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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Wasn't sure where to put this as it won't exactly be a bikepacking purchase for me (been using a katadyn forever). Here in the Cascades there is tons of clean water and I'm thinking of giving the packless thing a go. A steripen seems a very convenient way to quickly insure a water bottle of river or mtn lake water is good to go.

I have friends that use them for backpacking and I've used them too but have never owned one and mtb will bounce it around way more than backpacking. So any opinion on them? Are they fragile? Would you recommend a specific one?

I'm currently considering the steripen adventurer Opti. At 3.8oz it will sterilize 32oz in 90 seconds.
 

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I have a few friends that still use them.

Seems needlessly complex to me. Premix some Aquamira before you leave home for the ride. Keep it in a small vial on your bike somewhere. 20-25 minutes from dipping the bottle you have good water.

Sometimes I'll take a filter bottle along if I need right-now water.

Either solution is, to me, better than another powered gadget in the backcountry.
 

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Ive met 10+ people that rave about them. Always in hostels or restaurants when travelling in asia. And then i've met 3 whose units spontaniously stopped working... They were all in very remote locations, bothering me for iodine. Thats 3 different times. Forget that, im not going to be a victim, iodine tastes fine.

Same as inflatible mattresses, just one 3 week trekking session with deflated pad (valve), and foam is looking good for the future.


Edit: Ps im using the same bottle of polar pure that i bought in the early 90s...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ok, good points. I'm now leaning toward a water filter bottle. I've never seen or used one but did look at them on line before making the thread. It didn't seem they were made to fit a bike cage though.

Recommend a water bottle filter? Is there one that plays well with a bike cage? Or better yet one where the mechanism/lid can be spun onto existing bike bottles...that would be ideal for me.
 

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I am a life time backpacker and PCT thru hiker---so have many days under my belt----I use aquamira ---I have had and seen the steripen and several failed at the worst time----I would avoid unless you take something for backup

I would suggest aqua mira (yes the wait time can irritate)or the more expensive tablets----I think while I have not used one the bottles look OK to me-----avoid batteries and moving parts---my 2 cents
 

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I had one for years. It was good until it wasn't when it stopped working on a trip, not just batteries, it just finally died. I always carried Micropur MP1's as backup. Used those for the rest of the trip and haven't looked back.

Batteries were expensive, it was bulky and heavy compared to pills, slow to treat multiple litres, always thought it was a little hokey using something battery powered and electronic where simpler/lighter alternatives existed.

I exclusively use MP1's now.
 

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I use an msr ceramic filter and hand-crank dynamo steripen...but of course these two are bulky and not really packable. good for a base camp, not good for solo trekking
 

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The thing to remember with filters... They really dont like glacier water. The glacial silt is so fine it wont settle out and sometimes theres a ton of it. So please be very careful to avoid glacier water. Use a non-glacial tributary if at all possible.

A clogged filter will make you very sad.

I thought i knew this after clogging a filter in what didnt look very silty in rainier park. Then did it again at the Hoh in olympic park.

I still own a filter and love to use it but now just in the desert.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
^White river? That is one silty mofo. I've used my old katadyn in AK and the norther Rockies/icefield parkway etc. I wrapped the bobber with a handkerchief and seemed to work ok but I could see the smaller more compact units today clogging faster.

I drink a lot of the NW OR & SW WA water straight from the tap if I'm somewhat confident where it's coming from. So far so good. Larger rivers like the Lewis etc. I definitely want some kind of quick easy way to make it safe though.
 

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^White river? That is one silty mofo. I've used my old katadyn in AK and the norther Rockies/icefield parkway etc. I wrapped the bobber with a handkerchief and seemed to work ok but I could see the smaller more compact units today clogging faster.

I drink a lot of the NW OR & SW WA water straight from the tap if I'm somewhat confident where it's coming from. So far so good. Larger rivers like the Lewis etc. I definitely want some kind of quick easy way to make it safe though.
Yeah the white can be... white! In my first case It was a little stream that fed high into the carbon. Was just slightly milky. But close to the glacier. Got 3 liters just fine and then it was locked up solid. Backflushed, scraped but that cartridge was never the same. I also now feel ok drinking water if I think it's clean. Main thing is there's never people shitting above the stream. Best is a high spring on a mountain side. Anything agricultural and I would need to be desperate to drink it, boiled, filtered, etc. I don't know what sorts of crazy chemicals and hormones might be in the water.

