/ Steripen question.....

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sincybabes - on 02 Sep 2008
Can the steripen still be used on the tap water in countries with high mineral content that would usually give you a belly ache?


What are peoples opinions on how good they are?

Which one out of the three on the website is the best?

cheers

Andy
mkean - on 02 Sep 2008
In reply to sincybabes:
I've not used one myself but I was discussing them with my Dad recently who spent many years designing industrial water purification systems and his attitude was he wouldn't trust it unless the water is pre-filtered. UV is not a totally fool proof method of purifying water.
Jason123 on 02 Sep 2008
In reply to sincybabes:

Sounds an elaborate process, whats wrong with a millbank bag and steritabs??
sincybabes - on 02 Sep 2008
In reply to Jason123:

Well its less weight and storage space, and according to the website it works well, but i wanted some opinions.

plus its 90 quid!!
Alex Roddie - on 03 Sep 2008
In reply to sincybabes:
Have a read of my article:

http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/review.php?id=1131

Personally I found the Steripen excellent, but it *does not* reduce minerals in the water. It kills almost all water-born micro-organisms. If it truly is the mineral content of the water that is causing the upset, the Steripen won't make any difference.
KeithW - on 03 Sep 2008
In reply to Jason123:

> Sounds an elaborate process

I didn't find it so - just press the button, stick it in the water bottle & stir for 90 secs. It worked well for us in Peru, although some of the water could have done with pre-filtering too.
JPG - on 03 Sep 2008
In reply to Jason123:
> Sounds an elaborate process, whats wrong with a millbank bag and steritabs??

The reason I bought a SteriPen is so I can drink water without having to wait for water purification tablets to take effect.

It's worth remembering that all a SteriPen does is "kill" bacteria and other microorganisms. It doesn't filter or purify the water in any other way.

Mind you, I doubt that a millbank bag would remove high mineral content from water, unless the high mineral content is in the form of grit or suspended particles (as opposed to dissolved in the water). I suspect the only ways of getting rid of dissolved minerals would be some kind of device similar to a water softener or distillation.
mkean - on 03 Sep 2008
In reply to JPG: your options for removing minerals are either passing it over a bed of ion exchange resin, floculating them out or distilling. Distillation would be my choice, you could set up a solar still or just burn a lot of gas boiling it.
Just a bhoy - on 03 Sep 2008
In reply to JPG:

Yep you'd need a ion exchange system. I'd read about the Steripen but didn't realise it was so dear....then again if you spend a lot of time in the North Face of the Ben then it suddenly become a bit more attractive.....
winhill - on 03 Sep 2008
In reply to Alex Roddie:
> (In reply to sincybabes)
> Have a read of my article:
>
> http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/review.php?id=1131
>
> Personally I found the Steripen excellent, but it *does not* reduce minerals in the water. It kills almost all water-born micro-organisms. If it truly is the mineral content of the water that is causing the upset, the Steripen won't make any difference.

Alex, I surprised you didn't mention the pre-filter but then neither did rosker in their reply! It will remove larger particulates and debris from from the water, which you find even in this country. But then the Adventurer model isn't compatible with the pre-filter.

I would be concerned that the UV was unable to penetrate if a pre filter wasn't used and the water wasn't clear, rendering it ineffective.

The SteriPen Classics seemed prone to taking in water and failing, which means of course that you need to carry a back-up system.

Properly filtered water can use a 5% chlorine mix to purify, like MSRs sweetw*ter, which is drinkable straight away, although better to wait five minutes and has no taste.

I'm not sure why you suggest Alpine (or higher?) adventures would prefer boiling to sterilise, as if you are using snow the time taken to reach boiling is much longer 20 mins a litre? obviously using much more gas, equals weight and also may not be so effective at higher altitudes and lower boiling points. Chemical treatment, very light, makes more sense.
Alex Roddie - on 03 Sep 2008
In reply to winhill:
> I'm not sure why you suggest Alpine (or higher?) adventures would prefer boiling to sterilise, as if you are using snow the time taken to reach boiling is much longer 20 mins a litre? obviously using much more gas, equals weight and also may not be so effective at higher altitudes and lower boiling points. Chemical treatment, very light, makes more sense.

I was just going by my system in the Alps--I don't like taking extra equipment but often take a stove anyway, as it is useful if you are forced to bivvy, and can be used to cook meals. That said, I do sometimes take a tub of Chlorine tablets as well in the Alps. Often I don't bother with anything and just scoff snow. =D
winhill - on 03 Sep 2008
In reply to Alex Roddie:
> (In reply to winhill)
> [...]
>
> I was just going by my system in the Alps--I don't like taking extra equipment but often take a stove anyway, as it is useful if you are forced to bivvy, and can be used to cook meals. That said, I do sometimes take a tub of Chlorine tablets as well in the Alps. Often I don't bother with anything and just scoff snow. =D

But if you're trying to maintain hydration (which you should be to avoid ams) and you are boiling water, you would have to let it cool or drink it as tea, fruit drink etc. Bit of a faff if all you need is 500cc of adams ale to keep you hydrated.
davidwright - on 03 Sep 2008
In reply to sincybabes:
> Can the steripen still be used on the tap water in countries with high mineral content that would usually give you a belly ache?
>

err No why on earth do you think they would?

