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rockytop7
01-26-2011, 22:57
Anybody thru'd with one? Anyone thinking about it? Trying to decide between Steripen and Aqua Mira.

lilricky
01-26-2011, 23:08
There are several threads about comparing steripens and aqua mira, just use the search function.

Chop
01-27-2011, 02:18
Have one and used it on several short trips this past fall. Plan on taking it on a thru hike this summer on the AT.

Gipsy
01-27-2011, 02:20
I'm actually taking both for 2 reasons.

1) steri-pen does not work if there are a lot of particulates in the water, so I'd use the aqua-mira in that situation.

2) Although I like the functionality of the steri-pen as well as the speed it works, there is always the chance breakage/malfunction.

Happy hiking.

Spokes
01-27-2011, 07:08
Comes down to preference. You'll see most thru's carrying AquaMira. I did on my 2009 thru hike. Pretty much bombproof and you don't have to fear dead batteries or any red light errors. I always took along an extra set stuffed in the bottom of my food bag.

SteriPEN had issues in 2009 with the units shutting down prematurely due to the probes inability to detect sufficient levels of trace minerals in water being treated. They've since made a fix but it can still occur.

Here's what the SteriPEN troubleshooting guide says (per their webpage):

"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 not conduct enough electricity to recognize the water. 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".

Bottomline- Carry AquaMira as a back-up if you decide on a SteriPEN.

Cheers!

Trailbender
01-27-2011, 07:56
Anybody thru'd with one? Anyone thinking about it? Trying to decide between Steripen and Aqua Mira.

Use bleach, fill your dropper bottle at hostels.

Front Royal Mike
01-27-2011, 08:59
Treating drinking water is trickier than most realize.There is no one technology that works for all pathogens.
Water Quality 101
Pathogens are physically dissimilar,how to effectively treat them depends on their construction.Crypto and Giardia are hard shelled microorganisms,officially called ocysts. Ocysts are resistant to chemical treatment and their exoskelleton prevents uv rays from passing through them so uv (steripen)is not a good choice for their treatment.Treatment for the removal of ocysts can be done by filtration ,however use a filter that has an absolute(not nominal)micron rating of .35 (point 35).
Viruses and Germs (such as E-coli or fecal coliforms) on the other hand are unfilterable as they have no exoskelleton and their soft pliable bodies will ooze through any filter.Treat viruses with chemicals or Ultraviolet Sterilization,with chemicals it is important to allow enough "contact time" to allow for an effective kill,a half hour is usually long enough in clear water.Use UV in clear water only as a germ that is "hitching a ride"on the back side of a pcs. of sediment will not receive the radiation (light) needed to effectively sterilize it(think lunar eclipse and shading).UV does not kill germs,it screws up their DNA so they cannot be fruitful and multiply.I use filtration under pressure (pump) and chemical treatment.BTW the above methods have served me well in treating household drinking water and satifying the Va. State health dept. requirements for potability .Sorry for being so long winded,I am sort of passionate about this subject

wornoutboots
01-27-2011, 09:07
I hike with a buddy & he OFTEN has problems with his Steripen! it either plows through batteries, or is having sometype of light malfunction : /

10-K
01-27-2011, 09:18
I haven't treated water in any way in well over a year.

Not a few people I've observed filtering water actually were doing it right anyway and IMO had a false sense of security.

Cross-contamination makes the whole process a waste of time.

takethisbread
01-27-2011, 09:34
I have a steripen and never use it . It sucks in the cold.

I use aquamira most often. I skipped a few times and got a horrible case of Giardia that wrecked me for a couple weeks.

Blissful
01-27-2011, 10:00
Aqua mira hands down

Kermitt
01-27-2011, 12:41
I used it & liked it very much, if particled in the water I use a bandaner first.

maybe clem
01-27-2011, 14:16
I'm actually taking both for 2 reasons.

I carry both as well. You can't hike without water. Always have 2 ways to purify it.

Blissful
01-27-2011, 14:19
Always have 2 ways to purify it.


On the AT Aqua Mira is all you need. Maps help you avoid beaver pond outlets and cow pasture outlets for added protection.
Why carry the extra weight of other gadgets?

rockytop7
01-27-2011, 14:58
I've been using Aqua Mira for a long time and have loved it. The main thing that's attractive to me about the Steripen is quicker drinking time, it will make "tanking" much more possible and allow me to carry less water. I'd really like to hear from people who have used a Steripen for extended periods of time but still like AM better...

Gipsy
01-27-2011, 15:26
Whats the wait time on Aqua Mira? Havent used the stuff yet.

flemdawg1
01-27-2011, 15:38
I use both. I like my steripen for immediate needs drinking and use the chemical treatment as backup and for larger volumes that I'll use later. i.e. My 4 qt Nalgene Cantene that I'll use later in camp.

