After lugging around our ever-reliable but heavy and fragile, ceramic filter (Katadyn Pocket Water Filter) for previous trips we decided to try the light and compact SteriPEN Ultra Water Purifier for a one year cycling trip. The obvious advantage was its size and weight and as we would be travelling by road, we felt that we wouldn't have to use that frequently.
The qualities of being lightweight and compact were completely eclipsed by the unreliability of the device. Specifications indicate that the SteriPEN should be able to purify approximately "50 1 liter treatments per charge" of water before requiring that the batteries be recharged. We weren't able to come even close to that amount. The device usually stopped working after having purified about 10 litres of water.
On a particularly deserted stretch of road, we ran out of water. We located a a particularly filthy source from which to fill our water bottles, our fully-charged SteriPEN worked for 0.5L before dying. Thankfully we were carrying enough chlorine dioxide treatment pills (Katadyn MicroPur MP1 Water Treatment Tablets) as backup.
In summary, although the SteriPEN Ultra Water Purifier has glowing reviews it is not a fully reliable device. We would under no circumstances recommend this product unless you also bring a backup water treatment.
Others with the same problem using the SteriPEN Ultra Water Purifier:
- "The pen was fully charged on the day before the trip. It stopped working after was used only once (for treating 1L filtered water)." Review of Mira at MEC
- "would not hold a charge and would not work, even after plugging in overnight and in the car adaptor on the drive to the trail." Review of Ali Oop at REI
Obtained through Mountain Equipment Coop Expedition Support