We have previously discussed the importance of treating water (see our article How to Prevent and Treat Traveler’s Diarrhea). If you are traveling in the developing world, tap water is often unsafe to drink and in rural areas, well water will certainly make you sick. If you are not trying to spend lots of money buying bottled water or if you simply don’t want to add needless plastic waste to the planet, you need to have a good water treatment solution.
In our article titled 4 Ways to Treat Water While Traveling, I mentioned that the SteriPEN Traveler is our preferred choice as a treatment option. It does not use chemicals, and it is quick and efficient, especially if you use lithium or NiMH rechargeable batteries.
Below is a video with a demonstration and further review of the SteriPEN Traveler. In the video, I also feature the SteriPEN FitsAll Filter. It is important to filter cloudy water before treatment because UV light will not do anything to remove sediment or large organic material. This is true regardless of what treatment option you use. If you are using chlorine or iodine, for example, you also need to use a filter for cloudy water.
One thing I would note: If you buy this product, definitely get rechargeable NiMH batteries. Besides the fact that it will save you money, the charges last a lot longer and you can get much more use between recharging.
Also, keep in mind that it would be a good idea to have a backup treatment option. I always have 4 extra rechargeable batteries with me, but I also carry chlorine dioxide tablets in the off chance that my batteries go kaput or I accidentally do something like drop the SteriPEN and shatter the bulb (thankfully, this has never happened).
Chlorine dioxide tablets are cheap and they are available at most camping and recreation stores. I recommend a brand in our article 4 Ways to Treat Water when Traveling. Other options include iodine tablets, buying a straw filter or buying something more serious (and expensive) from Katadyn.
The bottom line: no matter what water treatment option you use, bring a back up, especially if you will be spending a lot of time camping and/or hiking.
Have you used SteriPEN products before? If not, what is your preferred water treatment option? Let us know in the comments.