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Steri-Pen for water purifying in S. America?


thin_air_aaron
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Hey guys, just wondering if anyone has any experience with Steri-Pens and there effectiveness, particularly in S. America. I've heard the water is very silty near Aconcagua which limits the effectiveness of water filters but have also read that Steri-Pens are best used with clear(er) water. I was planning on using coffee filters to remove any silt, then a 4 micron filter and then treating the water with a Steri-Pen. Would this be effective or should I be thinking something else?

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I had one of these a couple years ago in S. America. Freaking hated it. Total pain. If you are going to be in the field below snow line for long, you will be filtering everything. Maybe 3-4L per person per day. I'd much rather pump. Not like I'm bitter or anything.

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I think he means having to physically hold the pen in the water and stir is a hassle

 

I recommend a field-maintainable ceramic filter where you can easily rub the silt off. Alternatively, MSR makes one you can backflush and is very light called the Hyperflow. Bear in mind that smaller pumps = more pumping.

If you are making water for 3+ people grab a good, solid filter like the Katadyn Pocket. Easy to maintain and clean and completely bulletproof (because the extra grams are worth your time if you get sick). The added weight isn't that significant compared to an easy to pump/clean filter that shoots water out fast.

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Hey guys, just wondering if anyone has any experience with Steri-Pens and there effectiveness, particularly in S. America. I've heard the water is very silty near Aconcagua which limits the effectiveness of water filters but have also read that Steri-Pens are best used with clear(er) water. I was planning on using coffee filters to remove any silt, then a 4 micron filter and then treating the water with a Steri-Pen. Would this be effective or should I be thinking something else?

 

I went up the Polish traverse side, all glacier water, not silty at all. My understanding is the Pen works very well. I met a guy in Istanbul who travel the entire africa using the pen and never got sick. I did hear if the water is really cold (glacier melt), the pen doesn't work as well.

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I'd stick with a proven filter with reliability and field maintenance foremost in mind, something bombproof and easy to take care of will remove a huge risk from the trip. There are too many variables with the steripen for me to trust it on a critical large trip, particularly if one of it's internal components breaks down in the field. Hard enough to get one of those repaired or replaced stateside.

 

I'd also pack a large supply of backup water purification tablets, chlorine dioxide preferably to avoid mixing (does chlorine dioxide kill the South American bugs? I assume so, but it's worth researching). Weight is negligible, benefits are high.

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I've only had one buddy with a pen and he ended up returning it due to consistent problems. No way I'd personally take one to SA. I used polarpure iodine for 9 weeks in SA including Aconcagua and had no troubles. I generally have had good luck with iodine everywhere I've traveled internationally. Though maybe I've just been lucky... My experience have used several filters over the past 2 decades is that they all suck for long term use, some less than others. I stopped trying years ago and have stuck with lighweight chemical purification and had great success. If you don't like the iodine taste give AquaMira a shot.

Edited by hydroman
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