Wednesday, June 13, 2007

SteriPEN is Brilliant!

steripen travelerSometimes an item comes along that elegantly and completely solves a traveler's problem, rendering everything else a clumsy alternative. The problem? Local water that you can't drink without getting sick, but plastic water bottle alternatives that are expensive, wasteful, and an environmental nightmare.

Enter the Steripen. Yeah, you can buy some kind of pump with filters you need to replace or a water bottle where you suck through a charcoal mechanism, but overall they're a pain and they take up too much room. This travel SteriPEN, in contrast, is compact and is a technological wonder. You just turn it on, stick it in water, and a minute later the possibly scary liquid in front of you is water you can drink without worry.

I just used one for the past two weeks in Guatemala and not only did this keep me from buying and wasting a big pile of plastic that would spoil the countryside, but it kept me and my family healthy too. Not even the slightest case of the runs. The batteries I had in there didn't run out, but if you are on some kind of backwoods expedition or on extended travels, you can buy a cool solar charger accessory that will (slowly) recharge standard re-useable batteries.

The drawbacks? Well, this breakthrough doesn't come cheap. I could easily argue that it will pay for itself financially over a year and the psychic baggage you drop is worth something, but the upfront investment is around $130 without the charger, which is another $50. Plus the travel SteriPEN water purifier won't fit into the nozzle of a regular commercial bottled water container or a the cool Sigg bottles, so if you are carrying one of those you'll have to borrow a pitcher or a Nalgene wide-mouth bottle for the purifying stage.

Small prices to pay for saving the world if you ask me, so follow this link and do a search at REI.com or buy it here directly from Amazon.

8 comments:

latin american said...

This is one of those fantastic inventions that seems too good to be true, but it works. I've used the Steripen in three countries with bad water and feel a lot better that it kept me from buying pounds of plastic just to stay hydrated. Expensive, but worth it--small enough to go in a pocket.

leigh said...

it's cool. i really want to get one of these soon.

Anonymous said...

Does this also work with ice or on non-water drinks (juice or mixed drinks?)

Tim said...

You would have to check the specs, but I doubt it. Ice no because it's frozen (so organisms wouldn't get killed) and juice no because the light can't penetrate past the particles. Sometimes you've just gotta take a chance or pay attention to how things are prepared. Ice is safe in a lot of countries because purified water is used to make it. Juice depends on how the fruit and utensils are washed...

gojonesgo said...

The SteriPEN is great when it works but, just a word of warning: they're notoriously finicky. I used one for two weeks trekking in Nepal without a hitch but when I pulled it out of storage a year later it refused to complete a full purification cycle - even after I changed the batteries. All I got were blinking error lights. A quick google search will reveal that I'm hardly the only one to experience that. It's too bad; the product has a lot of potential but it seems there are still a few kinks to be worked out. Proceed with caution and always carry iodine or some other chemical backup.

Tim said...

I haven't had any problem with mine being finicky. It has sat around for 9 months before between trips and I've now used it in 7 countries without a hitch. Same rechargeable batteries it came with.

Tim said...

Update---I'm now up to 9 countries without a hitch (or a case of the runs).

Stacie Huudson said...

Extensive microbiological and structural testing by independent laboratories over the U.s.What's more Canada has ended up being protected and viable,affirming the way that SteriPEN’s UV light technology dispenses with in excess of 99.9% of microscopic organisms,infections and protozoa that cause water-borne ailment.Accordingly,SteriPEN has earned the Water Quality Association's Gold Seal,guaranteeing that SteriPEN filters water securely and viably.
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