Occasionally a product comes along that makes you wonder how in the world you ever got by without it. The SteriPEN Adventurer is one such product.
Prior to SteriPEN, the most practical ways to get safe, drinkable water while on the trail were boiling, using chemicals or filtering. Each is effective, but they all have drawbacks. Boiling water takes too long, chemicals leave the water tasting, well, like chemicals, and filtering adds weight to your pack and takes a lot of puttering with equipment. In the winter, another problem with filtering is that the hose and filter can freeze up. I’ve always thought that there must be a better system – one that is fast, effective and lightweight – but hadn’t been able to find it until now.
I was very surprised when my SteriPEN Adventurer arrived, as I wasn’t expecting such a small device. It is about the size of a large marker or highlighter, and weighs in at a featherlight 3.6oz. It fits easily into the included case, or in a pocket.
SteriPEN uses ultraviolet (UV) light to purify water. UV light destroys the DNA of potential disease-causing bacteria, viruses and parasitic protozoa. Without their DNA, these nasty microorganisms can’t make you sick. Because SteriPEN uses UV light, it doesn’t leave an unpleasant taste or odor, like chemicals do. This proven technology has been around for years in the treatment of water by bottling plants and municipalities. SteriPEN has been microbiologically tested in numerous independent studies, which are featured on their website (see below).
On a recent trail run, I was able to give the Adventurer a good test to see how it performed in the field. For this long run, I carried a single water bottle in my waist pack, along with the Adventurer in its case, clipped on the side of the pack. When I needed more water, I simply scooped it up in my bottle from a nearby lake, pushed the button to activate the Adventurer, placed the UV light end into the water and stirred until the indicator light turned green. It took only 48 seconds to purify my water bottle (for a 32oz. bottle it takes 90 seconds). I was very impressed. Nothing could be easier, faster, and less cumbersome, and I didn’t even need to stop moving while I did this – I was able to walk and even continue jogging at a slow pace for the time that it took to treat my water.
The Adventurer has also been tested in the field in a variety of extreme conditions, from expeditions on Mount Everest to through-hikes of the Appalachian Trail. Another convenient use for the Adventurer is that when you encounter questionable water while traveling abroad, you can treat it with the SteriPEN and not risk getting sick.
SteriPEN has thought of everything when it comes to the Adventurer. While it runs on two lithium batteries, there is a solar charger available (sold separately). Not only is this more environmentally friendly, but for trips where you are planning to be on the trail for days or weeks at a time, you can recharge your Adventurer in this handy and compact solar panel carrying case.
After testing the SteriPEN Adventurer myself, and finding it to be nothing short of revolutionary, I can confidently say that I will never use another form of water treatment on the trail again.