.

Davie
goneforever on 31 Jul 2008
In reply to Wee Davie:

I must admit, I've never thought there was a genuine need to sterilise fast-flowing clear mountain water in this country. Perhaps I'm wrong.

I'm interested to see how the product's ability to sterilise effectively is validated. Are there any links to scientific data?
In reply to Wee Davie:

> Mountain water is very drinkable in Scotland so you don't have to carry these devices.
> The End.

Well, except for down steam of the CIC hut for instance if you aren't careful. I can attest to this from bitter, and messy, experience as a can a number of belay ledges all the way up Observatory Ridge.

S11 - on 31 Jul 2008
In reply to Martin76:
> I'm interested to see how the product's ability to sterilise effectively is validated. Are there any links to scientific data?

Yes, go to this link on the SteriPEN web site http://www.steripen.com/testing.html
and there are numerous downloadable PDFs of tests performed by independent labs in the US.

Ian
Rosker
Kimono - on 31 Jul 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: i have just bought one from ebay.com (ie the US) for just over £50...

Have yet to use it but it seems to be the best option for travellers such as myself who are uneasy with leaving a mountain of plastic bottles behind them (which are normally burnt!)

I have heard that the solar charger is a cumbersome beast and so will be buying myself a battery charger and a set of rechargeable CR123's
ads.ukclimbing.com
JPG - on 24 Aug 2008
In reply to kieran b:
> I have heard that the solar charger is a cumbersome beast and so will be buying myself a battery charger and a set of rechargeable CR123's

I've just bought the "Classic" model (bigger, bulkier and heavier than the "Adventurer" but works with uses 4xAA batteries which I can recharge in my Silva Solar I charger) for $55 in REI's Labor Day sale in Berkeley.

I'm looking forward to not having to wait four hours to be able to drink water I gather en route.

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