I'm so pissed when filter plugs. Carry that weight to drink nice water, then it's just weight to carry out. And money later. Boo!
 

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ive been using a steripen for years, cant remember the exact one - small, and green, prob equivalent to the ultralight. i use it for longer rides so i dont need to haul more water and on bke packing trips. if im high (ish) up in scotland, no need - the streams are clear, lower down its needed due to livestck. ive used iodine tabs, but even w neutraliser i dont like the taste. steripen has not let me down yet and can be recharged from a cache battery or Son via a Sinewave.
 

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I love my Sawyer. A couple of years ago I was out in the Appalachians near here and ran short on water. I heard a gurgling in under the leaf blanket and found a modest flow of water. Filtered it into bottles and away I went. I also take Aqua Mira tablets along just in case the water is "risky"
The only thing that I wish my Sawyer had was a charcoal post filter to snag organic chemicals.
Steripen though, Never saw the need for one.
 

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i think the other thing to be aware of is the limitations of all the purification methods. if memory serves i tested a bunch and looked at the pros cons for Singletrack magazine a good number of years ago. with Steripens, you need to drink the water pretty quickly after treatment as reactivation can occur of various bugs, with chlorine and iodine, they are not so effective against some bugs (crypto) and can take a while to kill others (giardia) - chlorine dioxide (AM) is better, but still not perfect.

the article:

"Water purification: a primer.

In the late 1980’s, bike riders took advantage of a paradigm shift in hydration: the Camelbak.
Carrying a large reservoir of water on your back expanded your range dramatically and a marketing
battle has been fought ever since over which rucksack is best to carry the ubiquitous three litre
bladder. As multi-day bikepacking routes and 'epic' back country loops become more popular, there
is a growing cadre of riders who require more. Braze ons, stem top and seat post mounted bottles
can be added to increase the volume carried, but water is heavy – one Kg per litre – and as the
ultralight envelope is pushed, just as it has been in the back packing world, mountain bikers may
need to embrace water treatment systems to slake their thirst over the long haul.
Do you need a water treatment system? The average, exercising male needs to drink 4 litres of
water per day minimum. You will need more if it is hot or dry and still more if you intend to cook.
Women need slightly less. There is only so much weight a bike and body can carry before the
encumbrance is unwieldy. If water sources are plentiful, there really is no need for a solo rider to
carry more than a litre at any one time, replenishing as required.
Why treat water at all? There are always tails of that gnarly guy who heads out into the hills with
little more than a mug to dip into streams as he passes, ghost like, along the trails. The reality is that
any water source could harbour bacteria, protozoa and viruses that will do their best to end your trip
and leave you sitting in crampy anguish on the toilet for the next week. If you have decided that the
weight, cost and effort of a water treatment system is necessary, it is time to immerse yourself in
research. The number of different systems available is mind boggling.
In order to decide which system is best, I would strongly suggest an objective examination of where
and when you will need it, and which pathogens will be likely. Determine the number of people
who are going to be dependent on the system then factor in cost, size, weight and the volume of
water that may be needed per treatment and in total. If it is a multi day trip for several users, you
may need to clean a filter, bring spare batteries or the means to charge them. Matching the system to
the task in hand will give better results.
To render water safe to drink, all bacteria and protozoa need to be removed. In some areas, viruses
can also be water borne and need to be inactivated. There are four common portable ways to treat
water: pump filters, gravity filters, chemical treatment (iodine or chlorine dioxide) and most
recently UV light.
There are two different methods to drive water through filters: hand pumps or gravity. Hand pumps
are self explanatory. With gravity filters the 'source' bag hangs above an inline filter which then
empties into a 'drinkable' water bag. Filters are made from various materials which are different in
terms of field serviceability, longevity and likelihood of clogging. They can be relatively quick,
producing a litre a minute in some cases. Strictly speaking, filters do not sterilise water as they are
incapable of removing viruses. Viruses become more common nearer densely populated areas and
in certain countries. However, they do remove bacteria, protozoa and other particulate matter.
Filters can also improve the taste of the water.
UV light and prolonged contact with chlorine dioxide does inactivate viruses, as well as protozoa
and bacteria but neither remove particulate matter, meaning you might be fishing insects, organic
matter and grit from your teeth. Iodine does not kill cryptosporidium.
UV light needs to be used in clear, very low sediment water or it will not be effective. The water
must be drunk relatively soon after treatment because some bugs may be able to repair the cell
damage that UV light causes given enough time, making them infective again. They also need to be
used in 'hard' bottles (rather than bladders or collapsible bottles such as the Platypus 'soft bottles'

