The clumsy and once laborious task of water purification has evolved into a much easier process. Ultraviolet light is chic for water purification, and it's widely considered the gold standard. Even a behemoth like CamelBak jumped into the fray and has recently introduced a UV product.
Cheers to CamelBak for embracing the technology but last call will always go to SteriPEN, the innovator for UV filtration. I've had the chance to review the Journey a few years ago. An effective purifier, but the use of a battery just adds to the landfills. Most times, the battery will drain from inactivity, and you never fully use it's juice.
SteriPEN solved this slight eco issue with the Freedom. The SteriPEN Freedom axed the CR123 battery that powered their other handheld models. The newest model is recharged through an outlet, USB port or a solar charger.
The Freedom is smaller than its brethren weighing 2.6 ounces and measuring five inches. It's smaller size also means that it purifies less than previous models. The SteriPEN Freedom purifies only a half-liter of water at a time.
It purifies a half-liter in 48 seconds and rids untreated water of over 99.9% of bacteria, viruses and protozoa such as giardia and cryptosporidium. The reduced volume that can be treated of course adds to the time I had to treat for my personal use. And if you are responsible for water purification for your backpacking group, you will notice the added time.
Even with its diminutive size, SteriPEN adds a new feature - a flashlight. It's best used in a pinch and for emergency situations. Don't expect the illumination that your go-to headlamp delivers.
The effectiveness of UV purification is widely reviewed and the Freedom meets SteriPEN's track record. Read about its effectiveness in my Journey review.
The SteriPEN Freedom is the next logical step in the company's product development. Size matters in the backcountry, and the smaller size and weight is welcomed. The reduced purification capabilities is a small tradeoff for the Freedom's advantages. (MSRP $120)
Jason Elliot is the Editor and Publisher of OutdoorInformer.com. Elliot has established a respected following with the top industry professionals and gearheads for his nonbiased reviews of outdoor gear and apparel. Elliot is a regular contributor to Examiner.com, Trails.com and other publications on top of his editorial and writing role with OutdoorInformer.com.
Elliot left a successful fifteen-plus year management career that he worked at Fortune 500 and S&P 500 companies to pursue his passion for writing about the outdoors. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Clarion University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree from La Roche College.
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