SteriPEN Journey Water Purification System Review

On February 25, 2011, in Camp Gadgets, by Jack Ingram

The SteriPen gets really mixed reviews no matter where you look. Pretty much everyone agrees that it is a great idea, but many seem to feel that it is not quite ready for the demands of the field.

A lot of the complaints seem to come in from folks who are hikers, many at higher altitudes. All of our testing has been at relatively low elevations, either on rivers or at sea level, so our review is biased towards this.

The SteriPen has been a much-loved companion on all of our expeditions. It always purifies water really fast, and we always get quite a bit of use per set of batteries. This is the next best thing to drinking water straight from the source. Especially during spring, water is still ice-cold and delicious after the 90 seconds it takes to sterilize a full liter.

One thing we have always been cognizant of is the batteries. We always take extras on extended trips and always put fresh ones in before the start of a trip. We’ve never pushed it enough to go through a set of batteries before a trip comes to a close. However, there have been a number of complaints about this, so  buyer beware. One annoyance  that was battery related was that the included Lithium Ion batteries were dead.

Overall this has been a great purchase for us. It has yet to let us down and quickly sterilizes and filters drinking water without fuss. The ease of use coupled with the small footprint while packing makes it a great tool for your kayak trips and expeditions. We do, however, always bring backup water sterilization tablets just in case!

2 Responses to SteriPEN Journey Water Purification System Review

  1. Mike Shumate says:

    I picked up one of these devices a few days before a trip to a remote area in the Sierras. One day into the trip the battery died. Fortunately, I was above 12,000 feet for the next 7 days and had great water. Since I was traveling ultra light extra batteries were too heavy – and now I had a useless tool to carry as well.

    • Jack Ingram says:

      We have had nothing but good luck, but it seems that they really seem to struggle at higher elevations from other reviews out there. I’ve also read that if the water is too “pure” it can have issues as well. SteriPEN water sensors look for electrical conductivity to indicate the presence of water. In most cases water has enough trace mineral content to allow for a small amount of electrical current. On occasion though, very pure water may be encountered – most often in areas where water is from recent snow melt. Since very pure water is a poor electrical conductor, the sensors may only function marginally resulting in an incomplete UV dose. This can easily be corrected by adding a small pinch of salt, or a drop or two of some kind of electrolyte beverage to the water.

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