that can be rolled up once empty) which slightly offsets the light weight and small size. Typically,
0.75 to 1 litre is treated per cycle, but there is minimal effort and they are quick – taking 60-90
seconds. Because they run on batteries (rechargeable or replaceable) inconvenient loss of charge is
a possibility, particularly in low temperatures.
Iodine tastes bad and may not be available in some countries due to concerns over efficacy and
health issues if used in high quantities. Chlorine dioxide has minimal taste – it is not the same as the
chlorine used in the swimming pool! Chlorine dioxide can be purchased relatively cheaply in the
form of drops or tablets. Drops are used by pre-mixing 2 stable chemicals then adding the active
compound to the water and waiting between 30 minutes and 4 hours (depending on how cold the
water is). It takes an hour to be sure protozoa are killed. The tablets are easier – pop one out of the
foil pack and drop it in to a litre of water. Keep it out of sunlight for 4 hours and it is ready to drink.
Hopefully, this information will help the water appear a little less muddy. Long live long rides!
Jon Meredith"
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Photoreactivation is an interesting topic. I've read up on it a bit regarding municipality uv treatment. My understanding is that medium to high uv lamps damage the dna permanently?
 

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Photoreactivation is an interesting topic. I've read up on it a bit regarding municipality uv treatment. My understanding is that medium to high uv lamps damage the dna permanently?
i think you'd have to get into research level stuff to really answer that fully. it seems to be 'match your UV to the volume and flow of water'...

more here... https://inspectapedia.com/water/UV_Disinfection_of_Water.php and of course, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portable_water_purification - seems to be backed by some study info, as ever, dont assume the result without cirtcally reading the studies...
 

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I never bought into the steripen hype.

I did buy one of those MSR Miox gadgets, but it was never that useful to me. Same deal with the expensive batteries and potential for electronics failure. Sold it off after using it on maybe one trip.

I never had glacial silt to deal with, but still frequently dealt with water that was still full of sediment. One issue with sediment is that it gives the little nasties a place to hide, so it reduces the effectiveness of your favorite chemical treatment or the steripen.

I have an old school pump filter (MSR Miniworks EX) for those occasions where sources are difficult to draw from. I have recently added a gravity filtration setup making use of a Sawyer Squeeze.
 

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Steripen Adventurer/pre-filter with AquaMira tablet backup. Our pen lasted two people 60+ days on one set of batteries. I've used 80-100 days since. Avoid cramming inside a pack where it could be accidentally activated. Make sure you get the right backup 3v batteries – the longer ones. So you don't have to fashion a bailing wire spring to fill the gap. :)

Filter: Never again. Had them fail or get extremely hard to pump without warning. My crafty pal on the divide smugly set up his gravity filter and found it frozen in the AM while I stirred up water. Hehe.

Mioxx was a disaster.
 

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Cheap filters grow mold inside of them after a while. Who wants to cut their old filter in half and post a picture?

Chemicals could have long term health effects after prolonged use.

No bacteria, protozoa or viruses, can live in boiling water, a rolling boil that is, not just a couple of bubbles.

By the way, 10 years ago Steri pens seemed to break far more than they do today.

What about the o zone pen
Roving Blue Water Purification, Ozone Water Purifier, Portable Drinking Water, see how Ozone actually sanitizes your water
or the
Grayl filter
https://grayl.com/
Which does not seem to grow mold, nor does it seem filter the hard out of hard water.

For me this week,
A Grayl filter and a steri pen.
 
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