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Steripen report

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Steripen report

Postby copeg » Mon Nov 14, 2005 9:57 pm

I was in a pinch and went out and bought the steripen. Given I was in a hurry, I really did not have a chance to research this product, but had high expectations. When i bought it, I was impressed just by looking at it. But this impression soon subsided when I realized it required 4 AA batteries, bringing its weight from 3.7oz to 7.1 oz (8.8 with the carrying case). I read the directions, but obviously not as thoroughly as I should have. Upon using it for only a second time in the field, it gave me an ominous "red light". When I got home, I searched the manual to realize it should not be used at temps below 32F (I noticed this trend on my trip - it worked OK during the day but lacked any functionality at night when temperatures plumetted). Another negative - its tip seems like it would be extremely sensitve to ANY abuse. After a single 3 day trip, this product really did not even come close to living up to my expectations.



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Postby markskor » Sun Nov 20, 2005 8:00 pm

Yup, It was at REI once that some obvious flat-lander, fuzzy-butt, new, incompetent sales girl also tried to sell me one of these "pens" too. I examined it, noted the price, and asked her all the questions you mentioned:
1) How much does it weight... with the batteries?
2) How does it work in cold weather?
3) How long to the batteries last? How will I know if they are dead? Did it work before they died?
4) How long will it take to "cleanse" a 3-liter platypus filled with ice-cold snow melt? in warm water? How do I know when it is finished?
5) What happens when the glass bulb breaks when you really, really need to depend on it?
6) Would you actually buy one of these for yourself?
After getting a blank stare, a huh?, or "I do not know" as the various responses, I decided that this might be - just perhaps - a joke, a conversation piece, or maybe just a great car-camping, $120 tool, maybe designed to stash away in the extra-gear camping crate, stowed away in the back end of the car, never to see the light of day again. But for a serious backpacking tool to carry, I thing not.
It might make a good paperweight though! (Besides, in the Sierra, you cannot sterilize what is not there in great enough concentrations to hurt you anyway.)
I learned two important things that day - REI staff will try to sell you anything, & I knew lots more about backpacking than the people on the floor did.
Mark
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Postby Rosabella » Thu Jun 08, 2006 12:43 pm

I was just up at R.E.I. (Seattle) yesterday, and happened to be there when the Steri-pen Rep was there talking to the sales people. It "seems" like a good idea - simple to use and lighter than most filters (even with the batteries), and the Rep answered all those questions you had, Mark, but even while the Rep was there, it didn't work smoothly. Evidently the problem that they had yesterday was that the salesperson had tried to use a combination of regular and lithium batteries.

Some of the salespeople in Seattle have been there since it was the old warehouse 30 years ago, and have a lot of outdoor experience. I get a lot of really good tips from them. I asked them about the Steri-pen after the Rep left... one said that he's had one for about a year and has had good experience with it, the other said he was skeptical and stuck with his simple, field-tested gear. Because I've known the latter for a long time, and his recomendations have always been good, I decided to stick with my Katadyn Hiker.
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Postby markskor » Thu Jun 08, 2006 2:05 pm

Rose,
Getting ready huh? (green with envy here)...When are you leaving? I am taking my 14-year-old son...Tuolumne to Mammoth sometime this summer. I would not mind tagging along part way if possible.

When the Steripen Rep was there, what was his exact answer about how long it would take to "cleanse" a 3 liter platypus resevoir full of ice cold water?
Curious. Overnight?
Mark
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Postby Rosabella » Fri Jun 09, 2006 11:51 am

Hi Mark,

Yup... I'm counting the days!! I was hoping you'd join me at some point on the trail... I'll Email you my schedule when I get home this afternoon, and see what works for you. Cool! :D I had almost decided not to bring my fishing gear 'cause I still haven't found someone to show me how to use my gear (I could probably figure it out eventually... sort of...with a lot of fumbling :\ ). I'm hoping you can give me some tips (lots of 'em). I'd offer to trade you fishing lessons for ballet lessons, but I kinda suspect that you'll pass on that. :lol:

As far as the SteriPen - I asked the Rep if it could be used in a hydration bladder, and he said "no". The Rep said that they didn't recomend a quantity of water larger than 32 ounces, or a large nalgyne-type container, which would take approximately 90 seconds. There were two timing options - one "click" for 32 oz. / two "clicks" for 16 oz., but the drain on the battery life is about the same, regardless if you use it for 16 or 32 ounces. the biggest draw on the batteries is just to get it started; the extra time for the larger water quantity made little difference in battery life. He also said that the four batteries were good for approximately 50 applications. I can't remember what he said about the temperature of the water, but it seems to me that there was a minimum temperature issue.

Rosie
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Postby BSquared » Fri Jun 09, 2006 6:30 pm

I'm not a Steripen fan, but I sure am a lithium-battery fan! I put a pair in my Fujifilm digital camera for a ski trip in March (because of their cold-weather performance), and I'm having a heck of a time getting 'em to run down so I can go back to my old reliable rechargeables. And the weight difference is nothing short of stupendous. As soon as I noticed that they were available in AAA I immediately surplused the AAAs in my headlamp and replaced them with lithiums. Great batteries!
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