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LTR - Hydro-Photon SteriPEN Journey - Derek Hansen

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  • Derek Hansen
    Thank you for the extension. I have internet! ... Best, ~derek # # # LONG TERM REPORT 31 Jan 2009 Field Locations and Conditions 28 Nov 2008: Pohick Bay
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 31, 2009
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      Thank you for the extension. I have internet!

      For your review:

      > http://tinyurl.com/journey-ltr



      # # #

      31 Jan 2009
      Field Locations and Conditions
      28 Nov 2008: Pohick Bay Regional Park, Virginia. Deciduous forest
      with pine and holly intermixed. Elevation 500 ft (152 m). Temperature
      was a reasonable 40 F (7 C) with slight wind. This was a 4-mile day
      hike with the family. I collected and treated water from one of the
      streams we crossed along the way.
      27 Dec 2008: Pine Valley Mountain Wilderness, north of St. George,
      Utah. Clear and cold conditions with about two feet of snow on the
      ground. I was going to attempt an overnight camp, but I wasn't
      prepared for the deep snow (no snowshoes!), so this solo expedition
      (I was determined!) turned into a painful 6-mile slog. The
      temperature hovered around 40 F (7 C) with a slight wind. The rough
      mountain landscape was punctuated with red cliff faces, juniper,
      pine, and cedar trees. Elevation was 4,500 ft (1,372 m).
      14 Jan 2009: Bull Run Occoquan Trail, Virginia. I had a lot of free
      time in January, so I hiked 14 miles (22.5 k) of the BROT from
      Fountainhead Regional Park. Elevation was from sea level to about 500
      ft (152 m) Deciduous forest with occasional pine and holly trees.
      This is a beautiful trial with lots of stream crossings and ample
      water. The trail was clear, but temperatures remained around 25 F (-4
      C) during the hike with cooler wind gusts. I used the Journey to
      treat my 1 L (32 oz) Nalgene from one of the streams.
      Performance In The Field
      I packed very little water during our day hike in Pohick Bay and I
      was hopeful we would find water along the way. The first stream we
      crossed was filled with leaf litter and I had to hike upstream for a
      while before I could find a clear opening. The source looked pretty
      good and the Journey functioned great as I had expected. As we drew
      nearer to the bay, we crossed a connecting stream and saw some of the
      debris that was feeding into the stream. The mix of rusting metal and
      garbage made me think twice about drinking the water and I opted to
      abstain simply because we weren't too far away from civilization.
      I talked with my wife along the trail and I wondered about the
      different toxins and possible poisons in the water I almost drank. We
      speculated about how well any portable treatment would clear toxins
      in the water. Up to this point I have had no doubts about the
      reliability of the SteriPEN product, but I don't think it was
      manufactured to clear toxins from the water.
      I've carried the SteriPEN with me on a few other day hikes, most
      notably my overnight-turned-day-hike in Utah where conditions turned
      me back to the trail head. I was so excited to be among the red rocks
      of Southern Utah and took a chance to hit the trail while visiting
      family, but the area had been hit by an unprecedented amount of snow
      before I arrived making even the lower-elevations fill with snow.
      There were no water sources where I could use the SteriPEN, and in
      these conditions, I would have most likely had to melt snow. Even
      though I didn't have a chance to use the Journey, I didn't mind
      having the product in my backpack. It doesn't weigh too much and I
      liked having the back-up water treatment.
      On the Bull Run trail, I took WAY too much water with me, considering
      how many water sources are available. I hadn't hiked the lower
      portion of the trail before and didn't realize how many stream
      crossings there were and how the water was available so easily. After
      crossing a number of streams, I finally gave in and got rid of some
      of my water and began refilling as needed along the way.
      From my experience back in November with dead batteries, I decided
      to keep the batteries in a separate bag and put them in the Journey
      only when I needed to use it. Using my fingernail again, I was able
      to easily open the case and insert the batteries. With the low
      temperature and wind chill, my hands were very cold and it took some
      time to get everything in place to treat the water. When the
      treatment was done, the battery indicator gave me a "straight face."
      I wasn't sure if the batteries were drained (I haven't used the new
      batteries much), or if it was the cold. My guess is that it was the
      Final Summary
      The best news about the SteriPEN Journey is that I feel confident
      that the unit works. I never got sick from the treated water I drank
      and I felt reassured with the research that has been done on the
      product. During my field usage, I was able to use the product many
      times, even successive uses when I treated many bottles at a time.
      The Journey worked well and was reliable, although I will always keep
      a spare set of batteries with me.
      I think this product shines when treating one or two liters (32 or 64
      oz) of water at a time. The wait is reasonably short and I can drink
      water fairly quickly. When I had to treat multiple liters/fl oz the
      process was tedious and didn't really beat out other methods like
      chemical treatments or pump filters that my comrades used. In
      comparison to a pump, the Journey is light and streamlined and fits
      well in my pack. However, the SteriPEN is bulky and large compared to
      my usual chemical treatment.
      When treating a large bottle with two liters (64 oz) or more of
      water, I will stick with chemical treatments, especially if I don't
      need to drink the water immediately. Where water is plentiful and I
      can refill more often, the SteriPEN shines because I can drink
      immediately and not worry about waiting.
      Worrying about battery life was a small issue for me, and I would
      consider carrying a spare set of batteries on every trek. I think the
      first set I had lasted pretty well considering how many times I used
      it, but I wasn't able to really determine the absolute lifetime
      during my field use.
      1. Easy to use: one-button-push to activate
      2. Fast treatment (90 seconds for 1 liter/32 oz)
      3. Reasonably light weight
      1. Process gets tiresome when treating multiple liters/fl oz at a time
      2. Easy to over-tighten the battery case and strip threads
      This concludes this test series. I would like to thank Hydro-Photon
      and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this product.
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