Aqua mira and most other Chlorine Dioxide treatments have a 30 minute wait time.

ChinMusic
01-27-2011, 15:46
I have a steripen and never use it . It sucks in the cold.
I have a Steripen and actually use it (In fact, I use it in cold weather all the time). It works just fine in cold weather if you use lithium batteries.

rockytop7
01-27-2011, 16:22
Gipsy - AM has a 3-5 minute mix time, then will neutralize everything except crypto in 20-30 minutes, and 4 hours for crypto. When I use it, I have to mix and wait 3-5 minutes, pour into my water, then hike for 20-30 minutes before I drink it. This is the only drawback, as they're very effective and lightweight.

Being able to drink within 90 seconds with a Steripen seems very nice though...

Trailbender
01-27-2011, 16:32
Treating drinking water is trickier than most realize.There is no one technology that works for all pathogens.



Except boiling.

Front Royal Mike
01-27-2011, 20:01
Correct ! Almost ! Boiling does kill all biological pathogens.But not everything harmful in water is biological,there are just as many harmful properties in drinking water that are mineral derivatives. Ever heard of Arsenic ? Lead ? .BTW boiling can actually concentrate mineral pathogens as water turn to steam everything left in the pot is concentrated .I am by no means a health nut or "Water Weenie"I do however "know better"
They don;t call it Beaver Fever cause its down stream of a privy !I was fortunate enough to attend a seminar 15 years ago and the speaker was (and still is) one of the most respected authorities on water conditioning in the world,he said quite simply that "water is the universal solvent,it will dissolve to some extent anything it comes in contact with. The Grand Canyon is an excellent example. Still passionate about the subject !Still sorry to be so long winded .

Spokes
01-27-2011, 20:34
....... Ever heard of Arsenic ? Lead ? .......

Heck, the sodium levels in 1 Mountain House meal is probably worse for you than any arsenic or lead you'll ever come in contact with on the AT.........heheheheheheee.

maybe clem
01-27-2011, 21:20
Why carry the extra weight of other gadgets?

And if the AM cracks, leaks, spills? You cannot hike without water. Always have a backup system.

ChinMusic
01-27-2011, 21:28
And if the AM cracks, leaks, spills? You cannot hike without water. Always have a backup system.
I carry Micropur tablets as a backup for my Steripen.

Llama Legs
01-27-2011, 22:35
Use bleach, fill your dropper bottle at hostels.

amen..........

Trailbender
01-27-2011, 23:50
And if the AM cracks, leaks, spills? You cannot hike without water. Always have a backup system.

Boiling the water is a backup. Also, I was speaking of biological things when I meant boiling, I know heavy metals, ect won't boil out.

mcskinney
01-28-2011, 02:14
I carry Micropur tablets as a backup for my Steripen.


+1, that combo has worked for me for a few years now

K-Man
01-28-2011, 12:10
I carried a steripen the whole way in 2007 and still use it. Plan on taking in on my next thru in 2012 as well. I really only use it for questionable sources...usually drink untreated if it's coming out of the side of a mountain. =)

ChinMusic
01-28-2011, 12:15
I carried a steripen the whole way in 2007 and still use it. Plan on taking in on my next thru in 2012 as well. I really only use it for questionable sources...usually drink untreated if it's coming out of the side of a mountain. =)
I just treat it all, but I do agree that such sources are prob 99.9% safe. The Steripen is so easy that I just zap it anyway just to remove all doubt.

K-Man
01-28-2011, 12:20
I'm that lazy that even the steri pen is too much work sometimes...hehe. I understand the risk's I'm taking though.

Snowleopard
01-28-2011, 14:00
I have a steripen and never use it . It sucks in the cold.

What problem did you have with it in the cold? Were you using lithium batteries? (cold alkaline batteries aren't good).

Boiling water works well in the cold but uses a lot of fuel. Chemical treatments take much longer to work in the cold. Filters freeze and break in the cold. So, I was hoping that a steripen would be good down to the point where you have to melt snow for water (at that point might as well boil it).

--Walter
PS Bleach is unreliable for outdoor use. What it is good for is combining with a filter, the filter takes out bacteria and giardia and crypto and the bleach will deactivate viruses.

QiWiz
01-29-2011, 19:07
I'm actually taking both for 2 reasons.

1) steri-pen does not work if there are a lot of particulates in the water, so I'd use the aqua-mira in that situation.

2) Although I like the functionality of the steri-pen as well as the speed it works, there is always the chance breakage/malfunction.

Happy hiking.

Agree that both are better than either alone. I like to use Aqua Mira in camp to treat water for that night, next morning, and for water to start hiking with. I use the SteriPen while hiking if I come to a water source. Treat a bottle and immediately drink it down (camel up) and treat another bottle with either AM or SP for continued hydration. The AM also serves as a backup to the SP if out of batteries or breakage.