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Review of SteriPen Traveler (idea for fast bug out bag use)

The SteriPEN Traveler is a really neat device. I wish I’d purchased one when they first came out. If you’re unaware, the Steripen uses ultraviolet (UV) light to very quickly disinfect water from bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and many other nasty bugs that can make you seriously ill. A Steripen is the same idea as using SODIS only much faster; in fact, the Steripen disinfects clear water within a minute or two. Compared to 20-30 minute dwell times for most chemical treatments and you’ll quickly understand why this is becoming the treatment of choice for many, including me.

The Steripen actually comes in several different models including the Steripen Classic, Traveler, Adventurer, Journey, and Freedom. I suggest you review this comparison to learn more. Strangely, the Traveler model isn’t listed and I don’t know why.

Overall, I am very satisfied with the Steripen Traveler unit I purchased. It is a relatively lightweight, fast, and reliable water treatment option. However, there is one major detail you should know that I was unaware of before I purchased my unit…

Although the Steripen technology is the same for each of their models, the Traveler’s lamp life is expected to be about 3000 treatments, which is less than half the expected life of the Classic, Adventurer and Journey at about 8000 expected treatments. This sole fact alone likely would have caused me to spend a few more dollars to purchase the Classic model had I known this. Why on earth the company put a different lamp in the Traveler units is beyond me. Regardless, the lamp life would still last long enough to treat several hundred gallons of water and can be replaced, although I would probably just purchase something new by that time.

You should also understand that the different models of Steripen use different batteries. The Traveler uses 4 AA Lithium batteries (as well as the Classic), whereas all other Steripen models use 2 CR123 batteries (essentially camera batteries) for power. This could prove to be a significant concern for you because in an emergency you could at least borrow AA batteries from another device to use in the Traveler or Classic if you had to (I think), although you certainly wouldn’t get as many treatments out of alkaline or rechargeable batteries as you would with Lithium batteries. Know that the Traveler and Classic are significantly heavier with batteries (at 5.7 ounces)  than the other models due to the 4 batteries required. For me, this isn’t an issue, but, if weight is then you can cut it down to about 3.6 ounces with the Traveler mini or Adventurer. Whatever you prefer, be sure to pack an extra set of batteries.

One other significant concern that all models share is that the Steripen requires the water to have very low turbidity levels, that is, it needs to be clear for the technology to work. Thus, if the water is cloudy then you either need to do a lot of pre-filtering and waiting or take your chances and multiple-dose the water.

Beyond these few concerns, the Steripen Traveler is very easy to use, self-explanatory, and generally a wonderful product. If you do any hiking or backpacking or just want something for your bug out bag, then this is a great choice.

[NOTE: This review has been republished and updated from an earlier date.]

Other Steripen Models You Might Prefer

In order from top to bottom: Classic, Adventurer, Journey, and Freedom…

A positive reivew of the Steripen:

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