Backcountry Tips and Tricks, Gear Reviews, Outdoors, Tech

SteriPEN Journey Safe Water System – Everything You Need For Clean Water on the Trail


SteriPEN Journey Safe Water System $118,

The Good: Light, small, fast, and effective. A backpacker’s dream when filtering water.

The Bad: It’s a bit expensive when you’re a broke college grad.

The Techy: The UV light is good for 8000 treatments.

    This purifying method involves UV light that destroys any bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. The specific SteriPEN I used had a primary filter system to be used to removes particulates. When that filter system is removed from the lid, the SteriPEN is ready to be used. When fully submerged in your Nalgene (or most any other types of bottles when you buy the adapter) the SteriPEN will purify 32oz. of water in 90 seconds or 16oz. in 48 seconds. It’s important that during the purifying process the bottle is being shaken or stirred with the SteriPEN so as to make sure the UV light is hitting everything in the water. When the time is up you’ll get a smiley face on the screen if the UV light was submerged and working the whole time.

 I used this water purification system for the first time about 2 years ago on a LNT course, backpacking trip. My professor had been using one and allowed me to try it out. Now, growing up using your standard pump filters every backpacking trip we ever did made this system feel like a piece of cake. Just recently I had been getting ready for a longer backpacking trip the North Coast of California, in need of new water purifying, and I was reminded of this amazing experience I had with the SteriPEN. So I researched the best kind for my adventures and the Journey Safe system seemed to be the best fit. It came with a SteriPEN case, 32 oz. Nalgene bottle, and a FitsAll filter to fit on various bottles and filter out particulates that could compromise the SteriPEN’s effectiveness.


 Rarely have I been so happy with a piece of technology. Compact enough to fit in your toiletries bag, lightweight and faster than boiling water, the Steripen Journey is a backcountry champ. For the luddites who fear bringing tech into the field, we always recommend carrying both water tablets and extra batteries (or a portable charger) as back up.  However, on disposible batteries, the SteriPEN works for about 100 treatments while the UV light it uses lasts for 8000 treatments. And at $100 for this particular system that’s about 1 cent per use (not counting the cost to replace batteries). Just make sure the base of the SteriPEN, where the batteries are inserted, is securely sealed and closed, or it won’t purify and you’ll be thirsty.

What’s your preferred method of purifying water? Any disaster stories?