These use UV light to kill bacteria, viruses and other nasties. If the problem with the local water supply is the dissolved salts then they change nothing. If you are worried about dissolved salt content then you need either an ion exchange resin (eg a brita filter) or a reverse osmosis pump system depending on if it is the presence of particular ions (resins) or total salt conc (reverse osmosis) that is the concern
mkean - on 03 Sep 2008
In reply to davidwright: correct me if i'm wrong but i think britta filters are just charcoal. I don't think they are an ion exchange resin.
davidwright - on 03 Sep 2008
In reply to mkean: I thought britta filters were water softeners (which are the type needed) as well. Anyway if you can partly regenerate them with brine then they are the right type of filter.
S11 - on 04 Sep 2008
In reply to winhill:
> (In reply to Alex Roddie)

> Alex, I surprised you didn't mention the pre-filter but then neither did rosker in their reply! It will remove larger particulates and debris from from the water, which you find even in this country. But then the Adventurer model isn't compatible with the pre-filter.
>

Rosker didn't mention the pre-filter in our reply to Alex's original review simply because it isn't an option with the particular model that Alex used. A point that you go on to make.

> I would be concerned that the UV was unable to penetrate if a pre filter wasn't used and the water wasn't clear, rendering it ineffective.
>

The SteriPen website has masses of independent lab test results, see http://www.steripen.com/testing.html one of which tested SteriPens' ability to work with cloudy water. The recommendation is that, in cases where the only available water is cloudy or "turgid", then two doses of the purification cycle will do the trick.

> The SteriPen Classics seemed prone to taking in water and failing, which means of course that you need to carry a back-up system.
>

This is news to us as at Rosker (as the UK distributor) and, also, news to SteriPen the manufacturer. What evidence can you provide to support this claim? SteriPen are incredibly quality conscious and, globally, the returns rate is 0.5%. That's 5 out of every 1,000 sold. That's still higher than they'd want and their Tech Support team have a goal of 0%, for the obvious reason that we don't want anyone experiencing any problems whatsoever. Letís be very clear about these returns. They're not because SteriPen has been through the 48 second or 90 seconds purification cycle and failed to purify the water; rather it's because the unit has failed to work at all. In other words, no one has been at risk because they've used a SteriPen and thought that they'd purified their water; in the few cases of problems where SteriPens did not work it was because of circuitry issues and the user would have been aware of this because of the red warning light. SteriPens have a really, really low failure rate and when one does unfortunately not work the user would be aware of this. We've had some end users complain of SteriPen's not working when they've not inserted the wand into water, which basically means that they've not read the instructions. It has to be in contact with water for the electrical circuit to be completed.

SteriPen is one of the quickest, easiest to use, lightest, and long lasting solutions available on the market. Please note the amazing 8,000 cycle capacity = over 33 years worth of use for someone using it for 3 litres of water a day going out on trips 30 days a year in total.

Ian
Rosker Ltd




ads.ukclimbing.com
winhill - on 04 Sep 2008
In reply to S11:
> (In reply to winhill)
>
> This is news to us as at Rosker (as the UK distributor) and, also, news to SteriPen the manufacturer. What evidence can you provide to support this claim?

Thanks for coming on Ian, it's always good when professionals working in the industry are willing to talk to the hoi polloi about their products.

Regarding the Classic there's this thread from bacpackinglight forums:

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=...

"We had two Steripen Classics in 2006 and one failed 4 days into the trip. If you get any moisture inside the glass chamber, it fails. I contacted Steripen and they told me the Adeventurer was engineered with many goals, including making it much more waterproof than the SteriPen Classic "

I can't verify of course if this is what steripen actually said.

Regarding water with particulates I can only go off Steripen's own website:

http://www.steripen.com/faq_general.html#quest8

"During a SteriPEN treatment it is important to agitate the water by stirring gently with the SteriPEN. Stirring of the water insures uniform UV treatment. Also, SteriPEN is intended for use in clear water.

Water with significant discoloration or particulates can reduce effectiveness of SteriPEN by inhibiting the penetration of UV light through the water."

Of course contaminated water causes issues for all purefication systems and even a ceramic filter will block when the water is really silty, although people complain about this, I tend to think it's just the filter doing it's job!


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