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Customer Review

229 of 243 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars steripen reliability, July 13, 2011
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This review is from: SteriPEN Adventurer Opti UV Water Purifier (Sports)
Recently I completed the Kokoda track walk in Papua and New Guinea. Once on this walk there is no support so your gear has to be reliable and effective. In preparation I had acquired this model of steripen through Amazon. When it arrived I tested it and found the internal connections around the battery were not good, however, a small piece of aluminium foil seemed to complete the circuit consistently. [ideally I would have returned the item to Amazon for replacement but the logistics of sending it back from Australia and then waiting for the new one were not possible in the time before I left - this is no criticism of Amazon's despatch and delivery time which has always been excellent]. On day 3 of the 8 day walk the pen stopped working and would not resume no matter how much fiddling I did with some more aluminium foil. Fortunately I had taken purification pills just in case and they came in handy.

In the party was another person who had an identical steripen [coincidentally acquired from Amazon too] that also failed. So in all two of twenty pens failed.

Fortunately neither party became ill largely through disciplined personal hygiene, the use of our back up procedures and guides taking us to streams that they believed were clean.

I know many have used steripens without an issue but frankly this concerned me because when it was really needed this product did not prove electrically reliable. If you do buy one I STRONGLY recommend you test test test it when you receive it rather than finding out in the field that you bought a lemon.
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Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 14 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 23, 2011 12:45:19 AM PDT
thanks for the advice. will do.

Posted on Apr 28, 2012 3:00:56 PM PDT
Wow! This sounds like a nightmare come true, especially since another traveler's device failed as well. Thank you for the "test test test" before hand advice. I sincerely hope that Amazon looks into this issue, as these things aren't cheap, not to mention, this is survival!!! It's not like you're buying a "Kindle" or something.

Posted on Nov 7, 2012 12:01:07 AM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Nov 19, 2012 4:13:33 PM PST]

Posted on Dec 3, 2012 10:54:31 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 3, 2012 10:55:32 PM PST
J. Hooper says:
Good reminder, this one - Test ALL gear BEFORE you take it to the field. Know that it works, and how to operate it in a cold, dark, storm. Saves a lot of hassle, injury, and death in the backcountry . . . much less freaking New Guinea . . . good grief . . . long way from the returns aisle.

Posted on Dec 3, 2012 10:56:12 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Dec 3, 2012 10:56:31 PM PST]

Posted on Jan 18, 2013 7:32:26 PM PST
I was on a backpacking trip recently where three people had Steripens and two failed. Today a friend told me hers failed in Haiti. That's three failures out of four that I've come in contact with.... maybe a coincidence, but doesn't make me want to risk it!

Posted on May 4, 2013 9:04:05 AM PDT
PatriotEd says:
You did us all an importnat and arguably a vital service by providing this review. Unless and/or the manufacturer come board and tell us how they have fixed this problem they will not get my money. My health and that of my family is far to important to risk on an "expensive" and "faulty" product like this.

Posted on May 13, 2013 12:17:41 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 13, 2013 12:37:37 AM PDT
As a civilian military contractor that has lived in almost every hellhole imaginable I would like to add some insight to this conversation. The Steripen is a niche electronic "luxury" accessory. This very description should be your caveat. Electronic, luxury, and survival are not bedfellows. Do I carry them? Yes. Have they failed? Yes. Sometimes because they broke. Sometimes because my batteries were dead. And yes, sometimes for no known reason. But they are there for the convenience of not having to boil water or chemically treat it which consumes both time and resources. For the most part the Steripen has been flawless. There are no other substitutes for the pen in the States that I can recall although you can modify an aquarium UV device to suite your needs with the right power source. My point? For $70 a pop, pre-test and keep 2 on your person. If one fails don't be too upset or surprised. Everything fails. Even my meticulously maintained and battle tested M4 has given me a heart attack in critical situations. That's why you always have a backup. This is a decent product. The overseas equivalent that I have used is much bulkier, has no return policy or warranty, and is even less reliable. No reason to give the Steripen 1 star. The majority of users including myself would agree. If you're not into convenience purchase a decent filter and purification tabs. I carry all three. Just my 2 cents.

Posted on Jul 26, 2013 1:47:53 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 26, 2013 1:48:46 PM PDT
DaveC says:
A day 3 failure could be a problem unit, but much more likely a dead battery. Backpacking light reports high current drain (600uA) off state current that could really contribute to battery failure if the batteries came with the unit!

What's missing from these reports is if the units suddenly worked fine again with fresh batteries!

I've had mine 3-4 years, works okay. No "failures". The impedance sensor in my older adventurer does stink, and as the batteries wear down during a 1 week trip in the sierras the sensor thinks I've removed the pen from the water.

I restart and count the time manually.

So far seems like the optical sensor really works?

Posted on Aug 8, 2013 11:35:37 AM PDT
Ryno says:
Lot of posts deleted by Amazon.... odd.
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