Enclosed is my Initial Report for the Hydro-Photo SteriPEN
Adventurer, the html version can be found at:
SteriPEN Adventurer and Solar Battery Charger
Review by Mike Lipay
Name Mike Lipay
Height 5 ft 8 in / 173 cm
Weight 185 lbs / 83.9 kg
Email hiking AT westernpa DOT us
Location Plum, Pennsylvania
Background: I've been hiking and backpacking since the '60s. I enjoy
hiking solo, with my kids, or with one of the two hiking groups to
which I belong. I have taught LNT skills, wilderness survival, and
outdoor first-aid. I am no ultra-light backpacker (my pack typically
weighs 29-40 lb (13-18 kg) loaded), although I am always looking for
ways to cut down on the weight. I'm a low-techie, preferring a hiking
staff to trekking poles, compass to GPS, fire to fuel; but I am open
to new products when there is a distinct advantage over more
Back to Top
Model SteriPEN Adventurer
Manufacturer Hydro-Photon, Inc.
Year of Mfg 2006
Weight: 3.9 oz 110.0 g
Weight: 3.5 oz 100.0 g
Length: 6 3/32 in 15.5 cm
Width: 1 5/8 in 4.1 cm
Thickness: 15/16 in 2.3 cm
Warranty One-year warranty against manufacturer defects.
Model SteriPEN Solar Charger
Year of Mfg 2006
Weight: 6.9 oz 194.0 g
Length: 7 in 17.8 cm
Width: 3 5/8 in 9.2 cm
Thickness: 1 5/8 in 4.1 cm
Weight: 6.7 oz 190.0 g
Length: 7 1/16 in 18.0 cm
Width: 3 11/16 in 9.4 cm
Thickness: 1 5/16 in 3.4 cm
Warranty No warranty information was provided.
The SteriPEN Adventurer wad delivered by Federal Express on December
2, 2006. After opening the box (somewhat oversized but securely
packed), and examining the contents, I determined that everything
arrived in good condition.
I was disappointed with the warranty Hydro-Photon chose to offer on
the Adventurer model (See Product Description). Other models in the
SteriPEN line come with a lifetime limited warranty.
With regards to the Solar Charger, no warranty information is offered
in the literature. Instead, I was referred to the SteriPEN website,
once on their website I noticed that only the classic SteriPEN
warranty information was provided.
I found the instructions for both the SteriPEN Adventurer and the
Solar Charger easy to follow, and the many illustrations helped in
identifying the location of different items (switches, lights, etc.).
Using the step-by-step instructions, I was able to do an initial test
of the Adventurer within a few minutes (the batteries came with a
The instructions are provided in English, German, Spanish, and
French, in a folded pamphlet. I found the manual for the charger to
be an easy-to-handle size (12 x 18 in; 30.5 x 45.7 cm), but the
larger manual for the Adventurer was difficult to handle (15 x 27-1/2
in; 38.1 x 69.8 cm). A booklet format would be easier.
I visited the website mainly because the instructions for the charger
indicated that the warranty information was available there. I was
disappointed that the website was not only missing the warranty
information, but has no information at all on the Adventurer model of
the SteriPEN. I would hope that this will be corrected in the near
future, especially since there are a number of differences between
the Adventurer model I am testing, and the classic model which is
shown on the website.
I was impressed by the small size and weight of the Adventurer, until
now I have been using Hydro-Photon's original SteriPEN, which weighs
in at 7.7 oz (218 g) - nearly twice as much! The Adventurer also
comes in at an 1-1/8 in (2.9 cm) shorter, and half the thickness -- a
definite improvement! Of course, the original has a longer operating
life between charges, but with 4-AA batteries vs. two CR-123
batteries, that is no surprise. Even so, the Adventurer claims to
sterilize up to 50-liters (50 quarts) on a single charge, more than
enough for even my 5-day treks.
One observation that I did make right off is the shape of the base on
Adventurer. The SteriPEN needs a pre-filter to keep sediment from
entering the drinking bottle, Hydro-Photon makes such a pre-filter
which neatly fits the SteriPEN Classic, unfortunately the
Adventurer's shape does not fit the pre-filter. To my thinking this
is a poor oversight, the pre-filter makes using the SteriPEN easier
with wide-mouth drinking bottles.
Setup and Usage
The SteriPEN Adventurer was already assembled when it arrived, and
the batteries had an initial charge. Even so, I removed the
batteries, placed them in the Solar Charger (which doubles as a in-
the-wall charger), and charged the batteries to full.
There are two options when sterilizing: 1/2 qt (500 ml) or 1 qt (1
L), I selected the second as my bottle was 22 oz (650 ml). The
instructions say to press the switch once then, when the green light
comes on, insert the Adventurer into the water and swirl. At this
point the UV tube lights up (this is an indicator that everything is
working, the sterilization process uses invisible UV light), the
instructions then say to swirl the Adventurer until the light goes
out, this took a little less than 90 seconds.
The SteriPEN Adventurer fits nicely into the Solar Charger for
transport and easy recharging of the batteries, it also has space for
two addition CR-123 batteries, which can be recharged while the two
in the Adventurer are being used. To use the charger requires opening
the cover and pointing it towards the sun.
I have two concerns regarding the SteriPEN Adventurer as shipped.
First, it comes with two rechargeable CR-123 batteries, but no method
of recharging them. Looking in local stores, I cannot find any
chargers capable of handling CR-123 batteries. The only way to
recharge the batteries is to purchase the optional Solar Charger; the
Solar Charger comes with two more CR-123 batteries, along with a wall-
plug converter to recharge the batteries inside the Solar Charger.
Secondly, the lid on the Solar Charger needs to be tilted towards the
sun, I had a difficult time getting the lid to stay open in a tilted
position, there is not enough friction in the hinges to keep the lid
open in all but a few angles.
The Solar Charger comes with a pouch for carrying the Adventurer and
Solar Charger on a backpack. The loops on the rear of the pouch are
to attach the pouch to a backpack so that the batteries can be
recharged while hiking. I'm curious as to how I will use the loops to
make the attachment, there are no instructions on how to accomplish
My plan for using the SteriPEN Adventurer is to take it with me on
day hikes and overnight trips in the Alleghenies; my area of travel
ranges from the lower Alleghenies (SW Pennsylvania, aka the Laurel
Highlands) into the Allegheny National Forest (Northern
Pennsylvania). The area is mountainous, with numerous streams and
rivers flowing through. Typically, because of the abundant wildlife,
no free-running water here is considered safe to drink.
Temperatures during the field test period (mid-December through mid-
February, winter in the Alleghenies) usually fall within the range of
19 - 43°F (-7 - 6°C), which should put a strain on battery life.
Hydro-Photon recommends carrying the SteriPEN in an inner pocket to
keep the batteries warm, and I will follow these recommendations.
Testing a water treatment system is difficult, since the only two
methods of accurately determining effectiveness are laboratory tests
and field tests. The problem with the later is that I can only be
sure if the sterilization fails, a situation I hope not to encounter
over the next few months.
This concludes my Initial Report. The Field Report will be amended to
this report in approximately two months from the date of this report.
Please check back then for further information.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank both Hydro-Photon and
BackpackGearTest for the chance to test the SteriPEN Adventurer.